Keep your pond healthy and happy through the seasons with these tips from Clearwater Creations:
1. Pond Maintenance in the Fall
Remove Leaves & Debris
This is the season when you need to be extra mindful of falling leaves and debris. If you have a lot of deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves) near your pond you might want to invest in a pond net to cover your pond for this season. That will make your work easier.
If you don’t want to invest in a pond net or you don’t have many trees near your pond, then you can simply use a hand-held pond skimmer to remove leaves and other debris from your pond.
Trim & Tidy
Trim back any plants and remove any dead plants from your pond as well as from the edges of your pond.
Check on Vulnerable Plants and Pets
If you have plants and fish that are not able to withstand the winter, you will need to remove them and keep them indoors for the winter months if you plan on re-introducing them to your pond in the spring.
Reduce Fish Feeds
If you plan on keeping hardy fish in your pond throughout the Winter, you will need to reduce the amount of food you feed your fish as the temperature drops. This is because fish go into a state similar to hibernation when their metabolism slows down and they become dormant. You can reduce feedings or you can begin feeding your fish specialized cold water fish food. Once the water temperature goes below 10 degrees Celsius, you can stop feeding fish altogether.
If you wish to hire experts and take the pressure off yourself, you can choose to get Fall Maintenance and Winterization Services from Clearwater Creations.
2. Pond Maintenance in the Winter
Winter pond maintenance will depend on whether you plan on keeping your pond running throughout the winter or not, as well as if you plan on keeping fish in it for the winter. Nevertheless, here are some tips:
If you wish, you can add a cold water bacteria treatment to your pond to help maintain water quality and reduce the maintenance required in the spring. Try Aquascape’s Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria, a treatment designed to work in water below 10 degrees Celsius and to keep fish waste and debris from creating a toxic environment.
If you choose to keep your pond running during the winter months (for example, you want to keep your pond pump and waterfalls running), you will need to monitor your pond for ice build-up near waterfalls and streams. You may also need to add water to your pond to account for water loss from evaporation which is very important since you need enough water to keep your pump operating well all winter.
One of the perks of leaving your pond’s waterfall and stream running throughout the winter is the resulting display of magnificent ice sculptures (see the picture below); however, you will want to remove your pond pump if you experience harsh winters where you live.
If you would rather shut your pond down, simply unplug and remove your pond pump and filters. Make sure to drain them and store them indoors where it is warm, perhaps in a garage or basement. You may also need to drain water lines or remove water from fountains so freezing doesn’t cause damage to your equipment.
If you plan on keeping fish in your pond over the winter, you will need to make sure they get enough oxygen. For this, you can either use a pond aerator or a pond aerator plus a floating pond heater and de-icer if you experience long periods of freezing temperatures
A pond aerator creates bubbles at the surface of the water to prevent it from freezing which will create an opening in the ice. A pond heater and de-icer will also prevent freezing and may be controlled by a thermostat. Read about Aquascape’s 300-Watt Pond De-Icer.
3. Pond Maintenance in the Spring
Spring is usually the season when a full pond clean is required. Over the winter, decaying debris has accumulated and new plants are trying to make their appearance again! If you want, you can get Spring Maintenance and Pond Cleaning Services from Clearwater Creations, or you can do it yourself with these tips.
You will first need to remove leaves and other debris in your pond. You will also want to remove excess algae from the pond from the previous year. If you wish to drain out your pond, you can use a pressure washer to remove debris and scum from rocks and gravel. If you have one, you can also use a clean-out pump to remove dirty water from the pond – but make sure to remove your fish and other critters first if they stayed in throughout the winter!
You will want to make sure the following devices are in good working order and not clogged up:
Filters and Filter Baskets (Clean these with running water)
Other Water Features
Also, make sure that you don’t have any leaks – you don’t want water levels to be too low because this will ruin your pump.
Again, you can add water treatments with beneficial bacteria to your pond throughout the spring to prevent an overgrowth of algae. Fertilizing aquatic plants also helps control algae growth.
Add Aquatic Plants
If you wish to add more aquatic plants or return plants to your pond, Spring is the time! Water lilies or lotus flowers make great additions. Or, you can add oxygenators, too.
Reintroduce or Add New Fish
If you removed fish for the winter or want to add new fish, you will need to acclimatize them to your pond. Once your pond has been cleaned out, add some pond detoxifiers to your pond. Then help fish adjust to water temperatures by either adding the bucket of fish or bag of fish to your pond for about 15 minutes. You can then start adding some pond water to the bucket or bag to help them adjust. Watch the video below to learn more.
And, since spring pond maintenance is probably the biggest job of the year, remember that you can contact Clearwater to do it for you. They will:
Clean biological and mechanical filters
Check lights for proper functionality
Clean and reconnect pump for the season
Detoxify pond water, making it safe for the fish and plants
Acclimate pond fish back into their environment
This video from Aquascape teaches you how to acclimate pond fish – an important step in the spring.
4. Pond Maintenance in the Summer
Summer is usually the time when pond owners spend more time just relaxing by their pond. Still, there is some maintenance, particularly as the days get hotter.
Check Water, Fish, and Plants
Hot temperatures mean reduced oxygen levels in your pond. This can be dangerous, particularly for fish. Adding a pond aerator or bubbler can help increase oxygen. You can also consider adding plants or even an umbrella to add partial shade to your pond to provide your pets with shelter from the sun.
Heat also can cause evaporation, so make sure your water levels remain optimal by adding small amounts as needed.
Another potential problem during the summer months is increased algae growth. Add beneficial bacteria to help with this problem and avoid feeding fish too much. Uneaten fish food and decaying debris will create a toxic environment for fish and plants.
Keep an eye out for fish and plants to see how they are faring. If fish have sores or start acting strange and plants are dying, you may need to test your pond water and may even need to do a water change.
For all sorts of seasonal tips from the experts in Eastern Ontario, you can contact Clearwater Creations. Known for building award-winning ponds and for their horticultural skills, these certified Aquascape contractors can help you with your pond maintenance in any season. For over 10 years they have been happy to serve customers and ensure that they are experiencing their best pond life! Contact Clearwater with any of your pond questions.