how to keep a pond clean for swimming

Learning how to keep a pond clean for swimming can help you arrange a nice plan to hang out with family. But understand that not all bodies of water are suitable for swimming.

Curious swimmers risk drowning even in seemingly harmless ponds, especially if the bottom is unpaved or the water is cloudy.

For your own safety, you should only swim in supervised pools. But if you really want to go with a pond, it makes sense to learn how to make a pond clean for swimming.

You can keep a pond clean by using a pond liner, not overstocking with fish, and changing the water regularly. 

The Idea of Swimming in a Pond

Building a sizable garden pond where serious swimmers can feel secure is an appealing idea.

By doing this, you can enjoy a refreshing swim outdoors without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home.

pond with wooden walkway

It is not uncommon to have a few pond species in water to feel “in nature” while you swim and relax. 

But the fish you choose makes a lot of difference here because not all of them can adjust to being around humans.

Although there are quite a few options, you should be fine when you opt for the following:

  • Goldfish
  • Koi

While other species of fish may also work fine, Koi is considered a good choice because it is more likely to adjust well around humans. 

An Important Consideration

While you may find swimming with exotic fish to be an exhilarating experience, your presence may not be all that comforting for the fish.

pond with colorful koi's

To use your pond as a swimming place plus an ecosystem for fish, reevaluate your priorities or be very careful to ensure the comfort of your fish. 

The Idea of Maintaining a Pond for Swimming

Maintaining your swimming pond will be a breeze if you have a healthy ecology. 

You can always help achieve that goal with plants like:

  • Bulrushes
  • Cattails
  • Water lilies
  • Duckweed

These plants are useful because they consume certain nutrients algae need to grow. Once you take care of the algae, the rest is easy.

In fact, all you will need to do to prepare your pond for swimming is remove any floating trash by skimming it with a stick. 

How to Keep a Pond Clean for Swimming

To learn how to maintain your pond for swimming, you need to understand what sets it apart from a regular swimming pool.

The primary distinction between a pond and a pool lies in the fact that the former is designed to sustain a distinct ecology of its own.

pond with koi's and water hyacinth

Garden ponds are typically built for exotic fish and ornamental plants, and not solely for human use.

Of course, the water in these ponds can be circulated and purified by high-quality pumps and filters. But it is nothing compared to a clean swimming pool with chlorinated water

Setting Up a Swimming Pond in Your Place

You will need to sacrifice some of the pond’s natural qualities and give safety a lot of thought if you want to turn it into a “swimming pond.”

It is important to review potential hazards and environmental factors in order to completely understand what is required to make your pond safe for swimming. 

Quick Considerations for a Safer Swimming Experience

Before you decide to dive into your swimming pond, you need to consider the basic safety requirements.

pond with maple tree

For instance:

  • A pond can only host swimmers if it is big enough and deep enough.
  • Have more than two feet to move around to avoid being hemmed in by plants.
  • Ensure the pond is deep enough or you won’t stay afloat.

Ideally, your swimming pond should be deeper than 5.5ft and longer than 25ft. With this much space available, you will find it easier to create a plant zone and a swim zone. 

Tips to Keep Your Pond Clean for Swimming

You can certainly try a number of things but here are the tips to help you keep your swimming pond clean and avoid any issues. 

Make Use of a Quality Pond Liner

Keep in mind that a healthy pond requires a high-quality pond liner.

 Changing a pond’s liner might be the most onerous maintenance duty for owners of natural ponds, so you want it to last long with minimal upkeep.

high quality pond liner

You may save yourself time, effort, and money in the long run by investing in a pond liner that resists:

  • Fading from the sun
  • Tears
  • Punctures
Tip: You may opt for liners featuring strong HDPE weaving, malleable forming materials, and good oxidation and ozone resistance for better performance. 

Never Overstock with Fish

It is essential to ensure that you do not go overboard with the idea of adding fish to your pond.

koi fishes inside the pond

Never overstock your sweet little pond with fish because:

  • It can produce a lot of trash because of its voracious appetite.
  • It makes your pond look unsightly.
  • It triggers the production of ammonia and other toxic compounds.

Maintain the fish population if you decide to stock your natural pond with fish to keep the water clean and healthy. 

Add the Right Plants

The right aquatic vegetation in a pond is also an excellent technique for maintaining clean water.

pond with water hyacinth

The toxic compounds that the fish produces can be removed from the water with the help of several submerged plants, which act as natural filters. Some good options include:

  • Water lettuce
  • Hornwort
  • Water hyacinth
  • Blue iris

They work great to filter out toxins and remove excess nitrates and nutrients from your pond. 

Change Out the Water in Your Pond Regularly

Even without a filter, you can keep your pond clean by changing out the water regularly.

It shouldn’t be difficult, as you can replace up to 30% of the water in your pond at once without harming the pond’s aquatic inhabitants.

flowing pond with fish

Getting rid of stale water and replacing it with clean, new water is a very efficient method of dealing with water quality problems.

Tip: For the sake of your pond's residents, always dechlorinate new water before adding it. 

The Safety of Swimming in a Pond

In large establishments, you may find recreational ponds designed for swimming as well.

But, keep in mind that they usually have enormous ponds that are meticulously cared for by a team of specialists.

girl floating in a body of water

If you want to go with that idea, you need to be careful about your safety.

 Even while each pond is unique and has its own set of sources, they are all vulnerable to contaminants, such as:

  • Animal waste
  • Pollution
  • Algae
  • Insects
  • Bacteria

There are a number of reasons why these environmental conditions can make swimming dangerous.

For instance:

Animal/Human Waste

Although it may be unpleasant to consider, animal and human excrement can often pollute ponds and make them unsuitable for swimming.

There are different bacteria and organisms found in animal and human waste, including:

  • E. coli bacteria
  • Fecal coliform bacteria

Moreover, water pollution is a typical problem caused by geese and other waterfowl clusters in the same areas. 

An Important Consideration

You might not realize that these bacteria are a problem in your pond.

Experts in waterbody management can conduct laboratory tests to determine the presence of toxins in your pond’s water. 

Dangerous Animals

While birds and animals may be the most obvious offenders with their waste products, there are creatures that can make swimming hazardous.

a snapping turtle in a tree

It is usually the case with animals, such as:

  • Snapping turtles
  • Snakes
  • Leeches
  • Alligators

If you know that a lake or pond has dangerous or predatory animals, you should probably stay out of it.

Tip: It may be a good idea to contact AEC for advice if you are concerned that dangerous animal species may be living in your pond.

Microscopic Parasites

The skin rash known as “swimmer’s itch” is caused by an immune system reaction to a parasite so small it may burrow under the skin.

These water-dwelling parasites complete their life cycles by switching hosts between ducks, snails, and other aquatic mammalian hosts.

What you should understand is that parasites searching for a new host in the water may mistake humans for fish. And this could put you in all sorts of trouble. 

Microcystin and Algae

Ponds with an abundance of nutrients are ideal environments for algae growth.

pond with lots of algae

There are two types of these algae:

They both can grow in a pond; in fact, microorganisms and cells of planktonic algae benefit from the extra nutrients and grow quickly.

You need to keep in mind that microcystins are known to cause irritation to the:

  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Throat

But, at the same time, they have been linked to adverse effects on the kidneys, liver, and fertility in humans.

Tip: Do not overlook the presence of algae in your pond, and you probably require algae management services if you can see a lot of algae growing in your pond.  


Learning how to keep a pond clean for swimming can help you minimize the risk of hurting yourself in the process. Manual cleaning always helps, you can remove uneaten food, fish waste, and rotting plants.

But, using a pond liner, adding the right vegetation, and controlling the fish population will ensure your pond stays safe for swimming