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Nature Ponds - Maintenance

21st Nov 2019

As you would imagine, there is usually less maintenance required when keeping a wildlife pond than there is for an ornamental pond or fish pond. The general idea is to let nature take over, to a certain degree, and to let the pond become part of the native environment. However, that not to say that there is no upkeep required at all.If the pond is filtered, then the filter system will require regular cleaning. Plants may need regular pruning or propagation to stop them from growing completely wild.For a guide to general pond maintenance click here.Some of the ideas and practices more specific to nature ponds are listed below;


Pond treatments are quite often regarded by nature pond owners as chemicals which are potentially dangerous to wildlife. In fact, many pond treatments are manufactured from natural products and are designed to be completely nontoxic.Remedies, such as filter additives and blanketweed treatments, will only help to establish and maintain a healthy pond, and if fish are kept, anti-bacterial or anti-parasitic treatments may be vital in unfortunate circumstances. As long as the correct dosage levels are used, there should be no ill effects from using treatments.

Pond Sludge

Higher stocks of planting and the possibility of more decaying plant matter, and lower rates of filtration, are some of the reasons that sludge accumulates quicker in a nature pond than it would normally collect in an ornamental garden pond.Many pond keepers regard pond sludge as a vital element to a healthy and established pond and will actively preserve the sludge which builds up in their pond.

Pond sludge will contain bacteria and microorganisms, some of which are vital and responsible for biological filtration, and sludge is a good substrate for some species of wildlife to inhabit, but pond sludge is mainly an accumulation of pond waste. If it is left to build up to a high level, it can cause the pond water to become dirty or cloudy looking, and bring about serious problems in water quality.Plants potted in planting baskets should contain aquatic compost, which will provide a substrate for wildlife without polluting the water.An adequate filter will contain bio-media, with ample surface area for useful bacteria, or, if the pond is unfiltered, this surface area can be provided by adding a course substrate, such as gravel, to the pond floor.With these elements present, the majority of the pond sludge can be removed before it becomes problematic.

Water Changes

Water changing is another aspect of nature pond maintenance which is sometimes deemed as interfering with the ecological balance, and in a well established and balanced wildlife pond it is true that carrying out water changes are not as vital as in ornamental ponds.

However, it is still good practice to occasionally add new water to the pond. It is advised to carryout a small water change at the beginning and one at the end of the season, to help dilute any build up toxins and refresh the pond.For a guide to water changes click here.