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Spring Pond Maintenance Guide

Fish

  • Begin to feed fish minimally with a cold water fish food as water begins to warm and fish resume activity. When temperatures grows to the 60's F in the later spring, switch to a growth formula fish food.
  • Examine all fish for signs of lethargic behavior, parasites or sores. If you see signs of parasites or fish disease, identify the ailment and treat accordingly with medications.
  • Test water for ammonia and nitrite weekly using a quality test kit. If levels are high, reduce feeding until the nitrifying bacteria have the chance to catch up and decrease levels. If levels continue to rise, use an ammonia detoxifier and further reduce feedings.
  • Add nitrifying bacteria to help kick start your ecosystem to guard against toxic buildup of ammonia from fish waste.

Plants

  • Cleanup, weed and mulch peripheral beds.
  • If you moved/removed aquatic plants, now is the time to return them.
  • Divide root-bound plants and repot the divisions; give excess plants to friends or take them to a plant swap.
  • Elevate hardy water lilies to 3-4 inches below the water surface, where the warmer water will stimulate them to start faster. After it produces 6 pads, return it to its ideal growing depth. This is usually between 6 and 18 inches of water cover.
  • Add new border, hardy or tropical shallow water/bog plants, submerged/oxygenating pond plants and floating pond plants.

Pond

  • Clean out debris that accumulated over winter.
  • Vacuum or sweep the bottom of the pond if there is significant accumulation of debris.
  • You may experience an algae bloom. Don't panic. Your ecosystem will take a little time to reset itself as the water temperature increases and stabilizes again. Although this is not harmful, but rather unsightly, it can be reduced dramatically by utilizing barley straw or algaecidal products in your pond system. Barley straw does not kill algae but is does affect the growth by preventing it from "reproducing".
  • Top off the pond. This is best done using collected rain water. If this is not an option, spray water through the air to increase the surface area of the water being added and thus increasing the gas exchange resulting in reduced amounts of chlorine/chloramines in the added water. Another alternative and maybe a necessity, depending on your water quality, is the use of Dechlorinator.

Equipment

  • Confirm GFCI outlet is working properly.
  • Reconnect the pond pump and pond filter, if stored over winter.
  • Check lights and electrical connections. Make repairs accordingly.
  • Inspect pond liner and make repairs accordingly
  • Inspect berms and waterfall or stream for settling edges that might cause a leak.
  • Give your ecosystem a kick start by adding nitrifying bacteria to your biological filtration system. A biological filter begins to function when the water temperature reaches the mid 50's F.
  • Replace the bulb in your UV clarifier if equipped.