DIY – To Clean Or Not To Clean That Is The Question
This is a question I find myself faced with every week around the house! Luckily when it comes to your pond you only need to ask yourself once a year in the late Winter/early Spring.
The overall rule of thumb is simply take a good look at the water quality and bottom of your pond to see if it could use a good clean up. Some pond owners choose to do it every year and some it every so often. But once you decide then it is just a matter of who is going to do it.
Here is a basic outline of what you need to do. You can either do a Complete Cleanup or a Partial Cleanup depending on how bad it is.
Option 1: Complete Cleanup
You might decide to do a complete Spring Cleanup. First thing you need is a holding tank ready for your fish, complete with bubbler or small pump to create oxygen for your fish. It is best if you can use water from your pond in this holding tank. There is a product called vanish plus that can be put in the holding tank that includes a stress reducer that will help your fish survive. If you have Koi you may want something to cover the tank with as the like to “jump ship”.
Drain your pond’s water, taking the fish out as you go with a fish net. (You will find it easier to catch your fish this way). Use a power washer or a garden hose with a strong water pressure attachment. Start in the bottom of your pond and work up to the waterfalls. Clean out all debris. Rinse out starting at your waterfalls, working down your stream and finally your main pond. Pump out all dirty water. Clean all filter mats thoroughly including mats that are in the waterfall units. Replace filtration mats that are torn or real flimsy. (Let us know and we can cut to size for you).
This is an ideal time to divide and trim your aquatics.
Add water back to the pond. Add vanish plus and beneficial bacteria to jumpstart your filtration system. Add pond salt to help jumpstart your fish’s immune system…helping them through this Winter to Spring transition period. Add pond balance, barley straw extract or barley bales to get a head start on string algae. Start your waterfalls. If your fish are doing fine in the holding tank and you have the luxury of extra time, wait a few hours to add your fish back to your water feature. Otherwise make sure you added plenty of dechlorinator in and add fish as soon as you are done.
Option 2: Partial Cleanup
Not everyone wants to or needs to do a complete Spring Cleanup. In this case use your fish or debris net and fish out as much leaves and debris from the streams and your pond as possible. Trim and divide all your aquatics. Rinse out pump house and waterfalls unit mats thoroughly and return them to the units. If mats are getting flimsy and worn looking, you will want to replace them with new mats.
Check your water level and add some if necessary. Jumpstart your filtration system with beneficial bacteria and add pond salt to jumpstart the immune systems of your fish. Add pond balance, barley straw extract or barley bales to get a head start on string algae.
Finishing Touches – Touch up edges with more accent rocks, gravel, and/or new mulch. By doing this it will make your pond look new and fresh.
Leaf Nets – are usually recommended for Fall leaf droppage but if you are faced with Spring dropping Oaks or Maple Tree Whirlibirds, leaf nets will aid greatly in keeping your pond clean during this time. There is nothing worse than cleaning your pond and turning around and seeing Oak leaves filling it back up. This part of Spring passes quickly and you will be able to remove your net once again for the rest of the season.