As you probably know, winters here in NJ can get pretty cold. While you're inside feeling warm and cozy by the fire, you may glance out the window and wonder how your fish are doing out there in that frosty pond. Will they freeze? Do they have food? Are they bored?
This article should answer your questions and ease your mind. Fish are pretty easy to care for in the winter. Being cold-blooded, their activity level drops along with their metabolisms. During the cold season, they'll spend most of their time resting safely at the bottom of the pond where the water is warmest. The only things they're counting on you to do is ensure their pond stays oxygenated and doesn't completely freeze over. Some ice is fine, it adds a new dimension to the pond that will evolve throughout the season. You just have to keep a small hole open in the ice so unwanted gasses can escape the water.
The problem with the entire pond freezing over is that the gasses released by decomposing organic matter at the bottom of the pond then have no way to escape the pond, which leads to toxic levels of these gasses building up in the pond. Fortunately, preventing that from happening is as simple as maintaining a hole in the ice. This can easily be accomplished with the proper application of heat and aeration.
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If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that many of our posts regard the criteria for pond that will be home to a specific family of animal. Thus far, we've described ponds for turtles, bass, frogs, dragonflies, and snails. Today's post is about a different class of animal: avian. More specifically, it is about ponds built for ducks! This article will describe exactly what ducks need in a pond, and how to design a pond where your feathered fowl can thrive.
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Easily the biggest challenge with designing and owning a duck pond is achieving adequate filtration. A standard ecosystem pond designed for koi will quickly become overloaded with waste when ducks are introduced. To effectively handle a load of ducks, you'll definitely want to have a wetland or bog filter. This uses plants and bacteria to naturally utilize the excess nitrates in the duck detritus as nutrients for growth. Deciding how large to make your wetland depends on the number of ducks and the size of the pond. A typical fish pond will have a wetland averaging about 10% of the pond's surface area. For ducks, you'll want it sized between 30-50% of the pond's surface area. That may sound like a lot, but consider how the typical environment where ducks thrive is full of reeds and cattails. That doesn't happen by accident, those reeds grow so well because the ducks provide them plenty of fertilizer. It's been discovered that the best plants for using in the wetlands of a duck pond are reeds and cattails. Due to their density and vertical growth, they use the greatest amount of nitrates relative to the area they occupy.
If you have a private pond in your backyard, chances are that your pond is home to some aquatic plants. This blog entry will describe the various functions plants play in an ecosystem pond, and the many ways they contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.
Aquatic plants are a valuable part of freshwater ecosystems; their presence in a pond provides many benefits:
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