Spring pond maintenance does not only mean cleaning. Your pond water is part of a delicate ecosystem, and after it’s been dormant all winter, you’ll want to take special care when you’re making changes for spring. Here are our tips for taking care of your pond water.
Always Be Aware of Your Water Temperature
There are so many aspects of your spring pond maintenance regimen that depend on water temperature, and if you don’t have a pond thermometer, you will not know when it’s time to perform certain crucial tasks, such as these:
• Reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your pond.
Bacterial infections kill thousands of koi each spring as the weather warms. You need to begin treating your pond water with an anti-bacterial agent when the water temperature reaches 40 degrees.
• Treat for deadly parasites. Upon reaching 55-60 degrees, your water needs to be treated for deadly parasites like fluke worms, which are a top cause of death for koi.
• Begin feeding your fish. Your fish should not start eating again until the water temperature is steadily between 50 and 60 degrees. Regardless of how warm the air feels to you, it’s important to wait for your water to catch up. Your fish have a very low metabolic rate in spring, and you don’t want to upset their digestive systems.
Test and Monitor Your Pond Water
While you’ll need to do this regularly, this step is especially important during your spring pond cleaning, when you’ve likely upset the balance of your pond. Test for ammonia, kH, and pH levels using a pond water test kit. There should ideally be no ammonia in your pond, but the level should never rise above 0.25 ppm, which can happen from overfeeding fish in the spring. Healthy kH levels are generally around 150 ppm, and a pH level between 7.0 and 8.6 is the best environment for goldfish and koi.
Perform Regular Water Changes
Your spring pond maintenance plan should incorporate the beginning of your weekly water changes. Get in the habit of doing this now – at least 10% of the water in your pond should be changed and conditioner should be added to remove chlorine and any ammonia. Always make sure that the fresh water is the same temperature as the water already in the pond before adding it.
Follow these suggestions for your pond maintenance routine, not only in the spring but also year round, to keep your backyard pond healthy and beautiful.