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So you decided to go the pondless route. All the bells and whistles without all the maintenance. Although it is much less maintenance intensive than having a pond, it does need attention from time to time. That’s right you’re not completely off the hook. Follow the guidelines below. Keep everything running and looking its best. Bringing you enjoyment and relaxation the whole year through.

Using large character boulders to make a man made stream look natural

If you are reading this while you are still trying to decide pond, or pondless. Check out our guide to building a pondless waterfall (link to article) before you make up your mind.

Annual Checkup

Like getting our annual physical, your water feature needs a tune up from time to time. The spring startup is the perfect time to look at all your equipment and make sure everything is as it should be. Inspect your pump, water lines and your lighting system.

Although there are no fish, there can still be a build up of nutrients. Decaying leaves and other organic materials still find their way into your water feature. By adding beneficial bacteria (link to Amazon for the best price) you can get rid of any discolored water or foul smell.

Hit The Reset Button

If your water feature is completely out of whack, you may need to do a partial, or complete water change. This will hit the “reset button”. Eliminating the unused nutrients in the water that are causing string algae growth or discolored water.

When you do a water change, water from your town or city contains chlorine. You can either wait four or five days before adding your beneficial bacteria. The other option is to use dechlorinator (link to Amazon). Otherwise you will be defeating the purpose. The chlorine in the city water will wipe out the bacteria you add.

Getting Rid Of String Algae

string algae in the pond

If you want to get rid of string algae, one simple inexpensive trick is to use hydrogen peroxide. The same stuff you find in the local drug store or supermarket. Either add it to your water, or turn off your waterfall and pour it on the algae directly.

Within a couple days, your string algae problems will be a thing of the past!

Don’t Run Out

One of the most important things to check periodically is the amount of  water in your system. Pondless water features have a reservoir that is out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind, so don’t forget to check it every so often, especially when the temperature starts to heat up.

If you don’t want to replace your pump (link to our article on pond pumps) then you need to make sure there is enough water and doesn’t run dry. Your pump will burn out if it runs without water passing through it.

Water Fountains

Pondless water features don’t only include a typical meandering waterfall into the ground. This category also includes fountains and the like. If you are running a fountain (link to our top 5 fountains article) on your deck or patio, you will follow the same guidelines.

If you start to notice white flaky build up on your fountain, it could be due to hard water. The same thing happens in your shower. Use Easy care for fountains (link to Amazon) to get rid of those ugly stains and keep everything in peak performance.

Keep An Eye On The Weather

When the seasons change, it’s a great time for some preventative maintenance. If you live in a climate with mild winters, you could leave your feature running year round. Your pump was designed for continuous use, so you may as well take advantage and enjoy it.

Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for winterizing your pump. When you disconnect your pump for the season, be sure to disconnect your check valve if you have one. This way the water can drain from your return line. If your lines aren’t drained they could freeze, and crack.


Paying attention to these few things will make your life easier. Helping you to extend the enjoyment of your water feature.

Are you thinking of adding a water feature or fountain in the future? Have you run into any problems we didn’t mention in this article? Please comment below. Until next time, enjoy your backyard water garden.


About the author


I love being outdoors and hands on DIY. If you share my passion, you are in the right place. If I can help one person surprise themselves with the success of a project, then this website is a success.

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  1. Hi Jeff,

    So yes… I have string algae on the rocks in my waterfall and in the basin the water filters through. I have tried several different things to no avail. I see here you suggest hydrogen peroxide. How much of that do you use? Does it hurt the pump or filters or anything else?

    1. Dawn,
      Yes, we use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of string algae. I recommend 16oz of peroxide for every 1,000 gallons of pond water. Add the peroxide to your skimmer box, or somewhere in your pond that it will be mixed quickly. Be sure you don’t add it directly to where your fish are. Concentrated peroxide could burn your fishes gills.

      Give it about a week and the algae should clear up. Peroxide will not harm your pump, but you will need to rinse your filter pads often. As the algae dies it ends up collecting on your filter pads. Here is a video of the results from adding peroxide to a pond https://youtu.be/Jv2VfWUn7cM

      Best of luck to you fighting the “green menace”

  2. Thanks for the tip that not running out of water is very important to maintain for garden decor water fountains I've always wanted to have one in my property because it will surely make the place look very elegant. It will just be a matter of maintenance to make sure that it will stay looking that way.

    1. You are right! There is nothing better than a well maintained water feature. When it comes to fountains, they can be easily managed as long as you keep them full of water. If it is only a fountain and there are no other creatures inhabiting your fountain, algae and other pests can be controlled by a mild bleach solution.


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