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New wildlife pond - what should we expect to colonise it first?

Inspired by Monty Don about 6 weeks ago we made a sizable wildlife pond.  We've had ponds in with fish previously, but thought we would just let nature do it's own thing.  It's a fair size, with shelves, and about 2ft deep in the middle it's got soil and pea-shingle in the bottom and suitable wildlife escape roots.  We've installed some plants - at the moment still in their pots as we are unsure whether to take them out of their pots. 

About 8 days after filling algae bloomed, did the green water thing and then crashed, since that cleared the water itself is fairly clear.  It was pretty static for a while, but in the last 5 days we now have blanket weed starting to run amok and I don't know whether to 'wind' this out on a stick or not - it is smothering the elodea.

I was wondering about the sort of order of colonisation of a new pond.  Animal wise the midges soon found it and swarmed over it virtually the moment it was built.  We have a few tiny black beetles that pop up and down for a gulp of air, and that so far is it.  I guess you can't build a food chain without starting at the bottom, but what sort of order of colonisation should we be looking at?  What will arrive next?  We are in the countryside and have good wildlife generally.   

Any tips regarding new wildlife ponds would be welcome.



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,415

    I'd expect water boatman and diving beetles fairly soon

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • kleipieperkleipieper Posts: 563

    When I dug my pond here in the middle of town, while it was filling up with water,  I heard, plop, plop, every time I walked past. took me a while to realise it was little froglets jumping in. They had managed to find the pond within a day after I dug it out!

    Especialy if there are ponds in gardens near by, you'll have all sorts of creatures, like newts and frogs moving in in no time.

    I think I would try to remove the blanket weed though, before it chokes things up completely.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,852

    Within a few days of filling it in March we had diving beetles in our pond  then pond skaters and water boatmen.  Frogs and newts soon appeared followed by tiny pond snails and then in July a grass snake visited for a day and ate one of the frogs - and I saw it all happen image

    A year later and it's a well-established pond teaming with wildlife. We bought some more pond snails online this year just to help things along a bit.

    We find that regular applications of Blagdon Barley Straw Extract and Blagdon Bio-Active Sludge Control deals with the blanket weed and keeps duckweed down to a minimum and doesn't harm the wildlife. image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • JO 3JO 3 Posts: 8

    Thanks all, I might get a twiggy stick in the blanket weed and have a bit more of a twist, it is quite satisfying to see it all wind up.  I leave it on the side of the pond for a few hours in case anything crawls out that needs to get back in the water then compost it.    We have big grass snakes and have seen them swim on the fish pond, but I don't think it's visited the new pond yet - nothing for it in there.  No frogs or newts yet image  I like the idea of pond snails though - we could get some of those, I hadn't thought of snails when I was trying to think of what was missing and I will check out the Blagdon products.  Thanks for all the comments.  Any more for any more.

  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    Why did you put soil in the bottom? This will increase nutrient levels unnecessarily, encouraging the blanket weed. Blanket weed should settle down in time once the plants get established.

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    do you have a friend with an established pond (without goldfish or koi)? can you get some ooze from the bottom plus some water? its help 'seed' the pond with good bacteria

  • JO 3JO 3 Posts: 8

    Onopordum we wanted to shield the pond liner from UV. and wanted to cover a lot of it up.  We purposefully didn't use top soil on the basis that it would be full of nutrients.  We live on a meadow not disturbed for around 60 years that sits on thick Essex clay (the material that lines many natural ponds) and were well into this layer when we dug it so we used this material in the bottom of the pond as a compromise between putting soil in and getting to many nutrients. 

    treehugger80 - I'm still looking for a friend that doesn't have fish!!

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    My pond snails came as eggs on the plants I bought from Puddleplants.

  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    My first colonizers were, in this order (at least to my knowledge), newts, frogs, those funny insects that skate on water, tiny snails (might have imported those with the duck weed) and then the king of the pond, Fabrizio, a brilliant green and blue male of Aeshna cyanea, the largest dragonfly we are ever likely to get. Then Fabrizio brought his wife (-ves) and more males popped up, but he always remained the owner of the pond, fighting them all down one by one. I admit that I cheated and once I saved him from drowning after a particularly hard scuffle. Warmed him up in my hand in the sun until he was fine again.

    One dragonfly hatched in the pond, but I think the nimpha must have come in with the duck weed, because the pond is too recent for that to be a native here.

    That was last summer. This year we have an other male of the same species, but he has not half the spunk that Fabrizio had. I miss my little warrior.

  • Are snails good for a new pond,i filled my 8mtr x 2mtr last september and have just noticed a snail in the pond,also diving beetles pond skaters and a few wormy things.

    Will the snails eat my plants

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