Digging the hole and installing the liner was by far the hardest part of this job. Now I’d like to discuss what you’d need to get the maximum benefits from your labors.
You will find that there are all sorts of decorative type accessories available for ponds, but what I’m going to list here are the “must have”, items that are absolutely necessary for your pond to reach it’s full potential. Later on in the book I’ll give a little more detail on each of the following “hardware” items and where you can get them.
1. A good pond liner. First and foremost is the liner that you just installed. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a top quality liner. Nothing will remove the joy of a pond quicker than leaks! It’s worth whatever you have to spend, and the material I ended up with is a product called EPDM rubber that is made by Firestone It is plant and fish safe, and tough as nails. It has a twenty-year guarantee against UV breakdown; in other words it won’t deteriorate in direct sunlight. I know this to be a fact personally because this same material is used to cover flat roofs and my parents had a flat patio roof covered with it about twelve years ago and it’s still in great shape. Bottom line: Don’t cut corners with the liner!
2. A water pump. The pump is essential to keep the water moving in your pond. You need a water pump for a couple of different reasons. First you need to move the water through your filtration system. This is vital, especially in a fishpond. Second, if you’re going to have a waterfall or fountain, the pump provides the power to make these two special effects work. It’s not at all uncommon to have more than one pump in a pond, each one doing a specific job. You may want a smaller size pump to keep the water moving through your filter, and a larger one if you’re running a fountain or waterfall. The size of your pump, (or pumps), will be determined by several things: The volume of water in your pond, whether or not you have fish, and how high you need to lift the water if you’re running a waterfall or fountain. For a pond of say, 3000 gallons, a pump that will move 1200 gallons an hour would be great.
3. A water filter. A water filter helps to clean the pond. You’ll notice I said “helps” because that is only one of the factors in maintaining a clean pond. The main function of the filter is to trap the larger debris in the pond such as fish feces, plant leaves, and clumps of algae, sometimes called string algae. You will find that there are quite a number of pond filters on the market today, some of them good and some not so good. From my experience, I really don’t think you will need one of the super duper gigantic bio-filters.
4. A ultra-violet light. A UV light, as they are usually called, is the second part of the solution for a clean pond. And you would find without one, your pond water would resemble pea soup, green and thick. The way the simple system works is this: The water pump pumps the water through the UV light. As the water passes over the light, it kills the algae, and then as the algae die they clump together, and then the filter collects the dead algae. With the pump, the UV light, and the filter all working together, the result will be nice clear water.
5. Pond Plants. Pond plants bring several benefits to your pond. Besides the obvious fact that they add to the overall beauty, they also help to oxygenate the water. This provides more oxygen in the water for your fish, if you have any, and also helps to control the growth of algae. Plants such as Water Hyacinths provide shade to help keep the water temperature down on hot days and also make good little natural platforms for the frogs and toads to sit on. That briefly covers the main five items for success. Naturally you are going to add your own accessories and decorative effects in order to put your individual touch on your pond, but the items I just listed are absolute necessities.
In the next section, we’ll go over how to hook everything up properly.