What Is An Ecosystem Backyard Pond And How Is It Different?

Find Out Why Ecosystem Ponds Are The Best Ponds For People In Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia

Like watches, ponds are made of small, separate parts that all work together. This way they can complete their goals – watches to measure time and ponds to thrive.

Backyard ponds can have its own ecosystem too, even though it’s man-made. It can function perfectly if it has all of the necessary parts:

Every size pond, small, average, and large, should have these parts. Let’s find out more about how they interact as an ecosystem.

You can also learn about the 5 components of an ecosystem backyard pond >>

Parts of a pond's ecosystem

What’s In A Backyard Ecosystem Pond?

Here is a close-up look at an ecosystem pond we built (it even goes underwater with the fish):

Water

Without it, there’s not a pond. The average size of a residential pond is normally an area between 100-200 square feet and are 2′ at the deepest point, perfect for fish.

As for keeping the water in place, concrete or plastic tubs can be used. EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber liner is rising in popularity as a replacement for them.

Then most everything else in the pond cleans the water in one fashion or another.

Pond renovation with waterfall

Pond Filtration

This can be mechanical, biological, or both.

Mechanical filters are like the Autobots of filtration. They include skimmers, filter boxes, or intake bays.

A biological filter (also known as biofalls) provide an area for beneficial bacteria to grow. These bacteria eat excess nutrients in the water that algae like to feed on.

Find out if UV lights actually filter ponds too, or just get rid of green water.

Skimmer unit during a koi pond cleaning

Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants are like the perfect spouse: amazing to look at, likes to clean, and will provide food, shade, and shelter. This is what aquatic plants are and do.

They add charm and elegance to every level of your pond: deep water, marginal, floating, and tropical! At every level they also help remove nutrients algae feed on, keeping your pond clean and clear.

But, a little algae is actually good for your pond.

Blue moneywort aquatic plant

Algae

Important! There should always be some algae in your pond!

Algae is natures way of telling you that your pond is healthy. If fish and plants aren’t getting the job done, there are other methods of controlling algae you can turn to:

  • Algae treatment products
  • UV sterilizers
  • The IonGen 

Ion-gens are one of the best ways to go because UV sterilizers won’t get rid of the algae growing on the rocks.

Algae and leaf floating on pond perfect for feeding koi fish

Rocks & Gravel

The biggest debate in the pond world: what to cover the bottom of the pond with?

Koi enthusiasts and pond owners say that rocks and gravel provide:

  • An area for beneficial bacteria to grow (which aid in filtering the water)
  • Protection for the pond liner from the sun’s damaging light
  • A natural-looking choice to decorate a pond’s bottom

Some people question if ponds need gravel at all because they can have drains.

Pond bottoms will look good regardless, drain or no drain. Drains can help decrease maintenance by keeping the bottom of your pond cleaner and clearer. But there’s more to drains than just that.

Whichever you choose, the animals will still be happy.

Close up of rock and gravel bottom with koi fish

Pond Animals

The most popular pond animal may be hard to pet, but it’s a fantastic addition to any pond – koi fish.

Not only do they add color and beauty, but they also eat algae, help move stagnant water around, and provide entertainment. Watch them swim around, play with aeration systems, and even feed them!

Other pond animals can include:

Hand feeding koi fish

It’s Possible To Have Too Much

Don’t add too many plants or fish to your pond’s ecosystem!

You’ll want to have the right amount of fish per gallon. Too many fish will cause too much waste, plants and filters will be blocked, and the water will get…murky. 

If you avoid this, you can have a thriving ecosystem and an amazing pond.

Before an exploratory drain and clean

Enjoy Your Personal Ecosystem

A pond that’s well planned out and set up needs very little maintenance. It also needs very little looking after, including ph tests or other water tests. You can enjoy more and work less.

You can find out more by downloading our ultimate guide to spring pond cleaning >>