As promised in the Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery Newsletter – this is the instructions for creating a small pond in your garden.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so click on the diagram below to get an idea of what you are seeking to achieve.
Placing the pond
Digging the pond
My recommendation is the Firestone Pondgard EPDM Liner. Not only is it flexible and easy to lay and fold but is also 100% safe for aquatic life.
Remember to measure the hole accurately and allow ample liner to go over the edges. If you buy only just enough liner to cover the hole, even the slightest movement could cause leaking over the edge.
Take particular note of the waterfall or “pot” area as these are the areas where the liner may move while working with it. The water could leak behind the liner under the rocks. This is very difficult to see and would mean breaking down the whole waterfall to fix it.
On the shallow edge place gravel to a level that some of the stones actually stick out of the water a little. This will make it easy for insects to use the water.
This liner is available at Random Harvest – let us have your measurements and we will order it for you.
Preformed fibreglass or plastic pond
Pre-formed fibreglass or plastic ponds. Once again place a thick layer of river sand in the bottom of the hole that is slightly larger than the pond. Place the pond on top and fill with a little water. The river sand makes it easy to move the pond around until the water in the pond shows that it is actually level. Once level fill around the pond and compact well.
Water Quality and natural balance in a pond
If you wish to have a clean healthy pond it is important both to keep the water moving and to have a bio-filter.
This need not be an expensive exercise although I do recommend that you buy the best quality pump you can afford.
There are many different bio-filters but they mostly work on the same system. We use the inexpensive, easy to install and very effective ‘Leca’ bio-filter system of light weight expanded clay aggregate, in our pond. This is the system we keep in stock in our nursery.
How does a bio-filter work?
Excess nutrients in the water caused by fish dung and decomposing plant material create perfect conditions for algae to proliferate and when this happens the water turns cloudy and unhealthy. A bio-filter is the natural way to clean the water.
To create a bio-filter you need to provide habitat for bacteria that will digest all the excess nutrients in the water. When the bacteria have colonized the bio-filter, the nutrient content is reduced. The result is that the pond is clear and is no longer a suitable habitat for the proliferation of algae. This is a completely natural system.
When a bio-filter is newly installed it takes a little time for the bacteria to reach the numbers required to keep the pond clean, so a little patience should be exercised in the beginning as it may take up to a week for the water to start clearing.
For a bio-filter to work it is essential that there is adequate water circulating through it, ideally it should be the volume of the pond three times in 12 hours.
The bio-filter medium must have a surface area at least equal to the surface area of the pond structure (walls & floor). As mentioned before we recommend the ‘Leca’ bio-filter bags.
Use 1 ‘Leca’ bio filter bag per 2500 litres of water. The ‘Leca’ bio filtration bags are packed in shade netting around the pump which will draw the water through the medium where the bacteria will digest all the excess nutrients.
When you are finished building the pond you can now relax and watch the wildlife that will appreciate all your hard work.
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