When Should I Clean my Garden Pond

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A garden pond is a wonderful addition to any home and backyard. However, many questions just when and how you should attempt to clean a garden pond.

Clean your garden pond about once a year. In fact, it is not a good idea to clean your pond more than once a year. If you are keeping your pond clean by using a pond filtration system and nets, an annual cleaning at the most is just fine and should get the job done.

There are many tricks and tips you can use to keep your pond clean and sparkling all year, before and after a deep cleaning.

When Should I Clean my Garden Pond?

Obviously, bigger ponds will take longer to clean, although nature’s little pond life can help you keep your pond clean, you’ll still need to consider how big you actually want your pond – If you are considering building a pond then, how deep should a garden pond be will be a must-read.

Cleaning your pond can be an all-day adventure, something that takes up hours but is necessary. However, too many people think that cleaning the pond is something you should be doing every season or, worse yet, every month.

That is simply not true and a full deep clean is only really necessary once a year. However, you should be doing regular maintenance on your pond throughout the rest of the calendar year. This regular maintenance includes checking filters, using a pond vacuum, cleaning out fish waste and more. But a full, major cleaning event isn’t needed that often at all.

It is important to remember that a lot of the ecosystem that lives inside your pond, such as algae, does cleaning on its own. To disrupt this process and clean more than you need to only mess with their schedule. That is why a truly intensive clean is only needed just once a year.

However, that does not mean you can ignore your pond aside from that. Your annual clean will only work if you spend the rest of the year tending to your pond and keeping it looking good. You should be doing both monthly and even weekly maintenance procedures to keep everything looking good and healthy.

The Annual Clean

When the yearly clean comes around, what should you do? First you should plan when you want to do it. It is recommended that you perform your annual garden pond clean during the spring, before temperatures warm up too much. In fact, doing this when the weather outside is still under 70 degree Fahrenheit is ideal.

When you are doing the full cleaning procedure, you will likely need to remove most of the water if it is really dirty. A pond net just won’t do enough on its own. Drain or siphon this water into a larger container, something like a big trash can that can hold all the liquid.

How to Handle Fish and Plants

What do you do with your fish? When there is less than 6 inches of water in the pond, transfer your fish friends out of the pond and into a water holding tank. Make sure to place a net on top of whatever tank you place them in so they do not jump out.

And what about the plants you have in the pond? With those, find a safe and shaded, moist area for them to rest in and move them there as you continue your clean. As with the fish, handle them with care because they will be out of their elements and it could be a shock to the system.

Rinse the Walls and Use a Cleaner

After you have removed all the living creatures from the pond, both fish and plant alike, you can then begin to rinse the walls of the pond and remove any gross muck that clings to the rock surface. Dump is straight into your garbage or, better yet, a compost bin.

Use a patented pond cleaning solution that you have bought like a pond detoxifier or any other product you have chosen. There are other products you can use and that is really up to you. But when your pond is clear of water and plants and animals, now would be the time to use them.

If you want to use a power washer on the surface of your pond, now would be the time. Be careful when using it though, those things can be fairly intense and with a slick, algae-covered surface, you could cause a fall to yourself. Perhaps a strong, high-pressured garden hose is a better idea. Whichever you choose, focus the water on the area that needs the most freshening up without disrupting too much algae of the rock formations you like.

Continue scrubbing the walls of the pond and remove any excess debris that has accumulated over the year. Do not try to scrub away all the algae. Remember that some algae in the pond is an important part of your pond’s life and you don’t want to get rid of it.

This is an ideal time to remove and clean any pond filters you may have. If you have a filter, the instruction manual that came with it should be able to teach you all you need to know to clean it. Make sure you give it a wonderful and deep clean because this will be your only deep clean of the year and you will not be wading back into these waters for another 12 months.

This entire process should not take too long. In fact, it should definitely not take more than a couple hours because that would be very bad for the fish who are relaxing in this temporary home. Ideally, this entire process should be done in a maximum of an hour. That means you may have to plan ahead and that is okay. Do whatever it takes to stay on schedule, for the sake of your fish and your pond plants.

Fill the Pond Back Up

Once you have finished your scrub, added any new products and changed the filter, it is time to start filling your pond back up. As your pond fills you will need to acclimate your fish to the new waters they will be living in. Dip a bucket into the fishing hold tank and fill it up with water and one of your fish. Once your fish has been caught, place that bucket in the raising water of the pond. This will acclimate them to the new temperature without actually forcing them to swim in it yet.

After about 15 minutes of the fish in the bucket feeling the new water, splash some of the new pond water into the bucket and let them truly get a sense of what is waiting for them. At this point, the temperature of the pond and the bucket should be about the same. Your fish will be ready to dive into their new digs!

Other Cleans Throughout the Year

While the deep clean we just went over only needs to happen once a year, there will be other cleaning processes you should attend to aside from that. You are not off the hook that easily!

While many ponds and the animals and plants within them have self-cleaning methods and measures in place, you still need to check on them and keep things tidy and safe throughout the year.

The Monthly Clean

Every month, you should give a good hard look at your pond and make sure the alage isn’t growing out of control or the fish haven’t mucked up the place with their waste. If you notice your pond is battling some invasive algae, you may need to invest in chemicals or a filtration system. If that is the case, many of them require monthly maintenance and cleaning.

This will not require you drain the pond and climb in like the annual clean. Instead, this may mean you will be sprinkling some powder on the pond or removing a filter system and checking the progress on things. It won’t be anything too wild but it will likely be done monthly.

If you don’t have anything too drastic going on in your pond, this monthly maintenance will really be about cosmetics. Make sure things are looking good, your plants are wilting away and your fish are happy and active. Take note of any changes in the look and feel of the pond or the creatures living inside of it. A general check in on your pond every month is a wonderful idea.

The Weekly Clean

Every week you will want to check the condition of any filter you have installed. This doesn’t have to be a long process and sometimes it might actually feel a bit unnecessary. But it isn’t! In fact, it is very necessary. You need to check your filter and just make sure it has accumulated too much trash in a way because that would be cause for concern. If you happen to notice something alarming in your filter after just a week, that would definitely be something to keep an eye on because things shouldn’t get that bad in only seven days.

A weekly check-in on your pond is a sure fire way to make sure things are moving smoothly and everything is remaining healthy for all the creatures living in your pond. You shouldn’t expect anything crazy in these weekly check-ups and that is all the more reason you should do them regularly.

All in All

Its important you give your pond a big clean about once a year and keep checking on it every now and again for little touch ups you can do in the mean time.

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