A spring clean-up is essential for a healthy, beautiful pond. Leaving waste behind in the pond can lead to sludge buildup and reduce oxygen content.
Before beginning the pond cleaning process, provide temporary housing for your fish. A large tote, bucket, or aquarium will work well. Ensure it is filled with dechlorinated water.
Clean the Float
The float, which houses the fountain’s pump, must be cleaned regularly. If the float becomes too full of organic debris, it can lead to bacterial overgrowth that, in turn, promotes string algae growth.
Use a long-handled net during pond cleaning, and scoop out as much thick, sludgy sediment as possible. If you have fish, place them in a shaded holding tank containing pond water while you do this. It prevents stress that harms the fish.
Once the sludge is removed, consider adding beneficial bacteria to help break down any lingering waste from the pond. Beneficial bacteria can only do so much; they can quickly become overloaded in heavily fish-stocked ponds. Performing a small water change during cleaning is also a good idea, as it can help keep the nitrogen cycle in check and reduce overall sludge buildup.
Clean the Pump
After the rocks are washed and the plants have returned to their homes, you need to work on the pump. Start by draining it. It will expose the sides of the pond, making it easier to remove algae and gunk from them. It will also give you a good idea of the amount of debris clogging the pump.
Unplugging the pump and turning off the power source before turning on the pump is crucial. For instructions on disassembling your pump for cleaning during fountain repair, consult the instruction manual for your particular pump. Having a container to put parts in as you take them apart is a good idea.
It is also an excellent time to move your fish into temporary housing, such as wading pools, kiddie pools, large aquariums, tanks, or plastic tubs. If your fish are stressed during cleaning, they may become ill or die.
Check the Water Level
A sudden drop in pond water levels can indicate that something is wrong. Evaporation alone shouldn’t cause such a drastic drop, and if it does, it’s probably time to start searching for a leak.
If lucky, the leak will be in a pipe or other device, not the pond liner. However, the problem can be challenging to locate.
A great DIY solution is to put an egg cup full of milk in the pond and look for where it’s drawn to. It might be tricky to find, but it’s an inexpensive way to check for a small leak in the pond liner that’s not visible to the naked eye.
You can use chemicals such as sodium polyphosphate for a more severe leak to help you find the spot. It is spread when soil moisture is optimum for compaction and mixed into the top 8 to 10 inches of the site soil before refilling the pond.
Test the Water
Using a kit makes testing the water easy. Instead of comparing a strip to a difficult-to-read color chart, this kit asks you to add drops of the test solution to your sample and counts the number of times the solution changes color – it’s that simple!
Water tests should include GH (glycerol hardness), KH (calcium hardness), and phosphates. Phosphates are a significant cause of poor water quality, and fish kills. They come from uneaten fish food, phosphates in the tap water (some cities put phosphates in the drinking water to prevent pipe corrosion), and decaying organic material in the pond. They block a fish’s ability to take in oxygen, making the water dangerous.
Overstocked ponds also produce excessive fish waste, raising water temperatures and reducing oxygen levels. A pond should be stocked only to maintain it with regular 20% water changes.