Spring is right around the corner and it is getting to be time to ready your pond for the warm weather ahead. In the coming weeks your water will start to warm waking your fish from their Winter hibernation, restarting plant growth, and encouraging bacteria reproduction. With our help you can get your pond ready to deal with this restart in a way that will promote another beautiful and healthy season!
Cleaning the pond
To start off the season it is always advisable to clean out your pond before hooking up filters and pumps. Cleaning out the pond by hand prior to anything else helps your pond restart its ecosystem without overwhelming it with trying to break down leaves and debris that fell in through the fall and winter. Even a perfectly covered pond will have a lot of debris in the bottom of it in the spring, which can lead to stress on the ecosystem and a spike in CO2 and ammonia levels as the ecosystem attempts to break down that debris.
How you choose to clean out the pond is totally up to you and what you are willing to do. Here at the store we use a net, but then drain the pond 1/2 to 3/4 of the way and pull out as much as we can with our hands to make it as clear as possible. We also have some employees who get on waders and get into their ponds to clean them out in the beginning of spring. Taking a net and pulling out the large pieces of debris is generally enough, but it never hurts to go a little more in depth if you are willing to.
After cleaning out the debris you will most likely still have enough partially decomposed debris on the bottom to make your pond still seem dirty. We call this mess sludge. To deal with that we have some products that, paired with a beneficial bacteria, will aid your filters in removing that from your pond without the negative side effects of allowing it to decompose naturally. The two products we tend to use are Sludge Away or Strictly Sludge.
Starting a beneficial bacteria routine early is one of the best ways to prevent future problems in your pond throughout the year. Beneficial bacteria is present in all healthy ecosystems, but doesn't tend to form as well in man made ecosystems(such as ponds). Adding a beneficial bacteria allows your ecosystem to be healthier and stronger so that it can fight against problems that arise in your pond on it's own. We carry a few different products that are purely a beneficial bacteria. We recommend either Pond Flush, Microbe-Lift PM, or Helix Beneficial Bacteria for your pond.
When you first start your beneficial bacteria regimen you want to add the treatment every other day for the first week. After the first week you will switch to once a week for the rest of the season. This season long treatment is the best way to prevent issues with health of both your fish and your pond's ecosystem.
Once the temperatures at night stay above freezing temperatures it is time to consider putting your pump(s) back onto your pond and getting them running. Having the pond water moving is vital to successfully maintaining your pond throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall. The movement through the filter helps keep your pond clean and healthy and the disturbance from the water movement allows your pond to take in a greater level of oxygen.
With the warm weather ahead it is important to start feeding your fish once again. Once your water temperature holds above 45 degrees consistently you should start feeding your fish a few times a week with a cold weather food such as Blue Ridge Cool Water Wheat, Microbe Lift Cold Weather, or Tetra Spring & Fall Diet. In the cool water your Fish's metabolism is still moving very slow, so you will want to keep this routine until your water gets to about 60 degrees consistently. Once you hit that warm mark you can switch back to your traditional feeding routine and food you were using throughout the previous season.