In Spring, the water begins to warm and we can see the pond beginning to come back to life. This is an important time to get the pond going in the right direction for a rewarding season.
Un-winterize the pond. Anything that you had done to prepare for winter can be undone once freezing weather has passed. If you turned your pump off, it can go back on, etc.
Start feeding your fish again when the water temperature reaches a constant 50 degrees. Feed a cold-weather food until the water temperature reaches 60 degrees at which point you can move to your full-season feeding program.
If there has been an accumulation of leaves and other debris over the winter you should remove this now. Leaves can be removed with a skimmer type net that has a square end that allows you to push this across the bottom of the pond scooping up the leaves. Products like Microbe Lift Sludge Away will help accelerate the natural decomposition of this debris.
You can also use a pond vacuum to remove the leaves and sludge from the bottom of the pond. You could also try to use a shop vac but this removes a lot of water in the process and may not be the best choice. If there are lots of leaves and sludge accumulated in the pond to the point that you can not remove this easily a complete pond cleaning may be necessary. A complete cleaning will upset the balance of the pond and actually interfere with algae control but should you decide to go this route you can use the following method.
Pump water from the pond into a large tub or other container. The exact size will depend on the number and size of fish that you have but should be as large as possible.
It may be necessary to cover the container with leaf netting or something similar to keep the fish from jumping out especially if you have koi. This container should be in the shade if it is hot out.
Continue pumping the water out of the pond until it just covers the fish. Use a fish net to catch the fish (or if you have large koi use a large container and let them swim into it them release) and place them in the container with the water just pumped from the pond. Also the plants can be removed if repotting is necessary or left in the pond. If removed they should be kept in the shade and covered with damp newspaper. Underwater plants should be kept in a container of water.
After you pump as much water out of the pond with your pump as you can, you will want to use a shop vac to finish up or you can use a large dust pan and broom with a bucket to finish removing the sludge. Do not try to scrub the velvet type algae that may coat the liner as this is beneficial. Do not use any chemicals to clean the pond.
After the pond is clean you can pump the water with the fish into the pond and then put the fish back into the pond. Add a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine and slowly add water from the hose to finish filling the pond. The plants can be placed back into the pond during the filling process.
Fertilize each plant and place at appropriate depth. Lilies and Lotus should be fertilized every 3-4 weeks, marginals every 5-7 weeks.
Add new plants as needed as the weather becomes appropriate for each plant. Add floaters such as water hyacinth and water lettuce (late spring after danger of frost has passed).
Add nitrifying bacteria, which we have in stock. Continue using as directed for best filter performance.
Gel bacteria is a great way to get bacterial colonies restarted quickly on mat-type filter media.
Turn on Ultraviolet sterilizer after the biological filter is working properly( 48 hours after adding any bacteria ) and the water starts to turn slightly green.
Divide and repot plants as needed.
Begin cleaning your filter as needed. Ponds with a skimmer or other pre-filter will need that skimmer/pre-filter cleaned most frequently. On average this is once a week, but some may need to clean more, others may be able to go a month between cleanings. If this filter is primarily mechanical (physically traps debris) and you also have a biological filter, then it is OK to hose off the pre-filter media. Your biological filter needs to only be cleaned when the flow of water is being restricted due to accumulation of debris. When cleaning a biological filter, do NOT over-clean. It is only necessary to remove the debris that is restricting flow. Over-cleaning the filter can destroy the bacteria that has colonized on the media. If possible, avoid chlorinated water.
A few things you may need: Fish net, Dechlorinator, nitrifying bacteria, Plants, aquatic plant containers, Aquatic Plant Soil, gravel, a vacuum, fish food, and a thermometer. We have all these and more products in stock.