Not all water features require an annual cleanout. If there is a layer of “crud” at the bottom of the pond and the water is dark in color, it would be a good idea to do a full clean-out. If there is just a small amount of debris that you can stir up and capture with a net and the water looks clear, a little tidying up and small water change is all that’s in order.
The best time to perform a pond clean-out is before the water temperature in the pond creeps above 55º F. If a clean-out is performed when the water is warmer, after bacteria colonies form, the balance of the ecosystem will again be thrown off
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
The first step is to drain the Pond or Pondless® Waterfall
Place the clean-out pump in the deepest point of the pond or in the Pondless® Waterfall Vault or Snorkel in order to remove the water.
Drain the water into the surrounding landscape. Be sure to relocate the pipe two or three times to allow the water to seep into the ground and not flood the yard.
If you have fish, use some of this pond water to fill up the holding pool. The fish can be removed from the pond using a net once the water is around knee-high so you can easily catch them.
Don’t keep the fish in the holding pool for more than several hours. Keep them in a shady spot with a net over the top of the pool to prevent them from jumping out. If your have a winter aerator or bubbler, you can use it in the holding pool to help oxygenate the water.
Don’t Overdo the Cleaning
Rinse the inside of the pond. You can also use a pressure washer to help remove debris from the rocks and gravel.
Don’t try to scrub all of the algae away. Some algae on the rocks will prove beneficial in developing your ecosystem.
Use the gentle stream from a garden hose to rinse the rocks and gravel. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. Periodically turn the clean-out pump on to remove the dirty water. You can discontinue the periodic pumping once the water rinsing down to the bottom begins to look clear. Remove the pump and begin filling the pond with the garden hose.
Cleaning the Filters
Remove any debris from the bottom of the skimmer or Pondless Vault. This can be done by hand or by using the cleanout pump.
Remove the media nets and filter pads from the BioFalls® filter, and rinse then off so they are free of debris.
You will need to start putting Aquascape Beneficial Bacteria from now till your pond start to freeze up.
Finally you can Put Your Fish Back Into Their Clean Home
Your pond clean-out is now done and it’s time to put your fish back into their home. Once your pond is half full, you can perform these steps to safely place your fish back in the pond:
If you’re on city water, it’s imperative that you add Pond Detoxifer to the water so it is safe for fish.
Dip a five-gallon bucket, or similar sized container, in the holding tank and fill it with water.
After you’ve caught a fish, place it in the bucket and set the buckets in the clean water.
After about 15 minutes, periodically begin splashing some pond water into the bucket.
By now, the temperature of the pond and the bucket water should be close to the same. You are ready to spill the fish into their spring-cleaned home.
Warm water has a low capacity for holding oxygen, so you may start to see your fish gasping for air close to the water’s surface, or especially close to a fountain or waterfall. As your fish struggle for oxygen, they’ll become increasingly stressed. And stressed fish are more likely to develop diseases … a scenario you want to avoid.
To optimize fish health during extreme heat, you’ll want to ensure your fish have the best pond environment possible. It all starts with a well-designed water feature. Depth, plant coverage, shade, and circulation should all be considered when building a pond. A minimum depth of two feet is suggested so the bottom can remain cooler.
You’ll also want to stock your pond with a lot of plants to provide shade for the fish. A good rule of thumb is to provide plant coverage of approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the pond’s surface area. Waterlily pads provide great coverage, but if your pond lacks the proper amount, you can easily add floating plants such as water lettuce until the waterlilies fill in.
During these hot days of summer, try some of these tips to keep your pond performing optimally:
The following are recommended tips for preparing a pond for the Fall seasons.
Love to make custom water features. I am the owner of Gordon's Pond Utopia. Doing what I love building ponds and water features.