Do I Need Plants in My Pond?

Cordata Chameleon

Plants bring a new level of beauty to any pond, but they are much more than just good looks!  Plants in a pond are the natural workers of a healthy ecosystem.  They use nutrients that fish are adding to the water (fish poop) and therefore become living filters!  Too many nutrients in the water can cause algae blooms and sludge.  Too much sun on the water can contribute to algae growth as well. While plants are sitting there looking beautiful, they’re actively providing filtration.  When plants cover 30 to 40% of the surface area of the pond, it will reduce the temperature of the pond, helping reduce algae blooms.

What about fish and plants?

In addition to filtration, your plants are good for the fish.  They create a shady place for fish to relax.  Some fish will nibble on the roots of floating plants like water hyacinth or water lettuce.  Both of these will spread and can be quite lovely.  Here in Colorado these are annual plants, so they will die off when the winter weather comes.  If your fish have babies, plants offer a great place for them to hide.  

To have a balanced ecosystem a pond needs the following 5 components and plants are #5!

  1. Filtration (skimmer)
  2. Rocks and gravel (surface area for good bacteria to colonize)
  3. Recirculation (oxygenation – pump, aerators and good water flow)
  4. Fish (keeps algae in check)
  5. PLANTS (clean pond by adding living filtration)