Everyone loves ponds, and ponds certainly need all the love we can give them

We joined in with ‘Oxford Goes Wild’ today – and no surprise that we had a pretty constant crowd around the trays of pond animals we brought along. Everyone really loves the life in ponds.

And ponds – and watery wildlife generally – certainly need friends.

As we reported a couple of weeks ago, out in the countryside ponds are in a pretty terrible state: 80% in England and Wales are in ‘Poor’ or ‘Very poor’ condition.

If you would like to help, one of the best things you could do is join up as a Pond Conservation supporter here and help protect our threatended freshwater wildlife.

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4 Responses to “Everyone loves ponds, and ponds certainly need all the love we can give them”

  1. Alex Says:

    Hello,

    I am in the process of creating a new wildlife pond and adjacent habitats eg bog area, meadow (all sounds very grand, but only about 5 square metres in total!) and am totally confused by conflicting advice on pond depth for wildlife ponds. Most of the area I have dug is very shallow (finger depth) with two shelves going down to a depth of 35cm. I need to allow for underlay and sand etc so it will be about 30cm. But I’ve just been told my pond will warm up too much and go green at this depth so need to dig another foot. The pond will be in full sun so I’m inclined to agree so guess I need to get digging again!

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Hi Alexandra

    Why not send me a photo of the pond and I’ll have a look (would you mind if I made a post out of the picture?).

    It’s perfectly natural for a pond in full sun to get warmer than one in the shade, and no harm in it (though it might not be good for some fish). And that’s one reason shallow water is such a good habitat for animals: it’s warm so growth can be fast. Our tadpoles love the really warm shallow water, and so do lots of other creatures.

    There shouldn’t be a permanent problem with algae provided the pond really is free from pollutants.

    What probably _will_ happen is it’ll be a soupy browny/green to start with until there are plants and waterfleas that can compete with the microscopic algae – this is what has happened with mine. Once they get going the water should be gin clear.

    The conflicting advice comes from the fact that very few people have looked carefully at small ponds, and nobody has looked carefully in garden ponds.

    We’ve just started doing so over the last couple of years – hence the new advice.

    Jeremy

  3. Diana S. Says:

    I’m really enjoying this blog about ponds. We have a smallish pond which we have had for about 15 years. It is fairly deep, 60 cms at the deepest part with a shelf at about 30 cms because it was intended for fish. The first year they all bred and we had loads of little fish. However, gradually all that survived were goldfish which became quite large until a heron despatched most of them. Our last fish died last year and so we have had many more tadpoles and frogs and I did see a toad last year but so far not sure if they are breeding. We have now been inspired to dig (or rather my other half is digging) a wildlife pond and hopefully perhaps put more fish in the deeper pond. Water clarity has sometimes been a problem but we had no dead frogs after the pond being frozen for two or three weeks. This year we did not make a hole in the ice although I have done this in the past with a pan of hot water covered with newspaper and a blanket! One question please – to settle an argument – would builder’s sand be ok to put in the wildlife pond rather than sandpit sand? I shall continue to read the blog and hope to learn a lot more.

    • Jeremy Biggs Says:

      Hi Diana

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      We have tested sandpit sand by adding it to a bucket of rainwater and seeing whether it raises the water conductivity – which is a simple but effective way of testing whether adding it to the pond would pose any risk of adding anything unwanted to the water.

      The stuff you buy in Tesco doesn’t increase water conductivity at all, so is quite safe (other brands might not be the same). The Tesco sand we bought is essentially pure silica.

      But wherever sand comes from I would test it first, though I realise this isn’t an easy thing to do as conductivity meters are not all that easily available and can be quite expensive. You can get very cheap Chinese-built ones around £25 on the Internet although they are rather fragile – one I had simply fell apart as I changed the battery. About the cheapest you can get that is properly robust is around £100.

      Builders sand we haven’t tested – although we have used so-called washed gravel (which has a huge amount of silt in it, and does raise conductivity).

      Without testing, I wouldn’t like to guarantee builder’s sand would be OK, and would be suspicious of it.

      You might be interested to know that we will check the conductivity of water samples for free for Pond Conservation supporters!

      Best wishes

      Jeremy

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