Use this guide to help you get your pond, fountain, pond plants and fish all cleaned up and ready for spring.
Cleaning Pond and Fountain Water
The first step to cleaning out a pond is to remove all organic matter. This includes leaves, yard waste, street debris, etc. Anything that may have entered into your pond or fountain during the winter months needs to be removed.
Leaves and other organic materials cause chemical reactions that can disrupt the balance in your water. In fact, leaves are one of the worst items to enter your water because when they decay, they release toxins that are dangerous to both plants and animals.
After removing the materials, take a look at your water. If it’s dirty, you will need to clean it out. And most likely, after a cold winter, it will be dirty. Change 1/3 of your water and replace it with treated water. Treated water is water with a chlorine remover that binds to the chemicals and eliminates the chlorine or chloramine. You should finish this job in less than two days. Taking a weekend to do the job is fine but anything longer will be harmful to your fish and plants.
Cleaning Plants and Mechanical Parts
All of your aquatic plants will need to be pulled out of the water, cleaned and pruned. Clean off the dead material and throw away the plants that didn’t survive the winter. Check the roots, the leaves and the baskets to ensure nothing is decomposing in your water.
Next, remove all pumps and pump components. If you still have fish in your pond, leave one pump in and clean the others. Pumps should be snapped apart and clear of all debris before returning back into the water. Check all lights, electrical components and any stakes or structures in the ground.
Taking Inventory of Your Fish
After winter, it’s good to check your fish for any abnormalities. Examine the color of your fish. Look for open wounds, scratches or mucus coming from gills. The following is a list of items to keep in mind when examining your fish for health issues:
- Red fins
- Fins full of veins
- Excessive mucus production
- Wounds or scratches
- Gasping at surface
- Congregrating near a waterfall
While examining your fish, it’s also wise to check the water temperature. After you water surpasses 50°, your fish will come out of hibernation. They’ll be a bit slower at first, so don’t confuse this for lethargy. The max temperature your water should reach is 70 degres Fahrenheit.