Blog Article

How to care for your pond during a drought

How to care for your pond during a drought

Date: 19 August 2022 | By: aqua

All this dry weather has no doubt got many of you, like us, thinking about how best to care for your pond when rainwater is scarce, and how to keep fish safe during a drought.

In dry spells ponds are a lifeline for local wildlife, not only this but they offer a welcome reprise to an otherwise dry environment, so it’s really important to keep them in good shape!

Oxygenation

Oxygenation is key to a healthy pond and healthy fish, especially in summer and the best way to achieve this is through aeration.

Ponds with waterfalls or fountains look fantastic and are a great way to provide aeration to the water. If your waterfall generates a lot of spray it can lead to water evaporation, so why not consider fitting a tap to slow down the flow rate? This way, in hot weather it can still help with oxygenation and not lose any of its visual impact.

Alternatively, or as an addition, underwater pumps will still aerate the water. This is extremely important in dry weather, to provide oxygenation to the aquatic and plant life that depend on it.

It’s wise to check your pump is in good working order and is adequate for the capacity of your pond. All pond water should be circulated every 2 hours minimum, so a 2000ltr pond would need to pump with a flow rate of 700 – 1600ltrs, or a 6000ltr pond would need a flow rate of around 3000-4000ltrs.

Planting

Pond plants (such as waterlilies, marsh marigolds and pickerel weed) are also an important and vibrant addition to your pond. They oxygenate the water, they offer shade for fish, food for wildlife, and best of all they don’t need watering. Just ensure you regularly trim them back so that they don’t take over the pond.

Aim to cover around one third of your pond with aquatics plants. Anymore and they will not provide a healthy source of oxygen, due to the reversal of gases at night, so it’s good to cut them back regularly.

A planted rockery edge is an attractive addition to a pond, which will help cover the liner whilst pond levels fluctuate in summer. Marginal planting pockets can be created in a rockery edge, to keep plants contained and fertilised.

Summer feeding

Another way to keep fish safe in hot weather is to regularly clear debris and uneaten food from the ponds surface. A skimmer or net will make this job quick and easy.

Feeding your fish a specific summer food offers the optimum protein to fat ratio, meaning less uneaten food and less for your filter to cope with.

Filters

A pond filter is a must for aquatic life – it will reduce the ammonia levels and keep algae at bay, ensuring your fish stay healthy.

Do check which filter is likely to be best for your pond or water garden. This is determined by its size, the number of plants, the amount and variety of fish and the amount of sunlight it gets.

We would recommend halving the flow rate that the filter states, to ensure it comfortably can cope with your ponds water capacity. So a filter rated for 6000ltrs will work best on a 3000ltr pond.

Your filter will need a pump, so if you already have one then check its flow rate is sufficient to supply the filter.

Topping up

To top up your pond in the summer stored rainwater can easily be used, especially when hosepipe use is banned. Harvesting rainwater throughout the year is sustainable for the environment and helps keep your pond healthy during dry periods.

It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive - it's as simple as directing your downpipe into water storage containers. You can purchase waterbutts equipped with hose connector taps, these will allow you to top up your pond and water your garden directly from the container. You can also buy downpipe filters to ensure that the rainwater you have harvested is optimum quality for your pond.

In our opinion, rainwater harvesting is a great way to ensure your garden and pond is kept as healthy as it can be during these dry periods.'

And just to reassure you, pond cleans needn’t be taxing on our mains water supply.

When we conduct a deep clean we set up holding tanks to drain 90% of the existing pond water into. We remove all the sludge build-up from the bottom on the pond and clean the liner by hand (using the 10% remaining pond water). We finish by jet washing the liner and any stone surround to remove algae and stubborn build up.

Please get in touch if you’d like to chat to us about having a water feature installed or an existing feature maintained.


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