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New Pond Syndrome

Question: I've heard of New Tank Syndrome, but New Pond Syndrome, is this a myth or does it really exist?

Answer:  YES, without a doubt. Just as new tanks need time to mature, so do new ponds, the only differences are scale, and and to some extent, temperature.  Koi carp and fancy goldfish are no different at all from Neon's and Guppies and require exactly the same water conditions.

The difference in scale is generally fairly obvious, although there are some tanks larger than most garden ponds. Just like a Fish Tank, the size and capacity of the pond, together with the intended species of inhabitants, determines the filter requirements.  Like Fish Tank filters there are numerous designs and layouts, but all feature some form off bacterial filtration, and just like tank filters all need time to establish a healthy population of active Bacteria. 

In a tropical environment around 25oC these Bacteria can become well established in 6 - 8 weeks. Unfortunately here in the UK there are very few ponds which achieve these sorts of temperatures for more than a few days at the height of Summer. As a result the Bacteria can take significantly longer to multiply to sufficient numbers to maintain water quality.  It is impossible to give a definitive timescale for maturation of a pond filter, but 3 - 4 months is not unrealistic

To clarify the mention I made earlier about the intended inhabitants having an impact on the filtration requirements, this is no different from Fish Tank requirements and has two facets.  Some fish produce more waste than others, and some are more tolerant of water conditions.  This has a particular significance for Koi keepers.  Not only do Koi produce large quantities of waste due to their higher BMI (Body Mass Index), but they are also very intolerant of poor water quality.  As a result, ponds designed to house Koi require roughly 2 - 3 times the filtration needed for goldfish only ponds.

Maroon Clownfish in an Anemone