As daylight hours get longer and the temperatures warm up, you want to start enjoying your water garden again.
First things first, decide whether or not you need a full pond cleanout. If you kept your pond clear last season and did basic maintenance tasks before the winter, you may only need to do a water change and some cleaning to get your pond in tip top shape. If not, a full spring cleanout may be the way to go. Here are 10 simple steps to get your pond ready:
- Inspect your pond. Check to see what affect the winter weather has had on the pond liner, skimmer or biological filter. Make repairs as needed.
- Make a water change and clean-up winter waste build-up. Use a skimmer net and pond vacuum to remove dead leaves, debris and muck that have accumulated in the bottom of the pond over the winter. Pond Logic® Oxy-Lift™ Defense® works great for lifting debris off rocks and bringing debris to the surface for easy removal. Water changes are also helpful in eliminating dissolved organics that have built up over the winter. Make a 15-25% water change over several consecutive days to reduce stress to your fish.
- Condition your tap water. When doing a spring start-up water change, don’t forget that you need to eliminate chlorine and chloramines found in municipal water with Pond Logic® Water Conditioner. Even small traces of chlorine will irritate fish and damage their gill tissue, and large amounts can be lethal.
- Start the biological filter. Clean or replace filter pads, seed them quickly with PL Gel and begin adding Pond Logic® Seasonal Defense® to boost biological activity. For longer life span filter pads, try using Matala® Filter Pads.
- Test pond water. It is not possible to know the condition of your pond water without testing. Using the Master Test Kit offers a quick and accurate way to evaluate pond water quality and stop problems before they occur.
- Inspect your fish. If you see torn fins, blood streaks and/or ulcers, CrystalClear® KnockOut™ PLUS is a great all-in-one product for both koi and goldfish treating bacterial infections and parasites.
- Feed your fish a low-protein food. As the temperature of your pond water approaches 40° F, your fish will start looking for food. The Pond Guy® Spring & Fall Fish Food is recommended as a good wheat germ, low protein, high carbohydrate, vitamin-enriched diet, specially formulated for all pond fish when water temperatures are between 40-50° F.
- Provide your fish with essential electrolytes. Pond Logic® Pond Salt provides all the essential electrolytes fish need to stay healthy and vibrant. Pond Salt can also help to reduce the chance of parasites and disease by up to 80%.
- Care for pond plants. Root bound plants should be divided and re-potted. Fertilize plants with CrystalClear® Thrive™ to provide the essential nutrients for strong growth and early spring blooms. Adding floating plants such as Water Hyacinths or Water Lettuce will provide your pond with shade and remove excess nutrients reducing algae growth. It is also a great time to add Pond Snails to begin consuming algae keeping your pond clean. Don’t have any plants yet? Consider one of our Complete Plant Packages.
- Keep your water feature clean, clear and healthy all season. Digest sludge, reduce dissolved organics and keep you pond filter working its best with the all-in-one awarding winning package, the Pond Logic® DefensePAC®.
If a full pond cleanout is necessary, the following steps will help you get on track.
- Get a holding tank: Before you tend to your pond, have a holding tank ready for your koi and other fish. Kiddie pools are great for this! Make sure to house them using existing pond water and place a pond aeration kit in the tank to ensure oxygen levels remain high. Even though this is a temporary space for your fish, they may be startled by their new environment. It is always best to place some pond netting over the holding tank to ensure none of the fish jump out.
- Drain the pond: Once the fish are safely housed in their temporary holding tank, drain the pond with a pond pump and drain hose.
- Power wash: Power wash the rocks and remove any algae, muck and other debris build up. For stubborn debris that just won’t wash away, use Pond Logic® Oxy-Lift™ Defense® to take care the problem. Simply sprinkle over stubborn debris, wait 10 minutes and rinse away. We recommend rinsing and pumping out dirty water a few times to ensure a good cleaning.
- Make adjustments: At this point in the cleaning process with no water in the pond, it’s best to check for any rocks or plants that might need to be adjusted as some of the scenery may have been displaced during the power wash.
- Check the lights: This is great time to check any pond lights to ensure they are in working condition. Now is also a good time to add new pond lights if desired.
- Reconnect plumbing and filters: Reinstall any pumps, UV clarifiers, filters or spitters once the rest of the pond is clean, and get ready to refill and reintroduce your fish to your pond.
- Refill and re-acclimate: After you refill your pond, add Pond Logic® Water Conditioner to remove any chlorine and to detoxify heavy metals from the new water. Re-acclimate your fish to the new pond water by slowly adding some to their holding tank. We recommend using Pond Logic® Stress Reducer PLUS to your pond as well to help reduce any stress caused by transporting them.