Cycle of Care For Your Pond
• After your water feature is installed, fill it with water and let it stand for several days before
adding any fish or plants. This removes chlorine and allows the water to warm. If you are using
city water, check with a fish store for the necessary neutralizers.
• Add oxygenating plants: one bunch for every two square feet of water surface.
• Add other hardy plants and water lilies, placing them at their correct depth, ideally shading one
third to one half of the water surface.
• Wait to add tropical plants (some water lilies, water hyacinths, water lettuce, etc.) until the
water temperature is above 70°F.
• Add fish to the pool by floating a plastic bag containing the fish in the water feature in a shady
spot for half an hour. This allows the water temperature to equalize between the two. Slowly add
pond water to the bag, then wait a few minutes before releasing the fish by slowly tipping the
bag into the water.
• Wait a few days before feeding your fish for the first time. When you feed, give only what they
will eat in 5 minutes. Remove any extra food, it can affect the pond balance.
• To keep your plants healthy and blooming, feed them on a regular basis using a fertilizer
designed for water plants.
• Algae is a normal part of the life cycle in your pond. New water features will develop what is
called an algal bloom within a few weeks of being set up. If left alone, the algae will consume
the available nutrients in the water, die off and settle to the sides and bottom, leaving the water
relatively clear. To help minimize algal blooms, you must find a balance of fish, plants and
food/fertilizer. There are chemical methods to control algae, but they often lead to other
problems. Filter systems are also available to aid in keeping clear water, but shouldn’t be
necessary if a balance is maintained.
• Add water to the feature as needed. During hot or windy days, water can evaporate quickly.
Avoid disturbing the balance in your water feature by correcting the water level frequently.
Adding large amounts of fresh water often leads to a new algal bloom as the pond strives to
• As your plants mature, remove any yellow leaves and old flowers.
• In the fall, remove the leaves from all hardy submerged plants and move them to the lowest
part of the pond. To keep leaves from ending up in the water, you may want to stretch a piece of
netting (such as the type sold to keep birds out of fruit trees) over your pond. Fall is a good time
to clean up the bottom of the pool, removing excess organic matter.
• If your fish are staying outdoors, stop feeding your fish by mid-September. Don’t feed your
plants again until they are actively growing in the spring.
• Algal blooms often occur each spring, even in a mature pond. If you let the water go through its
cycle once again, the algae will settle to the sides and the bottom, leaving clear water for you to
With the right care, feeding and maintenance, your pond will exceed your wildest dreams and bring years of beauty and enjoyment. For more information, see one of our Pond Professionals here at McShane’s.
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