Watergarden, Spring Start Up Care
General Information: Spring cleaning helps keep your pond ecologically balanced and helps control excessive algae growth. When water temperatures stabilize around 55°F in March/April, your fish’s immune systems should be functioning normally and can adjust more easily to stress.
1. If your pond is regularly kept free of debris accumulations, thorough draining and cleaning should not be necessary more than once every 4-6 years. At the beginning of each spring season you should make a 20-30% partial water change to eliminate pollution and debris that has accumulated over the winter months. This can be done with a pond or sump pump.
• When doing a total water change, remove all fish and plants, storing them in buckets or tubs until you are finished. While pumping water out, spray sides of the pond with a garden hose to loosen dirt and debris.
2. When refilling your pond, be sure to test the water quality for chlorine and chloramines, both of which are toxic to fish and detrimental to all plants.
• To de-chlorinate water – add a chlorine-reducing agent.
• To neutralize chloramines – use a chlorine-reducing agent and an ammonia-absorbing product with zeolite.
• Add beneficial bacteria, such as Microbelift and Biofilter, to help start the nitrate cycle.
3. Check edges of ponds and water falls for loose rocks or caps that might require repairs.
4. Clean and check all equipment to make sure they are functioning properly.
5. Start filters and water circulating through stream beds and falls.
6. Move submerged plants and water lilies back to shallow areas of your pond. As soon as the leaves start to rise above the water surface, move the plants back into deeper water.
7. Any plants that were not cut back in fall, such as cattails, reeds, rushes and grasses, need to be cut back before they develop new shoots.
8. Add new plantings to your pond and begin regular monthly feeding of plants in April or as soon as they start sprouting.
9. Feed fish sparingly, once water temperatures are above 50°F on a regular basis.
10. Algae grow in all ponds and, in moderation, contribute to the pond’s ecological balance. Most ponds will turn green in early spring when microscopic algae overgrow in response to increased sunlight and nutrients. You can control algae bloom by adding other plants that will provide shade and competition for available nutrients.
By following these maintenance steps, you can revitalize your pond for spring, allowing you to have hours of enjoyment and satisfaction as your pond comes back to life.