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New Pond Syndrome?

21st Nov 2019

New Pond Syndrome?

It only takes a few days of sunshine for people to start getting out and about in their gardens, starting their ‘spring clean’ and carrying out maintenance on their pond. This is always good news for us as it’s when we start to get busier! I don’t blame you all for not ordering sooner, I wouldn’t have wanted to be out building a pond with some of the weather we’ve had lately either to be honest! However, good news is here, I have heard it from a reliable source (the ITV news..) that we are heading towards a 3 month heatwave! Admittedly I wouldn’t believe this usually, however after the glorious weather last summer I have high hopes this may be true and I’ve started to clean off the BBQ!

We have done a few blogs about building new ponds, but we haven’t touched on problems that may occur when adding fish and a filter, don’t read ‘problems’ and start to panic though, new pond problems are easy to fix and it doesn’t take long.

New pond syndrome is when your filter doesn’t have enough mature bacteria to be able to remove ammonia and digest other nutrients from fish food etc. Waste produced by fish contains high levels of ammonia, we filter this because all of the friendly bacteria in the filter convert the harmful ammonia to nitrite and then into nitrate which is a plant food, perfect!

So Why do Problems Occur?

Stocking a pond quickly with lots of fish: More fish = more waste. Adding too many fish too quickly to a new pond means that the filter hasn’t had a chance to grow enough friendly bacteria to cope with changing the ammonia into nitrate quickly enough. We already know ammonia is poisonous, and your fish will become sick over time if exposed to it.

New Plants not Being Mature Enough: Your filter is mature and your fish are healthy - brilliant! So, why do you have blanket weed growing in the pond? Well the simple answer is the lack of mature plants. Your pond will be full of natural plant fertiliser with not enough plants to use it up, therefore blanketweed will fill this void.

So how can I prevent this or help?

  • Don’t over stock your pond, build it up really gradually. I know its so tempting to go straight out and buy lots of fish for your newly created wildlife haven, but trust us, less is more. Give the fish time to grow, and the filter time to adapt.
  • Use a filter start treatment, this is key I think. Filter start treatments add millions of friendly bacteria and will get your filter up and running quicker than anything else.
  • Use a de-chlorinator when adding tap water, there are loads of options out there but the best are the flow through ones that remove nutrients from the tap water and chlorine. Removing the excessive nutrients at the beginning can help to stop blanketweed in its tracks straight away.
  • Buy the correct size filter, don’t try and buy a filter that might just cope, remember fish grow and reproduce!
  • Test your pond regularly. It’s vital to detect potential problems before they arise. We have loads of options online!
  • Finally, make time to have plants in the pond. There are no real excuses - if you have koi you can use floating planters – as the Koi don’t eat and uproot these (check out my past blogs). We have loads of plants on our site and in store to order, buy the biggest and most mature plants possible to use up the nitrate in your pond!