Now that spring is here in New Jersey, you’re probably noticing some changes to your fish pond - your fish are coming back to life and you may even be able to see some plant growth. Some changes that are taking place, however, aren’t so desirable, like that excess algae growth that you’ve noticing. Understanding the transition that your pond makes from winter into spring and summer is essential in maintaining a healthy pond ecosystem.
You may have just spent your weekend working hard on the pond cleaning – or The AFD Team did it for you. A couple of days … weeks pass, and you notice an incredible growth of string algae. “Not again,” you screech to yourself. “I thought my pond was clean!” Well, my friend, cleanliness does not necessarily mean algae-free, especially in the cool water of the early spring.
Some simple, important steps can be the difference between a balanced pond with minimal maintenance and a pond that requires unnecessary maintenance. Although bacteria and plants don't start growing properly until water temperature reaches 55°F, there are still some simple steps you can take to maintain a crystal clear, trouble-free pond.
We recommend using consistent additions of Spring Pond Starter Bacteria or the use of our Treatment Dosing System with the Maintain Bag. Spring Pond Starter Bacteria will help keep your pond looking clean and clear during the spring season. The Treatment Dosing System will add a cocktail of water treatment products to help keep the pond clear and the string algae at bay until your aquatic plants start working their magic. Both of these products can be used throughout the season, but they are especially effective helping maintain optimum water conditions until water warms up and the beneficial bacteria and aquatic plants have the opportunity to kick in.
Fertilizing pond plants is also an important step toward balancing your pond. Strong healthy plants quickly utilize excess nutrients. Aquascape has two fertilizers, one short-term and one long-term. For optimal results use both fertilizers. The short-term fertilizer will jumpstart your plants in the spring and the long-term fertilizer will continue to feed your plants for one full year. Not only will you have beautiful vibrant lush plants, you will also have crystal clear water quality without the need to use potentially harmful algaecides that will not only disrupt the balance of your pond, but can also have harmful effects on fish, plants, and invertebrates. This short-term gain certainly comes with long-term pain.
Algae don’t mind cool water, but for the rest of your pond’s ecosystem, 55 ° F is kind of the magic number. The plants and bacteria don’t jump into action, in the battle of the green monster, until the water temperature reaches, and consistently stays, around 50° to 55° F. At this time they start growing and are then able to use up the excess nutrients that the algae would otherwise be feasting on. This is the reason for the feared spring algae bloom.
While growing, aquatic plants absorb a lot of the nutrients in the water, and this helps combat algae growth. Until they are actively growing, they have no use for the natural fertilizer lurking in the pond. But as they begin growing, they will naturally start to out-compete the algae for nutrients, the algae will be starved, and the pond water will become clearer. Another benefit that plants provide, particularly water lilies, is that they shade the surface of the water helping to keep the water cool all well cutting down on the growth of string algae as well as green water.
Bacteria also need warmer water to begin growing and colonizing, helping to provide crystal clear water quality as well as reducing maintenance. You can help jump start the pond in the spring by adding supplemental bacteria such as AFD All Season Bacteria for Ponds, and providing it with a place to colonize. Since bacteria like lots of nooks and crannies, having rocks and gravel in the bottom of your pond will help provide surface area for bacteria to grow. If you can’t, or don’t want to add rocks and gravel to the bottom of your pond, you’ll have less surface area for bacteria to colonize. A biological filter containing a filtration media like Aquascape BioBalls®, with lots of surface area provides optimum conditions for biological filtration in the smallest space possible. The more surface area available for bacteria to grow, the more efficient your biological filter. Providing crystal clear water quality creates less problems, thereby lessening maintenance, which leaves more time to enjoy the pond and less time spent maintaining it.
Fish are also sensitive to water temperature, and as it warms up, you will see more activity, and be tempted to feed them. You’ve missed your fish all winter, but until the water temperature is consistently at 55° F, don’t feed them. Their metabolism is still in slow motion and they are unable to digest the food properly. If you do feed them and food cannot be digested, this can result in food starting to decay in the body of the fish causing fish to become sick and possibly resulting in their death. When you do start feeding them, begin with small amounts of a quality fish food once a day preferably early afternoon.
You gotta have patience. If you’ve stocked your pond with plenty of plants, the temperature’s just right, and you’ve started supplementing with Aquascape Beneficial Bacteria for Ponds, your pond will quickly balance. Beneficial bacteria need to be added to a consistent maintenance routine to obtain optimal results. Resist the urge to add traditional algaecides as your pond will never become truly balanced, and often ponds become dependent on their use. Help support Mother Nature with use of natural products from Aquascape and A Frog's Dream your pond and the environment will thank you!
A Frog’s Dream Aquatic Services is offering this pond blog as a personal information source to our website visitors. Pond services are performed in Morris County New Jersey (NJ) Hunterdon County New Jersey (NJ) Somerset County (NJ) and Warren County (NJ).Waterfall ponds, Streams, and Fountains are all in our wheelhouse of talent. Explore our website for more ideas. Like our Facebook page for daily inspiration. Receive our newsletter for weekly pond tip
Over the last 18 years, Clay has been involved in landscaping and aquascaping, which led him to his passion, POND BUILDING and opening A Frog’s Dream in 2006. His true passion is to create works of art for others to enjoy and marvel at in the privacy of their own backyards.