Inherited a Pond

I bought a house with a pond! … what?


First, congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful world of water features. Inheriting a pond along with the purchase of a new home can be very exciting and sometimes very daunting. If you have never had a pond before you may have no idea what steps to take. And you may even suddenly have fish that you want to learn how to care for. If you are lucky, the previous homeowner left you detailed instructions on the pond and its care. But that is not usually the case. So what steps should you take to ensure the best success going forward? The detailed care of water features can vary tremendously and no two systems are alike. Knowing what you are working with is the best starting point whether you are going to figure it all out on your own or enlist the help of AquaNooga's expert staff. The following steps will help determine what to do next and what kind of maintenance plan may be needed.


  1. Take stock of what you have. Are there fish? If so try to learn what kind of fish and approximately how many seem to be there. Are there plants? Are the plants contained within pots or running wild?

  2. Learn your equipment. If there is moving water, then you have a pump. Locate the pump and see if it has a label with a brand and model. Some pumps are submerged in the water, others may be outside the pond. Find any filters that could be installed. There are many possible types of filters and their location in the pond can vary. You will probably have some type of “pre-filter” This might be a skimmer box that holds a submersible pump, it could just be a screen connected to a pump. Odds are this pre-filter needs to be cleaned ASAP if the pond has not been recently serviced. You may also have a biological filter. This could be at the head of the waterfall or it could be a pressure filter somewhere along the plumbing line. The more detail you can learn on what you have the easier it will be to move forward to a beautiful and healthy pond. Our overview of water gardening components gives an idea of what the more commonly installed items might be. One tip if you aren't sure where to look for pumps and other equipment that uses electricity is to follow cords from a nearby outlet.

  3. As best you can, determine the size of your pond. Knowing how many gallons are in your pond will be a huge help with most everything you do from here on out. Whether it is buying a new pump, removing chlorine because you need to add water, treating for algae, or any number of other things you will want to know the pond volume. So take your measurement as closely as possible and estimate the volume. With your average length, average width, and average depth you can get a rough estimate of your gallons by multiplying all together and then by 7.5. Or you can use our volume calculator to assist.

  4. Assess the current condition. This may be difficult if you have no experience with ponds and don’t know what you are looking for but there are still some basic things to look for. Is there moving water? If there is, that is one big step out of the way. While the pump may need cleaning or service, at least is there and functioning. If there is no pump running, look and see if there is a waterfall or other feature that needs a pump. Then first check and see if perhaps the pump is there but just unplugged. Next look at the filters. These may need to be cleaned if they are clogged with debris. Speaking of debris, check the pond bottom. Does it seem to be relatively clean or are there mounds of leaves and sludge? Do the fish seem healthy? Healthy fish should be reasonably active in warm water, not sitting on the bottom or hovering lethargically at the surface. Can you even see the fish or is the water green or cloudy? Do the plants seem to be well manicured or are they growing completely unchecked? These may need to be thinned and/or fertilized. If the pond has been significantly neglected it may be a good idea to completely drain the pond and start from scratch. But how do you know what the next step should be. Well…..

  5. Seek professional help. One option is to completely turn the task over to the pros. Find a company that can come in and do whatever is necessary to get your pond back into great operating condition so you can just sit back and enjoy. Or, even if you want to do any labor yourself, touching base with a company familiar with the equipment, ecosystem, and proper maintenance regimen can be a huge help in getting you on the right track. Provide all the details you have been collecting to get the most help. Equipment details, sizes, and photos will let your professional give you the guidance needed to restore your pond to its its full beautiful potential and show you what steps to take to keep it that way. And maybe give some tips to make your water feature even better than the previous homeowner had it. And yes, the staff at AquaNooga is here to help however we can.

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