The health of your fish and plants is all down to the quality of the water remember clear water does not mean healthy water, if you donít get it right then your fish will become ill and suffer. If you have a higher than normal ammonia, PH or nitrate level then your fish can become stressed and open to the elements and diseases, believe me, talking from experience, its easier to maintain a healthy pond than try and cure your fish from illness.
Because pond fish live in a relatively small area any diseases caught by a fish can soon spread, so get it right and enjoy the pond life.
The acidity of the water is measured by a PH kit which is available from any good garden centres, the PH has a range of 0 to 14,if your reading is below 7 it will be acidic and above will be alkaline and 7 which is ideal will be neutral.
After testing your should have a reading of between 6.8 and 9.0 which is ideal for goldfish and koi although itís common that these levels can vary slightly.
The carbon dioxide that comes from the fish, plants and organic acid in water all lower the PH of your pond, try not to use tap water due to the impurities within it, I always try and collect rain water to avoid as many impurities as possible.
A very valid point to remember is not to over stock your pond, the smaller the pond the less fish you need to keep, too many fish in a small pond increases the nitrates, this can be controlled by water change and good filtration, if not it can be very toxic to your fish, they can become ill and can also cause breathing difficulties.
The plant roots you have in your pond consume nitrates and phosphates along with algae, itís a good idea to encourage them to grow good roots for the best effect, try using as little soil as possible in the plant pots.
When feeding your fish, you have to make sure you donít overfeed them, a good guide for this is, once fed the food should all be gone within about two minutes regardless of the size and amount of fish you have, thatís as long as you have not overstocked.
You will need a good filtration system in place as this helps with the alkaline in the water which in turn helps with the levels of PH, a good guide to alkalinity level s would be 100 to 300 ppm (parts per million), this in turn creates a more stable PH, if the levels of alkalinity drops below 60 ppm then a wide swing in PH levels will happen.
I would suggest you check your pond levels at lease once a month for peace of mind, leave it and start losing your fish can become expensive and upsetting.
Below is a list of the main areas that you need to be concerned about when having a pond.
Ammonia Nitrites Nitrates
Return from Water Quality to maintaining ponds