Beneficial Pond Plants For Small Ponds

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Written By Mark Washburn

Mark has 20 years of experience as a professional pond management consultant.

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Despite the fact that many backyard water gardens are, in a sense, artificial and man-made, every one can be improved and made more natural and “wild” by adding pond plants. Plants provide a number of benefits to fish ponds and whether you live in California, Salt Lake City, Texas, or Orlando, there will be a pond plant that will fit your climate and local area.

Most folks are clearly aware of how much some well chosen plants can improve the look and appearance of a water garden. The eyes certainly don’t lie, and when a colorful selection of lilies, lotus, or iris are added, a pond can become a vibrant, living, breathing display of a nature. Plants however add more to a pond than just good looks.

Pond Plants For Shade

During the hot summer months, excessive heat and sunlight can take it’s toll on just about anything exposed to the elements, and your pond is no exception. Sun exposure in abundance can often lead to, or at least support green water problems in small ponds. This phenomenon is actually free floating, single cell algae of various species. In very small numbers you wouldn’t even notice them, but as they grow in number, their presence begins to tint the water with a greenish hue. As their density increases this tinting can become an outright solid green color much like pea soup.

Green water usually isn’t a problem for fish but most pond owners go crazy trying to fix the problem. In actuality this coloration may actually protect the fish because it does diffuse the light a bit. However floating pond plants are a better option because they provide protective shade for the fish but also limit some of the sun exposure that feeds single cell algae. A clearer pond and happier fish, all through the addition of plants!

Koi Pond Plants Provide Protection

Sun blocking is a pretty obvious benefit of pond plants but we can take their contribution to another level when we consider how they integrate naturally with fish and help in a process called the nitrogen cycle.

Fish must eat to survive but a byproduct of this of course is waste. In large waters, this waste is diluted so much that it isn’t a problem but in a small backyard pond, it can affect water quality dramatically. Normally as this excrement is broken down it will turn into ammonia. Naturally occurring or supplemented bacteria will break this down into nitrites, then to nitrates and these are consumed by plants for food. And fish will quite often feed on plants.

Ammonia and nitrites are actually toxic to fish and if they are not converted through the nitrogen cycle, levels can build up in the water and cause big problems. So, plants and fish have a symbiotic relationship where they can rely on one another for balance. Plants are natural cleansers of pond water and this is important. Poor water quality issues lead to a variety of problems that are best avoided and pond plants can help greatly.

Pond Plants And Algae Control


Buying Pond Plants


Caring For Pond Plants


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