A balanced pond is what we all desire because it provides a safer environment for aquatic life and a cleaner pond for us to enjoy.
However, to achieve a balanced pond, a pond filter may be required to remove debris from the pond, and to remove animal and organic waste from the pond. There are three main types of pond filtration:
Large particles are trapped in a removeable pond filter.
Ultra-violet light causes suspended particles to clump together, which facilitates the task for mechanical filters.
UV light also helps to sterilize algae, which will keep your pond clear.
Beneficial bacteria feed on water impurities, which effectively breaks down fish waste and other organic matter.
Mother Nature has a way of balancing her own water systems. She continually runs fresh water through her lakes and streams and adds just enough life to the waters to keep them healthy and void of toxic substances. She keeps her water balanced through the Nitrifying Cycle.
Fish naturally eat worms and algae and other organic materials that might be present in the pond. Just like humans, fish create waste, which is toxic to the fish. Fish waste and dead leaves create ammonia in the water, which can kill the fish. In the nitrifying cycle, a bacteria called Nitrosomonas converts the ammonia to nitrites. Nitrites are still very lethal to fish, but another bacteria called Nitrobacter can convert the deadly nitrites to nitrates (which is basically fertilizer). Plants in the water, including algae, take nourishment from these nitrates and reduce the amount of nitrates in the water, rendering the water fish safe. Of course, the fish eat the plants and the cycle starts all over again.
You should test your pond at regular intervals for Ammonia. These tests should be more frequent for new ponds because their eco-systems have not stabilized yet. An ammonia test kit can be purchased from commercial stores. The only acceptable reading from an ammonia test is “0.” A temporary fix for a positive ammonia reading would be to change the pond water (remember to add “New Pond” to remove the chlorine and chloramines from the new tap water!).
A zero level of Ammonia can be accomplished by:
The direct removal of Ammonia through the use of pond treatments.
The conversion of Ammonia to harmless nitrates. This can be accomplished through the use of biological filtration. Biological filters provide housing for both Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter.