One very necessary component in raising ducks is the duck pond. Ducks, however, poop a lot and will mess up their pond in no time.
How do you care for your duck pond? Are there tips and tricks to save you stress and time? Read this article to find out.
How do you care for your duck pond? The methods of caring for a duck pond depend on the type of pond. You can care for your duck pond by filtering the water, draining and refilling the water, or even introducing some organisms into the pond.
What types of ponds are there? What organisms can you add to the pond to do some of your work for you? Continue reading.
Everything You Need to Know about Cleaning Duck Ponds
Truth be told, caring for a duck pond is hard work. Ducks are messy creatures that constantly poop. Ducks also love to swim, splash, and wash their beaks in water. Those with ducks know that they must have a pool or pond for their feathered friends.
Now that they have their water, you will find that it is constantly dirty and the surrounds messy. Not to mention all of the duck poop!
When cleaning or caring for a duck pond, the most important factor to consider is the type of pond. There are two types of ponds:
Natural ponds are already in place and were not made by humans. They often contain other lifeforms that can help with keeping the pond clean.
Artificial ponds come in different shapes and sizes and some look like natural ponds, but an artificial pond is any pond that was made by humans.
In this article, you will learn various methods of caring for (i.e. cleaning) natural and man-made ponds.
How to Care for Natural Ponds
Natural ponds are somewhat easier to care for than artificial ponds because nature already has some cleaning agents. If, however, you have a lot of ducks and are noticing problems with the pond, follow the suggestions below:
1. Use Aerators
Aerators help to increase the oxygen level of any water body. Most aerators act as water fountains, pumping water out into the air under pressure so that the droplets fall back down with more oxygen. Some aerators pump air (filled with oxygen) directly into the water.
Why would ponds need aerators? Well, the more your ducks poop into the water, the more decomposition will take place. Decomposition is the process of biologically breaking down organic materials into nutrients.
Decomposition is done by fungi and some bacteria and they need a lot of oxygen to carry out this process. Without oxygen, the pond will become dystrophic.
A dystrophic water body is one with not enough oxygen to sustain life. To prevent this from happening in a duck pond, make sure that the pond is properly aerated.
Something else that can happen is that when a pond loses oxygen, anaerobic bacteria (i.e. bacteria that live in the absence of oxygen) will grow in the pond. They can produce toxic gases and make the pond inhabitable (i.e. dystrophic).
2. Introduce Some Friendly Microbes
Some bacteria in the genus Nitrobacter and the genus Nitrosomonas can convert ammonia (which is highly present in duck poop, you can read more about it here) to nitrate, which is beneficial for the growth of aquatic plants. Ammonia is harmful to plants and animals, but nitrate is fully safe.
You can get those friendly microbes from any pond accessory store or even a gardening store. You should also consider adding any safe aquatic fungi to help quickly decompose organic matter.
3. Add Some Fish
If the pond is filled with unwanted aquatic plants, you can add some herbivorous fish to the pond. These fishes will not only control the plant and algae population in the pond, they will also serve as an extra source of food for your ducks.
Tilapia fish are a popular choice for this purpose because they reproduce often (even in captivity) and they keep the pond clean by eating some plants. They will also consume mosquito larvae.
4. Use Barley Straw
Barley straw has some properties that prevent the growth of algae and keeps ponds clean. You can float some bundles of barley straw in the pond or buy the extracted liquid and use it as a water additive.
5. Introduce Some Fresh Water Scavengers
Scavengers are animals that feed on decaying materials. Scavengers eat any and every bit of organic matter they can.
Organisms such as freshwater mussels and clams, snails, and tadpoles will help keep the pond cleaner as they feed on duck poop and the other decaying materials that can lead to oxygen depletion.
6. Leave it as Natural as Possible
It may be tempting to use chemicals or in your freshwater duck pond, but often the best policy is to give the pond system time to adjust to the duck’s presence. Nature always bounces back and has a way of taking care of itself.
How to Care for Man-Made Ponds
You already know what a man-made pond is. You can care for your artificial pond by using any of the suggestions listed for caring for natural ponds, after it is well-established, but here are a few more tips for you:
1. Use a Filtration System
A filtration system connects the pond with filters through pipes. It can also be called a recirculating duck pond. This means that water flows out of the pond, through the filters, and then is routed back into the pond.
Some people add extra beauty to their recirculating pond by making a waterfall with the water that flows back into the pond.
2. Routinely Drain and Refill the Pond
If you don’t have the cash or space to construct a recirculating system, you can opt to change the pond water regularly. You should change the water every 1-2 days. You can attach a drainage pipe to send the water to a drainage system or you can manually remove the water and then refill it.
3. Introduce Water Lilies
Who does not love to look at beautiful water lilies in a pond? Water lilies are great for your duck pond because they add beauty and benefits. Water lilies block sunlight from reaching the base of the pond, therefore, preventing the growth of excess algae (which requires light to grow).
4. Add Chlorine to the Duck Pond
Chlorine makes water safe. If there are pathogens in the water, chlorine can kill them. Chlorine can be added to a duck pond if one or a few of your ducks are sick so that the disease is not transmitted in the water. It is best to use chlorine only when cleaning the pond. You can read more about chlorine and ducks here.
Note: It is best to isolate a sick duck instead of allowing it to swim with other ducks. Also, ducks should not drink chlorine-treated water in huge quantities as it can affect their digestive system.
5. Use Surfactants
Surfactants break the water surface tension, pushing pollutants in the water to the outer edges for easier cleanup. Do not use surfactants when your ducks are actively swimming in the pool or pond. Make sure you use surfactants only when cleaning the pond prior to draining so that your ducks do not drink the treated water.
Ducks are fun but messy creatures and can frustrate you by continually dirtying their pond or pool. There are many ways to clean a duck pond and this article has highlighted some of the best, easiest, and most practical ways to clean and maintain a duck pond.
What are you waiting for? Go clean that pond right away!