Duck ponds are miniature ecosystems that contain bacteria, protists and decaying material, each of which can make water look dirty. An overabundance of any particular organic material can kill pond life, so it's important to keep ponds clean and ecologically balanced. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can be dangerous to ducks and other pond life. Instead, employ several natural ways to keep ponds clean and healthy.
Build the biggest pond you can. Small, human-made pools of water are more likely to suffer from disease and decay. But large ponds develop a natural ecological balance and are more likely to filter out dangerous material. When ducks have lots of space, they are healthier, which means they will eat algae and other material that can cause murky water.
Put water lilies in the pond. Green algae is a common pond protist that, when overgrown, can disturb the pond's delicate ecological balance. This photosynthetic algae grows in wet areas with lots of access to sunlight. Water lilies prevent algae overgrowth by blocking excess sunlight. They also help to oxygenate the pond, which can prevent dangerous changes in the pond's pH levels.
Add barley straw to the pond. This can limit the growth of string weed, a common pond pest. When string weed takes hold in a pond, it can kill off plant life, limiting the access of fish and ducks to food. Place the barley straw in a net or onion bag at the bottom of the pond. You should use one bundle of straw per 1,000 gallons of water. Remove the straw when it begins to rot.
Install a water filter in your pond. This helps to supplement the natural water-cleansing provided by plants. It will also keep the pond from developing an overabundance of decaying material. Adding a waterfall will strengthen the effectiveness of the water filter by oxygenating the pond and keeping water moving.
Plant aquatic plants at the bottom of the pond. Choose plants that can be completely submerged in the water. These will remove excess minerals and decaying material from the pond. They can be purchased at pet stores and garden centres.
Remove fallen leaves from the pond. These decay quickly, which can lead to algae growth, excess nutrients and decaying biological waste.
Avoid overfeeding pond fish. Give fish only as much food as they can eat in 15 minutes. Excess food is a common cause of cloudy pond water.
Natural pond water is murky, so ponds that are maintained with natural methods will not be perfectly clear. The real goal of natural pond maintenance is to set up a healthy ecosystem that is unlikely to cause fish and ducks to develop diseases.