Regular maintenance of a pond is extremely important to the health of the fish and plants. It also cuts down on how much work is required when it comes time to do a full cleanout. We have two checklists that go over what is recommended to set up your water garden in the spring and to shut it down in the fall. 

When water temperatures reach 50 degrees, it is time to do the following:

Remove all debris from pond with a net and vacuum

We rent vacuums that are ideal for cleanout. The dead leaves and sludge are the most damaging remnants from the winter. Removing them is the single best thing you can do to improve water quality.

Remove 30% of water and replace with clean chlorine-free water

Replacing the old water with fresh tap water will greatly improve the health of the fish. Some people choose to remove the fish and do a complete cleanout replacing all of the water. This is fine but you have to be very careful not to shock the fish. If you intend to change more than 30%, we recommend you wait until the water is closer to 60 degrees. Be sure to acclimate the fish to the new water before putting them back in your pond.

If you are struggling with green water add Aqua-Shade

The most plant friendly way to prevent green water algae in the spring is to use the blue dye (Aqua-Shade) to keep the algae from getting the sunlight it needs to grow. This will make the pond so dark that you can not see down into the water, but it will keep the algae from growing without harming plants or fish. Once the plants are growing well, discontinue use and let the water clear up.

If you are struggling with string algae add Barley Bales.

Barley Straw can be an effective means of controlling many different types of algae, especially string algae. After a few weeks, the straw begins to decompose and produces humic acid which attacks the string algae. Barley straw should be present in your pond year round with fresh straw added in April and September. Do not remove the old barley bale until the plastic container is empty, as the new barley bale takes 6-8 weeks to begin working in warm water and much longer in cold water.

When water temperature reaches 60 degrees and we're reasonably sure there will not be another freeze:

Install Filter
We generally recommend shutting down the pump and filter for the winter. It makes winter upkeep easier and can prevent problems related to freezing. It is best to wait to set the pump back up until you know there will not be another freeze for the year.

Replace UV Clarifier Bulb

UV bulbs need to be replaced after 9 months of burn time, usually once a season.  Make sure we will not have another freeze before setting up your UV or pressure filter.

Add a Sludge Digester (MicrobeLift-Sludge Away or Ultra Clear-Digester)

Sludge Digesting bacteria are effective at reducing the amount of waste on the bottom of the pond. It is always better to physically remove the sludge and leaves, but if there is some that you can't easily reach these products will make a big difference.

Add a Nitrifying Bacteria (AquaZyme, MicrobeLift-PL, or Ultra Clear-Clarifier)
Nitrifying bacteria will grow on their own, but if you seed the bacteria bed with these products it will speed up the nitrification cycle and reduce stress on your fish. This is especially important right after a full spring cleaning or if you have a high fish load for the size pond.

Add Floating and Oxygenating Plants (Water Hyacinths, Water Lettuce, Anacharas, and Hornwort)

These are the most important plants for balancing a pond out naturally. They will improve the water quality by consuming nutrients and preventing algae growth.

Begin Feeding Fish

You may start feeding the fish once the pond is cleaned out and the filter is running properly.