An ecosystem includes all of the living things (plants, animals and microorganisms) in a given area, interacting with each other, and also with their non-living environments (air, sun, soil).
An Ecosystem Pond works with Mother Nature to provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife around it. It also provides you with an all-natural, low-maintenance piece of paradise, but only if all the the elements needed are present. Eliminate one of these elements and you’ve got an unbalanced ecosystem that won’t be so low-maintenance anymore.
So, what are those elements?
Not all ponds are constructed equally, and that’s ok. However, what we have experienced over the years working with all kinds of ponds is that the most beautiful, healthy, low maintenance ones all share these same important components:
1.Mechanical and Biological Filtration
A Skimmer (mechanical filter) houses the pump. As the water is drawn into the skimmer, leaves and other debris is collected in a basket, therefore preventing the accumulation of organic materials on the pond floor. Smaller particles are trapped in a filter mat below the basket. The pre-filtered water then travels trough the pump to the biological filter.
The biological filter is buried and hidden away in the ground typically at the start of a waterfall or stream. It contains filter mats and biological filter media providing plenty of surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize. The main function of a biological filter is to break down pond waste products and remove excess nutrients from the pond water.
2. Rocks and Gravel
Rocks and gravel will not only protect the pond liner from UV light degradation and add aesthetic value, but they will also provide lots of surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down excess nutrients in the water and dissolved organic debris on the pond floor.
3. Pump & Plumbing
The proper size pump and pipe diameter are not only extremely important for the aesthetics of a water feature, an efficient circulation system will keep the water moving and provide the necessary oxygen levels for healthy fish and aquatic plants.
Fish are an integral part of any ecosystem. Unfortunately, fish are often seen as high maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, fish actually reduce pond maintenance as they graze on string algae and bottom feed from the pond floor. They also add colour and natural beauty providing hours of entertainment.
5. Aquatic Plants
Aquatic plants are Mother Nature’s true filters. They are great for adding character to a pond by providing color and texture, but from a filtration perspective, they are superior. Thriving from the excess nutrients in a pond and depriving algae of its food source, aquatic plants in a water garden provide not only shade and protection for pond fish, they are critical for the overall health of the ecosystem.