What Food Poisoning Taught Me About Ponds

Last summer, I had my first experience with food poisoning. It was not pleasant. I have lived half a century and I can’t remember a time when I felt sicker. I know how I contracted it, but out of decency I’m not going to name the fast food joint that gave me more than extra fries with that. It was mostly a more localized issue anyway.

But this article isn’t all about my digestive maladies. No actually it’s about how the experience brought me right back to square one concerning how we deal with sick ponds. You see, not long after my initial recovery, I had reoccurring issues of low grade bloating and feeling off. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. And I knew something wasn’t right.

I ended up going to see a local doc who basically said, after a bit of testing, that whatever happened with the food poisoning, it must have thrown my entire digestive system out of whack and he sent me off with a bottle of friendly little bacteria. Within days I started feeling pretty good. I’ve been doing well since then with some routine supplements of probiotics.

It seems to me, that you and I have a lot in common with ponds. We’re both derived from nature if you will, and if you really look close enough, and I mean microscopically close enough, you’ll see that bacteria, both good and bad, are inside us, surround us, and pretty much make up most of the world in which we live. It’s been said that in the human body, micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi, etc, account for the majority of the 100 trillion cells the reside herewith, while only 10% of these are actually our own human cells. We are, as they say, outnumbered.

What I learned in my gut wrenching experience is that you can’t let the bad guys win. It’s been a moral of the story throughout history but in truth, we win, and remain in health, when the good microbes outnumber the bad ones.

Ponds are absolutely no different. When the beneficial bacteria that naturally inhabits all but some fresh man-made ponds, goes down, the entire pond will begin to suffer in time. It may not happen overnight but eventually the chemistry in the pond begins to change. Organic material starts to build, decay, and release nutrients in the water. And the natural process of keeping this in check, just can’t keep up anymore.

And algae (of all kinds), and odors, etc. are the result.

When I visited with the doctor he told me that he routinely suggests patients take a good probiotic daily, particularly after they’ve had a round of antibiotics. Makes sense to me, because as the name implies, “anti” biotics are intended to kill bad bugs, but along with them, go a lot of good bacteria too. You simply can’t afford to lose too many of these microbes.

And alas, it’s the same with algaecides. To take out one of the symptoms of a sick pond, many experts prescribe the use of an algaecide. If these contain copper, and many of them do, there’s a very good chance that good bacteria will die off right along with the algae. So at some point, after you’ve used a chemical, it’s a good idea to supplement bacteria back into the pond to help begin the rebalancing act again. Without it, you’ll end up forced to use chemicals more and more often and you won’t have the natural cleansing processes to help you. This is not a good road to go down.

So you see, there’s a lot of similarities between ponds and people, at least where good bacteria is concerned. I knew of the benefits to ponds quite well of course, but it was interesting to learn now much it can help a person’s health too…and it really shouldn’t come as any great surprise at all.

If you’re managing a larger pond, be sure to look for an upcoming article on how to institute a bacteria routine after the use of chemicals.

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