It can be all to easy falling into the trap of letting your garden pond fend for itself. However, if you want your pond and its inhabitants to flourish – and to keep attracting wildlife – you’re going to need to learn the basics of cleaning a pond.
First of all you need to decide if your pond requires a full pond clean or if a general clean/tidy will suffice.
If your pond has a large thick layer of sludge at the base, the water is dark and discoloured and the pond environment has fallen into a state of disrepair, then a full-clean out will be the best course of action. The best time to perform a full pond clean is in the early spring, prior to your pond waking up from its winter dormancy.
Read on below for our 4 easy steps to performing a full pond clean and keeping your pond healthy.
Step 1 – Removing Fish
To avoid causing the fish stress and injury, it’s important to remove them from the pond first. Begin by transferring some water from the pond into a suitable holding tank, such as a large bucket or plastic bin (depending on how many fish you have).
Continue by starting to drain the pond until there is around 12 inches remaining. At this point remove the fish from the pond and place them into the temporary container in a shaded area.
Add an aerator or a small pond pump into the container – if your pond is small and cleaning is minimal, you fish will be fine without for a couple of hours – Make sure to place a net over the top of the tank to prevent the fish from jumping out.
Step 2 – Removing Plants
Removing pond plants is the next stage in the cleaning process. Trim any dead or damaged foliage and place plants into buckets of pond water for temporary storage. If necessary re-pot or divide marginal plants and lillies using suitable pond planting baskets and aquatic compost.
Step 3 – Emptying and Cleaning Your Pond
It’s now time to empty the rest of the water from your pond and finish the cleaning process. We would suggest using a pond vacuum to remove any unwanted sludge and algae quickly and easily – If you do not possess a pond vac you can also bail or syphon the water from the base of the pond.
Make sure to scrub the bottom and sides of the pond liner or preformed pond, plus any rocks to loosen algae. You’ll also need to check over any pond pumps, skimmers and pond filtration units, giving them a thorough clean – Making sure pond media is cleaned using pond water.
Once you’re happy, pump or bail out any remaining dirty water or debris.
Tip: Your old pond water is a fantastic natural fertiliser for garden plants and vegetables!
Step 4 – Refilling Your Pond
When refilling a pond, we suggest adding pond treatments such as beneficial bacteria and enzymes to regulate the water and keep your pond as healthy as possible for longer periods.
During the refilling process, make sure to use a dechlorinator to remove harmful chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals which are contained in tap water. Once the pond is full, reintroduce your pond plants and fish to their freshly cleaned environment.
Remember, it’s important to keep on top of your pond maintenance, so make sure to venture out into the garden and periodically check your pond’s health! This includes the regular use of a pond testing kit to check Ammonia, Nitrite, pH and other important water parameters and make adjustments as necessary.