Not all water features require an annual cleanout. If there is a layer of “crud” at the bottom of the pond and the water is dark in color, it would be a good idea to do a full clean-out. If there is just a small amount of debris that you can stir up and capture with a net and the water looks clear, a little tidying up and small water change is all that’s in order.
The best time to perform a pond clean-out is before the water temperature in the pond creeps above 55º F. If a clean-out is performed when the water is warmer, after bacteria colonies form, the balance of the ecosystem will again be thrown off.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- A clean-out pump with approximately 25 ft. of discharge hose.
- A high-pressure nozzle for your garden hose, or a power washer.
- Garden shears for trimming plants.
- A large Tupperware bin or even a child’s swimming pool or a similar sized container to hold fish and any other critters you find during the clean-out.
- A net or something similar to place over the fish container to keep them from jumping out.
- Buckets to collect leaves and debris
- A fish net.
- Aquascape Pond Detoxifier™ Plus water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines prior to putting fish back.
- And Aquascape fertilizer tabs.
The first step is to drain the Pond or Pondless® Waterfall
- Place the clean-out pump in the deepest point of the pond or in the Pondless® Waterfall Vault or Snorkel in order to remove the water.
- Drain the water into the surrounding landscape. Be sure to relocate the pipe two or three times to allow the water to seep into the ground and not flood the yard.
- If you have fish, use some of this pond water to fill up the holding pool. The fish can be removed from the pond using a net once the water is around knee-high so you can easily catch them.
- Don’t keep the fish in the holding pool for more than several hours. Keep them in a shady spot with a net over the top of the pool to prevent them from jumping out. If your have a winter aerator or bubbler, you can use it in the holding pool to help oxygenate the water.
Don’t Overdo the Cleaning
- Rinse the inside of the pond. You can also use a pressure washer to help remove debris from the rocks and gravel.
- Don’t try to scrub all of the algae away. Some algae on the rocks will prove beneficial in developing your ecosystem.
- Use the gentle stream from a garden hose to rinse the rocks and gravel. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. Periodically turn the clean-out pump on to remove the dirty water. You can discontinue the periodic pumping once the water rinsing down to the bottom begins to look clear. Remove the pump and begin filling the pond with the garden hose.
Cleaning the Filters
- Remove any debris from the bottom of the skimmer or Pondless Vault. This can be done by hand or by using the cleanout pump.
- Remove the media nets and filter pads from the BioFalls® filter, and rinse them off so they are free of debris.
Finally you can Put Your Fish Back Into Their Clean Home
Your pond clean-out is now done and it’s time to put your fish back into their home. Once your pond is half full, you can perform these steps to safely place your fish back in the pond:
- If you’re on city water, it’s imperative that you add Pond Detoxifer to the water so it is safe for fish.
- Dip a five-gallon bucket, or similar sized container, in the holding tank and fill it with water.
- After you’ve caught a fish, place it in the bucket and set the buckets in the clean water.
- After about 15 minutes, periodically begin splashing some pond water into the bucket.
- By now, the temperature of the pond and the bucket water should be close to the same. You are ready to spill the fish into their spring-cleaned home.