Spring has arrived and it’s finally time to head back outside to enjoy your pond, but before you can fully enjoy it you need to know how to do a pond clean out!
The first step in how to do a pond clean out is to remove your pond netting. Keeping a net across your pond helps in the fall months with intrusive leaves and debris, but it also can help during the winter months as predator control. Since there is no plant coverage during the winter your net can act as a barrier to a predator’s line of sight, which could be what saves your precious koi friends! Once your netting has been removed you are going to want to start to drain your pond. While draining your pond you will want to fill up holding tanks for you fish with your pond’s water. You want to use your pond water in the holding tanks because they are acclimated to that water already so its the easiest way to safely transfer them into the holding tanks. Also try to remember not to let the pump sit on the bottom of your pond while you are filling up your holding tanks! The bottom is where all of the muck and sludge is located, and you want the cleanest water possible inside your holding tank.
The third step in how to do a pond clean out is to remove your pond’s pump, and give it a thorough cleaning. You will want to remove and clean the cage that covers the inlet of the pump, as well as check for any mulch or debris that has partially entered the pump. If this is not removed it will start to clog the pump, which can lead to reduced water flow in your pond and possibly a pump failure. Once you have finished cleaning your pump you should also remove and clean any filter matts that are housed with your pump. If your filter matts seem to be extremely caked in sludge, or if they can be easily pulled apart when you remove them we recommend that you replace them. If you decide to keep and clean your existing filter matts we recommend that you use the water that you are pumping out of your pond to hose them down. You can use a garden hose to clean them, but by using the pond water you will not lose as much of the beneficial bacterias that are embedded in your filter matts.
Next, you are going to want to catch the fish and place them into the holding tank. You will need to put aerators into the holding tanks while the fish reside in them, as well as cover the holding tank with a net. If you forget to net the tank there is a chance they will try to jump out! Once the fish have been removed and the pond is empty it’s time to do aquatic plant maintenance. Since the aquatics are exposed it is the best time to fertilize them. You will see a huge difference in the brightness and size of your aquatics after fertilization. Once you have finished fertilizing your aquatics, it’s time to start clearing out debris and organic material. Going around your pond by hand collect all of the debris that has settled into the rocks and gravel, making sure you get into all the little nooks and crannies in between your larger rocks.
After all of the large debris has been cleared out, it’s time to start pressure washing. We recommend using an electric pressure washer that will not spray hard enough to have your smaller rocks and gravel fly around. While pressure washing the rocks and gravel, you will want to rinse all of the organic matter down into the bottom of the pond so that it can be pumped out. This will be the most time-consuming component of how to do a pond clean out. If your pond has any internal components such as ion gens or dosing systems this is the perfect time to make sure that they are ready to run for the entire season. You will want to check to make sure that the probe on your iongen is still large, and if not we highly recommend changing it out now. You can always change it out later in the season if you aren’t sure whether or not you need to now.
Don’t forget to check out our short video on how to do a pond clean out!
Also, now is a great time to make sure your auto-dosing system has a full bag and no holes in the line. The next step in how to do a pond clean out is to check on your underwater lights. It is much easier to fix or add lights before the pond is filled back up. Also it’s a great time to make sure that the lighting wires are completely hidden. Now it’s time to move the fish from the holding tanks back into the pond. In order not to shock the fish you should pump the water from the holding tank back into the pond. Then, fill the rest of the pond up with new water, and don’t forget to add pond detoxifier to make sure that any chlorine chloramines or heavy metals are removed.
The final and most important step in how to do a pond clean out is to make sure you are enjoying your water feature all year long! If you have any questions about how to do a pond clean out or about any other projects you are planning click here to contact a professional from Turpin!