Pond maintenance might be easy for experts but it’s rather a complicated task for beginners. If you have a human-made fish pond on your property and experience cold winters, you may find it particularly challenging. When the water freezes, fish find it hard to live peacefully due to a lack of oxygen, water circulation, and proper airflow.
Using electricity can be a good option to heat the water to a suitable temperature for fish. But if you’re trying to reduce your energy use, it’s not the best option. So, to help you save money and the environment, let’s look at how you can maintain your pond for healthy fish year-round without using electricity.
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Aerate Your Pond Without Electricity
Aeration circulates the water to increase the oxygen levels in your pond. It’s useful for improving water quality, reducing algae, and providing a healthy environment for fish. There are a variety of ways to aerate the water naturally or by using machines. Here are four ways that you can aerate your pond without using electricity.
Solar Fountain Pumps
A solar fountain pump is a solar-powered machine that creates movement at the water’s top surface for dissolving oxygen. It works by taking a little amount of water from the pond and shooting it back. While shooting back the water, it provides surface aeration.
You’ll need ample sunlight to run the fountain pump. Because a solar pump works only during peak sunlight hours, it may not be your best option if you need continuous aeration in your pond.
A solar aerator functions in a similar way to the solar fountain pump. But instead of spitting the water directly to create aeration, it works through a tube. The tube collects air from outside and sends it into the water.
It is also called submerged aeration and works well in a small pond where you won’t need constant aeration. This machine also needs a decent amount of solar power to run it properly during peak hours.
The windmill aerator is an effective way to aerate the water without using electricity. Powered by the wind, it requires a minimum of 3 to 5 mph of wind. When the wing whirls round quickly, it generates power, collects air, and pumps air into the pond.
Windmill aerators are quite complicated to set up, especially for beginners, and are fairly expensive. However, it can be a good investment if you plan to use it for a long time.
It’s a universal truth that plants are the primary source of oxygen in our environment. So, it follows that pond plants offer a natural way to generate aeration inside the pond. Some of the aquatic plants you might consider include water violet, hornwort, crowfoot, arrowhead, eelgrass, fanwort, and water wisteria.
In addition, plants filter the water and help to keep it clean. However, plants may not be enough if you have koi or some other species of fish in your pond. The fish tend to uproot — and sometimes eat — the plants.
Prevent Your Pond From Freezing Without Electricity
You probably don’t care if your pond freezes, unless you have filled it with fish. Not all ponds freeze during winter, depending on where you live. And some species of fish can happily live in a frozen pond where the deep and middle waters don’t freeze.
If you can manage to retain a perfect temperature, your fish can survive easily. However, when the water becomes iced, fish waste becomes excessively toxic, which may endanger your fish.
If the water temperature is lower than 0 degrees Centigrade, it may freeze entirely when the temperature gets colder. A thoroughly frozen pond prevents oxygen flow from the upper level to the lower level and vice versa. Lack of oxygen will kill the fish. It can also harm the denitrifying bacteria colony that helps in the nitrogen cycle.
A heater is probably the most obvious way to keep your pond from freezing, but it does use electricity. But there are a few other ways to avoid a frozen pond that don’t require electricity.
One of the best natural ways to keep your pond healthy is to make it deep. Whether you live in a summer-seasoned environment or a winter-seasoned environment, a deep pond helps control the temperature. The sweet spot for a pond is 8 feet to 12 feet deep.
In summer, the middle depths of water will remain cooler even when the upper-level water is very warm. The reverse is true for the winter season. If the surface water freezes, the deeper water will remain at a warmer temperature. For any fish pond, 18 inches is the absolute minimum depth.
Cover the Pond
You can simply use a pond cover in the winter to help maintain the temperature of the water in your pond. A dome-shaped pond cover can capture heat from the sun to warm the pond’s surface. The dome shape also ensures that no snow accumulates on top of the cover and makes the water chilly.
Water floats are generally round, hollow objects that float on the pond. As the wind moves them from one spot to another, they disrupt the formation of ice crystals on the water’s surface.
Keep Your Pond Clean Without Electricity
The water quality directly affects the health of the fish living in the pond. If the quality of water in your pond is bad, it could cause a shortage of oxygen, which could harm your fish. Here are some tips to help you keep your pond water clean without using electricity.
Do Not Overstock Your Pond
Overstocking the pond with more fish than it can handle will cause the water to get dirty. As the fish waste decomposes, it can produce a harmful gas that lowers the oxygen levels of the pond.
Get Rid of Algae
Various types of algae and unwanted phytoplankton can grow at the bottom of the pond. These organisms consume oxygen and they may cause an oxygen shortage that will adversely affect your fish. So it’s a good idea to remove the algae regularly to help maintain proper oxygen levels in the pond.
Ensuring good water circulation, clean water, and sufficient oxygen levels in your water will help keep your pond — and fish — safe. Doing it without using electricity can be a bigger challenge, but the reward is a smaller impact on the environment and lower electric bills.
About the Author
Anne Thynne is not the famous marine biologist, but she loves the fact that they share a common interest. She kept fish in aquariums since her childhood. In 2007, she was introduced to the amazing world of aquascaping and reef keeping. Underwater ecosystems fascinate her.
Feature image courtesy of blende12, Pixabay