The answer to this question is yes, provided the pond only has a very scarce population of fish, and at least 50% of the surface of the water has pond plant coverage.
Aquatic plants are nature’s water filters and were around long before we built pumps, skimmers, and other supplies. Pond plants provide food and shelter for fish, dissolve oxygen in the water, absorb toxins, reduce algae, and so much more. As long as you maintain a high plant to fish ratio, they will continue to dispose of fish waste with minimal effort from you.
However, there are a few things to think about if you plan on owning a natural pond. The first is the mosquitoes. If there is no pond pump circulating the water, your back yard becomes an open invitation to pests like mosquitoes. A simple solution is to install a small fountain pump, or my favorite, a waterfall spillway. You could also use biological mosquito control treatments.
The next thing to keep in mind is that pond plants need to be maintained similar to house or garden plants. If left unchecked, some species will overgrow to cover your pond completely. Try thinning out your pond plants during the early Summer or late Spring. Doing so should leave them with plenty of time to grow back to reasonable numbers.
Finally, I would still suggest using a beneficial bacteria additive in the water. Since you aren’t using a filter, this will help break down organic waste much faster.
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