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Pond Foam: What Does It Mean?
There are a few reasons a pond might become foamy. Although often harmless, it is important to monitor any build up of foam on the surface of your pond as it can require immediate maintenance for ponds with fish.
Are your fish more active than normal? Are your smaller fish chasing around your larger fish? Does your pond smell...fishy? If that's the case, your fish are most likely spawning. This usually happens from May to July. When spawning, fish expel gases (ie ammonia) which creates foam on the pond's surface (it is also responsible for the fishy smell). If this is the case, a 25% water change is recommended. We also suggest adding a water conditioner, or detoxifier, to remove chlorine, neutralize ammonia, and detoxify heavy metals that can harm pond fish. Increasing the pond's aeration and adding carbon/charcoal are also beneficial.
It is common to get surface foam on your pond in spring. If your pond is under a flowering tree or surrounded by flowering shrubs, the pollen generated from these plants can cause an increase in surface foam. This foam will usually subside within a few weeks, but may require multiple water changes if the foam continues. Although I'm unsure of the science behind this, I speak from experience. Our barn pond always foams up when the cherry tree above it blooms. The foam always recedes after the cherry drops it's flowers and leafs out.
Has your lawn been fertilized recently? Have you applied any pesticides/insecticides near your pond? Does your dog swim in your pond (esp after having flea meds applied)? All these chemicals can leach into your pond and wreak havoc on your pond/fish. A telltale sign of these chemicals is a foamy pond and stagnant/gasping/clamped fish. In this case, it is imperative that you replace 100% of the pond's water. Clean all filter material, add fresh carbon/charcoal, continue boosting aeration, and monitor the fish closely. Adding a detoxifier is also crucial.
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