- - our first wildlife pond - -              
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My wife was concerned that having a pond would bring midges and mosquitoes and spoil our enjoyment of relaxing on the patio in the evening.  It hasn't been that way.  Certainly the undesirable little beasties try to use the pond to breed but they provide food for other little beasties that we welcome.  Incidences of any bites are less than pre-pond days and are almost zero.

Damsel Fly Nymph
Damsel Fly Nymph

Tell people that you are building a wildlife pond and you are likely to find someone who has an established pond who will be happy to give you a bucket or two of plants to get you started.  These plants will probably contain a multitude of visible and microscopic organisms and eggs.

Most pond plants are vigorous growers and very invasive.  If you buy some tiny specimens from a garden centre as I did you will be soon be wondering how they justify the price when you are throwing loads of the stuff away.
Important - always compost surplus plants. Do not dispose of them in natural ponds, canals, rivers, etc.  See beplantwise at direct.gov.uk

 

I had two problems with vegetation.
Green water and Duckweed.
Duckweed shown on previous page and in this image >

The pond gets some direct sunlight and this caused the water to turn green very quickly.  This is  common with a newly constructed pond and although it isn't (initially) unhealthy a thick green soup isn't what we want to look at.

Pond Skater and Duckweed
Pond Skater doesn't mind Duckweed

Urgent action to clear green water with an ultra violet filter Green water was an almost immediate problem.
I bought a pump and ultraviolet filter which were in use for three days to clear the problem. At this point we had only three plants that I'd purchased from a garden centre (and one frog of course).

Note - this is the only time a pump or filter has been used with the pond.  A wildlife pond becomes its own self sustaining ecosystem. The date shows how long since setup  and there has been no filtration or cleaning.  When necessary tap water is used to top up and all animals and plants thrive.

Once your pond is adequately planted green water should not occur.   Although duckweed becomes a problem as it multiplies quickly and covers the whole water surface I found it initially beneficial as it cut out the sunlight that was causing the green water.  The duckweed not only drastically reduced the penetrating sunlight but also used the nutrients that were feeding the microscopic single-celled algae that make the water green.

Emerging Damsel Fly - Nikon Coolpix 4600 Water.
First concerns were with regard to contamination by mortar and concrete.  
I applied a coat of Bondglass G4 clear to all mortar that was going to be underwater, ie. the base for the 'logs' and the perimeter paving.  The mortar doesn't have to be fully dried out and I can't recommend this stuff highly enough but it is expensive.
There have never been any apparent adverse effects from mortar.
Following recommendations I purchased a water test kit about two weeks after filling the pond and found the chemical balance was ok.

When laying the paving I ensured a very slight slope away from the pond so that water and dirt from the paving would run toward the lawn rather than into the pond.

It is essential that no chemicals used in general garden maintenance can drain into the pond. Obviously pesticides will kill your wildlife but so too will nutrients in fertilisers that will wreak havoc with the ecosystem.

I was also concerned that only a few days after filling the pond to its final level with tap water a friend brought me a bucket of plants and little critters.  I had intended to allow the water to mature for a few weeks before introducing any wildlife but everything survived the transition from a large natural pond without any problems.

Pumps and filters.
As I've mentioned a pump and filter I think I need to explain.
The larger a pond the easier it is to maintain a natural balance.  Our pond isn't large but other than topping up the water level as required and removing surplus plants it needs no attention.  No pump.  No filter.  It functions as a natural environment.
You only need a pump and filter if you intend to keep most of your pond plant-free or you are going to include fish.  If you want a really good wildlife pond forget about fish.  If you want fish - build a fishpond.
The PondMate pump and UV filter that I bought were put in use on a separate waterfall feature that I completed in 2006.

 

Intro - Construction - Liner - Logs & Rocks - Filling - Soakaway - Life - Plants 1 - Plants 2