One of the most frequently asked questions by garden pond owners is if they need to change the water as part of their pond maintenance routine. Generally speaking, garden pond water does need to be changed, but there are several factors that come into play. Here are some suggestions about how often to change pond water, how much pond water to change and how to change garden pond water.
Why Do I Need to Change the Water In My Garden Pond?
Your backyard pond loses some water every day due to evaporation. When water evaporates, it leaves behind all the other stuff that is in the water – pollutants, organic matter, salts and silt. Though your pond’s filtration system and natural processes will take care of some of these, over time, they will accumulate in higher concentrations. Even if you add water to make up for evaporation, eventually, pollutants will impact the health of your fish and aquatic plants. It becomes much harder to keep your pond water balanced.
How Much Water Should I Change?
There is no single answer as to how much of your pond water should be changed. The size of your pond, number of fish and plants, effectiveness of your filtration system and time of year can all be factors in water quality. It is important not to change too much of your pond water at once. It will be a big shock to your fish and the overall pond ecosystem.
With these considerations in mind, it is usually best to start small. Try changing about 10% of your garden pond water once per week. Use water quality tests to monitor the health of your pond water, checking for pollutants. If there are water quality issues, try changing a little more water, maybe 15 – 20%. After a few weeks, you will find what works best for your pond.
How to Get Old Water Out of Your Pond
The simplest way to take water out of your pond is to scoop it out with a bucket, being careful that no fish come along for the ride. You can also use a shop vac, a pump or a siphon hose. Some ponds have a built in controlled overflow system. Just be sure to monitor the process so you don’t end up taking out too much water.
How to Add New Water to Your Pond
Tap water is generally not good for garden ponds. It contains chlorine or chloramines, which are toxic to your fish. Fortunately, chlorine evaporates fairly quickly. You can fill a large plastic barrel with tap water and let it sit for 24 hours. Of course, this should be done the day before you do the water change. There are also de-chlorination treatments that will speed up the process.
Another option is to use rainwater. If you have a rainwater harvesting system or a cistern, that can be the source of your new pond water. It’s a good idea to test the rainwater now and then to make sure nothing bad is going into the pond. Don’t assume that rainwater is perfectly clean.
While changing part of your pond’s water every week may seem like a lot of work, it is an important part of keeping your fish and your pond’s delicate ecosystem healthy. With a little practice, you will develop a routine and find that it does not take much time. It’s also an opportunity to take a close look at your fish, aquatic plants and other pond features to make sure everything is OK. When you are done, your garden pond will be clean and your fish will be happy!
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