With a duck pond in your yard, the particulars of pond maintenance become clear. Ducks don't care where they do their business, and algae grows so fast that your pond can resemble a pot of pea soup in short order. If you want to keep it natural, avoiding chemicals, and you consider a filtration system an unnatural option as well, you have a few other choices.
Balance With Bacteria
You've heard of fighting fire with fire. When it comes to eliminating natural pollutants, you can fight organic substances with organic substances. You can add bacterial pond cleaner to your duck pond, and it will get to work digesting decomposing organic material such as algae, waste and weeds. Your pond will be free of nutrient buildup and stagnation, and the water quality won't be compromised.
The Barley Straw Solution
When keeping your duck pond clean, the goal is to balance the environment, not entirely eliminate all the algae. That's why barley straw is an effective solution for duck pond maintenance. It doesn't completely wipe out algae. It just inhibits the growth by producing a natural substance that slows down algae growth without negatively affecting other aquatic vegetation. Pennsylvania State University's extension website advises using 10 to 25 grams of barley straw for every square meter of pond for maintenance, but you may need to use up to three times that amount the first time around if your duck pond has excessive algae growth. Fashion packages of loose straw in netting and anchor them so the bundles float beneath but near the surface of the water.
Beautiful as Well as Efficient
Water lilies floating serenely on the surface of a duck pond are a pleasing sight, but they serve a purpose for keeping a pond clean, too. Their broad leaves reduce the amount of light that enters the water, diminishing the sunlight that algae need to grow. If you get mature lilies, all you have to do is float them on top of the pond water, no potting or other nurturing required. Oregon State University's extension website advises that you cover 50 percent to 70 percent of the surface of your pond to control algae growth and keep the water clean.
Scavengers: Your Pond Cleaning Crew
You can always get a cleaning crew to maintain your duck pond. The crew that will do the best job doesn't need a paycheck and isn't even human. Scavengers like snails and tadpoles will clean waste from the bottom of the pond. Include freshwater mussels and clams, too, as they can naturally filter around 16 gallons of water each per day.
- Mother Earth News: Organic Pond Announces OMRI Listing for PureBacteria+ Pond
- Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: Barley Straw
- Oregon State University: Backyard Ponds and Water Features
- Ohio State University: Controlling Filamentous Algae in Ponds
- The Telegraph: Ponds: How to Keep Your Water Clear
- Waterford Gardens: Scavengers
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.