Your Pond Is Losing Water? All Possible Causes and Fixes

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Having a pond in your yard is therapeutic. It gives a relaxing feeling and adds to the beauty of your property. Besides stocking fish, you can grow water plants, add a spitter, or make a floating plant island. However, what can you do when you notice that your pond is losing water?

When your pond is losing water, it may be caused by:

  1. Evaporation
  2. Overgrown pond plants
  3. Wildlife
  4. Critters
  5. aquatic snails
  6. Splashes
  7. Low pond edges
  8. Leaking pond lining
  9. A plumbing fault

This article will explain why your pond could be losing water. We will also describe how you can fix the problem.

1. Your Pond Water Might Be Evaporating

Evaporation is a natural occurrence and the main reason why your pond could be losing water. Every week, your pond loses about 1 inch to evaporation. The water level will drop even faster during summer when the wind is dry and hot. So, it is normal if you lose about 2 to 3 inches (5-8 centimeters) every week when the temperature is hot.

How To Fix

If your pond is losing water due to evaporation, an easy way to fix this is to top it up with a hose. However, you must take care not to introduce excess chlorine or other chemicals that will distort the water quality, pH, and other parameters. If you think about topping up the water with water from a well, read this article first.

Using a dechlorinator helps to reduce the level of chlorine in the water, making it safe for fish. You can also use the sprinkler attachment on your hose. Sprinkling the water instead of pouring allows the chlorine to evaporate before it gets into your pond.

Another easy fix is to provide shade for your pond using a canopy or tarp. You can also introduce some aquatic plants like water lilies to cover the pond surface.

2. Overgrown Pond Plants

Pond plants use water in the pond to sustain themselves. When the temperature becomes hot, they tend to consume more. Also, if you have trees around the pond with foliage hanging over the water surface, it could be using the pond water to grow the tree.

How To Fix

Pond plants provide shade for the pond. So it won’t be wise to get rid of all of them. The best solution would be to top up the water. You can do this with water from most sources. Just ensure it’s clean and will not disrupt the natural balance of the pond.

You should also consider removing the bigger plants, including those that have overgrown the pond lining. The roots of older plants are more likely to soak up more water than the younger


3. Wildlife May Be Consuming Pond Water

Animals, including your pets, might be the reason behind your pond’s water loss. Birds could swim and drink from the water, which may be insignificant. But if the pond becomes a major water source for many animals, it could reduce the water level.

How To Fix

If you notice many birds drinking from your pond, a polyurethane net will deter them from visiting. You can also install LED lights and an audio device that plays the sound of predatory birds.

A natural way to keep birds away is to apply certain smells around the pond. These include peppermint oil, lemon oil, cayenne pepper, garlic, and chili pepper mixed with vinegar. However, depending on your smell tolerance, this might not be ideal.

Additionally, if you rear animals in your yard, you should consider cordoning off the pond area to deny them access.

4. Critters Are Tearing Your Pond Liner

Your pond could be home to critters such as rats. If you have fish in the pond, it could be a major attraction. Rats can feed on anything. When they get bored, they may start chewing the pond liner, creating a hole. 

Large enough holes could lead to water loss from evaporation and other wildlife that now have access to the pond.

How To Fix

Get a dog that has a sensitive nose to walk around the pond. If it paws and sniffs at the pond desperately, it indicates that it has found the hideout of some critters. Get rid of any critters and then repair the hole in the liner or replace it.

To stop rats from entering your pond:

  • Keep your backyard or garden clean.
  • Remove excess fish feed from the pond.
  • Raise the edges of the pond
  • Install mouse traps 
  • Keep cats in your yard.
  • Use herbal smells from tomatoes, garlic, basil, onions, or oregano to repel them

5. Aquatic Snails May Be Blocking the Pump

It is easy to spot aquatic snails but getting rid of them can be quite difficult because they reproduce rapidly. When these snails get stuck in your pump, they can stop water flow into the pond. 

As a result, the volume of water in the pond reduces gradually until it becomes noticeable. If you have a waterfall feature, the sound will become faint as the water level drops

How To Fix

To remove snails from your pump:

  1. Disconnect power from the pump.
  2. Remove all the bolts holding the motor and the housing.
  3. Use a slim stick to remove the snails from the propeller.
  4. Flush the propeller with water.
  5. Assemble the motor and the housing.
  6. Check the drain basket for any debris.
  7. Turn on the pump.

Here’s a video explaining how to unclog the pond pump:

To get rid of aquatic snails in your pond:

  1. Handpick them during the day.
  2. Set a trap using vegetables, then scoop them out.
  3. Introduce fish species, like Zebrafish, that feed on snails.
  4. Remove excess fish feed from the pond.
  5. Change the pond water weekly.
  6. Scrape out algae.

6. Water Loss From Splashes

Your fountain pump and spitter could be the reason why your pond is losing water. They can spray water out of your pond if they are not well positioned. Splashes also increase evaporation, especially when there is wind.

Splashes could also come from the waterfall or the stream that feeds into your pond. The water may spill out of the way before it gets to your pond. 

How To Fix

If you observe that your spitter or fountain is splashing water out of the pond, reposition it or reduce the rate of water flow from the pump. 

If you have a waterfall, turn it off for a week to see if the water level will drop. If the leak reduces, get a professional to examine the waterfall. However, you can do it on your own if you are a bit handy. Here are a few things to check:

  • Water flows freely when the pump is on
  • If there are damp spots around the stream 
  • If the plants around the waterfall are overgrown
  • Whether there are obstacles on the watercourse preventing the free flow

After confirming any of the above, fix the water loss using these tips:

  • Install a waterfall box. It ensures that there is no leak in the pump line connection. It also makes filtration easy since the feeder area is usually the most challenging part of the waterfall during installation.
  • Install a good liner covering the entire stretch of the waterfall and the edges. This will help collect any water that seeps through the rocks on the sides and feed it into the pond.    

If the waterfall has points of heavy splashing, carefully place rocks around those spots to reduce splashing. A pond designer can help you pinpoint areas where splashing may occur. This is why you must get your design right before constructing the pond.

  • Trim off any tendrils that have overgrown into the watercourse.
  • Some rocks in the watercourse may shift during the dry season and displace water. Remove them, including any other obstacles that may stop water from trickling down the waterfall. 

7. Poor Pond Edges

Your pond edges might be losing water because they are too low or not level. The lining may have folded over too. Water will gradually seep out of the pond, leading to water loss over time. Additionally, the material used in making the edges could be the problem. Materials like light rock or wood can absorb water.

How To Fix

Walk around your pond and look for wet spots to identify the point of leakage. If the pond edges are not level, raise them to become equal. And if they are too low, add more materials to raise the edges. Also, ensure the materials at the pond edges are not submerged in the water.

Inspect the lining. If it has folded over or moved out of alignment, pull it up to the edge of the pond. You can also use a rock to secure it.

8. The Pond Lining Could Be Leaking

Apart from critters chewing on the pond lining, it may wear out. Also, sharp rocks and small stones can damage the liner. Stop pumping water into the pond so you can take note of the water level. Observe the pond closely for 24 hours. If the water level drops drastically, the pond liner is the culprit.

How To Fix

The first thing to do is to identify where the leak is from. Allow the water level to drop, so it doesn’t escape anymore. If there are fish in the pond, ensure to rehome them in case the leak is at the base of the liner.

A large hole is easy to spot, but a small one needs more attention. Look out for bubbles around the pond lining. If you still can’t find the leaking spot, add some colored dye around the suspected area. After a few minutes, the dye will diffuse and drain towards the hole, making it easy to identify the leak.

If the hole is small, you can patch it using a repair kit, sealant, or joining tape. But if the liner has large holes is damaged or old, this will be an excellent time to replace them.

Here’s a video explaining how to repair a pond liner:

9. Faulty Plumbing

Leaks from plumbing are possible but the least expected. So, if you have checked every other thing, the last place to check is the plumbing. This involves the pipes, filters, pump connectors, and valves. You can hire a professional if you think the issue is beyond what you can handle.

How To Fix

Check the filters and the pump to see if they are secure. Sometimes, the bolts may have gone loose and require fastening. These features are also made of plastic and will wear out over time. Check whether they are broken or cracked. A small split on the plastic can cause leakage. If this is the case, replace the broken part immediately.

The next place to check is the filter basket. Debris could clog the filter and stop the free flow of water or make it overflow. Instead of the water moving through the pipes, it flows out of the filtration system. If the filter is clogged, remove the debris and give it a good flush with a hosepipe.

If there is a pump inlet or drain at the base of your pond, you need to check it closely. The seal in the pump inlet may have worn out, especially if the plumbing is old. Empty the pond, then pour some water at the base. If it bubbles or the water drains slowly, there is a leak.

You can fix your pond’s plumbing by installing another inlet, applying a new seal, or caulking the leaking spot.

Why is Your Pond Losing Water in Winter?

Your pond is losing water in winter due to evaporation. Generally, a colder temperature usually means less evaporation but with the low relative humidity and stronger winds during winter, you might lose more water from your pond than you’d expect.

During the cold winter months, your pond can face a unique problem from the low relative humidity. This can lead to even more evaporation than in the summer months.

The air is dry because of the low relative humidity in the cold months and will therefore soak up any moisture it can find. The rate of evaporation will be much higher if your pond has a relatively warmer temperature.

In addition, wind conditions will also contribute to increasing the rate of evaporation. Any wind condition will generally impact how much evaporation occurs – be it mild or harsh. Of course, the stronger the winds, the more evaporation will occur.

So, while evaporation should be less in the winter months, especially if the ponds are frozen, it can be more based on the above mentioned conditions.

How To Fix

There’s really no actual fix for this aside from regularly topping up your pond. Once you are sure there are no leaks and none of the problems discussed above apply, just top up the water in your pond once it goes lower by as much as two inches or thereabout.

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