Spring Pond Maintenance is vital as the spring season approaches. You should begin by inspecting your pond superficially.
If you winterized your pond appropriately then the following steps should be easy!
Pay close attention to any damages to the hosing or liner as well as rock formations that could have shifted during the wintery months.
Spring Pond Maintenance Starting at 0
Once the pond water temperature has reached 0 degrees Celsius or 32 to degrees Fahrenheit or greater, you will be able to begin your spring pond maintenance following steps 1-3 below.
Once the pond water reaches a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, you can execute steps 4-9 comfortably.
When Should I Start Spring Pond Maintenance?
If you live in an area where your pond freezes in the winter and the fish go dormant, it is best to wait until 0° C to add cold water bacteria and closer to 10° C to turn on pumps and filtration.
Changing the UV Bulb
Many people will change their UV bulbs at the beginning of each spring – this will ensure bulbs are working at their optimal strength.
The maximum length we recommend for any UV bulb is 2 years (used seasonally).
Even if the light is still showing that it is working at the end of 2 years, it will not be working to its full potential.
Spring Pond Maintenance: Feeding Fish
The surface of your pond will begin to warm up in the spring as the ice melts and the sun shines.
The surface water becomes warmer than the water deeper in your pond, causing the fish to come to the surface, however this does not mean they are hungry or in need of food necessarily.
Koi and Pond Fish are unable to digest food properly in cold temperatures and can become sick.
It is best to wait until 10°C water temperature and start with a cold water food that is easier for fish to digest in cold temperatures.
Removing Leaves is Part of Pond Maintenance in the Spring
It is very important to remove the rotting debris from your pond in the spring.
This is because as it breaks down in the water, your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels will increase dramatically, putting your fish at risk as well as becoming a feeding ground for algae growth.
Emptying Pond Water During Spring Maintenance
Many people are frightened by the look of their ponds early spring. Their once clean, filtered water, now appears to be full of algae and debris.
Over the fall and winter months, debris, like leaves, enter our ponds and our filtration is removed resulting in water that appears less than desirable.
Most ponds, however; would benefit from keeping the same water! If you are able to net out the large debris and have your filter begin working on the water quality, this will be less of a disturbance to your pond.
The only time we would recommend a full pond empty is if the waste or sludge in the pond is so heavy that you are unable to manually remove it with a net (think 12" of debris or more).
By not emptying your pond fully, you will be able to retain seasoned water.
Spring Pond Maintenance in 9 Steps
If you’re wondering ‘when should I clean my pond during the spring’ or how often should you clean your pond after spring maintenance then this guide will help you bring in the spring.
As the summer months approach, if the spring pond maintenance is properly executed along with a pond winterization process completed before, you’ll be able to enjoy your pond quickly.
Step 1: Removal of Pond Netting
Remove any Pond Netting that may have been placed over the ponds surface to prevent leaves from dropping in or to discourage predators over winter.
Step 2: Adding Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria
You can begin adding Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria, which can be added at any temperature above 32°F (0°C).
This will work to fast track both cleaning and balancing your pond system.
You may also soak your filter media with beneficial bacteria to give it a head start.
Step 3: Remove Pond Heater
If your fish have been over-wintered in the pond (zone 6 or below, one area of your pond should be a minimum of 42-48” deep) you can now remove and store the Pond Heater.
However, be sure that the surface of your pond will not freeze over entirely once you remove the heater.
Step 4: Use of Skimming Net
Use a Pond Skimming Net to slowly skim the bottom of the pond for any debris that may have settled over winter (i.e. leaves and sludge).
Try not to disturb the fish by stirring up the pond too much, as they are at a delicate stage in the spring
Step 5: Beneficial BacteriaContinue adding beneficial bacteria weekly to your pond system.
Step 6: Pressurized Filters Added
Filters (Pressurized Filters/Gravity fed Filters, UVs) and pumps (Solids Handling/Skimmer Pumps) can be re-introduced into the pond.
Ensure they are working properly and cleaned out prior to installing (easier to have them cleaned prior to storing)
Step 7: Pond AerationPond Aeration can be moved from the ledges or midway points of your pond to the deeper areas.
Step 8: Pond Lilies
Lilies can be brought up to the more shallow areas of the pond to kick start their growth (this is not mandatory).
Marginals can be re-potted if necessary. All plants can be fertilized at this time.
Step 9: Cold Water Food For Fish
Begin feeding fish again once your water temperature has reached a consistent 50°F (10°C).
Be sure not to feed fish prior to this, as they are unable to digest the food in cooler temperatures. Use a cold water food in the spring and fall as it is easier to digest for the fish.