Nine Steps for Springing Your Pond to Life
Are you ready to get back to relaxing by the pond? After a long cold winter there are a few things that you should do before putting your pond back into service for the season.
- Inspect The Pond
Take a careful look around your pond. Make sure there has been no winter damage to the pond or any of the components. Repair or replace as necessary.
- Clean The Pond
No matter how much preparation you have done, winter has likely left the pond in less than perfect condition. Even with leaf netting, you probably have had a few leaves settle to the pond bottom. Any plants that were not completely cut back will usually leave a settlement of organics in the pond bottom. Manually scoop out as much of this as possible or use a pond vacuum if you have one. You can also use our natural bacteria & enzyme products such as Microbe Lift Spring Summer. Use these products on a regular schedule throughout the year for a healthier pond. This is also a good time to clean up around the pond. Loose leaves, twigs, etc may find their way into the water if left in the surrounding area.
- Partial Water Change
Starting the season with a decent water change (usually around 25%) can be a big help for the pond as a whole. If the pond is brown or tea-colored this is likely due to tannins from fall leaves. In this case a slightly larger water change (30-50%) would be good. If the pond is in especially bad shape (heavy, thick buildup of organic debris in the bottom) or if you have dead zones on the bottom due to a layer of rock, then a complete drain and refill could be advantageous. In general we want to avoid these complete drainings as it upset the natural balance of the pond environment.
- Start Pump
If your pump has been off for the winter, spring is the time to start it back up. Most people do this when the water temperature increases to around 50 degrees. Do not start the pump and then leave. Start the pump back up when you will be spending time around the house for several hours. This way you can keep an eye on everything and make sure that all the water is still going where you want it to go (back in the pond). Should you discover any problems, turn the pump off until you can make repairs.
- Start Filter
If the pump and filter system has not been running for awhile, you will want to give your filter media a thorough cleaning prior to starting the system backup. Next, or if your pump has run all winter, it is time to give the bacterial colonies a boost. There are many products that accomplish this. Microbe Lift NiteOut is the nitrifying bacteria that helps jumpstart the biological filtration. This will also be the time to restart your routine biological treatments such as the Microbe Lift PL.
If you have an ultraviolet light, now is the time to consider replacing the lamp. Most people simply replace the lamp in spring, each lamp is only effective for 12-14 months of use.
- Test Water
Begin testing the pond water again. Of particular importance are ammonia and nitrite levels. Both of these should be zero. Perform partial water changes if either test gives a reading other than zero.
- Condition Fish
Spring is the time of year when fish are most susceptible to developing health problems. There are a few things that can be done to help protect the fish. Gram-negative bacteria can cause severe infections. These infections can be prevented by use of KoiZyme but are very hard to eliminate after the fish has become infected. For general protection, pond salt can be an easy way to help the fish ward off disease and pathogens and pond clay can help improve immune function. Sabbactisun is a safe natural treatment that can help to make sure your fish get a healthy start in spring especially if there has been any physical damage during the winter.
Warm weather means your fish are now or soon will be ready to start eating again. Until the water temperature is consistently above 50 degrees, continue to not feed the fish. Once the water temperature is into the 50s you will want to feed a food designed for spring and fall like Legacy Cold Weather. At this point you usually want to feed only once every few days. Water temperatures above 60 means normal feeding of summer foods.
Also as the water temperature reaches into the 50s it will be time to get the hardy plants that survived the winter ready for a great year ahead. Go ahead and cut off any dead foliage if any still remains from last season. This is the time we begin fertilizing the plants . Also, for maximum performance, it may be necessary to divide some of these plants . If the plants are too crowded in their pots, they will suffer and their growth and flowering potential limited. Simply thinning these out will provide you with more from your plants.