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Summer Pond Maintenance: Tips for Keeping Fish Happy and Water Looking Great

by Joe Cadieux on January 17, 2023

Hello again …..

Your friendly neighborhood pond Biologist here to shepherd you through these hot summer months where all of your hard work in the spring and fall allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of a healthy system. Alas, these are the days of rapid algae growth and the infrequent but potentially severe bouts with fish maladies. The following is a strategy to keep your fish happy and healthy, and the water looking fantastic for the remainder of the season.


July and August bring about our highest water temperatures (here in the midwest anyway).  Water temperatures over 80 degrees (F) bring a different set of challenges to the aquatic biosphere. High temperatures in fresh water hold a lot less oxygen and puts a fair amount of stress on the aquatic creatures that call your pond home.  Whether it be a back yard watergarden or a 2 acre pond, high temps are hard on most fish.

Midsummer is the most important time to aerate the pond.  Run your pump/waterfall filter as much as is feasible to keep your fish happy.  In larger ponds (with depths greater than 4ft and surface areas larger than 700 square feet) independent water circulation and/or diffused aeration is most efficient. Here is an example of a  aeration system: (aerator).  Moving water is key, the cycling of water allows for the elimination of harmful dissolved gases, and the import of oxygen into the water column, especially important at the sediment layer.  Getting oxygen to the sediments allows of the degradation of organic material like leaves, fish waste, and assorted goo that accumulates over time.  Just about all of the potential problems with ponds lies with in the accumulation of these organic sediments.  Lucky for us, this time of year is the best time to attack those sediments.

If you don’t have an aeration system for your pond, please give us a call.  Each system is unique and needs to be sized for your system for best effect.  (CSJ&J Gardens and Midwestponds.com 833-779-2837)

Your aerator is your single best tool for the reduction of organic muck. Here are some ways to make it better.

1. Start and/or bump up the dose of your bacteria regime for the breakdown of the goop.  Summertime bacteria like ( Beneficial Bacteria) will supercharge your system.  ponds of all sizes will benefit from the addition of beneficial bacteria during the summer months.  There are lots of bacteria products out there; my advise is to try different brands each year until you find the one that works best for your system.  Everyone’s water chemistry is different and each bacteria strain grew up in slightly different environments, so try a few out and find one that works well for your pond.  For large ponds your should be using 1-3 pound of bacteria per week, I can help you out there, just give us a call and we can set you up with a product and dose schedule that will get you started on the right track.

2. For watergarden, run your filter system into the night and very early in the morning, as the times just after dusk and before dawn are the times where oxygen levels will be at their lowest.  During these times, the plants/algae stop producing oxygen and actually start consuming it.  So it is very important that we are always turning in more oxygen to eliminate the possibility of an oxygen depletion.

3.Be sure to remove dead and dying plant debris from the pond.  If you are outside working in the yard, take a walk around the pond and clear out anything that could potentially become a problem later.  Dead pond lily leaves, seed pods from other aquatic plants, it all helps in the long run.  Your pond is a lot like your yard, if you leave it alone for a month it will look like poo.

In order to stay ahead of the algae, a bit of maintenance is on the docket.

Thanks so much for taking the time…..

Senior Biologist



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