How to maintain your natural pool pond

A natural pond contains an entire ecosystem, the fragile balance of which depends on the regular maintenance of the pond. Good maintenance is done all year round and throughout the seasons. To ensure that your pool maintains a healthy and balanced aquatic life, here are all the actions necessary for its maintenance.

Here is what can disturb the ecosystem of a natural swimming pond:

The balance of this little world is fragile and can be put in danger quickly if we neglect the maintenance of the natural home pond. Do not wait for the stagnant water, which has become cloudy, to diffuse nauseating odors to intervene.

 A natural pond gradually fills with leaves fallen from the trees, and various plants brought there by the wind. As they decompose, they gradually alter the quality of the water, making it toxic through the nitrate and phosphates thus released. 

The decomposition of organic matter, combined with high heat, causes the surface formation of algae and stringy mosses that darken the pool and suffocate aquatic life. 

In summer, strong water evaporation can endanger the survival of the ecosystem. Wildlife life is also something to watch out for. Overpopulation of a species, especially fish,

Maintenance actions to be carried out all year round:

1 – Make sure the water is well filtered

Your natural swimming pool must be equipped with a submerged filter pump to avoid plant pollution. This pump sucks up the water and passes it through a filter that cleans it before returning it to the pool. 

It is essential to regularly maintain the filter pump by cleaning it every three months. The filters must be cleaned individually and changed from time to time.

2 – Oxygenate the water regularly

When the fish come up and seek air at the surface, it is a sign of lack of oxygen in the water. The filter pump provides initial oxygenation, but this may be insufficient. 

The ideal is to add a water feature (jet, cascade, or waterfall) which, in addition to being decorative, will permanently oxygenate the water in the pool. 

A large pool can be equipped with a bubbler designed to oxygenate the water in depth. Do not neglect the contribution of certain plants, such as the water violet or the elodea (among others), which produce oxygen while sheltering the fry and serving as food for the fish.

3 – Clean the basin

A water analysis will give you information about its quality. Using an analysis kit, you will know everything: the pH of the water must be between 5 and 8, and its hardness, expressed in TH, between 10 and 15.

 You can also measure the tau of nitrites and nitrate. In any case, be sure to gradually remove the outdoor plants that accumulate in the water. If your pond is located near trees, cover it with a protective net during the season of dead leaves. 

Also, regularly remove plants that grow inside the pond, such as duckweed, algae, and faded flowers. Prune your aquatic plants to prevent their proliferation.

4 – Hunt the germs

To complete the germ-fighting arsenal, you can add ultraviolet lights to your pond. Located at the entrance to the filter, they are extremely effective in removing germs without disturbing the fish.

5 – Control the fish population

To avoid overcrowding, make sure that each fish has 40 to 50 liters of water. They must find their food naturally, even if you feed them as a supplement. Overcrowding would prevent them from finding enough microorganisms, larvae, and bloodworms. Eventually, they would disappear.

Actions to be taken the season by season:

1 – In spring, it’s the return of life

The season is conducive to budding life and plant growth.

Now is the time to properly clean the water. Net out all visible waste on the surface and those lying on the bottom. Do not hesitate to enter the basin with your fisherman’s waders for complete cleaning.

Prune aquatic plants and invasive roots. If you sheltered certain fragile plants yesterday, it’s time to put them back in the pond (provided that the last frosts have passed).

Wash the bottom of the basin and suck up part of the mud (about two-thirds).

Remove algae and duckweed.

Clean the pump filter and change the UV lamp bulb.

Start the filter pump as soon as the water temperature reaches 10°C.

Top up the water level in the pond. Renew about 10% of the water by adding water at the same temperature.

Replenish bacteria – which will fight unwanted plants.

2 – In summer, beware of the effects of heat

The main problem with sunshine and heat is the evaporation of water. You must therefore take care to maintain the water level of the basin. Please note: the water added – preferably in small quantities – must be at the same temperature as the water in the pool. Instead, use collected rainwater, not tap water.

Check the filter and clean it if necessary.

A small blow of net to remove the external vegetable waste.

Prune plants proliferate in the heat.

Eliminate algae, which is very present at the end of summer. You can make great compost out of it.

In case of strong heat, increase the oxygenation of the water.

Feed the fish sparingly.

3 – In autumn, prepare the pool for winter

When the water temperature drops below 10°C, you can stop the filtration pump. Take it out of the pool if it is less than a meter deep to prevent it from freezing. Beyond a meter of depth, it does not risk anything. During the cold season, your pump will be stored away from frost placed in a bucket of water to prevent the seals from drying out.

Drain the filter; it will not freeze.

Remove plant waste. No need to prune them.

Take out aquatic plants that are not cold-hardy. With their roots, install your plants in water, light, and in an atmosphere of 15 to 20° C.

Renew the pool water by adding 10% water at the same temperature.

Install a protective net if your pond is under trees.

Feed the fish a little more in the early fall, so they can stock up on fat for the winter. Give them small amounts of food regularly, and always in the same place. They will know where to find it, and above all, you will not dirty the water unnecessarily. You can feed them as long as the water does not reach 9° C, which can last a long time if the autumn is particularly mild. But remember that food is only a compliment. They find larvae, insects, and plants to eat in a healthy pond.

4 – Winter, rest

Start by adding water to level the pond. If your pool is installed in a region prone to extreme cold, the water may freeze. To avoid ice, the installation of a bubbler is ideal. 

While providing oxygen, it creates enough backwater to prevent ice from forming. If you don’t have one, let a log float on the pond all winter, it will also prevent ice formation. 

But you can also install an antifreeze bell which will continue to oxygenate the water under the ice for the good health of the fish. 

In any event, if the ice forms, above all, do not break it; the fish have gone into hibernation, please do not disturb. Moreover, you can stop feeding them as soon as the water is less than 10° C; they live on their nature reserves during the winter.

Every 5 years: complete emptying of the basin!

This emptying is essential for the good health of the aquatic biotope. But beware, this is not done all at once. Otherwise, all the good bacteria will be eliminated, and the living balance will be completely destroyed. Your emptying should be done gradually, at the rate of 20% of the pool per year (10% in spring and 10% in autumn). The water will thus have been completely renewed after five years.

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