- We check the condition of the pond, help clear the reservoir of ice, prepare the plants for planting
- Spring cleaning of the pond
- Plant transplant
- We monitor the water level
- We fight pests and garbage
- Removing weeds
- Removing the leaves and pruning the plants
- We collect wintering buds and heat-loving plants to keep them indoors until spring
- We feed the inhabitants
- We drain the water
- We provide fish with access to oxygen
- We heat the water in the pond to the optimum temperature for its inhabitants
In this article we will tell you about the simple but necessary rules for caring for an artificial reservoir in a country house or a house plot. We will study the features of preparing a pond for the cold weather, expert advice on the care of aquatic plants and inhabitants of the reservoir. Tips are divided into seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter.
An artificial pond in a country house or a personal plot is beautiful and romantic. Such a reservoir will become a highlight of landscape design, a real decoration of a garden or a green courtyard of a private house. Sometimes a reservoir is not a whim of the owner or a tribute to fashion, but the only way out is to tidy up the swampy area and take away excess moisture.
Earlier in the article “Do-it-yourself pond in the country” we told how to build an artificial reservoir on your own. However, after the completion of construction, the pond, even the smallest, also requires constant attention and regular maintenance. This article is devoted specifically to the basic rules for caring for a pond on a site.
An artificial pond, even such a tiny one, requires attention and care. Otherwise, the water will simply bloom, and plants and fish may die.
We check the condition of the pond, help clear the reservoir of ice, prepare the plants for planting
Experts advise to start spring work on an artificial reservoir in March. Firstly, during this period there is still not so much trouble in the garden and the garden and the owners have time to devote enough attention to their pond. And secondly, the sooner you start a pond, the sooner it will start to please the eye with well-groomed greenery and cheerful inhabitants..
The first step is to check how your pond has “survived” the winter. You should check how the equipment works (pumps, power supply system, filters, etc.), whether the fish that you decided to leave in a sufficiently deep reservoir survived, whether the shore fortified with stones has collapsed, whether the concrete bottom has cracked, remove the heater for storage. In general, outline a work plan that will help the pond “come to its senses” and again, like last summer, become a decoration of the site.
It is clear that to study the state of the reservoir it is worth waiting for the ice to melt. But in March, the layer of ice on the pond is no longer as strong as in winter, and you can help the reservoir to free itself faster by pouring hot water on the ice or by carefully making several holes.
In parallel, you should prepare the plants that you would like to plant in spring. You can buy ready-made seedlings in specialized stores or on the market, which in March-April, while the water and soil have not yet warmed up, will grow up in pots. Another option is to purchase seeds and grow seedlings yourself. Just remember that aquatic plants need special soil, and the soil should always be moist, so it is better to put the pots in a container with water..
As for which plants to choose, experts advise purchasing pond and urut, which perfectly purify the water in the pond, as well as beautiful floating aponogeton and salvinia. Water lilies and water lilies, Siberian iris, which loves shallow water, and Tradescantia, which prefers a dry shore, have long become classics..
Plants are undoubtedly the main decoration of an artificial reservoir. They must be planted in early spring.
Spring cleaning of the pond
The main task of the owners of an artificial reservoir immediately after the ice melted and the shore dried up is to clean the pond from debris. In autumn, leaves fell into it, during the winter some plants and small inhabitants could freeze, so there is enough garbage in the spring. The main problem is not to collect leaves and debris floating on the surface of the water, but that organic residues accumulate at the bottom of the reservoir, so you cannot do without serious “general cleaning” of stones on the shore, walls and bottom.
To carry out the spring cleaning of the pond, you should pump out the water, leaving only a small puddle for the fish, catch all the living inhabitants and temporarily transplant it into some kind of container, and thoroughly clean the bottom and walls of the reservoir with a regular brush. A water vacuum cleaner, the so-called sludge sucker, which will suck up all residues from the bottom, will also be a good helper. And its special attachments will allow you to clean stones and all surfaces of the reservoir. The price of a German-made sludge pump reaches 8-9 thousand rubles, but the savings in time and effort when cleaning the reservoir are very significant.
In shallow ponds, the water should be completely changed in spring, however, they are usually drained even on the eve of cold weather. Dirty water remaining after cleaning must of course be drained or pumped out..
In the spring, a pond in the country requires a general cleaning – literally every pebble will have to be cleaned. At the time of cleaning, all living inhabitants should be transplanted into temporary dwellings.
The transplantation of plants that will decorate the banks and the surface of the reservoir should be started after the soil has dried and the water has settled and warmed up. Plants that have overwintered outside are planted, carefully separating the roots. If, for example, marsh iris grew in a plastic pot, it may need a larger container next year, so you should take care of buying a suitable container for plants in advance..
It should be remembered that, for example, there are many varieties of the “queen of ponds” – water lily – from large ones with leaves up to 70 centimeters in diameter to miniature ones. Accordingly, it is necessary to plant different varieties at different depths. If you cannot find special trellis containers for the roots of aquatic plants, you can use ordinary plastic pots for indoor plants. Just remember to plug the drain hole at the bottom..
Those plants that do not need transplanting this spring should be fed using special fertilizers for flora growing in high humidity conditions. It is also necessary to apply a special soil – heavy and clayey, with a minimum amount of organic matter.
By the way, due to the constant presence in the water, water lilies, lilies, marsh and Siberian irises, calamus, egg capsules and other aquatic plants usually perfectly tolerate transplantation and division, practically without getting sick.
When choosing aquatic plants for your pond, it must be remembered that marsh iris loves shallow water, water lilies with a leaf span of up to 30 centimeters should be planted at a depth of 15 to 40 centimeters, and the arrowhead grows well at a depth of about 10 centimeters. In general, each plant should choose its own, optimal “place of residence”
We monitor the water level
In the summer, the artificial reservoir does not require weekly cleaning, the plants have already been transplanted, so there is little hassle. However, water evaporation can be a significant problem for a small pond..
During the heat, the water level drops quite quickly and almost every week you should add it to the required level. Of course, it is more convenient to do this with a hose, but too powerful a pressure will be a cause for concern for fish and can damage aquatic plants, so it is better to pour in water slowly, in a thin stream. Experts advise not to add water directly from the tap, but let it settle and heat up so as not to harm the inhabitants of the pond.
In a small reservoir located in an open area of the site, up to 5 centimeters of water can evaporate daily in summer. If you do not add water on time, your pond will soon turn into an ordinary puddle.
We fight pests and garbage
High temperature and humidity are ideal conditions for the development of all kinds of pests. Insects usually take a fancy to the leaves and trunks of plants that live on the shores of the reservoir. The easiest and safest way to deal with these pests is to hose them off with water. This option has two more advantages: harmful insects washed into water will become food for fish, and plant leaves “washed” from a hose will get rid of dust and delight with fresh greens.
In addition, after feeding the fish, you should remove the remnants of food and make sure that no debris accumulates on the surface. If the pond is small, then you can do it manually, but for a medium-sized reservoir it is already worth buying a skimmer – a device that collects the top layer of water, along with floating debris. The skimmer filters the debris from the water and returns it to the pond. Such a device costs on average from 4 to 36 thousand rubles, depending on the size, it can be bottom, wall or floating.
You should not overfeed the fish, and fertilize the plants too often – this will disrupt the biological balance in the pond and create an ideal environment for the development of pests and weeds..
An important point – if you plan to treat terrestrial plants with chemicals, make sure that no poisons get into the water.
You can remove debris from the surface of an artificial reservoir with such a net. A skimmer for pools and ponds will help to get rid of the need to work with your hands
Excessive growth of algae in the pond will lead to the fact that the water will turn green, or even completely disappear under a layer of “green invaders”. Duckweed, filamentous algae and azolla (aka water fern) are especially annoying for the owners of artificial reservoirs. Reproducing uncontrollably, such plants can eventually fill the entire small pond, leaving no room for your favorite water lilies..
Duckweed should not be launched into an artificial pond at all, since due to its unpretentiousness it is practically ineradicable. True, these small green leaves are very fond of ducks and other poultry, so the owners of poultry houses should not throw out the caught duckweed – everything will come in handy on the farm.
Small and seemingly such a harmless duckweed is able to fill the entire reservoir without leaving a single window of clean water. Regularly catching it with a net, it is difficult to cope with this algae, skimmers, filters, and also fish can come to the rescue – those who like to eat duckweed, for example, crucian carp or carp
Removing the leaves and pruning the plants
The main task of the owner of an artificial pond in the fall is to prevent a large amount of organic residues from getting into the water and rotting. Therefore, we catch all the fallen leaves regularly, and cut off the plants on the shore in a timely manner – the leaves of most of them will die off and fall into the water with the onset of cold weather. Plants should be trimmed to such a level that they do not touch the water.
Small protective nets will help prevent leaves from entering the reservoir. The net along with the accumulated garbage can be removed when the leaf fall ends.
Nobody disputes the fact that yellow and red leaves on the surface of the water are very beautiful. But after a couple of days they will turn brown and start to rot, turning your pond into a real swamp. Therefore, in the fall, the reservoir needs cleaning no less than the paths in the garden or an open terrace.
We collect wintering buds and heat-loving plants to keep them indoors until spring
In late autumn, most aquatic plants form so-called winter buds, from which new shoots will appear in the spring. If you plan to drain the pond completely or are afraid that the plants will freeze in extreme cold, such buds should be carefully collected, placed in a flat container with sand, watered and left in a cool, but not freezing place. In February, the vessel with the buds should be brought into the room and the shoots should be allowed to germinate. In the spring, in the form of already grown plants, they will return to their native pond..
If the plants near the pond grew in pots, they can simply be brought indoors, providing a sufficiently high level of humidity. Leaving aquatic plants to winter in the pond, they should be moved to the deepest part so that the surface is at least half a meter. Some representatives of the flora, for example, water lilies, can be transplanted into the ground in the fall and covered with peat, sawdust or leaves on top to protect from frost.
At the bottom of a fairly deep reservoir, the buds of plants formed in the fall will winter well. But if the pond is small, it will freeze completely, so the plants should be overpowered to warm “winter apartments”
We feed the inhabitants
Before the onset of cold weather, fishes need to “get fat”, so they should be provided with sufficient protein nutrition. Fish can hibernate in a pond only if its depth is at least 1.5, and preferably 2 meters. The water temperature at the bottom should not drop below plus 5 degrees in winter. Otherwise, the fish should also be moved to the aquarium in a timely manner..
Remember that in winter the fish in the pond is not active and does not need feeding.
The most popular inhabitants of artificial reservoirs are bright and very active koi or Japanese carps, ide, bleak, bitterness and goldfish. Do not overpopulate the pond – for relatively large koi carps, you will need a sufficiently spacious reservoir with an area of at least 5 square meters, and no more than 10 goldfish can comfortably live in a pond with a volume of only 100 liters
We drain the water
As mentioned above, in winter a body of water up to 50-100 centimeters deep can freeze out completely. Therefore, such shallow ponds are drained. It is convenient if there is a drain hole in the reservoir. Otherwise, you will have to either use a pump or pump out the water with a hose using the principle of communicating vessels.
To prevent fish or debris from getting into the hose, which can cause a blockage, it is better to put a special filter on the hole or just pull the burlap.
The drained pond can be covered with foil, boards or thick cloth to prevent leaves or other debris from getting into it..
Such a small reservoir in winter will definitely freeze completely, so the water should be drained even on the eve of cold weather
We provide fish with access to oxygen
If the fish stay in the pond for the winter, you have to worry not only about them, but also about the ice not damaging the concrete walls of the pond. The last problem is solved quite simply – an ordinary board should be placed in the center of the reservoir and it is she who will take on the ice pressure, protecting the walls.
In order to ensure the flow of air to the fish, it is necessary to take care of the presence of polynya. Experts do not recommend chopping the ice with an ax – the shock wave can damage the underwater inhabitants. It is easier and easier to place a container of hot water, such as a kettle or saucepan, on ice. To prevent the resulting wormwood from freezing, you can regularly pour boiling water over it.
Another easy but more costly way to keep your fish air in winter is to install an electric water pump that has a vertical drain tube. With the help of such a tube, a non-freezing wormwood with constantly boiling water will appear in the pond, which will contribute to its saturation with oxygen.
In such thin, first ice, it will not be difficult to make wormwood. But in severe frosts, in order to provide fish with oxygen, you will have to make significantly more efforts.
We heat the water in the pond to the optimum temperature for its inhabitants
Koi carps and goldfish, which come from Southeast Asia, need a temperature of at least plus 7, and even better – 10 degrees Celsius for a comfortable existence. It is impossible to provide such favorable conditions in the region, where in winter it is often minus 20-30 degrees without special heating..
The artificial pond heating system includes a heat exchange tank, which is equipped with an electric pump with a biofilter. The power of the pump and the heating element is calculated based on the size of the reservoir. Convenient if the system includes an automatic temperature sensor that turns off and on heating, not allowing you to waste energy.
Heating the pond will eliminate the need to monitor the presence of polynya, since an anti-freeze window will remain on the water surface.
A pond heating system is not a cheap pleasure, however, if you want to leave exotic fish in a pond for the winter, you cannot do without it
As you can see, the artificial pond requires attention all year round. However, the rules for caring for a reservoir in a personal plot are simple and easy to follow. If you adhere to the recommendations and rules listed in this article, the pond will delight you with its beauty for many years, and its inhabitants – with excellent health..