February 17, 2016

How to spring clean your pond

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It’s pond maintenance time! Here’s what you need to know about getting your water feature in tip-top shape this spring.

Why Your Pond Needs a Spring Cleaning

Over the winter, excess nutrients and debris collect in your pond. The bacteria that normally break down these elements are dormant in the cold water. So, you end up with an imbalance in the pond’s ecosystem. Once temperatures rise, you can end up with algae blooms and poor water quality.

The best solution is often a water change and a thorough pond cleaning. At Good Earth Water Gardens, we’re happy to take on this task for you. But if you’re a dedicated DIYer, it’s possible. Just be warned: the task can take up to a full day and you’ll get dirty – and wet.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Waterproof boots
  • Gloves
  • A clean-out pump with a hose that’s about 25 feet long
  • A high-pressure nozzle for your garden hose or a pressure washer
  • Garden sheers for trimming plants
  • A big bin, garbage can, or child’s pool to hold any fish
  • An aerator to provide oxygen to the fish
  • A net to cover the fish container so they don’t jump out
  • A fish net
  • Buckets to collect debris and leaves
  • A wet/dry vac for those hard to reach areas
  • Aquascape Pond Detoxifier

Step 1: Drain the water

Place a clean-out pump in the deepest section of the pond. Make sure that any pumps, aerators, or other mechanical devices are turned off.

If you have fish, pump some of the pond water into a holding tank. It’s also best to drain the pond to low water levels before trying to catch your fish. You can use a net to cover the holding tank to prevent fish from jumping out. If possible, keep the holding tank out of direct sunlight.

Step 2: Remove debris

After you’ve drained the pond, pick out any large debris like leaves or other plant matter. Throw it away. Use a pressure washer or a high-pressure nozzle to remove algae and film from the rocks and gravel. If you have a stream, start from the top and thoroughly flush debris so that it runs into the pond.

Remove any filter mats or media bags from any mechanical components such as a skimmer or Bio-falls. Do an in-depth rinse to these modules. You might need to pick out debris such as leaves and sticks by hand, so it’s helpful to keep a bucket or disposal bin close. For areas that are unaffected by the nozzle, use a scrub brush and algae remover such as Eco-Blast to get rid of these tough blemishes.

Once you’ve rinsed and flushed all areas of the stream and pond, turn the clean-out pump to remove the water. You might need to spray and rinse the pond multiple times until the water runs clear. And for those areas where sediments have accumulated – like in a skimmer or Bio-falls filter – use a web/dry vac to suck out the remaining gunk. Just be careful when using it around gravel.

While your pond is empty, it’s a good time to inspect and perform any maintenance on lighting, securing loose rocks, and dividing or moving aquatic plants.

Step 3: Refill water – and return fish

After you’ve cleared out all of the debris and completed your maintenance, it’s time to fill ‘er up.

While your hose is running, connect your pump and any other plumbing components. If you have fish, it’s very important to add a detoxifier like Aquascape Pond Detoxifier that removes chlorine and chloramines from the water. See the manufacturer’s label for proper dosing based on the size of your pond. You will also want to regularly add beneficial bacteria to the water. These bacteria will colonize and help keep the pond’s ecosystem in proper balance.

Now it’s time to send your fish back home. When the pond reaches half full, dunk a five-gallon bucket or container in the holding tank and fill it. After you catch the fish in the bucket, set the bucket in the pond, but don’t release them yet. After about 15 minutes, the temperature of the pond and the bucket water should be close to the same. This process helps acclimate your fish to the new water conditions and helps prevent shock. Now you can release the fish into their clean home!

Spring Pond Cleanup

If you’ve ever cleaned your pond yourself, you know it’s a dirty job. If you’d prefer to leave the whole grungy process to a professional, Good Earth Water Gardens can help. We’ll ensure your pond looks great and is ready for warm weather.

Call us at (913) 749-8090 to schedule your pond cleaning. We service the entire Kansas City metro area and can get busy after April, so get on our calendar now.

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