Summer Ponds: Top Summer Pond Maintenance Tips
One of the most beautiful times of year to spend relaxing outdoors; garden ponds are transformed during the summer months. Filled with life and activity, summer ponds are a sight to behold whether they are large, small, stocked with growing fish or thriving aquatic plants. No matter the type of pond, however, where there is beauty there is also challenge. From spreading weeds and algae to evaporating and cloudy water, summer ponds require some maintenance tasks to keep them looking their best.
If you’re determined to keep your pond in its most beautiful and healthy state this summer, our expert pond keepers at Aquacadabra are ready to help. In this post, we’ll be sharing our list of regular pond maintenance tasks to perform through the long summer months, as well as providing some invaluable pond care advice, including how to keep a pond clear and how to clean algae from a pond.
Are ponds easy to maintain?
There are many elements that will influence the answer to this question. For example, big summer ponds with a large surface area are more likely to pose a challenge when clearing weeds and algae, while smaller ponds are more likely to suffer from overpopulation issues caused by too many fish. The answer also depends on your definition of ‘easy’, as no pond will thrive without some level of care.
Even so, regular pond maintenance tasks aren’t too time consuming, don’t need to be expensive (especially when you know the best money-efficient tricks and long-term solutions) and can even be therapeutic. Provided you have the time and dedication to perform these tasks on a regular basis, your pond is likely to respond in kind, providing you with a beautiful view to last all summer long.
How do you maintain a pond?
Pond maintenance is a year-round responsibility that covers a range of cleaning, clearing and caring tasks. From the pond filter to water quality, every element of your garden pond will require attention and, in summer, the frequency of tasks that need to be completed is increased.
This increase in pond maintenance tasks is caused by the conditions of summer, in particular the higher temperatures, longer daylight hours and increased fish activity, all of which cause an upsurge in algae, aquatic plant growth, ammonia levels and more. If you want to keep your summer pond from being overwhelmed by these elements, increasing your care schedule to match your pond's required needs is the only way to do so.
In order to help you create a routine, and understand exactly what goes into pond maintenance if this is your first summer as a pondkeeper, we’ve put together a handy list of tasks you can expect to do:
- Pond pump and filter maintenance
- Pond clearing and debris removal
- Oxygen level checks
- Aquatic plant care
- Regular water level checks
- Algae and weed control measures
- Creation and maintenance of shade
- Tackling foam
Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with any of them, we’ll be diving into greater detail next.
It’s also important to keep in mind that, while these pond maintenance tasks apply to most summer ponds, they do not apply to all, and their required frequency will naturally change from pond to pond. Use your best judgement and the knowledge you’ve built up over the months and years you’ve had your pond to create a schedule that suits your pond’s needs, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments as required.
Regular pond maintenance tasks
Keeping on top of general pond cleanliness, water quality and aquatic plant and livestock health are all chores which should be completed regularly throughout the year. However, when the summer sun is beaming down for 16 hours each day and the temperatures begin to push above 20℃, how often they need to be completed increases.
Pond pump and filter maintenance
During the summer, the stresses placed on your pond filter and pump are increased significantly and, as such, they require more regular maintenance than any other time of the year. We recommend that you double the frequency of your cleaning regime through warmer months, making sure you remove debris, clean the filter and check the filter media twice as often as normal.
If you have a UV clarifier in your summer pond, it is also worth checking that the UV bulb doesn’t need to be replaced. Usually these bulbs will require replacing every six months, but this depends on how much it’s used and worn out during the particularly sunny summer months. If it does, we have a wide range of replacement UV bulbs at Aquacadabra from trusted brands including Hozelock, Cloverleaf and Laguna.
Pond clearing and debris removal
Debris is a common problem throughout the year, especially in the autumn months where strong winds carry decaying leaves and drop them on ponds. Summer too, sees its fair share of pond debris as vegetation from surrounding plants ends up on the surface, quickly becoming an eyesore for your pond. More than this, however, decaying debris can become a health risk, releasing harmful levels of ammonia for any aquatic livestock that has made your pond their home for the summer.
To avoid allowing your pond water to suffer chemical imbalances from heightened ammonia and nitrites, we recommend keeping on top of debris clearing. This can be done manually on a regular basis, though alternative solutions such as pond cover nets exist to make this task easier. If you’re going on holiday, covering your pond before you go is essential, unless you have someone to complete debris removal while you’re away. The last thing you want is to return to a pond full of sick fish.
Aquatic plant care
While the long daylight hours and warmer weather spell trouble for some areas of a summer pond, they are also responsible for helping aquatic plants thrive. As they grow, however, these aquatic plants will need some extra attention and regular maintenance to keep them from growing out of control. Pruning, deadheading and clearing dying leaves are the easiest tasks to perform, and they will go some way to ensuring that water discolouration is kept to a minimum.
If your summer pond is becoming overgrown with aquatic plants, especially fast-growing and space-greedy submerged plants, more drastic pond maintenance is required. We recommend stopping any overpopulation by carefully removing some of your plants. When doing so, it's also important to include the additional protective step of leaving your removed plants by the side of the pond overnight, as this gives any aquatic friends still living in the foliage the opportunity to return to the pond and make a new home in any of the remaining plants.
Oxygen level checks
Both a blessing and a curse, thriving aquatic plant life may require a lot of care and attention to ensure they aren’t allowed to become overgrown, but they also make your next task a little easier: ensuring your pond is properly aerated.
Oxygen levels should remain a year-round concern of any pondkeeper who stocks their pond with fish and, in the summer months, this becomes even more important. With evaporation reducing water surface area, excessive weed and algae growth suffocating the pond and more, ensuring proper pond aeration often requires additional equipment. For those who prefer a spectacle, adding a waterfall or fountain pump is the best way to increase oxygen water levels, while air pumps and stones are a good quiet alternative.
Summer pond maintenance tasks
While the tasks we’ve covered so far will make up part of your regular year-round maintenance routine, there are some jobs which only require attention during the summer months. Caused by the hot, bright conditions of summer, maintaining healthy oxygen levels, controlling algae growth and removing summer weeds will take time and effort to manage.
Regular water level checks
A common issue with summer ponds is a continuously lowering water level. Caused by hot temperatures evaporating the water, topping up your pond periodically to maintain a healthy level is a summer-long task. In order to ensure the quality of your water and protect your aquatic livestock, we recommend using rainwater, but, if you haven’t set up a collection tank, tap water can be used. If you are using tap water, make sure to treat it first with a dechlorinator and water conditioner to keep the chemicals and nutrients in the water under control.
Extra tip: Whether you’re using rainwater or treated tap water, make sure to add it to your pond in increments, both to limit disruption to the biological balance and to ensure the water temperature doesn’t drop suddenly from too much cold water added.
Algae and weed control measures
A pondkeeper’s biggest nemesis in the long daylight hours of the summer months, algae and weeds are an eyesore that can pose a danger to pond and plant life when left to grow in excess. Fortunately, innovative pondkeepers and leading pond care brands have developed countless methods for preventing weeds from overrunning summer ponds. While many keepers create canopies to help shade the pond and add UV lighting as an additional precaution for managing excess light exposure, others choose to focus on keeping nitrate levels low by introducing Zeolite Stones to the water which absorb ammonia. Opting for collected rainwater when refilling your pond is another way to help starve algae and weeds of the nitrates, phosphates and silicates that they need to grow.
We recommend creating your own routine out of these popular preventative measures but, if your pond falls prey to excessive growths, algaecides and weed treatments can still be used to help quickly put an end to the problem. It’s important to remember, however, that you’ll have the additional task of physically removing any sludge sitting at the bottom of the pond caused by the dissolving algae, whether that be by net, filter of pond vacuum, in order to help combat low oxygen levels and reduce the risk of the weed cycle restarting.
Extra tip: If your pond is suffering from blanketweed, discover how to safely and quickly remove and kill the growth in our ‘How do I get Rid of Blanketweed’ blog.
Creation and maintenance of shade
Capable of overheating pond water and contributing to excessive algae growth, having your pond sit in direct sunlight during the long days of summer is less than ideal, and, if your established pond is far from any naturally occurring shade, limiting the number of hours spent in algae-feeding light is a good idea. One of the most aesthetically pleasing ways of doing this is by creating shade with strategically-placed aquatic plants. Tall, leafy bordering plants are a good choice for those with space to spare, while floating plants are ideal for blocking light in above ground ponds. Whichever you choose, help support healthy growth and easy maintenance with pond planting baskets from Aquacadabra.
An unfortunately common characteristic of summer ponds is a build up of foam on the surface of the water. Most often caused by fish spawning, though pollen and some algae treatments can have the same effect, the first task in removing foam is to ensure that it is not appearing as a sign of anything malicious in the water. This is done by performing a simple pond water quality test which will show if any biological or chemical imbalance is present. Once you’ve ensured that nothing is amiss, such as an increased amount of ammonia in the water, you can solve the problem with an anti-foam treatment. For long term management, a surface skimmer is also a good investment.
Create an effective summer pond maintenance plan
At Aquacadabra, we have years of experience advising new and experienced pondkeepers on the best ways to keep their pond looking its best all year long. From providing guidance on which algaecides will be most effective for your pond, to helping select pond filter upgrades that will better handle the increased demands of summer, our experts are on-hand to lend their specialist knowledge.
If you require help through your first summer with a pond, or are facing an issue you’ve never encountered before, contact our experts online for a helping hand.