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Pond water quality -Should I get plants to help clean it?


I have a very small pond, maybe 70 gallons…It is in the middle of our patio and has 3 large waterfalls going into it with a small stream with another 3 small waterfalls…

To help keep it clean, I am putting tube socks over the intake valves on the pumps…While we never planned on any wild life, a frog moved in, and we want to make sure he is healthy.

The water gets a little stinky because he eats a ton…I am considering putting in some plants. Will this make the water dirtier or cleaner? I have been changing the water weekly and adding some of the stuff from my aquarium to de-chlorinate it..

Are Plants a good or bad idea?

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19 Responses to “Pond water quality -Should I get plants to help clean it?”

  1. cristanine said :

    I have a pond with over twelve dozen minnows in it. The minnnows help keep bacteria clean from, your pond and this is why my pond is looking great. Try it in your pond…buy some minnows.

    I also have water plants growing in the pond that I took from a nearby lake.

    There is moss growing on my inside, but it looks pretty and the water is clean because the minnows help keep it clean…it’s a proven fact. Ask any DNR they will tell you that minnows are a life saver.

  2. leonard s said :

    I also have a small pond on my deck(a much larger one near my patio)you do need a few small plants and one small fish(one that keeps small ask your local dealer).It’s good that you change the water weekly and use the the de-chlorinator is OK,you will also need to add some ceramic pieces (get them at the fish store) in the tube socks and let them become your biological filter(rinse once a month with cold water).you should also add some algae control(also at your fish store)but get the one that does not harm plants.

  3. DIY Doc said :

    It sounds like you’re circulating water but not filtering it.

    In an enclosed pond, with no natural flow in some entry and exit point, that WILD pond will develop odors too; especially with wildlife residents. Plant life adds ambience but also decays. It might minimally help with oxygenation and some food source for wwildlife, but in decaying plant life will give off odor also.

    If you want clean you might sacrifice wildlife? I suggest a filtration system first of all, and caution in adding water from the tap. The likelyhood of toxic chemicals affecting a frog is minimal, in water Humans are expected to drink.

    I’d also suggest a different method of keeping the pump lines clean. Tube socks; while probably effective; might also be restricting water flow; possibly causing the pumps to work harder and less efficiently.

    Keep the frog; get filters.

  4. Eddie W said :

    have you considered putting an algae eater in your pond to clean up the algae

  5. Poopy said :

    ABSOLUTELY plants are a good idea!! Decaying plant matter, dead insects, frog poop, etc., all combine to make ammonia (which smells and is toxic to most wildlife). Fortunately, Mother Nature has created a type of bacteria that basically “eats” ammonia and converts it to nitrites. These also smell, and are also toxic to fish and amphibians. Mother Nature comes to the rescue again, though, with another bacteria that “eats” the nitrites and converts them to nitrAtes. In small quantities (like 20-30 ppm), these do not hurt fish or animals. If they build up too much, though, not only will they smell, they will eventually build up to levels toxic to animal life and contribute greatly to algae growth. Adding minnows to the pond actually add to the ammonia load (also called a “bio-load”) so I would not recommend doing this – your frog is happy just as he is!!

    Algae growth in and of itself is not too bad – many water creatures actually eat it, and it actually helps to oxygenate the water as it absorbs carbon dioxide during the day, and expires it at night, expiring oxygen during the day as part of the photosynthesis process. But the nitrates act like fertilizer for the algae, and pretty soon, your pond looks like 70 gallons of pea soup, even though it is relatively healthy. Remember, what LOOKS healthy to us humans, is not always what is preferred by critters! However, adding a few plants will compete with the algae, absorb some of the excess nitrates, and make for a cleaner, healthier pond.

    I have about a 50-gallon pond in a half whiskey barrel on my porch, and in it I have one species water iris, one marsh marigold, a bunch of fairy fern (azolla) and four small comet goldfish. The water has been crystal clear all summer – no smells! And I can see my fish just fine.

    So yes, please do add plants, equal to about 50% of your pond’s surface area, though not all of them need to be surface plants. You can put bog plants in and raise them to the correct level on bricks; you can also try underwater oxygenators like anacharis.

    Feel free to contact me through my profile if you have any questions. Hope this helps!!

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