Now is the time to get your pond into shape. Here’s are some helpful suggestions that will make your pond even better this year.
• Clean out debris from the pond bottom and edges using your net and a pond vacuum. Bacteria will eventually break down decaying organic matter, but don’t wait. Not only does this process take time, the by-product of this process is nitrate which leads to algae blooms and excessive string algae growth.
• Spend some time on component maintenance. Clean the pump intake and check the condition of tubing, hose clamps and fittings. Clean media pads in the pond skimmer and pond filter. Replace pads if needed. Remove any sludge that has accumulated in either.
• Clean the quartz sleeve on your UV Clarifier with a soft rag. If the sleeve has lime scale build-up, you may need to soak it in CLR or another scale remover. Replace the UV lamp if the bulb has been used for over 12 months.
• Remove any dead aquatic plant growth that you missed last autumn. Re-pot aquatic plants that are root-bound in pots. Older plants that continue growing become beautiful specimens, but also continue to consume nutrients that otherwise would fuel algae growth.
• Check the condition of your pond fish. Look for signs of parasites or disease. Excessive flashing, staying on the pond bottom away from the other fish or staying under the waterfall can be signs of health probelms. Remember, no matter how hungry your fish look or beg for food, don’t feed them until the pond water temperature is 50 degrees.
• Finally, check your pond lighting. Replace bulbs, fixtures or transformers as needed.
I always look for ways to improve my water garden while I’m doing routine maintenance. A waterfall or stream effect can be changed simply by moving one or two rocks. Adding a small accent pond light to show off a large marginal plant can be dramatic. The possibilities are endless.