Spring Maintenance for your Garden Pond: Tips and Advice

Spring maintanance

As the winter is left behind and spring begins now is the time to get on with a bit of spring pond maintenance.

This is a very important time of the year as far as your pond goes, it’s been a bit dormant for the best part of the cold winter months but it’s now time to wake up.

There’s a lot you can do in the spring that will help your pond thrive for the rest of the year, if you don’t do it now you will regret it later on.

If you prepared your pond for winter with a good clean out, spring cleaning should be a lot easier.

If you used a pond deicer/heater to keep your pond from freezing over the winter months you can take it out, give it a good clean and store ready for when the cold weather hits again.

Spring maintenance for your pond.

Let’s start with your pond and the first thing you should tackle is the muck and debris that has sunk to the bottom of your pond during the winter months.

If you raised your pump for winter there will be sludge on the bottom of the pond as the pump didn’t circulate it.

Use a long handled skimmer net to scoop out all the sludge from the bottom of the pond, this will stir up the water making it look murky even if you do it slowly but don’t worry this will settle after a day or two.

You can use this rich in nutrients sludge in your garden, dig it into your flower beds to feed your plants.

While you’re at it use the net to scoop any floating debris out of the pond.

If you have a pond vacuum this will make the job a bit easier but will still stir the water up a bit.

A good well-balanced pond doesn’t need to be drained and cleaned every year, a pond should only need a full clean out about every 5 years or so.

If you have a pond which is over stocked with fish this may exceed a healthy balance and an annual clean out might be necessary.

The best time to do a full clean is in the spring when the pond water is still a bit on the cold side and fish will be able to adapt to the change.

If you are doing a full clean, start by draining the pond, if you are going to re-use the water pump it into a holding tank, if not you can pump enough water for your fish into a holding tank and the rest can be used to water the garden.

Catch your fish and place them in the holding tank that you have the water from the pond, don’t put them into fresh water from the tap as this will shock them.

Don’t over fill your holding tank incase your fish decide to jump out, a net over the top will also secure them.

Once the pond has been drained scoop out all the muck from the bottom, if your pond is just a liner this will be an easy job but if your pond has rocks and gravel it gets a bit more difficult.

If you have rocks and gravel you can either use a garden hose or a pressure washer to clean your pond.

A garden hose is less intrusive than a pressure washer and will leave the algae growing on your rocks while a pressure will blast away all the much and algae leaving an almost new looking pond.

With the pond drained you can do other maintenance that needs doing like checking underwater lights and giving them a clean and fixing any leaks that you know about.

Now is a good time to do any improvements you have planned for your pond.

When the pond is clean you can refill it with water, the safest way to do this is with the water you pumped out at the start but you can fill it with fresh tap water but remember to add the relevant water treatments such as water clarifiers.

Using tap water will introduce chlorine and other chemicals that are unwanted in a garden pond.

A safer way is to add half the original pond water with half fresh tap water.

Before re-introducg your fish into your pond let it run for a bit, if you have filled your pond with clean tap water put some into the holding tank were your fish are to help them acclimatise to the new water.

Whether you have carried out a complete spring-clean with a full water change or just a bit of maintenance you will need to check the water quality with a water testing kit.

You are testing the water for the ph, nitrate, ammonia and nitrite levels, make sure the water is within the recommended parameters and adjust as necessary.

Spring maintenance for your pond pump.

If you decided to shut down your pond for the winter and removed the pump now is the time to put it back into the pond, assuming the pump was cleaned before it was put away.

If you ran your pond throughout the winter which is something we suggest you do now is the time to get it out of the pond and give it a good clean.

Pull the pump out of the pond using the hose and not the electric cable and clean all the debris on the outside making sure the inlet and outlets are clear.

Open up the pump to check and clean the impellers, if all is good the cleaned pump can be returned to the pond.

If you ran your pump over winter and raised it of the bottom of the pond when you return it to the pond place it back on the bottom.

If you have air pumps in your pond these can be taken out and given a good clean before replacing them.

Spring maintenance for your pond filters.

The next step is your filters, they will need a clean, don’t use tap water, use water from the pond.

With a bucket of water taken from your pond give your foam filters a bit of a swill and a good squeeze to get rid of any waste that might be blocking them.

Check for signs of deterioration or wear and replace filters if necessary.

If you left your pump and filters running through the winter your biological filter will still have the good bacteria so you don’t want to give it too much of a clean.

If you removed your filters for winter any bacteria will have died so you can give them a good spring-clean but add a starter bacteria to the filter before replacing.

If you have a ultraviolet clarifier (UVC) these can be cleaned and checked, make sure there is no water ingress around the UV lamp.

Replace the UV lamp with a new one even if it still lights up, they dont last very long and should be replaced at least once a year.

Spring maintenance for your pond plants.

With spring comes plant growth so now is the time to do a bit of maintenance.

At this time of year it’s a good time to divide your plants and repot, If you have enough plants in your pond you can use the divided plants in a damp part of your garden.

You should have pruned your plants back at the start of winter but if you didn’t do it now.

Looking after your fish in the spring.

As the water warms up in the spring your fish will start to come out of their winter dormancy.

The fluctuating tempreaturs of spring can be a stressful time of year for your fish, their immune system won’t be fully working yet, so checking the water for ammonia and nitrates is essential.

Throw out any left over fish food from last year and replace it with fresh food, start feeding your fish with small amount of food to start with until they are back to their normal selves.

A low protein wheat based food will be easier to digest to start with before moving onto a high protein fishmeal feed.

Check your fish for wounds they may have and look for signs of illness, look for excess mucus, ulcers that are visible and rubbing that could be a parasite infection.

If you find health issues with your fish treat them with the appropriate fish medication.

At this time of year your fish can be sluggish and slow moving which can leave them vulnerable to attacks from predators, so protect them with a net or maybe a heron decoy to keep them safe.