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     New Vs. Old Pond
 New Pond Issues vs. Old Pond Perfection

New Ponds vs. Old Ponds

A new pond is not the same as an older one. It has to go through growing pains before it gets to where you want it to be. It’s like being a teenager but wanting to be all grown up. You are not grown up until you are grown up. Neither is your pond.

        

The maturity of a pond depends entirely on the development of beneficial bacteria. This is a long process, much like teenage years, and eventually will outlast the acne stage and awkwardness associated with underdeveloped bacterial colonies. Bacteria are responsible for the clean, clear water and health, stress-free fish. Bacteria provide great growing conditions for pond plants. Not much will thrive in pollution which is what a pond will be sans bacterium. Yet, because we cannot “see” the mysterious bacteria, it is often underestimated and overlooked. But good pond design will incorporate media for nitrifying bacteria to colonize and the more surface area, the better.

I mean, haven’t we all been told we had to wash our hands with soap and hot water because we were carrying BACTERIA? Yes, we learned to hate and fear bacteria. Now, as pond owners, we are being asked to rethink bacteria as something desirable. Our ponds and fish depend upon this new concept being acceptable to us.

A new pond has to, I don’t mean MIGHT, I mean HAS TO go through the algae blooms, ersatz illnesses, ammonia and nitrite spikes, and all the anxiety and madness of the pond owner. If the fish doesn’t come up for food, I might throw all sorts of medications into it, unbalancing the system again and again. Maybe the fish just wasn’t hungry. Maybe I didn’t know how to read the test results and over reacted a few times thinking the pH was going to kill my fish. And maybe my treatment actually DID kill some fish. Then, in trying to kill algae, I can almost assure a new algae bloom and a new set of problems… because the pond is new and so is the pond owner.

The old pond is stable. It has no prominent algae blooms, no big problems with disease unless there are too many fish, and the water is clear unless we are feeding too much. We have learned how to do weekly water changes and to maintain a clean filter. It took me five years to learn how to backwash my bubble-bead filter correctly. Fear kept me from cleaning it thoroughly and I did not know how to use the “air” cycle. I was afraid I would wash out the bacteria. Therefore I was always washing some of the dirt back into the system at the end. I made a lot of people crazy with my incessant cries for help. No, the bacteria prefer a clean filter, so if I washed any out, they will quickly repopulate. I am no longer afraid of my system. This is MY pond and MY filter, and I am the boss in MY world. The pond, the bacteria and I have all matured nicely together.

 

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