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
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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