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How To Avoid The Three Most Common Mistakes When Building A DIY Garden Pond

Water features like ponds are popular DIY weekend projects particularly in the spring time. While installing a pond is a DIY friendly project it is important to consider several factors before digging the hole for the pond. Common mistakes include picking the wrong location, choosing the wrong pump, and adding too many fish or plants.

Water features have been a very popular DIY project for homeowners for some time. Home improvement stores, and online stores, carry a wide variety of pond liners and preformed, hard pond molds.  Some people prefer free shaped ponds while others are drawn to the preformed molds. While each of these options has its pros and cons, there are a few mistakes homeowners often make with their ponds.

The most important decision is to determine the best location for the pond. Homeowners often want to install the pond where it would look best. It is important to build the pond in a location that does not get direct sunlight all day. While some sun is ok, the more sun the pond gets, the more algae will eventually grow in it as the water temperature rises considerably during the summer months.  The algae itself is not harmful, but controlling the algae growth can be a challenge particularly when you plan to have fish in the pond.  Most effective algae control is harmful to fish and will eventually kill them. The temperature of the water can get really high during the summer months, especially in the southern states. The high water temperature literally destroys the oxygen content in the water, and water low in oxygen is harmful to fish because they cannot breathe. They are essentially suffocating while being slowly boiled to death. The best location for your pond depends on the average temperatures in the summer months. A location that receives sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon works well in hot climates.  Ponds in generally cooler climates benefit from the heat of the afternoon sun.

 Another common mistake is the failure to provide proper water circulation through an adequate pump and filtration system. The water should enter the filtration system through the pump at one end of the pond and should be returned to the pond at the opposite side. The tubing required for the filtration should be established before the pond liner / pond mold is installed. The pump has to be adequate, which means that the whole amount of water in the pond has to be circulated several times during the day. For example, a pond with 2000 gallons of water needs a pump that is able to pump a minimum of 400 gallons per hour. This translates into a total water circulation of a little under 5 times during a 24 hour period. The circulation increases the oxygen level in the water while it is cleaned. Letting the water pass by an UV-light is also advisable to keep the water clean and the algae growth under control.

Rushing to stock the pond with fish and live plants as soon as it is installed is understandable as the pond looks empty. The ecosystem of a pond is very fragile and can easily get out of balance by adding many plants and fish at the same time.  Don’t make the mistake and add too many plants as they grow rapidly and can overgrow your pond in one summer. They not only take oxygen from the water, they also leave little room for the fish to swim. Koi fish and goldfish need time to adjust to their new habitat. Once they have adjusted they will breed in a healthy pond and your will have more fish than you could ask for.  For pond owners who prefer size over quantity, adding only a few select Koi can be very rewarding as these fish easily reach 15-18 inches in length and come in many different colors and patterns.

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