Steps for Cleaning a Pond
You might want to do this deep cleaning once a year. Usually spring is a good time. Over an entire year leaves and other debris will blow into your pond and begin to break down on the bottom. This creates an environment that can encourage algae growth and water clarity issues.
Step 1 Clean the Filters
Step 1 - Check your filters. Wash out the the skimmer basket and do a light rinse of the biological filter. Hose pressure should be enough to clean these off. No need to make them look new. In fact you might want to just do a light swishing in the water that is in your pond. Keep these items out until the end of the cleaning.
Step 2 Remove the Fish and Drain the Pond
Step 2 - Remove the Fish and Begin Draining Pond - If you have fish do this step. Fill up a holding tank with water from the pond. Enough water should be in the tank so that the fish will stay alive. You may want to put an aerator into the tank to reduce stress on your fish and to continue to put oxygen into the water. Catch your fish with a net. Place them in your holding tank. Start pumping out the water. A submersible pump works well, or if your pond pump is able to be moved around you could try using this to drain the water out. If it is a shallow tank watch for fish jumping out, maybe place a sheet or netting over the tank to keep the fish in. Place tank in a shaded area while you clean the pond.
Step 3 Drain all the Water
Step 3 - Drain all the water out of the pond. Once all the water is out you can power wash the larger rock and sides. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. If you don’t have a power washer then just use a hose with a spray nozzle. Don’t go crazy and use a high pressure power washer, probably no higher than 1200 psi, and don’t put too much direct water pressure between the rocks. High pressure and direct water pressure could dislodge structural rocks and waterfall foam. If you do dislodge anything you will need to fix it. As the dirty water collects in the bottom of the pond, pump it out.
Step 4 Make Repairs and Adjustments
Step 4 - Make Repairs and Adjustments - While the pond is empty adjust any rocks that have moved. Next spray any areas that have gaps with black waterfall foam. Check and clean your lights. Replace any bulbs that need it. UV bulbs should be replaced yearly for them to be most effective. Check the skimmer and waterfall filters to make sure they are still level. They should be level or tilted slightly forward. Make adjustments if necessary. Now make adjustment to any pond plants that you might have.
Step 5 - Attach and Install all Filters and Plumbing
Step 5 - Attach and Install all Filters and Plumbing. When putting the biological filters back in you should apply some new beneficial bacteria. You can buy this at a pond store. Add it to the filter material. Make sure your pump is installed and the plumbing is connected.
Step 6 Refill Pond
Step 6 - Refill Pond - If you have a holding tank with fish, slowly add hose water to this holding tank to get the fish acclimated to the new water in the pond. While doing this, begin to fill up the pond. Add a stress reducer to the new pond water. Aquascape Pond Detoxifyer is what we use. This removes chlorine and helps your fish acclimate to the new water. Continue adding water to the fish holding tank at the same time. If you don’t have fish then there isn’t as much of a need to add the stress reducer to the water.
Step 9 Start the Pumps
Step 9 - Start the Pumps - Once the pond is full start up the pumps. Look for any leaks around the connections and also along the edges of the pond. Make adjustments as necessary.
Step 10 Put Fish Back into Pond
Step 10 - Introduce your fish back into the pond. Ideally they should have been in the holding tank with the old pond water and fresh hose water for 20-30 minutes. Move the fish into the cleaned pond with a fish net that you used to remove the fish in the beginning of this clean out.
Step 11 Add Beneficial Bacteria
Step 11 - Add some beneficial bacterial to the new pond water. Aquascape Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria is what we use. If you have an Aquascape Automatic Doser you can set that up as well. We usually use the Maintain bag for the automatic dosing system. Also don’t feed your fish for 24 hours. They need some time to get acclimated before they eat.
Step 12 Patience
Step 12 - You are finished and ready for another season with your pond. Give your pond time to get back into a balanced ecosystem. Ideally water temperatures should be above 50 to 55 degrees for all the plants, fish, and bacteria to begin doing their part. Don't forget to check that pond skimmer regularly, usually once a week.