Converting A Water Feature To A Living Pond

So you want to give your water feature or display pond that something extra and have decided that adding in some fish is the perfect way to do so. That’s great! But it won’t be as simple as just dropping them in and watching your pond come to life.

A backyard pond is your very own complex ecosystem and, as it’s man-made, it requires that you look after certain conditional factors for it. When your pond was simply acting as something pretty that gave your backyard the calming sound of trickling water, you were probably getting away with just pumping water up to your fountain, waterfall or other display, but now you’re asking it to sustain life which is a whole different kettle of fish.

Before you even think about bringing your fishy friends home, you’re going to want to establish a population of beneficial bacteria and a system for keeping things clean. This is generally done by your pond filter but some aspects will be manual such as skimming off organic debris that has fallen into your pond and cleaning any parts of your pond or waterfall that require attention.

The type of set up you install will vary depending on factors unique to your situation but as a general rule, the best pond filtration system incorporates both mechanical and biological elements and is a little larger than you need to ensure efficiency.

Most pond filters will be identified as either a biological or mechanical unit, but some do both, so it’s a good idea to do your research before making your purchase. It is our opinion that biological pond filters are superior to their purely mechanical counterparts as a good population of beneficial bacteria is vital for a thriving pond. We recommend the Matala Biosteps 10 filter for smaller ponds and the Koi Clear Vortex pond filter for larger set ups. Both of these systems offer great biological filtration for ponds while also supplying mechanical cleaning through the filter media that they’re stuffed full of.

Once you’ve got your pond filter out of the way, it’s time to kick start your population of those beneficial bacteria we touched on before. Biostim Nitrifying Bacteria is a great treatment for doing this and is packed full tiny friends that will make your pond inhabitable for fish far sooner than waiting around for the bacteria to colonise your pond of their own accord. Plus, it’s got a super low dose rate so you’ll probably have leftovers for top up treatments when your pond needs a water change.

Now you’ve got your filtration and starter treatment sorted it’s almost time to add your fishy friends in but if you want them to stay alive and happy, you’re going to want to add some pond plants in to provide hiding places from predators. Because water features tend to be a little more formal than ponds, they also tend to offer far less protection against cats, birds and other animals that most certainly do not wish your fish well. By planting out your new pond, you’ll not only give your fishy friends somewhere safe to swim away to but you’ll also give your filtration a bit of a boost and reduce the risk of ending up with issues stemming from excess nutrients.

And now, you’re ready to add your new fishy friends in. Enjoy!

Please Note: This article assumes that your water feature / display pond is already sufficiently aerated prior to your desire to convert it. If this is not the case, please also invest in an aeration system so your fishy friends can breathe!