There’s certainly no shortage of ingeniously effective gadgets available to help you get the most out of your pond – whether you’re looking for something just as a bit of fun, or to make doing a serious job a bit easier. Here’s a quick guide to five of our favourite, from the hundreds available by mail order, online and from garden centres across Britain.
Even the best aerated pond can do with a bit of help to keep those dissolved oxygen levels up when the weather’s really hot and this little device makes a great way to do it. A photovoltaic solar cell powers the little air pump that drives the system and the more the sun shines, the faster the pump goes and the greater the aeration. It’s clean, green and simple to use – and a godsend for gasping fish in a heat-wave!
Solar-Powered Lily Pad Fountain
Here’s another solar gadget that’s ideal for small ponds. This plastic moulded device makes a surprisingly lifelike lily pad – provided you ignore the solar cells embedded in its surface and the fact that it squirts a jet of water a foot or two into the air whenever the sun shines, that is! A self contained unit that floats on the pond, it’s the perfect way to get the moving water experience in your summer garden, without any of the fuss involved with wiring in a conventional pump. If you’re looking for a fun and distinctly informal fountain, this could be just the thing for you.
Novelty Ice Breakers
Pond-keepers have been floating footballs and the like on the surface of their ponds to keep the winter ice at bay for years, but now the idea’s been brought right up to date with a range of novelty ice breakers. Whatever your garden’s look, or your own sense of humour, there’s probably something to suit, from your favourite cartoon characters to gothic dragons and gruesome floating skulls, while the traditionalists amongst us can even choose lifelike waterfowl to do the job. It’s a far cry from the days of old soccer balls and yellow plastic ducks!
Owning your own pond vacuum is no longer prohibitively expensive and there are some excellent mini versions around that will do a good job, without breaking the bank. Most of the latest generation are fairly light and easy to use, being targeted principally at the small to medium sized pond owner and they undoubtedly make cleaning much quicker and easier to do. Although they can’t be expected to handle really mucky ponds well without clogging, they are perfect tools for regular removal of fish excrement and light sediment, so if you routinely like to keep your pond clean and never let too much debris build up, one of these could be perfect for you.
If you’ve got a pond full of fish and no nearby family or friendly neighbours to call upon, going away for a fortnight can be a bit of a problem – unless you buy yourself an automatic feeder. There’s no shortage of designs around, and most of the best come with an accurate quartz timer and the ability to dispense two or three weeks worth of daily meals in your absence. With an initial price tag of around £20, running costs are also typically low – a single AA battery, which lasts for over a year, even if you used it continuously! For peace of mind and the knowledge that you never have to bother anyone else again, this is one gadget no fish keeper should be without.
Whatever we do, we seem to love a gadget to help us do it – and fish keeping is certainly no exception to that general rule. Whether you’re an out-and-out gadget fiend, or a bit more discerning in the gizmos you buy, it’s worth taking a look in your favourite pond suppliers to see what’s on offer to make things quicker, easier and a whole lot more fun.