Pond Myths


More than anything else, being observant and learning from Mother Nature is what it takes to be a water gardener. Whatever she does naturally is what you should be doing in your pond. Whatever she doesn’t do is what you should be avoiding in your pond. If there is a golden rule of pondering, it is not to mess with Mother Nature because you’ll lose.

Not true! You can raise Koi and have a beautiful water garden. There are Koi hobbyists who have perfectly balanced pond ecosystems with no chemicals, no sterilization, and a nice assortment of plants. The Koi can grow up to be just as beautiful and just as healthy as they are in traditional Koi ponds — and you’ll love them just as much!

Believe it or not, you can over-filter a pond. That’s right. Tight filter pads in your skimmer pick up the smallest particles of debris, causing you to be cleaning the filtering mechanism out constantly. Now remember, we’re not talking about drinking water here.

What we are talking about is water clarity and water that’s healthy for your fish. Fish in the wild certainly don’t swim around in bottled water. If you can see a dime on the bottom of the pond, then the water clarity is just right for your fish, and filtering past that is overkill and will create headaches, not eliminate them.

The claim by many Koi keepers is that the water will lack sufficient oxygen at the lower levels, and this insufficiency can be detrimental to your Koi.  The real fact is that if you avoid making your pond any deeper than two feet, there is very little difference in the oxygen levels at the surface and at the bottom of the pond.  the problem with bottom drains is that they have a tendency to promote leaks, possibly leaving your fish land-locked.  now, that’s a problem to avoid at all costs!

The reality is, if you fail to set your system up using the five-part recipe so that it’s working in harmony with Mother Nature, then you’ll be asking for a lot of related problems that may require you to drain and clean your pond out on a regular basis.  On the other hand, if you decide to work in harmony with Mother Nature instead of doing battle with her, then draining and cleaning your pond should take place only once a year (at most).  Clean-outs should occur in the spring, before the weather gets warm and the bacteria has an opportunity to set up.

Not true!  Your pond is a living, breathing ecosystem that needs constant oxygen, just like the human race.  If you shut your system down at night, then you can never have sufficient growth of beneficial bacteria to fight algae blooms, and your finned friends will have a hard time breathing.

It makes sense to have your water garden in this area because it already collects water; however, this is probably the worst location for your investment because of the run-off that can creep its way into your pond.  Ask yourself this: “Do I really want my pond located on the opposite end of my property? Do I really want to miss the sights, sounds, and interactive nature my pond presents every day?”  When it’s positioned near your house, you can take in the beauty and tranquility of your pond when entertaining friends or lounging on your patio or deck.

It’s natural to have these thoughts and concerns, but it is important to remember that a professionally-installed water garden has steps leading into the pond. The first shelf is only ankle high once the gravel is laid down. The next shelf is up to your knee, while the smallest area in the bottom is just above your knee, so it is not constructed like a swimming pool. We do recommend that you make your neighbors aware of the water garden and educate your own children and friends about the safety of any body of water.

Or, if you prefer, you can have a “pondless” organic water feature that is only inches deep and “disappears.”  This is especially terrific for front yard features.

Everyone knows when it comes to the resale value of your home, a swimming pool can be deadly in some areas of the country.  On the other hand, especially in the Southwest, pools can add as much as $7-10,000.00 to the value of the home.  A well-built water feature will add about $3-4,000.00 to the appraisal.  However, with water features becoming more and more popular, you can bet that the demand for them will get even bigger!

This myth comes from the swimming pool industry.  If chlorine is good for humans in the local swimming pool, then chemicals must be okay for fish and the plants in the pond.  Products like algaecide (copper sulfate), dechlorinator (sodium thiosulfate), and fish antibiotics are commonly used as quick-fix solutions to balance related problems.  In the end, your best bet is to attack the root cause of the problem and make sure that you have a naturally balanced pond that allows Mother Nature to take care of all the maintenance issues.