How to use Beneficial Bacteria for Ponds & Water Gardens
It is important to understand the role beneficial bacteria play in your pond ecosystem. These bacteria can turn dangerous pollutants into harmless compounds, clean up dead organic matter and provide other benefits if properly maintained. The right type of bacteria for your water garden will depend on a number of factors, but often you can find a comprehensive product containing a variety of strains that works well for most situations. If not, look for one containing proteus vulgaris, aeromonas salmonicida or subtilis spore bacterium.
You also might want to consider using enzymes. Enzymes are proteins made by living organisms, often working as catalysts for chemical reactions within cells. They can be used inside or outside your home, so you’ll want to look for one designed for outdoor use.
Bacteria are microscopic organisms found in almost every habitat on earth from deep-sea vents to salt flats and from polar ice caps to hot springs. In fact, scientists estimate there are more than 100 million different types of bacteria, forming a complex ecosystem that helps control the nitrogen cycle.
If you have a pond with a lot of surface area, it is likely some of the beneficial bacteria are being lost via evaporation every day. Although this isn’t typically a problem in small ponds if your pond is larger than approximately 1,000 gallons it may disappear faster than new bacteria can form through reproduction. To compensate for this loss and ensure enough beneficial bacteria remain in your pond to do their job, the bacteria can be supplemented with commercially available products or by adding materials that house beneficial bacteria into the pond.
When using purchased products, apply them according to package directions. If making your own, add large amounts of decomposing leaves at least twice a month. Leaves are rich in chromium (a component of chlorophyll) and may also contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Wetland plants such as cattails will hold a lot of beneficial bacteria because they have root nodules that provide housing for these organisms until they’re needed for nutrient cycling in the soil below. As long as the plant is left undisturbed, many generations of these organisms may live there happily for years. In fact, when you remove one part of the plant for whatever reason, you should add it to your compost pile or another suitable home for beneficial bacteria.
Depending on the needs of the pond and any pollution problems present, water quality might need to be tested before adding beneficial bacteria. If needed, use a commercial product designed to clean up organic debris, muck, and other pollutants. For best results, follow label directions carefully when using these products.
Conventional wisdom suggests not using chlorine with ponds that house fish because the chlorine can quickly damage beneficial bacteria in the pond that utilize oxygen atoms in its chemical structure instead of hydrogen atoms which is what plants use – this makes them different from animals who get their energy by oxidizing carbohydrates. Chlorine evaporates very quickly so it’s unlikely to be a problem if it’s applied to the surface of the water. Nitrogen in its many forms can easily evaporate from a pond into the atmosphere, so don’t overstock your pond with fish. If you do have an excess of fish and want to minimize their impact on oxygen levels in your pond, add air to the water through the use of aerators or bubblers. You might also consider installing a fountain or waterfall in your garden pond as this creates more turbulence and sends nutrients swirling across the surface where water lilies and other plants can utilize these materials before they settle back down.
The Effects of Beneficial Bacteria
By removing some nitrogen compounds that are detrimental to water quality while simultaneously converting them into safer byproducts, beneficial bacteria help keep oxygen levels high and stress on fish low. When present in the proper amounts, beneficial bacteria help to convert ammonia into nitrite and then finally into nitrate which plants can utilize to build roots and produce oxygen for fish.
If you notice a sudden drop in dissolved oxygen (less than 5ppm) or an increase in harmful gasses such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, or carbon dioxide, this could be a sign that your pond needs more beneficial bacteria because it is overwhelmed with too many nutrients to process within a reasonable timeframe.
Another sign that might indicate your pond requires more beneficial bacteria is the presence of algae blooms caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus. If there’s too much algae present in your garden pond, leave the water untouched for at least a couple of months to allow beneficial bacteria to move in and take care of the problem.
First, you should test your pond water for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and oxygen levels. You can purchase this kit from your local pet or garden supply store or order it online. It’s also possible that there are already enough beneficial bacteria present if you’re using compost tea. If you don’t have any indication that there are already enough beneficial bacteria in place, pour the contents of one package into your pond.
Question: How many packages you need depends on how much surface area your pond covers i.e., the number of gallons/cubic feet times depth in ft x width in ft x length in ft divided by 300000. For example, a pond that is 30 ft long, 15 ft wide, and 5 ft deep would be approximately 37000 cubic feet. To use the above formula, we multiply 37000ft^3 by 5ft to determine the volume of the water in our pond because it’s not going to have a uniform depth throughout.
Answer: 185 packages for a garden pond with a volume of 1850000ml If you’re using beneficial bacteria powder: Mix 1 teaspoon of beneficial bacteria powder per every 100 gallons/cubic feet over 1/4 acre in size. So if your garden pond is 1000ft^3 or within 1/4 acre as defined here, use 2 teaspoons per 1000 sq ft area. Add this amount directly into your garden pond – if your pond is tiny, use 1/2 tsp per 500 gallons.
If you’re using beneficial bacteria tablets: Use 2-3 tablets per every 100 gallons of water. So if your garden pond is 1000ft^3 or within 1/4 acre as defined here , use 6-9 tablets for your pond. Add these to the bottom of the skimmer where they will slowly dissolve over time and be pumped into your garden pond. It might take a few days for all the tablets to dissolve completely so keep their location in mind when you initially add them to avoid any problems with circulation or filtration. If you don’t have a skimmer on your garden pond, place the beneficial bacteria tablets directly into the sediment at the bottom of your pond.
Using Beneficial Bacteria for Garden Ponds Summary
If you’re wondering how to use beneficial bacteria in garden ponds, the process is easy and relatively straightforward. First of all, test your water quality – if there are already enough beneficial bacteria present then it’s not necessary to do anything else. You can also purchase these products online or at gardening or aquatic stores.
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