Spring Pond Cleaning Hints
Cleaning your garden pond may seem like a daunting task, but with the right equipment and the patience to wait for the pond to drain and refill, it can be a simple job. Depending on the number, size and/or type of fish there happen to be living in the pond, the cleaning may need to be done twice annually, though normally a single autumn cleaning is sufficient. If the pond contains primarily koi, the pond may require a cleaning every few months - but that's another subject. This topic is annual cleaning, which is a bit more involved than a simple water change but which nonetheless is likely to take no longer than a day to do...normally just an afternoon for all but the largest ponds.
- A pump sufficient to empty the pond relatively quickly - along with enough tubing. Often a pump used for a waterfall or biological filter will do, though some of the plumbing may need to be temporarily re-routed.
- A net with which to catch fish and/or scavengers.
- A watertight container large enough to hold the fish and/or scavengers from the pond. In many cases a whiskey barrel or clean trash can will work well.
- Netting to place over the temporary container so that the fish can't jump out.
- A wet-dry vacuum for removing the debris from the pond bottom.
- A nylon bristle scrub brush for removing any stubborn algae buildup on the liner and/or rocks.
- A pressure washer (optional) also for removing stubborn algae buildup.
- A bucket
- A measuring spoon
- An Air Pump, Air Stone, Tubing, and Clamps or a Submersible Pump for temporary aeration.
- A Thermometer.
- A nylon broom and plastic dustpan
- A Dechlorinator (if using municipal water supply). Well-water users may still want to use Stress Coat and/or Ponsalt to minimize stress on fish.
- Set up the holding tank for the fish and/or scavengers in a well-shaded area. Fill the holding tank using water from the pond. Provide aeration with the air pump or submersible pump.
- Pump the water out of the pond until the water reaches a depth of 6" or so...this will facilitate the removal of plants, fish, and scavengers. Be careful not to flood your neighbor's yard.
- After removing your aquatic plants and placing them in a shady area, cover them with wet newspaper or towels.
- Transfer the fish and scavengers to your holding tank. Add the proper dosage of Ponsalt or Stress Coat to ease stress. Cover the tank with netting.
- Pump the remaining water out of your pond.
- Clean your filters. (See Filter Maintenance in Pond Maintenance).
- Use a nylon scrub brush or power washer to remove stubborn algae from the sides of the pond and/or rocks. Do not completely remove all the beneficial algae from the sides of the pond.
- Remove the sludge and debris from the bottom of the pond using a shop vac or broom and dustpan.
- Rinse the pond and drain it completely.
- Refill the pond.
- Treat the pond with the appropriate amount of dechlorinator and Stress Coat.
- To reintroduce fish, slowly add some of the fresh, treated pond water to the holding tank. The holding tank water temperature should be within 3 degrees of the pond water temperature before reintroducing the fish.
- Release the fish and scavengers into the newly cleaned pond.