Pond cleaning is an annual spring ritual that doesn’t have to be as bad as you might think. There are a few tips below to make your life easier.
- To empty the backyard water garden, disconnect the pump from the filter and turn on the pump. The hose from the pump can be left lying or pointing toward a ditch (anywhere the water will run off) Rather than expensive pump siphons that waste water, use the equipment you already have.
- Empty the pond far enough so you can catch the fish. (the frogs are on their own here) 🙂 Put the fish into a large enough container that has been filled with old pond water. Aerate this heavily. If you’ve stored your fish indoors, clean the pond before you put them back outdoors.
- Small backyard ponds need cleaning as often as the big ones
- Continue emptying the pond. But…
- As the pond water level is going down, use a strong jet of water (a hose end nozzle) from your garden hose to wash down the dirt from the sidewalls or from between the rocks. Keep flushing the dirt into the main pond where the pump will be pushing it all out of the pond (see why we’ve disconnected the filter – we don’t want all this guck going through it).
- Continue this process of emptying and strong-jet cleaning until all the water in the pond is gone.
- In practical terms, you’ll never get all the water out and you’ll never get all the dirt out. This is OK.
- If you have plastic sidewalls (no rockwork) do not kill or scrub the algae from the sidewalls. This is good algae and will help your pond rebalance itself.
- Start filling the pond with water.
- Clean out the filter system.
- Hook the pump back up to the filter.
- When the pond is filled back up, turn on the pump again and get the water circulating.
- Now is the time to add beneficial bacteria and condition the water according to the water tests you normally run (for example, if you’re raising fish, you need to ensure your chlorine in the water is neutralized)
With a clean pond, clean water, clean filter, and conditioned water you’re now ready to wait until the pond water warms up enough for your fish and plants.
Pond cleaning doesn’t have to be an ugly job but it really does help to do it on a yearly basis.