April 25, 2014
A pond or water feature brings beauty, life and sound to your yard. These features provide a quick method to elevate the look of a landscape, or ambient noise for relaxation and atmosphere. However, regular maintenance is essential to keep your feature running properly, especially in the spring after the effects of winter and before the summer season.
One of the first steps to take before cleaning your pond or water feature is to evaluate the water. For example, what is the color of the water? Is there a lot of sediment or crud floating or at the bottom of your feature? If so, then you will most likely need to do a full cleaning.
For water and ponds that looks mostly clear with just a small amount of sediment or debris, use a net to skim and clean the water. If you have a living water feature and it does not need fully cleaned, then don’t. Deep cleaning increases the risk of upsetting the eco-system.
If you need to maintain your pond with a full clean out, it’s important to do so in early spring before temperatures start to rise. Ideally you want to clean out the pond or water feature while the water is still below 55 degree Fahrenheit. Once the water warms beyond this point, water gardens come out of dormancy and bacteria colonies form, possibly throwing off your eco system during a deep clean.
Move any fish or deep water plants into a holding tank. If possible use water from the pond in the tank, unless the water is too dirty. Also aim for water that is a similar temperature to the pond. Keep the holding tank in the shade and cover with a net to keep fish from jumping out. Once plants and fish are safely removed, use a clean out pump to remove the water.
Take a garden hose and rinse the rocks and holding tank. You can use a pressure washer, but in general you want to leave a little bit of algae to help restore your eco system once new water is added. As water starts to build up in the tank from cleaning, periodically turn on the clean out pump to remove the dirty water. Continue to do this until the water looks mostly clear in the storage tank. If using filtration, change or clean the filters using the manufacturer’s directions.
Once the tank is full, add a dechlorinator to protect the fish, especially if using city water. Place your plants back into the pond. Fill a bucket with water from your fish holding tank. Place the fish in it and place the bucket in the pond. This allows the water temperature of the bucket to slowly acclimate to the temperature of the pond. Once similar in temperature release the fish from the bucket.
While maintaining your pond or water feature in the spring takes work, the results ensure a clean and healthy looking environment both for your backyard and any living creatures residing in the feature.
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