Spring is here! Things are starting to awaken from their winter hibernation, there are some things that you can do to make sure your water feature gets off to a good start.
Does your garden pond need a full clean-out or just a little sprucing up to get it ready for this season? Here are some tips to help you decide. First, if there is a layer of sludge at the bottom of the pond and the water is dark in color, it would be a good idea to do a full clean-out.
On the other hand, if there is just a small amount of debris that you can stir up and capture with a net and the water looks clear, a little tidying up is all your pond needs.
The best time to perform a clean-out is in early spring before your water garden completely awakens from its winter dormancy – Ideally before the water temperature reaches 55˚F. If a clean-up is performed when the water is warmer, after bacteria colonies form, the balance of the ecosystem will again the thrown off and your pond will go through another “green phase” before the bacteria colonies re-establish themselves again. To avoid this adding a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria is recommended.
Here is what you will need to get started:
- A clean out pump with approximately 50ft of discharge hose
- A high-pressure nozzle for your garden hose, or a power washer
- Garden shears for trimming plants
- A child’s swimming pool or large size container to hold the fish
- A net to place over the fish container to keep them from jumping out
- Two five-gallon buckets to collect leaves and debris
- A fishnet
- Aquascape Pond Detoxifier to remove chlorine and chloramines prior to putting the fish back
- Aquascape Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria
Drain the Pond / Pondless® Waterfall
- Place the clean-out pump in the deepest point of the pond (or in the Pondless® Waterfall Snorkel™) in order to remove the water.
- Drain the water into the surrounding landscape. Be sure to relocate the pipe two or three times to allow the water to seep into the ground and not flood the yard.
- If you have fish, use some of this pond water to fill up the holding container. The fish can be removed from the pond using a professional pond and skimmer net once the water low enough so you can easily catch them.
- Don’t keep the fish in the holding pool for more than several hours. Keep them in a shady spot with a net over the top of the container to prevent them from jumping out.
Don’t overdo the cleaning
- Rinse the inside of the pond. You can also use a pressure washer to help remove debris from the rocks and gravel.
- Don’t try to scrub all of the algae away. Some algae on the rocks will prove beneficial in developing your ecosystem.
- Use a gentle stream from a garden hose to rinse the rocks and gravel. Start at the tip and work your way down to the bottom. Periodically turn the clean-out pump on to remove the dirty water. You can discontinue the periodic pumping once the water rinsing down to the bottom begins to look clear. Remove the pump and begin filing the pond.
Cleaning the Filters
- Remove any debris from the bottom of the skimmer box or snorkel vault. This can be done by hand or by using the clean-out pump.
- Remove the media nets and filters pads from the BioFalls® Filter. If you have the optional drain kit attached to your Signature Series™ Bio-Falls® Filter, you can open up the valve and rinse the media and filters. Once the filters have been removed rinse them free of accumulated debris.
- The filter media and mats can be put back into place and the waterfalls pump can be reattached in the skimmer or Snorkel™ Vault.
Putting your fish back into their clean home
- If you are on city water, it’s imperative that you add Aquascape Pond Detoxifier to the water so it is safe for the fish
- Dip a five-gallon bucket, or similar size container, in the holding tank and fill it with water
- After you’ve caught a fish, place it in the bucket and set the buckets in the clean water
- After about 15 minutes, periodically begin splashing some pond water into the bucket
- By now, the temperature of the pond and the bucket water should be close to the same. You are ready to spill the fish into their spring-cleaned home
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