Introduction to Ecosystem Ponds

Today we are going to take a look at ecosystem ponds.

At Clearwater Creations, we have been helping homeowners install and maintain ponds and water features since 2011 and we’d love to share our experience and expertise with you!

We’ll take a closer look at what an ecosystem pond is including its five main elements of a filtration system, recirculating system, plants, rocks, and fish. So, let’s get started!



Healthy ecosystem ponds contain filtration system, recirculating system, plants, rocks, and fish


What Are Ecosystem Ponds?

According to the National Geographic Society, an ecosystem is a “a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a bubble of life.” Ecosystem ponds are small geographic areas that contain living organisms such as plants, animals and microbes as well as non-living parts such as rocks, gravel, water, soil and air.

These components interact with each other to form their own little “bubble of life”. When planned out and set up properly, ecosystem ponds can create a complete, low-maintenance system that works together with nature to provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife and plants that lives in and around it.


The 5 Key Elements of Healthy Ecosystem Ponds

There are 5 key elements that need to be present and working together to maintain a healthy and thriving ecosystem pond. They include a filtration system, a recirculating system, aquatic plants, rocks and gravel, and fish. The most common problem occurring to upset the balance of ecosystem ponds is an overabundance of algae.

Each of these 5 elements play an equally important role in keeping your ecosystem balanced and your algae levels under control. Together these 5 elements can help you maintain a naturally balanced ecosystem without the need for over-filtering or adding large amounts of chemicals to your pond. Here’s what each element does.


Check out this ecosystem pond renovation by Clearwater Creations


1. Filtration System

An effective filtration system will help to remove pond debris such as leaves, mosquito larvae, floating algae, and anything else that gets blown into your pond. A pond skimmer is used to pre-filter the water in your pond and collect any surface debris so you won’t have to manually remove it.

Your skimmer’s motor will draw water and floating debris into the skimmer before it has a chance to sink to the bottom of your pond. A basket inside the skimmer collects and traps the debris so it can’t escape back into your pond. An additional filter mat is located below this basket to trap and filter out even smaller particles of debris from the water.

The water that is collected then passes through a biological filter. The biological filter removes excess nutrients from the water and provides surface area for helpful bacteria to grow and colonize. This beneficial bacteria is then returned into the pond where it can help to keep your ecosystem healthy.



Pond skimmers help to remove the debris floating on your pond’s surface


2. Recirculating System

Healthy ecosystem ponds have a recirculating system that includes a pump that keeps the water in your pond moving. This movement generates the right levels of oxygen that your plants and fish need to survive and flourish.

It is important to install the proper size of pump for the size of your pond to ensure that you maintain the right amount of movement of water.

You could also install a beautiful water feature such as a waterfall or foutainscape as part of your recirculating system.



Waterfalls help to recirculate the water in ecosystem ponds


3. Aquatic Plants

Introducing aquatic plants into ecosystem ponds is essential to keeping it healthy and well-balanced. Aquatic plants help to remove nutrients from your pond that algae use for food. If you have less food for the algae to eat then you will have lower algae levels.

Plants will also provide shade for your pond, thus depriving algae of the sunlight that it also needs in order to grow. In addition, aquatic plants also provide food for the animals that live in your pond such as fish, frogs, and turtles.

You plant plants both in your pond and around the edges to give extra shade and to add to the aesthetic look of your pond. Some of the best pond plants include:

Marginal plants: Plants that you can plant around the edges of your pond i.e. ornamental grasses, northern blue flag, horsetail rush
Floating plants: Plant that float on the surface of your pond i.e. water lilies, water hyacinths
Bog plants: Can be grown in the soil around your pond or in the shallows of your pond i.e. purple pitcher plant, Rodgers flower



Water hyacinths are great floating plants for ecosystem ponds


4. Rocks and Gravel

Rocks and gravel play an important role in keeping your ecosystem pond healthy. Incorporating rocks and gravel all around the surface of your pond liner will help to protect it from getting damaged. You can also use larger rocks to form a natural shelf in your pond to give you a shallow area where your floating plants can thrive.

In addition rocks and gravel provide the surface area necessary for beneficial bacterial to break down excess nutrients in the water. All of the plant debris, fish waste, and decaying organic matter that sinks to the bottom of your pond will rest on top of your rocks and gravel. Beneficial bacteria that is living on your rocks and gravel will break down this waste and debris thus effectively cleaning the water in your pond.



Rocks and gravel can protect your pond’s liner


5. Fish

Fish also play an important part in balancing your pond ecosystem. They eat algae and effectively reduce its growth and they also bottom feed on your pond floor to keep it clean. As your fish swim around your pond, they also help to stir up the water so that it can flow into your filters. In addition, they are relatively easy to care for pets that are also quite beautiful to watch.

To learn more about the type of fish that you can have in your pond, check out our post called “What Fish Can You Have in Backyard Ponds in Ontario?



Fish will also help to keep your pond balanced by eating algae


Clearwater Creations can expertly design and install the perfect ecosystem pond to perfectly complement and enhance your backyard space. All of our water features are created using the highest quality materials and installed with expertise to provide you with a natural space that you can enjoy for years to come.

Our unique and environmentally friendly ponds can include a variety of plants and fish of your choice. Contact the water feature experts at Clearwater Creations today to install your own ecosystem pond.




Looking for a special water feature for your backyard in Peterborough, Northumberland, Clarington and the Durham Region? Clearwater Creations can do it for you. Contact us today for an estimate and then sit back and enjoy.

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“Amazing work and amazing people to deal with. Highly recommend for your pond needs”

Cherise Kimberlee, Facebook Reviews