Opening Your Pond in Spring

Article Courtesy of Mayer's Pet Shop, February 2012
opening your pond

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to start thinking about opening your pond for another season. Here are a few tips to help you get your pond in top shape.

Opening Your Pond: Cleaning

opening your pond in springOnce your pond has thawed, the first thing to do is to give it a cleaning. During autumn, if you did not cover the pond with a leaf net, a lot of leaves and debris may have fallen into the pond and slowly decomposed over the winter forming a heavy sludge on the bottom – a Pond Vacuum or wet/dry vac works great for this job. It is necessary to remove as much of this sludge as possible. If you have a small pond with no fish you may want to completely drain the pond, rinse it out and refill it. Remember not to use soap or any harsh chemicals.

In ponds containing fish, it is not recommended to drain the pond completely. Use a large, long handled net to remove as much of the debris from the bottom as possible. Try not to stir the pond up too much or handle the fish as this can stress them, they are quite vulnerable early in the spring after a long winter of dormancy. It is best to wait until the water temperature reaches 60° before attempting to clean to allow the fishes’ immune system to become active again. It is also a good idea to perform a partial water change, approximately 25% of the pond volume.

Once the cleaning is completed, it is time to install the pump and filter. Your pump should match the size of the pond, meaning, it should pump the volume of your pond every 1-2 hours to provide adequate circulation and aeration. If you are keeping goldfish or koi, a biofilter is essential to maintain good water quality. Bigger is always better when it comes to pumps and filters. Larger filters require less cleaning for you, and healthier water for the fish. Spring is the time to start seeding your biological filter with beneficial bacteria, these are available in powder or liquid form and will kick-start your filter and help improve water quality greatly. Regular additions of these bacteria will also help to break down sludge and organic matter in the pond.

Remove marginal plants and water lilies and clean them up by removing all of the dead growth, and if necessary dividing and re-potting them. This is also a great time to fertilize plants with a slow release aquatic plant food tablet to give them a boost heading into the growing season. This should be done as quickly as possible in a shady area to prevent plants from drying out too quickly. Once the plants are cleaned and fertilized, place them back into the pond, and refill the pond. Remember, it is very important to use a de-chlorinator and chloramine remover any time you add water to the pond, unless you are on well water.

article courtesy of Mayer’s Pet Shop

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