Pond time

Start fixing pond problems this month

Growing big fish begins with creating the right environment on the molecular level. The food chain in ponds begins with the microorganisms and ends with the top predators, such as largemouth bass and catfish.

In order to get the preferred micro-organism to grow, proper pH and later fertilization must be a part of every pond management plan. Pond productivity starts with balancing the pH to allow the expected phytoplankton to be able to utilize the added nutrients.

During February, pond microorganism growth remains dormant and will continue to lack activity until the waters warm in spring. Since ponds require at least four weeks for water chemistry parameters to change, pH-altering compounds should be added in February. 

Many ponds suffer from acidic conditions and limestone will be prescribed to raise the pH to desired levels between 6.5 and 7.5. The nearly balanced pH will allow phytoplankton to utilize the fertilizer to be added in the coming months when primary productivity begins its warm season blooms and provides the food resources for the users the next rung up on the food chain.

Take results from water testing and determine the appropriate amounts of limestone the ponds will to alter the pH. If water tests were not performed, the water’s pH can be tested using a pH test kit purchased from a pool-supply retailer. As a rule of thumb, one ton of limestone per acre will raise the pH by one point. Limestone supplements should be scattered evenly throughout the pond and allowed to settle four weeks before the first fertilizer treatment in March.

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