a backyard pond
Photo: Olson Photographic
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Solutions to Common Pond Problems

Algae:
You can kill this green slime with chemicals or UV lights, but it will still come back. You'll get better results by adding plants, barley straw, or biomat filters, and not overfeeding the fish.

Mosquitoes:
Keep the biters at bay by stocking larvae-eating fish, such as goldfish, mosquito fish, or bitterlings. Tossing in mosquito dunks with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) also kills the larvae without harming plants or animals.

Pests:
Deter raccoons with a straight drop of at least 18 inches from the pond's edge. Nylon netting stretched over the surface discourages fish-eating birds. Motion-activated sprinklers may scare off other interlopers.

Leaves:
In the summer, sift out debris before it reaches the pump with a skimmer (about $116; Aquatic Ponds). Come fall, scoop out the bigger batches of leaves and needles with a pond net (about $22; Amazon).

Ice:
Place an air bubbler (about $40; Pond Biz Pond Supplies) or a floating pond heater (about $47; Gold Crest Distributing) into the corner of the pond to keep a portion ice-free and maintain a proper balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
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