Your garden pond is a thriving natural ecosystem. Apart from the regular cleaning and maintenance checks done every so often, it needs a total cleanout at least once a year. If we are diligent in our care for our garden pond, and the filtration systems are working well, then it shouldn’t be such a daunting task to give your pond its much-needed Spring cleaning.
When we empty our pond and do all the necessary cleanup, we refresh the environment and make its inhabitants flourish in a healthy dwelling. It’s hard to see the dirt buildup and the fixtures that need repair if we don’t clear out our ponds. So, it’s best to schedule the full pond cleanup this season.
To help you out, here are some tips on how you can turn a seemingly overwhelming task into a simple job.
Have your temporary holding tank ready
Your holding tank will be the temporary place where your pond fish will stay while you do your pond cleaning. How big of a container you need will depend on how much fish you have to contain. If you have an inflatable kiddie pool or a large tub, it will do.
You can set it up on an area in your garden where they will have enough shade and a pleasant temperature (not too hot or cold), and you can add some netting if you have the types of fish that do jump out. Once ready, you can begin pumping water into your tank from your garden pond. This way, you don’t stress out your fish by giving them the same aquatic environment they stayed in for a while, even as they are being transferred to the holding tank.
Give them pond water with an adequate water level so they can be comfortable in their stay. Don’t forget to have an aeration method to supply oxygen to your fish while they are in the holding tank.
Cover your pond pump with a sock
Before you pump out the water from your pond, cover it with a pump sock to avoid significant blockages that could be drawn in like hard debris. Also, though large types of fish typically swim away from pond pumps, there may be curious little ones that may not be as smart. To avoid damage to your pump and accidents with your tiny fish, use a pump sock.
Begin the fish transfer
When your water level is low enough, about a foot, you can start transferring your fish from the pond to the temporary holding tank. Use a fish net to gently capture them, a few at a time, and be wary of those who might try and escape.
Secure your holding tank’s netting to keep startled fish from jumping out. If they manage to escape from your clutches, it will cause them undue stress to be out of the water even for just a short time. So, keep a tight rein on them inside the fishnet and make the trip from the pond to the holding tank a quick one.
Start your pond power clean
If you have a garden hose, then you can start cleaning the entire lining of your pond. However, a power washer can do a sufficiently better and quicker job. If you have not done this cleaning in a while, prepare to flush out more than an inch of muck from your pond bottom.
Removing this sludge off your pond will keep it from the buildup of bacteria and free it from issues with the water clarity. During the winter, when your pond froze up, there was no way to clean the pond floor. At this time, a pond heater will come in handy as it provides holes onto the frozen surface of your pond so that toxic gases can escape to the atmosphere.
This Spring, take advantage of the season to remove all the twigs, sticks, leaves and other debris from your pond before you power wash it. Start from the top going down so that the pump can clear out everything that you wipe down, including muck, algae, and slime.
Should there be stubborn dirt that your power washer cannot handle, you can opt to use a pond vacuum to help you out.
Do a thorough check of your pond lights, filters and plants
Now that you have drained your garden pond, you can see your installations and can give them a proper checkup.
Plants that have overgrown can be repotted if you have extra pots at hand. Check the lining of your pond if the soil has not eroded and add more soil if necessary. This part is also the perfect time to check your pond lights and filters, and if you have skimmers or waterfalls, to monitor if they are still affixed in position and has not shifted in the winter.
Replace busted lights and wipe clean the lenses so they can provide better lighting, especially when you re-fill the pond with water. If you want to add more lights, there is no better time than now. Make sure you check your solar or wired pond pump.
Do a quick check of the entire pond to make sure that everything is sparkling clean before you prepare your fish for their return.
Re-assimilate your fish back to the pond
Once you have re-filled the pond, use a de-chlorinator to remove heavy metals and other toxins present in the water before you bring the fish back. After adding all the necessary treatment to the water, pour some of it to the temporary holding tank where your fish are at. This way, they can acclimatize with the new pond water slowly.
Allow them 20 minutes or so to get accustomed to the mixture, feeling the new chemistry and temperature of the water. When they have fully adjusted, bring them back gently into the freshly cleaned pond. Try not to feed them within the next 24 hours as they continue to habituate into the new pond.
Keeping it clean
Springtime is the best time to give your garden pond an excellent cleanout. Draining the murky water and power washing the pond bottom will rid it of excess sludge and muck to keep your pond healthy and fresh all year-round. The fish in your pond will be happy to live in a clean and renewed environment.
If your garden pond is the focal point of your garden, then keeping it clean will benefit the overall aesthetics of your garden. In between spring cleans, make sure to monitor your water systems to avoid excessive buildup of algae and other substances in your pond.