With the warm weather just around the corner, the itch to get your pond running again could be growing. But there are a few things to consider before you turn your pumps back on and go buy some fish. Much like maintaining and changing your car’s tires seasonally or getting your grass and plants ready for the growing season, your pond needs some love too.
- Check over all equipment for maintenance.
Make sure all your pumps are serviced and cleaned of any debris if needed, and be sure to check for and clean any over-winter buildup of sludge and scum in your filtration system. If you have a UV sterilizer, your bulb should be replaced yearly—but with such a short pond season here in Calgary, every other year may suffice for some systems. If you run an IonGen system, be sure to check the condition of your probes as they do need periodical replacing with use.
Aeration is always essential if your pond is more than three feet deep, and it is a good idea to add at the start of the season before we put our fish in. Not only will it help disturb any detritus that settles at the bottom of your pond for easier removal, but it will help avoid problems as the temperature warms up! Aerating the pond early will help increase the activity of aerobic bacteria and help you work through any excess nutrients in the pond, leading to less algae growth as the longer days and nicer weather begin heating your pond.
- Do a spring cleanup.
You want to make sure you remove detritus, old plant matter, leaves, branches, etc. This allows you to have a cleaner, less nutrient-rich start, giving you a better chance at that nice clear water you can view your fish in. It is also a good idea to do a partial water change to remove some free-floating organics and reduce any large build-ups of nitrates.
- Condition your water.
Get your water in tip-top shape with your favorite water additives to help build your natural bacterial stores back up that keep your pond and fish happy and healthy. I personally like the Pond Pro line of products with its super easy three-step system.
- Stock the pond.
You can add your plants whenever you would like, but if you do add them in early spring make sure to choose frost-tolerant plants if you live in an area that experiences frequent frost advisories. While it may be tempting to introduce fish to the pond now that it is cleaned up, has some foliage, and is ready to go, I do not recommend it. Always allow your pond some time to rebalance before adding fish; especially in Calgary, we advise waiting until after the May long weekend as we are usually clear of morning frost and our temperatures become more stable. When you can add fish to your pond will depend highly on where you are living.
Whether you are a seasoned pond keeper or are just getting started, we all have to do our beginning and end of season maintenance. Some hate it, some love it, and others see it as part of the experience. If you need any help or have any questions about getting your pond going, feel free to come on down and visit us in-store or give us a call!