How to Keep a Pond Clean Without a Filter

Potassium permanganate is potent and needs to be added slowly.
Potassium permanganate is potent and needs to be added slowly. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A clean pond is more important than aesthetic appeal. Biological grime and build-up can lead to harmful toxins that can kill your fish. Regular pond maintenance and cleaning prevents this build-up and keeps your fish healthy. Unfortunately, cleaning without a filter makes maintenance more difficult. For a thorough, filter-free cleaning job, add potassium permanganate to the pond water to kill all harmful biological material. Use extreme caution when handling this material as it is potent and harmful in large quantities.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermometer
  • Face mask
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Potassium permanganate
  • Teaspoon
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Measuring cup

Measure the pond water temperature before beginning the cleaning process. Potassium permanganate cannot be added to the pond if the water is warmer than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting chemical reaction could kill your fish. Proceed if the temperature is under 80 degrees.

Place on a face mask, gloves and goggles for protection. Potassium permanganate is potent and a strong irritant to skin. Protective clothing prevents physical contact and accidental inhalation. Stand downwind if there is any breeze.

Add 1 tsp. of potassium permanganate per 1,000 gallons of water. Calculate the amount of potassium permanganate you need by dividing the number of gallons in your pond by 1,000. For example, suppose your pond is 600 gallons. Your calculation looks as follows:

600 gallons/1,000 gallons = .6 tsp. of potassium permanganate

Proceed with this step only when you know the exact volume of your pond. The correct amount of potassium permanganate turns the pond water a light pink color.

Watch the fish carefully. Too much potassium permanganate removes oxygen from the water and causes the fish to gasp for air. Immediately add hydrogen peroxide to the pond if you see this happening. Hydrogen peroxide reverses the effects of potassium permanganate. Add at a rate of 1 quart per 5,000 gallons of water for complete neutralization. Use a measuring cup for an accurate measurement.

Leave the potassium permanganate untouched for eight to 10 hours to take full effect. The biological material at the bottom of the pond, harmful bacteria and parasites are eliminated form the pond after this time period passes.

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