It’s that time of year again – the ice and snow are starting to melt, the sun is coming out every once in a while, and people are able to see that warmer days are on the way. It’s great news for those of you who have been hibernating in your homes for the past few months, and it’s even better news for your backyard ponds.
Although your garden and lawn may require fairly aggressive makeovers once spring arrives, your backyard pond requires a gentler and more subtle approach to get it in shape for warmer weather. Arm yourself with the proper pond supplies and head outside – your pond and its inhabitants are anxiously waiting!
Spring into Action: Get Your Pond Ready for Warm Weather
As you have probably realized by now, taking care of your fish pond requires a great deal of tender loving care. Fish are delicate creatures, and they are especially weak after a long winter, so you have to be careful not to make any sudden changes that will upset their immune systems. That being said, we encourage you to follow these steps to safely get your pond spring-savvy in a snap:
1. Examine your pond for damage. It’s possible that your pond may have suffered some damage during the long winter. Check especially for tears in the lining, get rid of any accumulated debris, and inspect all hoses for punctures or leaks.
2. Remove winter equipment. If you installed a pond de-icer, now is the time to remove, dry and properly store it.
3. Give your pond a fresh start – clean out the dirty water. During winter a good deal of sludge has probably build up in your pond from fallen leaves, a mixture of melting snow and mud, and your fish’s biological processes. Remove the fish gently using a pond skimmer and place them in a bucket filled with the original pond water. Remove the dirty water with buckets; rinse any gravel or rocks you have on the bottom; and scrub major dirt and muck off of your pond liner. *Note: don’t scrub all the algae off of your pond liner – it is beneficial to the seasoning of the pond.
4. Be sure to save a portion of the original pond water to add to the new water. Doing so keeps some of the beneficial bacteria that aids in the biological processes the pond needs to properly function.
5. Fill the pond with fresh, treated water. If you use hose / tap water to refill your pond, be sure to treat it with chlorine removal solution so you don’t inadvertently poison your fish.
6. Clean your pond filter to get rid of any build-up and get it running (if it wasn’t already.) Be sure to clean your pond filter parts in pond water, not hose / tap water, because the latter contains chlorine that will kill beneficial bacteria. Run the filter in shallow water at first to make sure that it is still functioning properly.
7. Reintegrate your fish into the new, clean pond water. Simply dumping your fish into the new pond water will shock their systems and could result in death. Therefore, let the bucket with your fish in it float in the new water for about an hour so the temperatures can neutralize. Then slowly and gently empty the bucket into the pond.
As you can see, spring cleaning is just as important in your backyard pond as it is inside your own home. There are many steps necessary to ensure that your pond and its inhabitants make the transition between winter dormancy and spring activity successfully, and Pondliner is committed to helping you each step of the way.