Most water garden enthusiasts understand the important role optimal water quality plays in the environment of a pond. New pond owners might not be as cognizant at first, but there’s plenty of time for you to understand what your water garden needs to stay clear and healthy. Here are seven simple tips to help you achieve and maintain clean pond water.

Don’t Buy Too Many Fish

Make sure your pond isn’t over-populated. The standard rule of thumb is to have no more than 10 inches of fish for every 100 gallons of water. Too many fish creates too much waste in the pond and can cause an imbalance in your pond’s water quality. But if you love having a lot of fish, you can always add a wetland filter to your pond which will offset the result of overpopulation.

Take it Easy on the Fish Food

Another good rule of thumb is to feed fish no more than they can eat after five minutes, and no more than twice per day in the summer season. Overeating results in too much fish waste. Not to mention, uneaten food often finds its way into the skimmer where it decays and affects the quality of your pond water.

Make Sure You Have Enough Plants

Ideally, you want around 40 to 60 percent of your water’s surface area either covered or shaded by aquatic plants. These plants act as natural filters by thriving off the excess nutrients that would otherwise cause algae growth. Opt for waterlilies, marginal plants, floaters, and submerged plants.

Find the Right Size Pump

Make sure you buy a pump that can circulate the entire water volume of your pond at least once every hour. You can use a pump calculator to choose the correct size pump. Also, most pumps are placed inside the skimmer. When the skimmer basket has too much debris in it, the flow of water to the pump can be blocked. Check your skimmer basket every couple of days and scoop out any debris that blocks water flow. If your pump doesn’t have proper water flow in the skimmer, you’ll hear the pump sucking air.

Clean Your Pond

Decaying debris, fish waste, and uneaten fish food can accumulate on your pond’s floor. This is why many pond owners choose to have their pond cleaned every spring. Be sure to also add beneficial microbes, like Aquascape’s Beneficial Bacteria to help your pond maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Filter Your Pond Properly

Find a filter that matches your pond’s size. It’s important to note that most filters are rated and based on ideal circumstances. If you surpass those (like having too many fish), you need to get a bigger filter! You always want to size-up your filter, so it’s suited to handle more than the capacity of your pond. Also, don’t forget to clean your filter in accordance with the  instructions. This task usually takes just a minute to perform.

Watch Your Water Temps During the Summer

Once your pond’s temperature reaches 75° Fahrenheit or above, it struggles to retain the necessary levels of dissolved oxygen. Aquatic plants help prevent this by providing shade and cooling the water’s surface (see tip #3). During extreme heat, you might see your fish gasping for air at the pond’s surface. Add a pond aerator to help your finned friends receive the oxygen they need in hot summer temperatures.