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I'm buying property with a half-acre pond. What do I need to know?
ASKED BY: Vernon of Tolono, IL
ASKED BY: Vernon of Tolono, IL

I'm buying property with a half-acre pond. What do I need to know?

A: A pond is a great resource to have – and it's even better when it's filled with clean water and supporting a thriving ecosystem. To keep it functional and balanced, you'll need to do a few clean-up and maintenance chores and do a little research. Here's what we recommend.

Check Regulations

While you're waiting for move-in day, contact your city, county and state government offices for information about chemical use and pond safety regulations. For instance, depending on where you live, you may not be able to use some algaecides or herbicides, or you may need to install a fence around your pond for safety.

Install Safety Gear

Speaking of safety, you should also make sure safety gear, like a Life Ring, rope and first-aid kit, are installed in a conspicuous and accessible place near the pond in case of emergency. You never know when you'll need it, so it's better to be safe than sorry!

Assess Aeration

Does your new pond have an aeration system installed, does it work, and is it included in the sale of the property? An aeration system, which includes a diffuser, compressor, and airline, is an important piece of equipment to have. It circulates the water column and delivers life-giving oxygen to your pond's inhabitants. If the property includes an aerator, make sure it works; if not, consider investing in one. Measure the length, width, and depth of your pond and call 866-POND-HELP to select the right system for your pond.

Power to the Pond

Your aeration system will need to be plugged in, so does your pond have electricity? What voltage is it set up for? If you plan on buying a new aeration system, Airmax Aeration comes in both 115 volt and 220 volt.

Manicure Weeds

If your pond hasn't been tended in a while and the weeds have taken over, you'll need to regain control by identifying the unwanted vegetation, killing, and removing it. Start by using a Weed Control Guide or email a photo to weedid@thepondguy.com to help you identify the plants and select the right products for the job. Once the weeds are dead, mechanically remove them from the water with a Pond Rake so that they don't become algae fertilizer next spring. Before you apply any pond-care products to your pond, find out what kinds of critters live in it. Certain types of fish, including trout, carp and koi, will affect the way you use chemicals in your pond.

Start Maintenance Routine

Your last to-do item: Start a maintenance routine using a series of beneficial bacteria products like those found in the ClearPAC Plus seasonal care package. The microorganisms will break down pond muck buildup and keep the water clean and clear all year long.

What About Water Testing?

You may have heard other pond owners talk about testing pond water. This seems normal for pools or drinking water, but most large water bodies are stable, if you are experiencing extra weed or algae growth or are concerned about swimming, there are analysis tests that can be performed to put your mind at ease.

  • pH: Ideally between 6.5 and 8.5. A reading outside this range may indicate an environmental factor such as too much limestone or a high concentration of pine needles in the pond.
  • Temperature: Indicates when to start or stop fish feeding and application of chemicals or natural bacteria.
  • Nitrites, Nitrate & Phosphorous: Key elements in excessive algae growth, possibly stemming from the use of lawn fertilizers or excess muck accumulation.
  • Carbonate Hardness: May need to be done prior to treating with copper-based algaecides and herbicides if you have sensitive fish like Trout, Koi or Goldfish.
  • Dissolved Oxygen: Measures your pond's ability to sustain aquatic life. This test is done onsite but may require assistance due to the equipment required for testing.
  • E. Coli: A disease-causing microorganism generally caused by wastewater runoff or waste produced by visiting waterfowl. If this is a concern contact your local health department for instructions on collecting and submitting water samples for analysis. Generally, results are available within 1-2 days.

Note: It is important to take readings at the same time of day, usually in the morning or late afternoon, due to normal fluctuations in water quality parameters.