A Guide to Natural Ponds
11 June 2018 02:45
Pond, algae, beneficial bacteria, blanketweed, natural pond, pond plants, water feature
Ponds come in various different forms and serve different purposes by the nature of how they exist. In the most basic form, they are simply a body of still, fresh water and their purpose is dependent on what can be found within them. Generally, most people are most familiar with garden ponds but even these come with their own categories. From a wildlife pond to a general fish pond to an even more specific koi fish pond, some might argue that the types of pond that you could create are endless, (of course, this is not true). This blog however, if going to focus on natural ponds.
Natural ponds can be found, quite obviously in nature. I’m sure we all know that the most basic understanding of a natural pond is that it’s not man made. However, what if we told you that natural ponds CAN in fact, be man made?
Man made natural ponds can be considered to be natural in the sense that they don’t require pumps, filters or chemicals to be maintained. They rely on the water, the soil (although the pond may possibly have a pond liner to keep the water inside), the plants and animal life to co-exist and create the ideal environment for the natural pond Eco-system to be in balance. With this definition, I’m sure it’s easier to understand how the definition of a natural pond can be extended to include a man-made pond, simply by sticking to the stated description.
So how does a natural pond work?
We’ve come to understand that natural ponds don’t have a filtration system to keep the water clean. This is where it becomes important to consider whether a natural man-made pond uses a pond liner or not. While ponds with a liner are still considered natural, pond liners in general are artificial and can disrupt the state of harmony between the water, plants and aquatic life. These three factors in ideal conditions can work to keep key water parameters in balance (a safer environment for fish to live) and unattractive algae at bay. Therefore this can mean that having a pond liner is a natural man-made pond causes it to be more prone to the build up on dirt (sludge) and odours.
Despite this, there is a major benefit to having a natural man-made pond over a more artificial pond with pumps and filters. The abundance of micro-organisms in natural ponds should result in a naturally occurring cleaning system that aims to maintain itself. This is provided there are sufficient amounts of soil, rocks and plants present within the water to lessen the burden of artificial maintenance (think pumps/filters, UV lights and other maintenance accessories), which is often quite expensive.
Another consideration within natural ponds is the aeration system. Natural man-made ponds tend to have an inadequate amount of plant life and micro-organisms such as beneficial bacteria to prevent the build up of dead matter, animal waste and other organics. This, combined with low oxygen levels (because of the lack of plant life) creates the optimum living conditions for ‘bad’ bacteria who thrive in water conditions we would consider unhygienic and unpleasant to keep.
At this point, you might be thinking that a natural pond would be too much work to keep – But before you reconsider, make sure you’ve made en effort to try out all these simple methods of maintenance.
In man-made natural ponds, beneficial bacteria help to clean water and reduce substances such as ammonia and nitrates that in large quantities become harmful to fish or the natural harmony of water. Regular use of beneficial bacteria works to eradicate algae that can come in the form of green water or blanketweed, making overall pond maintenance a lot easier throughout the year.
Still natural ponds are only able to access surface level oxygen and to house only a small population of fish because of this (fish need oxygen to survive in ponds and more fish in a still pond means an inadequacy amount can be supplied to all of them). By having a water feature in a natural pond, you promote movement within the water and increased surface area available for oxygen to be absorbed and to travel throughout the pond. Overall, this creates a better quality of water.
Plants are hugely beneficial to all types of ponds but they’re especially useful for man-made natural ponds. Again, oxygen is required to create the ideal water environment for good water parameters as mentioned before. As tempting as surface level plants may be to add to a natural pond for aesthetic purposes, submerged plants are the ideal type to provide best results in keeping natural pond water oxygenated.