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We have put together the most common questions we are asked, and put them here for your convenience. Feel free to make suggestions on our comments form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do about green water?

How do I deal with stringy algae in the pond?

How many fish can I have?

How often do I feed the fish?

What kind of pond do Koi need?

Can I mix Koi and goldfish?

Will Koi destroy my plants?

How do I keep predators from eating my fish?

Are snails and tadpoles important to have?

How may and what kind of plants do I need?

What is a marginal plant?

What is the difference between a tropical and a hardy plant?

How do I save my tropical plants over the winter?

What size pump is correct?

What size and type of filter should I have?

How do I calculate the volume of my pond?

What kind of chemicals do I put in the water?

How large and deep should my pond be?

Where is a good place to put a pond?

Should I be concerned with mosquitoes?

Will the pond attract undesirable wildlife?

What do I do when the pond freezes over?

How often should the pond be thoroughly cleaned?

When and why should I test the water?

 

 

Ed enjoying his beautiful pond

Please Contact Us if you would like to make a suggestion or if you have a question.

Please be advised that we provide this advice as a reference only. Every pond is different, and may present different problems and solutions, so take care to research and thoroughly think out any situations before you take any actions.

What do I do about green water?
Green water is caused by an imbalance in the chemistry of the pond. It is not generally harmful to anything, but it is unsightly. You need to examine the four main components of the pond: filth level/filtering level, circulation, amount of fish and amount of plants to figure out what factor(s) is/are in an acceptable range. Refer to our Keys To Clear Water page for in-depth advice.
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How do I deal with stringy algae in the pond?
Stringy algae can occur even in ponds with clear water. It usually grows on waterfalls or close to the surface, and can only be removed by pulling it off by hand.
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How many fish can I have?
A good rule of thumb is one inch of fish for each ten gallons of water. It is important to consider the full grown length of the fish (goldfish usually get about 6" long, most garden pond Koi get 12" to 18" in a garden pond). Also, it is important that you properly calculate the gallons in the pond. Multiply the average width by the average length by the average depth, then multiply that by 7.5. It is safer to estimate a smaller size when determining how many fish to stock.
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How often do I feed the fish?
Feed goldfish once every two or three days. Feed them all they can consume over a five to ten minute period. If you are finding food left beyond that, then you've fed too much, and you should reduce the amount next time. Koi can be fed a lot more, especially if you are trying to keep them from eating your plants. Once or twice a day is good for Koi if you have a good filtration system have not overstocked the pond.
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What kind of pond do Koi need?
Koi have more complex needs than goldfish. They should be studied about prior to purchase. They need a pond that is large, fairly deep (usually 3' or more is good), and in an open, simple shape. Extra filtration may be required, as well. Read about them first!
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Can I mix Koi and goldfish?
You can mix Koi and goldfish, if the pond is suited for both. You can also mix other types of fish, depending on your climate. Consult a local aquarium store to see what is available in your area.
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Will Koi destroy my plants?
Koi can and will knock over and eat lilies and marginal plants, usually when they are hungry. Keep Koi well fed, and provide them with lots of circulation for them to play in.
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How do I keep predators from eating my fish?
Provide lots of hiding places for your fish. Do not have a shallow or beach-like area in the pond where predators may wade in close to the fish. Use decoys or scaring devices if necessary. Dye the pond water blue or black as a last result.
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Are snails and tadpoles important to have?
No, not necessarily. They are charming, and they eat some of the algae that grows on the sides of the pond, but they also excrete waste and are therefore a biological burden on the pond like fish. So, count them as part of your overall stock of fish.
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How many and what kind of plants do I need?
Most ponds should have 60-70% of the surface covered with plant material. The plants keep the algae level way down by using the nutrients that would otherwise feed algae, they protect and feed the fish, they provide oxygen and they naturally filter the water. You should have plants that are suited to the amount of light and space that your pond provides. If you want the plants to come back year after year, you should get plants that are compatible with your climate zone or colder. Click here to view a zone map.
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What is a "marginal" plant?
A marginal plant is one which lives in a shallow or boggy area in the wild. They usually are kept so the crown of the plant is just at the water surface.
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What is the difference between a tropical and a hardy plant?
Tropical usually implies Zone 8 or higher. For our purposes, a tropical plant is a plant that dies in the winter in your climate zone (like perennials). A hardy plant is one that would come back year after year (like an annual).
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How do I save my tropical plants over the winter?
There are different ways to save different plants, however most can be saved by putting them in a container of water in a sunny window or under good grow lights.
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What size pump is correct?
A pump should circulate all of the water in the pond over a one hour period. If you have a 600 gallon pond, your pump should be at least a 600 gallon-per-hour (g.p.h.) pump. In most cases, a pump that is much stronger will be appropriate. It depends on how much flow you would like to have through your waterfall or water feature, and what kind of filtering you need to do. The flow is too high only if the pond water is turbulent to the point of having the fish and plants blown around.
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What size and type of filter should I have?
We recommend biological filters for most ponds. If you have the room, get an external biological filter. If you don't have any room around the pond, use an internal or submerged biological filter. Get one that is rated for the volume of your pond and the gallons-per-hour of your pump. It is ok to use one bigger than you think you may need. If you have Koi, you may have special filtering needs.
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How do I calculate the volume of my pond?
This is one of the most important things to do. The gallons affect the size of pump and filter you will have, the amount of fish to put in, and the dosage of chemicals like dechlorinator and salt. Multiply the average width by the average length by the average depth, then multiply that by 7.5. Most people think they have way more gallons than they do. If you can, monitor your water meter while filling the pond for an accurate measurement.
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What kind of chemicals do I put in the water?
If you are on a municipal water supply, then chlorine has been added to the water which must be neutralized with dechlorinator. You should test the water from your tap for other noxious additives like chloramines, ammonia and for the levels of hardness and pH. Adjustments may need to be made if the water is not properly balanced. Most aquarium stores can check your water for you. We don't advocate the use of chemicals beyond those needed to correct the water quality from the tap. Natural additives like bottled bacteria and salt are fine to add. Pond salt is good for fish in small doses, especially Koi, but can be bad for plants.
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How large and deep should the pond be?
Make the pond as large and as deep as you can afford to. Many people find their pond to be too small. The pond is also much healthier and more stable with a larger volume of water. Ponds are actually require less maintenance when they have more volume.
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Where is a good place to put a pond?
Don't put a pond on low ground, in a wet spot or other area where runoff from rain will interfere with it. Don't put a pond under a tree with poisonous nuts or berries. Don't put a pond on ground that is unstable or shifting. Don't put a pond too close to a big tree with roots that you would have to cut into; you may kill the tree. Try to put a pond in a fenced in area or that is protected from small children. Ponds can go in sun or in shade. They are ok right up against the house (or not). Good places are those where the pond would be visible from the house windows and other viewing areas (deck, patio). Natural slopes that lend themselves to an incline for a waterfall are also good.
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Should I be concerned about mosquitoes?
Fish eat mosquito larvae. Ponds with fish stay pretty mosquito-free.
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Will the pond attract undesirable wildlife?
The pond attracts wildlife of all kinds, but it doesn't attract wildlife that your neighborhood did not have before. If you see a snake, raccoon, possum, deer or anything else, it was in your area already. Mostly, ponds attract frogs, insects like dragonflies and birds.
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What do I do when the pond freezes over?
Hopefully you have a deicer or other device to keep a hole through the ice so the fish can get fresh air. Don't ever break the ice the shockwave can be extremely harmful to the fish. The fish are hibernating underneath. They will be fine as long as the pond doesn't freeze solid and they can get some fresh air.
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How often should the pond be thoroughly cleaned?
We recommend cleaning the pond in the spring, and again lightly in the fall. Click here to see our cleaning instructions.
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When and why should I test the water?
Your water should be tested from the tap when you first set-up a pond, so you know what water qualities may need adjusting. You should test the water once or twice a week for four to six weeks after setting it up or after a cleaning to monitor the ammonia and nitrite levels. A testing is also good to do if you ever have any problems with the fish or if the pond doesn't look right.
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