Tips for Summer Pond Care

pond in summer
There's nothing quite like a pond in summer! Look at these gorgeous tropical water lilies.

How's your pond doing? Is the algae under control? Are you experiencing a round of baby fish? Have your aquatic plants taken over? We still have lots of warm weather left ... it's time to get everything in check so you can enjoy the rest of the summer season!

Is Your Water Feature Leaking or Overflowing?

It seems like we have no gentle rains these days... we have deluges followed by several days of dry, windy weather. Remember that we get used to rain filling our water features, then when it gets dry for a while, we think we have a leak. This is not usually the case. It's normal to have to add water to your feature on a weekly basis during the summer. It's hot and sunny --- and it's called evaporation!

When we have a deluge of rain, does your pond get cloudy afterwords? Check that overflow... do you have an overflow? All water features should have an overflow built into them. If they don't, all kinds of particles, mulch, dirt wash into them during a rain. If you have a skimmer, your overflow should be built into it. Make sure the overflow pipe runs downhill. If it does not, dirt will wash back into the feature. This is a common problem.

Read more on water loss here.


A summer issue to keep an eye on is oxygenation. Your fish, the beneficial bacteria that keeps your pond clean and clear and plants need lots of oxygen in the summer.

Wait.... plants need oxygen? During the day plants are going through photosynthesis, but at night they are going through the respiration process which, yes, uses oxygen. So if plants are using oxygen, that means there is less for your beneficial bacteria and most importantly, less oxygen for your fish.

pond aerator
This aerator is providing much needed oxygen to this pond.

Even if you have a waterfall, your pond will benefit from supplemental oxygenation from an aerator. Make sure you run your waterfall, fountain, or aerator 24 hours a day. This is very important not only for oxygenation but for your ecosystem as well.

The staff at Cool Ponds can properly size an aerator for your pond. This is important because size not only affects the benefits the aerator provides, but also the longevity of the aerator.


Your pond may suffer from a bout of either green water caused by suspended algae or a crop of string algae, usually not both at once. Both are caused when something is out of balance in your pond. Oxygenation, beneficial bacteria, or aquatic plants are probably lacking. As we always preach... prevention is the key. Try to avoid the cycle of treating the problem as it occurs and rather treat your pond on a regular basis as a preventative. This will be much less frustrating to you.

algae in backyard pond
String Algae
If you do find yourself with a crop of string algae, remove as much by hand before treatment. The problem is that string algae, once dead, doesn't just disappear.. Remove it first, then treat. If your water isn't clear, get a glass jar and take a sample. Is it green tinged or is there a lot of little debris particles floating in it? The debris particles are dead algae that didn't get removed before it died. That will require either a cleaning or some serious filtering.

To treat string algae, use Remove Away Plus which can be purchased at Cool Ponds or through our online store. Also use Remove Away weekly as a preventative measure and add some marginal aquatic plants to combat string algae as well.

Read more about string algae here.

green water algae in backyard pond
Green water from single-celled algae.

If the water sample is green tinged, then you have single celled suspended algae. Treat this algae with BioClear EXTREME also available at Cool Ponds; stop feeding your fish; and add supplemental oxygenation. For prevention use BioClear and Clean weekly. Algae is a plant so it's taking oxygen out at night... another reason to add supplemental oxygenation.

For detailed info, read "Everything You Need to Know About Algae" here.

koi in backyard pond
My fish act like they're hungry,
but there're really just excited
to see me.

Pond Fish

Don't overfeed! First of all: FISH DON'T NEED TO BE FED! Sorry for yelling, but this point is very hard to get across to many people. There are all kinds of small critters that we can't see living in your pond that fish eat.  We feed fish to make them grow big and to train them to come see us. When they do come to the surface, mouths smacking, that doesn't mean they're hungry... it means they're trained. Fish have no hunger pains... it's in their nature to eat all the time.

If you do feed your fish, use a high protein floating pellet fish food. Feed them only a few times a week. Only feed them what they will eat in a minute or two. There should never be excess food floating in the pond and they should sill act "hungry" when they're finished.

Also watch for over-crowding. All types of goldfish are notorious for this. Over-feeding and over-crowding can wreck havoc on the pond's ecosystem, especially if the pond is under filtered.

bluegill and koi in backyard pond
"Gill" is our bluegill that lives in our pond. He takes care of
any koi eggs to prevent the over-populating of the pond.
He thinks he's a koi and schools and eats with them.

Aquatic Plants

Although aquatic plants provide important shade and added natural filtration to the pond, they also can become overcrowded. As stated above, plants take oxygen from the water at night so try to keep only about 50% of the water surface covered. Be sure to remove decaying leaves and blossoms so they don't add to the nutrient load in the pond. Excess nutrients feed algae and contribute to the "muck" layer at the bottom of the pond.

Floating plants, while very beneficial to the pond, can become a nuisance this time of year. Keep them thinned. Read more about abundant water hyacinth here. Sometimes during this part of year, floating plants begin to turn yellow and die back. Read more about yellow floating plants here.

To keep water lilies blooming, divide and re-pot them every other year and add aquatic once-a-year fertilizer. You can also fertilize every two weeks with fertilizer tabs.

Mostly, we hope you get our and enjoy your water feature this summer.  How fortunate all are we to have "waterfront" property!


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