Garden ponds can be excellent wildlife habitats, and can make a contribution to the protection of freshwater wildlife Invertebrate animals such as dragonflies and water beetles, and amphibians can colonise new ponds quickly. Garden pond owners have the potential to make many original and valuable observations about the ecology of small waterbodies, which garden ponds replicate.
Garden ponds also cause problems. In particular, garden ponds can be pathways for the spread of invasive non-native plants. In the UK the non-native species Crassula helmsii and Myriophyllum aquaticum, which cause considerable practical problems in protecting freshwaters, are both escaped invasive species from garden ponds.
Ponds may be created by natural processes or by people; however, the origin of the hole in the ground makes little difference to the kind of wildlife that will be found in the pond. Much more important is whether the pond is polluted or clean, how close it is to other wetlands and its depth, particularly whether it dries out from time to time and how many fish (if any) there are.
Naturally, ponds vary more in their physical and chemical conditions from day to day, and even during the day, than other freshwaters, like rivers. People often install pumps in garden ponds to counter these natural tendencies, particularly to maintain higher levels of dissolved oxygen: although this is probably not necessary for wildlife generally, it may be essential to keep fish in a small pond. For ponds with polluted nutrient-rich tapwater added to them, filters can be used to reduce the abundance of algae.
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