With summer comes thunderstorms, and in certain parts of the country, hurricanes and tropical storms. You certainly need to have your home prepared for these storms, but you should also prepare your backyard pond for storms. A properly prepared pond may suffer some damage, but the damage will be minimal.
There are two things that will damage a pond in a storm. Runoff and flooding from the rain can alter the temperature and pH of the water, killing of plants and fish. A storm can also knock out your power, rendering your pumps and filters useless. If you take some precautions, however, your pond will weather a storm just fine.
Properly installing your pond will help with rain causing runoff into the pond. If you allow water to runoff from your yard into your pond, it could carry with it fertilizers, pesticides, and other contaminants. When you build your pond, you should make sure that there is a raised lip around the edge of the pond to prevent water from running into it from the yard or garden.
The rain itself will also be falling into the pond, which can cause the pond to overflow. It will also alter the water temperature and pH, which can be stressful to the fish. If possible, place a tarp above the pond, allowing air to circulate, but at the same time, keeping the rain out of the pond. It is also a good idea to have a place for the pond to drain, just in case enough rain gets to it to cause an overflow. Just be sure you don’t direct the overflow to a place that can’t handle the water.
Power outages will prevent your pumps and filters from functioning, so you need to be sure that your pond can handle being without filtration for a while.
A properly stocked pond will be easier to maintain in case of a power outage. Too many fish will overwhelm the pond and make it much more difficult to maintain. If you know that a storm is coming, you should stop feeding them. Koi excrete the most ammonia after they eat. If everything is functioning, this isn’t a problem, but without filtration, the ammonia will build up. So, don’t feed them if you know a storm is coming. Koi can go for a week without food if necessary.
Be sure you have plenty of water treatment on hand to keep ammonia and other contaminants from building up in the pond. Ammo Lock and Amquel will help to control the ammonia levels.
Oxygenation is also an issue if the pump is not working. A car battery with an inverter can run an air pump and air stone for hours, adding much needed oxygen to the water. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to add oxygen to the water. 1/2 to 1 cup per 100 gallons of water should be sufficient. Put the peroxide into a squirt bottle, and squirt it under the water.
A storm can also damage your electrical equipment, even if it doesn’t knock out the power. Be sure that all of your equipment is protected by a GFCI, and well grounded with heavy gauge wire.
With a few precautions, you can prepare your pond for storms, minimizing the damage, and minimizing the stress on your fish, and on you.