August pond maintenance

Here are some tips and pointers to look out for with your pond this August:

Thin your oxygenators

Oxygenating plants like Elodea and Hornwort have been growing rampantly throughout summer and will need thinning out. Reduce the clump to no more than ⅓ of the pond’s surface area by removing the old, darker stems and retaining the fresh green ones. Lay the foliage at the edge of the pond for any critters to crawl back in if they need to, then compost.

Too many oxygenators and oxygen levels can go dangerously low overnight. 

Remove old lily leaves

Go through your lily leaves and remove any yellow, rotten or eating ones. At this time of year two leaves may be growing on top of each other through lack of space so remove the smaller, weaker one. Add fertiliser to encourage flowering. 

Scrub waterfalls

Waterfalls can block up with algae, leaves and detritus so remove by hand or with a stiff brush so that the water can cascade unimpeded. 

Clean pumps

Pumps can block up with algae around their inlet cages so switch the pump off, pull it out and give it a good scrub. You should see an improvement in water flow afterwards.

Clean filters

Filters should be cleaned at least weekly at this time of year as your fish may be bigger or more numerous than they were previously. You want your filter clean and healthy so you can continue to feed your fish and fatten them up ready for autumn. 

Change water

Do a nitrate test and see what the level is. The more you change the water the lower the nitrate level should be, and water changes also buffer pH and aid fish growth. Always use a dechlorinator

Aerate

There are lots of people reporting low oxygen levels on the Facebook pages before storms and during heatwaves. A separate airpump running 24 hours per day is the best way to safeguard your fish. 

Inspect and medicate

Lots of ulcers are appearing on fish at this time of year so change the water, clean the filter, make sure the UV is working properly, and use medication if needed. You need, clean healthy water with plenty of oxygen, thin the fish numbers out if necessary, and then treat with an Anti Ulcer medication. Ulcers are bacterial infections that like stressed fish and dirty water.

Predator-proof your pond

There are loads of Herons around at this time of year, and they’re getting braver, visiting in daytime hours and even getting close to houses. The only way to properly protect your fish is with a tight-fitting cover net. Try to raise it up above the water or lower the water line so persistent herons cant stab fish through the net and damage them. It happens!  

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Jeremy Gay is an author and freelance aquatic specialist. A former editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, he offers a wealth of experience on all things aquarium and pond.


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