After a long winter, pond-keepers should prepare their pond for the coming season with a pond spring cleaning. Spring cleaning can include the manual removal of organic debris and pond sludge, as well as improving water quality with filtration equipment and filtering media.
Manual removal of debris
As your pond wakes from its winter sleep and daytime temperatures begin to warm your pond water, it is time to think about readying your pond for seasonal enjoyment. An indicator as to when you can begin is the absence of ice in your pond. Although it may be tempting to remove the ice, it is important you take your cues from nature, so your water and any plants or fish undergo a gradual warming process.
A simple first step is removal of leaves and other matter floating on the top of your pond. Then it is time to remove any black sludge from decaying organic matter laying at the bottom of your pond. Doing both of these tasks will immediately improve your water quality. Depending on the size of your pond, you could use a pond vacuum. If doing so, however, take special care to avoid damage to any pond plants or fish and keep pond-vacuuming sessions relatively short. Take care to remove no more than 10% of the pond water volume per cleaning, as water that is removed needs to be replaced. Be sure to match pond temperatures with your replacement water and condition tap water to remove chlorine or other contaminates.
When water temperatures rise to 50°F to 55° F consistently, you can install a pond aerator. Place the diffuser (bubbler) near the surface to replenish vital oxygen levels and optimize biological filtration. During spring cleanup, you can improve the health of your backyard or koi pond with the use of pond pumps and filters, UV sterilizers, and more. Clean, clear, and healthy pond water is your goal.
Bacterial additives, chlorine neutralizers, water clarifiers, and pond water conditioners are just a few examples of treatments that can help you achieve and maintain ideal pond water parameters. They play an important role in supporting a healthy aquatic environment, so koi and other pond fish can thrive. These products should be used as needed to maintain proper water properties for specific plants, koi or other fish residing in your pond (refer to LiveAquaria® Quick Stats for individual aquatic stock).
When your water is clean, you can greatly improve the health of your plants and fish throughout your pond season.
For more information on ponds, LiveAquaria® has a number of articles and information you may find helpful.