Cleaning Ponds & Maintenance
Controlling plants, so that one species does not dominate and inhibit other plants, can be done throughout the growing season as need dictates. In a particular, floating-leaved plants should be watched carefully. Weeding unwanted species should be done little and often on a weekly basis, especially during the spring.
Fallen leaves floating on the pond surface sink in time and add to the detritus that accumulates at the bottom of a pond. In order to delay the time when a pond needs clearing out, these should be raked off and removed. For small pond a net, spread over the pond's surface during the autumn, will facilitate this task.
Cut back and remove dead plant life during the autumn or, if you prefer, late in winter, just before the spring growing season. If the pond has a liner avoid using sharp-pronged metal tools and generally take care not to cause damage.
Clearing and Cleaning the pond
Start by pumping out the pond, using a submersible pump with a flexible hose, taking care to run the water into a drain or somewhere it can percolate away slowly without damage. Take care to preserve the fish or wildlife that you find as the water level drops, transferring the fish to a temporary container ( A clean plastic dustbin is suitable), making sure that the water in it is well provided with oxygen, or the fish may suffocate. Putting an air pump into the holding container generally takes care of this problem.
Once the pump has taken out all the water that it can without becoming blocked, remove the rest of the detritus using a bucket and soft scoop. There is a real danger of damaging pond liners whilst they are unprotected by water, so make sure that no metal or sharp objects are used in this operation; also make sure that no sharp stones are trapped in the soles of boots. Do not be tempted to use any detergents or cleansing agents.
Remove the majority of the detritus but not all. It is important to allow a certain amount to remain, as it contains enough of the microscopic pond life to recolonize the pond. Cleared detritus should be allowed to dry beside the pond and then be removed in sacks or placed on a compost heap, where it will rot down to provide an excellent compost.
Remove by hand or gentle spray from a hose any string algae that may be clinging to the plants. Trim off dead or dying leaves and spent blossoms. Fertilize the plants if "in season". Place the plants back to their original positions.
Start refilling the pond. While you are doing this fill a portion of the holding tab with new water (do not forget to use de-chlorinator). Pump out a little of the water then fill a portion again. Do this several times so that the temperature of the water gradually decreases/increases to the temperature of the new pond water. If cleaning your pond in early spring use Hydra De-Chlorinator
What you will need:
1. Rubber Gloves
2. A strong wet-vac or shop vac
3. A hose with spray nozzle
4. A temporary holding tank for fish
5. Strong submersible pump with 2" hose
6. Net to catch the fish
7. Aerator for holding tank
8. Gardening scissors or snips
9. De-chlorinator (if using city or county water)
10.Set up holding tank
Algae, particularly blanket weed, often proliferates on a garden pond, particularly when it is new and has not achieved a balanced ecosystem or is overstocked with fish. While there are a large number of preparations and suggestions for controlling algae, many of these have detrimental long term effects. During the spring and early summer, remove algae on a frequent basis, using a plastic garden rake. As thr growing season progresses and the pond's ecosystem develops, algae will grow with less vigor.
Remove and re-site fish if they have bred and their numbers and size are greater than originally planned. They are easiest to catch in the autumn, as the water temperature lowers and they become sluggish. If a pond is overstocked, fish become pray to disease and stresses. It is no kindness to the fish to allow them to breed and grow without control.
Restocking the pond
The pond can be refilled with water from a hosepipe or, in ideal circumstances, with stored rainwater. Consider the number of fish that you have taken out of the pond and re-site some if necessary. Allow as long as possible before reintroducing fish into the pond to allow the water temperature to stabilize and give the ecosystem a chance to re-establish.