Add fountains, plants and fish to your backyard pond to create a soothing oasis.
There are two kinds of fountains: sprays (or fountain jets) and ornamental statuary. If you choose a spray-type fountain, place it in a sheltered area so that wind gusts don't disrupt the spray pattern or blow the water outside the fountain receptacle. Fountain jets come in a variety of ornamental spray patterns. Statuary fountains range in design from classical Greek figures to modern art forms. Make sure that you choose a fountain that fits the size and style of your pond.
Plants and fish keep the pond water balanced and add life and color. Before you stock your pond, check the water. Your water likely contains chlorine. Allow chlorine to dissipate by letting the water to stand for a few days. Wait several days to a week before adding plants. Then allow two to three weeks before adding fish, snails and other aquatic creatures. During this time, your plants establish themselves as cover and food for the fish.
Floating plants are used to cover the pond surface. A covered surface keeps the water cooler and limits algae growth. Small ponds should usually have a 50% to 70% coverage. Floating plants have buoyant leaves to keep them afloat, with roots dangling in the water beneath. They require no soil. Water lilies are the most popular variety. There are two basic types of water lilies: hardy and tropical. Hardy water lilies are frost-tolerant perennial plants. Tropical lilies are frost-intolerant. To save them over the winter, move the entire plant into a greenhouse. Lotus plants are also very popular, producing large fragrant flowers that can perfume an entire corner of the garden.
Submerged plants play an extremely important role in pond ecology. These plants grow entirely underwater, providing food and hiding places for fish. Also referred to as oxygenating grasses, they include some of the same species grown in aquariums. Include them in your pond to promote a healthy environment.
No water garden is complete without a few fish and water snails. Snails make a big contribution to the pond's ecosystem because they love algae. Fish control mosquitoes by eating the larvae and controlling the algae too. Popular types include goldfish (Red Comet, Calico Fantail and Shubunkins, as well as the common variety), Japanese koi, catfish and mosquito fish. Before adding fish, acclimate the fish to the pool by adding about 10% pool water to the bag four times every 15 minutes. After placing fish in the pond, don't feed them for the first three or four days. Then, as they settle in, feed them daily. Never feed them more than they can eat in 10 to 15 minutes. Excess food pollutes the water. Stock your pond with a number of small fish rather than a few large ones to achieve a healthy balance of submerged pond life.
Don't be surprised if it takes several attempts to reach a healthy balance between plant and animal life in your pond. Start by determining the surface area of your pond. Then follow these guidelines:
2-in. fish: 1 sq. ft.
4-in. fish: 2 sq. ft.
6-in. fish: 3 sq. ft.
8-in. fish: 4 sq. ft.
12-in. fish: 6 sq. ft.