New Pond Owners In Des Moines Will Love Reading This Helpful Guide

The only Master Aquascape Certified Contractors in Iowa

New Pond Owners In Des Moines Will Love Reading This Helpful Guide

Find Almost All The Basic Information Any New Pond Owner In Des Moines Should Need
So you’ve recently acquired a new pond, whether by having it installed or it came with the property. It’s a great addition to your life with fish to feed, wildlife to watch and hear, maybe even some running water to soothe the family after a long day. You love your pond and want to keep it nice and healthy, but need a little guidance on the “how.”

Ponds come with some amount of maintenance, as do all living things. They are an ecosystem in and of themselves. The animals, plants, and even the water itself need to be properly maintained if you want to keep your pond beautiful. It’s hard to know everything there is to know about keeping a pond, so here is a guide to help you out. You have the questions, we have the answers.

Want to know the basics? Learn more about the ecosystem of a pond >>

The Most Important: Water Balance

Correct water balance is as important to a pond’s ecosystem as a ringmaster is for a circus. Without it, everything else falls apart. Plants and animals die, algae runs rampant, and your pond turns into a wasteland. This can be prevented!

  • Auto-dosing System: this is the best way to maintain your pond. It acts like an IV and slowly adds a certain treatment to your pond throughout the day. There are four options to choose from- maintain, clean, clear and protect. For more information, take a look at the Automatic Dosing System page.
  • Ion-Gen: this bad boy clarifies, increases water quality, reduces the need for chemicals, and helps prevent algae. It’s simple to install and energy efficient. Our Ion Gen page can tell you more.
  • Wetland Filtration: a natural and excellent choice for water filtration. The plants that are part of it help filter the pond and it looks like a natural spring. Learn more about how wetlands help your pond on the Wetland Filter page.
  • Algae Control: is easier than you’d think possible. All you need for natural filtration systems are plants, animals, and rocks and gravel. It also helps to install mechanical and biological filtration systems. There’s more about algae and controlling it on our Algae Control page.

Caring For Fish

Fish are a great addition to your pond. It’s fun to watch them swim around and feed them, plus they are beneficial to pond maintenance. It’s no added workload to keep them either!
Make sure your pond is well aerated.
Fish use oxygen in the water to breathe and the water gets this from being circulated. If the water isn’t aerated enough, the fish can potentially suffocate. Aeration can come from waterfalls, underwater aeration systems, and other sources.

What To Do With Fish In The Cold

As for winter, you don’t need to bring your fish inside. All you need to do is use a de-icer to keep a hole in the pond so that the gases can escape the pond. As long as your pond is 2’ deep, the fish will not freeze and basically hibernate down there.

More Than Just Koi

You can have more than one type of fish. Koi and goldfish are the most common choices and they get along with each other just fine. Shubunkin is another type of fish perfect for ponds. Other wildlife may be attracted to your pond too, such as frogs, turtles, and birds. As long as you maintain the health of your water, all wildlife will be well.

Fish Are Friends, Not Food

Predators aren’t a problem as long as your pond is well set up to protect your fish friends. Plants for them to hide under and man-made caves or tunnels will keep your fish from the beaks and paws of hungry animals. 

For more on how to care for your fish, visit our Fish Q&A page.

Aquatic Pond Plants

Let’s look at 3 types of plants that are great for ponds: floating, bog/marginal, submerged, and deep water. 

  • Floating Plants: stay on the surface and provide surface coverage, shade, and protection. Many produce flowers that help beautify your pond. They also remove nutrients that algae feed on and grow from.
  • Bog/Marginal Plants: grow around the rim of a pond. These plants spruce up the edges of ponds while also take out harmful nutrients from the pond before they can accumulate.
  • Submerged Plants: these aquatic plants grow completely underwater. These plants are self-sustaining and very beneficial to your pond ecosystem. Submerged plants help oxygenate the water and provide a place for your fish to hide from predators.

For some examples of aquatic plants you can add to your pond, check out our Aquatic Plants for Your Water Garden page.

Pond plants help lower the amount of maintenance you need to do on your pond and it adds to the aesthetic of the pond. They are almost a necessity for pond owners to have. You don’t have to try and replicate the Garden of Eden, but adding some plants will benefit the pond, and yourself, in multiple ways.

Pond Maintenance

If a pond isn’t properly maintained, the whole ecosystem can suffer. Ongoing maintenance is a requirement for a healthy pond and overall it really isn’t too much work when done consistently. There is also spring, fall, and winter maintenance that should be done to keep your pond in its prime.

  • Ongoing Maintenance: will help keep your pond working smoothly. Cleaning is the most important part of ongoing maintenance, such as emptying skimmers, removing debris, water treatment, and other tasks. See what else is involved or sign up for ongoing maintenance on our Ongoing Maintenance page.
  • Spring Maintenance: takes the ice age out of your pond and gets it ready for the spring. This involves a lot of work, starting by draining the pond. Then there’s cleaning, replacing, dividing, installing, and other duties. To see how Just Add Water does it or to employ us, visit our Spring Maintenance page.
  • Fall Maintenance: means leaves are changing and falling into your pond to clog it up and make it less attractive. A full pond cleaning is recommended to keep it in tip-top shape and to make your fish as comfortable as possible. Learn more about what we do on our Fall Maintenance page.
  • Winter Maintenance: winter is coming, so be prepared or let us prepare your pond. We take care of plants, animals, water, cleaning, and the pumps. To learn more or to get us to winterize your pond, visit the Winter Maintenance page.

More of a DIY person? Contact us to sign up for free maintenance classes.

There’s More to Know!

There are some pond myths out there that needed busting, so we went ahead and did our own Mythbusters episode for 12 pond myths. Some of these include myth about mosquitos, fish, plants, and general care for your pond.

If you’d like help with your pond or just want to talk about your situation, we’re here to help! Get in contact with us so we can better assist you.

Who We Are

Just Add Water is a locally-owned company that serves the state of Iowa for over 17 years. Our team is very enthusiastic about upgrading the yards and properties for all of our fellow Iowans, and we have the experienced crew to do so!

Quick Links


I’ve worked with Just Add Water for two water features. They have always been good listeners and eager to get the work up to my specs. The Just Add Water Team is very creative and loves what they do! They take on any challenge, find a solution and get it done!

If you are looking for a professional approach to beautify your yard, I highly recommend Chris, Will, and their team for the project!

John Olsen


The crew & office staff at Just Add Water make the perfect team to create a water feature that enhances your life. If you are just looking for advice, or if you need repairs to an existing water feature, or if you want something totally new for your landscape… Just Add Water is the place to go.

They removed our old pond and invented a beautiful fresh look with a pondless system of 3 waterfalls. We’re very pleased and truly impressed with their artistry and sincere demeanor. Give them a chance. You’ll be glad you did!

John Gray


We hired Just Add Water to create a waterfall feature in our backyard. What we didn’t expect was the overwhelming beauty that happened when they were finished! Chris came to our house on a Sunday, no less, to plan our design, and his crew worked on a Saturday after a long week to do our project.

Amazing, stunning, and much more than we ever dreamed! Professional, and over-the-top design, you won’t be disappointed!!

Joan Campbell