Early spring is the perfect time to give your pond a deep clean and get it ready for the hot summer months. It also allows you to address any issues that may have arisen over the winter. But how do you go about cleaning your pond? And what tools and materials will you need to successfully clean your pond?
This article will provide you with all the information you need about tools, materials, and tips necessary to make sure your spring pond cleaning goes off without a hitch. After reading this step-by-step guide, you will feel confident about getting your pond in tip-top shape this spring.
Let’s get started!
- Power washer or garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle
- Garden shears for trimming plants
- A fish net with a handle
- 2 5-gallon buckets for collecting organic debris and acclimating the fish
- Pond water treatment product
- Beneficial bacteria
- A holding tank for fish or other creatures you remove (should include a netting cover to keep them from jumping out)
- A water pump to drain the pond
- An appropriate length of discharge hose for the pump
How To Do Spring Pond Cleaning
Follow the 11 steps outlined below to ensure your spring pond cleaning goes smoothly.
1. Drain Your Pond
The first step in spring pond cleaning is to drain your pond. This can be done by using a pond pump or by manually siphoning the water out with a hose. (We recommend using a water pump for maximum efficiency.)
Attach your discharge hose to the water pump and put the end of the hose somewhere in your yard where it can seep into the ground. You may need to move the hose around several times to avoid oversaturating one spot.
Place the water pump at the deepest point in your pond. Be sure to clear out any debris or sediment around the pump to prevent it from getting clogged.
Activate the pump and drain an appropriate amount of pond water into the holding tank, where your fish will be kept during the cleaning process. This will ensure that the water temperature and pH level of the holding tank is the same as that of your pond.
A kiddie swimming pool works well as a holding tank for fish. Just make sure you have netting or something similar to keep the fish from jumping out of the tank.
2. Take Out Any Fish
Once the water level is low enough to make it easy to catch the fish, use the fish net to gently move the fish from the pond to the holding tank.
Make sure that you remove all living creatures from the pond before beginning the cleaning process, including snails, turtles, and amphibians. If you have any floating plants in your pond, you can remove those as well.
Keep the holding tank in a shaded area of your yard to avoid overheating the fish or any other aquatic creatures you removed.
3. Clean Your Filters
The next step is to clean your pond’s filters. Depending on the type of pond filtration system you have, the cleaning process may vary.
For mechanical filters like skimmers, be sure to remove any leaves, sticks, or sediment that has accumulated.
If you have a pond with Aquascape components, you may also have a BioFalls filter that helps remove fish waste, excess nutrients, and toxins from the water. Remove and rinse all the media nets and filter pads.
For biological filters, all you may need to do is gently scrub the media, depending on how dirty it appears. Remember that some of the algae found on the media in your biological filter may actually be beneficial for your pond’s ecosystem.
4. Make Any Repairs
While your pond is drained, take the opportunity to make any necessary repairs. This can include fixing any leaks, replacing a damaged liner, or repairing any other damage that may have occurred over the winter.
Spring is a great time to repair any damage to your pond liner because they will become bigger problems later down the line when temperatures rise outside during summertime months.
This is also the perfect time to verify that your pond pump, filtration system, and any other mechanical components are working and functioning correctly.
5. Pressure Wash The Rocks
Next, use a pressure washer or garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle to clean the rocks and other decorative elements. Clean the rocks near the top first and work your way down to the lower rocks. This will help remove any excess algae or dirt that may have accumulated over the past season.
Keep in mind that, like the algae found on media in some types of biological filters, some of the algae found on the rocks in your pond are beneficial to your pond’s ecosystem. For this reason, you’ll want to leave some of the algae growth alone.
Use a 5-gallon bucket to collect any sticks or other pieces of organic debris that you find on the pond’s bottom.
You’ll need to occasionally turn on your draining water pump to remove excess water as you pressure wash the rocks. For most pond owners, this step should take around 15 minutes.
6. Clean And Repair Any Additions
Besides the rocks, be sure to clean and repair any other additions to your pond, such as autofill devices, fountains, waterfalls, or decorative lights.
This is also the perfect time to take stock of the plants in the surrounding landscape. Use garden shears to trim back any plants around the pond that are overgrown and may be dropping leaves in the pond. This will help maintain your pond’s cleanliness for longer.
7. Reassemble Your Filters
Once all the cleaning and repairs are complete, it’s time to reassemble your filters. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly maintain your filters to ensure they are functioning properly.
8. Refill Your Pond
After the filters are reassembled, it is time to begin filling your pond. You can use rainwater, well water, or municipal tap water. However, no matter what water source you use, it’s important that you treat the water before reintroducing your fish to their pond habitat.
9. Treat The Water
Be sure to use a pond water treatment product to help balance the pH and chlorine levels of the water. This is an especially important step if you are using a municipal water source since the chorine and chloramines found in tap water can be harmful to fish.
Aquascape Pond Detoxifier is a good all-in-one product that detoxifies chlorine as well as neutralizes ammonia and heavy metals. Whatever pond water quality treatment product you use, make sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the correct dosage levels.
10. Reintroduce Your Fish
Once the water is treated and the pH and chlorine levels are balanced, it is safe to reintroduce your fish to the pond. Make sure to acclimate them slowly to their new environment to avoid any water temperature shock.
The best way to do this is to fill one of your 5-gallon buckets with some of the water from your holding tank where the pond fish are being kept temporarily.
- Then, capture one or two of the fish with your fish net and gently place them in the bucket water.
- Next, add a few cupfuls of water from the newly cleaned pond to the bucket.
- Do this several times, waiting approximately 15 minutes in between adding new water to the bucket.
- Once the water temperature of the bucket and pond is approximately the same, you can return those fish to the pond.
- Repeat this process until all the pond fish from the holding tank are returned to the pond.
Note: Returning the fish directly to the pond without acclimating them to the different water temperatures can put your fish into shock and possibly kill them!
11. Return Any Plants You Removed
Lastly, you can return any pond plants you may have removed during the cleaning process. This includes floating plants, such as water lilies, as well as emergent plants you may have needed to remove from the edge of the pond.
Congratulations! You have successfully completed your spring pond cleaning.
Keep reading to discover some additional helpful tips for spring pond cleaning.
Tips For Spring Pond Cleaning
Here are a few more tips to make sure your pond is ready for warmer weather.
Check Your Pond Pump
A fully functional pond pump is crucial for a healthy pond ecosystem. Not only does the pump ensure the water is cycled through the pond’s filtration system, but it also helps circulate and oxygenate the water in general.
Without a correctly operating pump, the water may become stagnant and turn into a breeding ground for algae, mosquitoes, and other unwanted pests. Needless to say, a stagnant pond with algae blooms is also an unhealthy environment for fish. So remember to regularly check and clean out your pond pump throughout the year.
Start A Beneficial Bacteria Regimen
Beneficial bacteria can help to break down excess nutrients in your pond, which can lead to algae growth. You can add beneficial bacteria to your pond through products like pond tablets or liquid additives. Aquascape offers both liquid and dry forms of beneficial bacteria for ponds. Beneficial bacteria help maintain water quality for healthy fish.
Add Plants For Algae Control
Certain plants, like water lilies and submerged plants, can help to naturally control algae growth in your pond. These plants absorb excess nutrients from the water, which can prevent algae blooms and maintain a healthy environment.
Don’t Overfeed Your Fish
Koi and many other types of popular pond fish are opportunistic feeders. In layman’s terms, this means they will try to eat as much of whatever they can find. This is why it is much more common for pond owners to overfeed koi pond fish rather than underfeed them.
That is also why it’s important to only feed your fish just a small amount every feeding session. Any excess food will sink to the bottom of the koi pond and decompose, which can lead to an excess of nutrients in the water and potentially result in an algae bloom. And if your koi fish are dying after it rains, be sure to check out our blog post on why koi fish may die after heavy rain and how to prevent it.
A spring cleaning is a perfect time to get creative with your pond design. Consider adding new plants, new decorative lighting, or even rearranging the layout of your pond to give it a fresh, new look.
Let Charlotte Backyard Ponds Handle Your Spring Pond Cleaning
Spring is the perfect time for a fresh start, and what better way to give your pond a new lease on life than by giving it a good cleaning?
If you’re a pond owner ready to give your pond a professional makeover this spring, Charlotte Backyard Ponds can help. If you’d like to get a spring pond cleaning or have any other questions about ponds, please fill out our contact form today. We’re always happy to help!