How To Keep Your Water Garden Healthy


After spending the time and resources to build my water garden, I wanted to ensure that my investment would continue to provide a clean and refreshing environment. To help assist you in achieving the same or even better results, I thought I would share some of my findings and insights into maintaining a health water garden.

What are the ways to keep water gardens healthy? Clean water and a balanced ecosystem help to keep water gardens healthy. This can be easily achieved in the following ways-

  1. Efficient filtration.
  2. Adequate aeration.
  3. Good fish.
  4. Aquatic plants.
  5. Good bacteria.
  6. Pest control.
  7. Manual cleaning.

Consistent maintenance and upkeep are needed to keep water gardens in perfect condition. This is vital to ensure one keeps enjoying the benefits of their water garden for years to come. Maintaining healthy and balanced water quality is the defining factor in keeping a healthy water garden.

Keeping water gardens healthy

Clean water in a water garden is the prime requisite towards a thriving aquatic ecosystem. The health of fish and aquatic plants are a clear indicator of the water quality in a water garden.

Let us take a look at some of the ways in which we may keep water gardens healthy.

  • Efficient filtration. Establishing filtration services within the water garden is one of the best ways to keep your water garden healthy. There are two types of filtration systems needed for a healthy water garden. Mechanical and biological. Both filtration systems are needed to keep your water garden water clean. A comprehensive article regarding filtration systems can be found here.
  • Adequate aeration. To support healthy aquatic life through the year, one needs to provide adequate aeration in a water garden. Setting up an aeration kit not only creates movement in the water body but also generates healthy aeration. With night fall, aquatic life uses up dissolved oxygen in the pond. This may lead to depletion of healthy oxygen levels in your water feature. With an aeration device healthy levels are ensured throughout the day. Such devices also take care of surface ice in winter months.
  • Good fish. Having fish in your water feature adds to the beauty and variety of your water garden. These can also help take care of organic debris by feeding on them. Mosquito larvae and other aquatic plant debris that tend to damage the water quality can also be addressed by certain kinds of fish. Selecting fish correctly helps maintain good water health. Our article “What Are the Best Fish for Water Gardens” will help you determine which fish are right for your water garden.
  • Aquatic plants. Another useful way to ensure a healthy pond is by choosing the right kind of plants that will feature in your water garden. Proper choice of plants is again very important here. Organic fish waste that is not cleared by filtration can increase toxicity levels of water features. Good plants also help in algae control. Keeping algae levels to optimum reflects good health of plants. Our article, “What Are The Best Plants for Water Gardens” will help you determine the best plants for your water garden.
  • Good bacteria. Nurturing good bacteria population in a water body is a good way to boost water health. These can be introduced initially through external means and help clean up water by efficient waste disposal and removing extra nitrogen build-up resulting from decomposed waste. Once you have a good ecological balance, the bacteria will sustain itself and make up the active component of the biological filter.
  • Pest control. Slugs and snails as well as mosquitoes are common pests that are known to breed and grow near water bodies. These populations need to be controlled in a way that is beneficial to water garden health. Checking their numbers regularly is important for this purpose. Our article “The Ultimate Guide To Getting Rid of Mosquitoes In A Water Garden” lists things you can do to actively keep your mosquito population in check.
  • Manual cleaning. This is also known as mechanical filtration. It needs one to manually take out debris in the form of fallen leaves and branches on a regular basis. There will necessarily be trees and plants around and inside a water garden. Both aquatic and terrestrial plants as well as fish and other life forms tend to create debris of various kinds in a water body. These can be effectively cleared by using skimmers, brushes and other devices.

Ways to keep garden surroundings healthy

Besides the water feature itself, it is good to focus on other aspects of the garden in order to create a healthy ambience.

  • Choose healthy plants. Choose every plant carefully when planning your water garden. Not only looking into the kinds of plants suitable to the local conditions, but also checking for rotten roots or general look of the plant is important. Unhealthy dying plants do not add to a healthy ecosystem.
  • Check yard waste compost. While natural compost is the best, one should check that it is completely composted before use. Home compost comprises of different things, each of which decomposes at a different rate.
  • Control bugs. Pests are part of the package when one plans anything outdoors. From creepy crawlies to flying insects, many varieties happen in a garden. Adopt mechanical, chemical or biological means to control bugs.
  • Regularly remove debris. Plants shed leaves, branches break, fruits rot and fall. Regular maintenance is a must to ensure clean environs in the outdoors.
  • Constant pruning and trimming. Foliage is all very well to look at but a garden is essentially nature in a controlled environment. Unchecked growth does nothing for aesthetics or practicality. Keep pruning and cutting regularly to aid healthy growth of plants.
  • Use the right fertilizer. Check with specialists to decide on the right fertilizer for your garden. This choice will depend upon plant type, climate and water availability.
  • Check for water drainage/accumulation. A vital aspect of a healthy garden is optimum water drainage. Accumulation or over-drainage can both affect plant health.
  • Space out plants. Different plants grow to different sizes but they all need space. Allow for adequate space for each plant to attain its best possible proportions.

Animal life as an indicator of healthy water garden

It has been observed that certain plant, animal, insect and fish species thrive only when the water quality is balanced. Water garden owners need to pay special attention to these life forms. Their absence or decline in numbers is indicative of the health of your water garden.

For example, it is an established fact that dragonflies will do very well only in clear water features. These delicately buzzing insects are the best way to gauge how healthy your water feature is. A close watch on their numbers will indicate the need for any action to restore water quality in your water garden.

Similarly, aquatic plants, fish, birds and amphibians that are an integral part of the delicate pond ecosystem are a commentary on the health of your water garden. It is not always the machines that speak out the truth. Learning to understand and interpret from these naturally-occurring parameters is also vital to improving pond water conditions.

Recommendations for healthy water gardens     

As we have discussed, healthy water garden is the first step towards a balanced aquatic ecosystem in your water feature. This balanced state can be achieved by different methods outlined at the beginning of the article. We have prepared a list of some products that will help you achieve this:

  • Airmax Pond Lake Aeration PS10 System – This efficient aeration system can handle up to 21’ depth. Increase pond oxygenation and water quality with ¼ HP compressors. It comes with a ProAir Diffuser plate and 100’ of weighted airline. Buy it here at Amazon.
  • API Pondcare Algaefix – This is a twin pack set of algae fix that helps check pond algae growth. It comes with safety parameters by the Environmental Protection Agency for aquatic life. Available here from Amazon.
  • U.S. Pool Supply Skimmer 12” Pole – Keep your water garden free of floating debris using this skimmer. Its 12” pole provides maximum reach. Sturdy yet lightweight, with very fine mesh, this is a handy product for taking out the finest debris from the surface. It comes with a 1-year satisfaction guarantee. Amazon has it here.
  • Aquascape Submersible Pond Filter – Get this filter to ensure healthy water quality in your water garden. With ceramic filtration rings, threaded intake and multi-hose adapters, it can be used easily in any kind of water garden. Available from Amazon here.
  • Aqua Flo Universal Pond Filter Mat – This can serve as the first level of pond filtration. In a size of 12” x 60” x 1.25” it serves the filtration purpose well. Coarse materials found in a water feature can be trapped using this mat. Buy it here .

Related questions

Do water gardens aid positivity?

It has been established that running water produces sights and sounds that help ease stressors. Falling water is also known to create negatively-charged ions that purify the surrounding air. Water gardens attract different and beautiful life forms that also help in de-stressing.

Does professional aquascaping help?

It is a pleasure to indulge in creative pursuits and designing a water garden. Execution is not everyone’s cup of tea though. Water gardens are hard work to set up and maintain. Professionals can help giving shape to your ideas in lieu of fees. The decision is entirely up to the individual.

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