How to Maintain Garden Ponds


One of the more important aspects of your garden pond is the quality of the water. Just as your garden needs healthy soil for your plants to flourish, your pond needs healthy water for your plants and fish. The equipment you use to clean and oxygenate your water needs maintenance as well. Regular maintenance will help your aquatic ecosystem continue to thrive, contributing to the overall natural balances in your garden.

Step 1

Check the pH balance of your water. For goldfish and koi, and for aquatic plants, a pH balance between 7.0 and 8.5 is suitable. Test kits for pH (which means potential hydrogen) are available at garden centers. Frequent testing will indicate the balance of acid and alkaline chemicals in your water. Below 7.0 and the water is too acidic; you may have too many fish or plants in the pond. Reduce the number of plants in your pond. If necessary, reduce the number of fish as well. If your water has a pH higher than 8.5, then it has been exposed to lime or inorganic materials found in cement work. Use a neutralizing chemical, available at garden centers, to bring the pH back into balance.

Step 2

Clean the filtration system. The filtration system may need cleaning as often as three or four times a week. The system you choose for your pond should include bio-elements; these encourage growth of good bacteria that in turn aid in keeping the water clean. Clean the screen in the filtration system by running water through it. You can use a garden hose. Do not use chemicals or over-clean. The brown buildup is evidence of good bacterial growth. Clean to remove clogs and sludge.

Step 3

Maintain the garden pond aeration system. Water pumps bring oxygen into the water. Without oxygenated water, the plants and fish will suffocate. The pump has within it a filter. The filter can be cleaned with a garden hose but does need replaced at least once a season.

Step 4

Control the algae growth in your pond. Completely eliminating algae may not be possible, but you can control it. One of the natural solutions is to feed your fish less fish food. Hungry fish will eat algae; it is a nutrient and a natural fish food. Use a toilet-bowl brush or other long-handled brush to pull excess algae out of the pond. Add it to your compost heap or directly to your flowerbeds.

Step 5

Remove debris from your garden pond. At least twice a week, check your pond for fallen leaves and debris. Deadhead any flowering plants and remove any submerged plants that are dying or dead. Organic debris not only increases the possibility of a clogged pump, it adds sludge to the bottom of your pond.

Step 6

Scrub the interior of your garden pond once a year. Transfer the fish and plants, along with a good portion of the water, to a wading pool. Drain the remaining water, directing the nutrient-rich water to your soil garden and flowerbeds. Clean the interior of your pond using a scrub brush and elbow grease. Refill the pond, leaving enough room to add the water from the wading pool. Replace the plants, followed by the fish. Slowly add the water from the wading pool. Test the ph of the water to ensure the water is healthy.

Things You'll Need

  • pH balance test kit
  • Running water from a hose
  • Toilet brush or long-handled brush
  • Wading pool
  • Scrub brush


  • Pond Doctor
  • Gardening
  • Water Gardens; Better Homes and Gardens; 2001
Keywords: garden pond maintenance, pH balance in garden ponds, cleaning garden ponds

About this Author

Shelly McRae is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, Ariz. Having earned an associate degree from Glendale Community College with a major in graphic design and technical writing, she turned to online writing. McRae has written articles for multiple websites, drawing on her experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.