How to Maintain a Healthy Pond Ecosystem

You’ve just installed your dream pond, and now you need to make sure it stays healthy and beautiful year after year. In this article, Clearwater Creations will highlight four aspects of pond care that will set you up for success when it comes to maintaining the health of your pond:

The right environment can help your fish thrive

The right environment can help your fish thrive

Keeping Your Pond Ecosystem Healthy


Choosing the Right Fish

Fish can brighten up your pond ecosystem like nothing else and they can add an extra layer of fun and serenity to an already lovely environment. However, not every fish can survive in every environment. You’ll need to consider the following factors to make sure your fish live long, healthy lives:

The Shape of Your Pond

When it comes to the shape of your pond, some fish enjoy wide, shallow ponds, while others prefer much deeper ponds. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular pond fish and what their preferred pond shapes are:

  1. Koi – The Koi you’ll receive from a supplier will likely keep growing after they’ve been installed in your pond ecosystem. Due to this, Koi typically need at least 3 feet of depth. Going deeper is okay, but may require a larger filtration system to accommodate the larger body of water.

  2. Goldfish – Goldfish and Shubunkins are hardier and can endure chillier water temperatures. Typically 2 feet will be enough if the only fish you want to keep are goldfish.

  3. Fathead Minnows – These 2-3 inch fish don’t want to be in a pond deeper than 28 inches or so, but require some shallow areas of about 4 inches to feel most comfortable. Fathead Minnows also get along fine with other fish and can be a fun addition to your pond ecosystem if the shape is right.

The Capacity of Your Pond

The general rule of thumb when considering how many fish your pond can hold is 10 gallons of water for every 1 inch of fish.

So if you’ve got 10 6-inch fish, you’ll need at least 600 gallons of water. However many fish keep growing after being added to your pond, and most experts recommend underfilling your pond if possible to give your fish room to get larger.

If you want to learn more about the best fish for you, check out our guide for the Best Fish For Backyard Ponds.


Intense seasonal changes can be a danger to your pond ecosystem

Protecting Your Plants and Animals

Once you’ve put in the time and effort to establish your ponds ecosystem, you need to make sure you’re aware of the effects that the climate and external predators can have on your pond so that you can be better prepared to protect it.

The Climate

If you live in an area that has a prolonged, chilly winter, your pond will need to be prepared accordingly. To protect your pond ecosystem from the pressures of winter, for both fish and plants, you’ll want the pond to be at least 2-3 feet deep, and you’ll need to prevent it from totally freezing over in Winter.

There are also some helpful preventative steps you can take to winterize your pond in advance, such as using a pond skimmer to remove dead leaves from the water and moving less hardy aquatic plants indoors to keep them safe for the season.

For more helpful info on making sure your fish survive the winter, check out our guide for Backyard Ponds in Ontario.


Some of the most common predators of pond fish in Ontario are herons, ducks, raccoons, and even house cats. There are a number of protective measures you can place around your pond to ward off predators, such as netting, fences, or tarps. Unfortunately, while effective, these solutions interfere with the beauty of your pond.

Another avenue to consider is adjusting your pond ecosystem so your fish can protect themselves. To help your fish evade predators, consider adding:

  • Protective underwater vegetation

  • Stones or outcroppings for fish to hide under

  • A shelter for fish to swim inside


Both plants and animals need clean, filtered water to survive

Filtering the Water

Clearwater Creations makes the best out of both biological and mechanical filters to keep the water of your pond ecosystem fresh and clean:

  • BioFalls Waterfall Filter – Pumps water through a bacteria filter before overflowing via beautiful waterfall, removing waste and aerating your pond at the same time.

  • Pond Skimmer – Collects surface debris before it sinks to the bottom, and pre-filters the water to help reduce overall maintenance.

  • Recirculating System – A mechanical pump, scaled to the size of your pond, that circulates water and provides oxygen to both plants and animals.

  • Aquatic Plants – Naturally filter the water and keep algae from spreading.

Check your pond occasionally for any issues

Regular Health Check-Ups

Every week or so it’s worth checking for these common issues in your pond ecosystem:

  • Sluggish Fish – They might not be getting enough nutrients in their diet, or the water chemistry is unhealthy for them.

  • Algae Blooms – The pH balance of your pond water might be becoming more extreme. There is an excess of nutrients available to the algae.

  • Broken Filters – If they’ve jammed or stopped working they may need to be replaced.

  • Pond Debris – Remove any floating leaves or organic material so it doesn’t rot, and check for foreign objects that might clog your filters or hurt your wildlife.

Clearwater Creations specializes in building long-lasting, flourishing backyard pond ecosystems, and can set you up for success.