Has spring fever has taken hold of you, and all you can think about is getting your pond up & running? Here is a quick checklist to help you spring into the pond season right, ensuring you enjoy your best pond season ever:
Is the ice gone? – You will want to ensure that all of the ice has melted from your skimmer and biological filter – these are usually the last places for ice to melt. If they are free of ice it is usually safe to assume that the pipes have thawed too.
Now that the ice is all gone, you will want to clean out your pond. But first, your fish are going to need a home away from home while you are working. Why not treat them to a day away at the ‘spa’. Fill a large holding tank with pond water and add Aquascape Pond Salt to create a calming bath and enhance their slime coat. Don’t forget to aerate the water to ensure they have plenty of oxygen. They’ll think it’s a Champagne bath!
Draining the pond will enable you to remove any sludge build-up hiding in between the rocks & gravel. Winter debris and sludge can be really hard on the internal workings of a pump, so drain the water using an oil-free sump pump designed for removing solid waste. If you choose to use your water circulation pump to drain your pond, make sure the water intake does not clog up with debris; otherwise you run the risk of damaging the impeller and possibly burning out the pump. Solids-handling clean-out pump kits are available for rent at our retail store.
Throw on your gumboots, or even better, your hip waders, and hop into your pond, hose in hand. If you have a pressure washer you may wish to use it to blast the debris and slime off the rocks and gravel. Just remember a little pressure is all you need. More than 600psi and you run the risk of blowing a hole right through your liner. Clean and flush your pond from the top down, picking out larger debris by hand and using your clean-out pump to sump out all the brackish water onto your lawns and gardens. It’s FULL of nutrients and makes great fertilizer! Keep flushing and pumping out your pond until the water runs clear.
Pump & filters:
Test your pump BEFORE you re-install it into the skimmer by plugging it into an electrical outlet. You should hear the impeller spinning and making a warm humming sound. If the impeller is jammed, or if you hear any grinding noises, unplug the pump immediately and contact our service department. If your pump is running fine, install it in the skimmer while the pond is still empty, but don’t plug the pump in just yet. Clean & re-install the filter racks, mats & filter media in your biological filter, and install the filter mat, brushes, nets & basket in the skimmer.
Spring is a great time to check all the underwater light fixtures and add new lights; while your pond is still empty. They usually require a good scrubbing to clean off all the algae & scum. (Tip: A little bit of EcoBlast on the end of an old toothbrush works great.) If you notice any burnt out bulbs, now is the time to change them. We recommend that you change all the bulbs once a year so they don’t fade and fail mid-season. (Tip: To repel condensation and prevent corrosion, dab a little bit of dielectric grease on the electrical contacts of each bulb before installation. And don’t forget to give the jar-top lens caps an extra crank when you are tightening them so they won’t leak. )
Finish it up:
Grab a nice hot coffee at Timmies.
Plug in your pump and wait for water to start flowing over the lip of the weir. If there is no water rising inside the biological filter, but your pump is humming and vibrating, chances are your pond plumbing is still frozen, and you are looking at waiting a teensy bit longer for spring to arrive. If you don’t hear the pump humming, you make have inadvertently tripped the GFI (ground fault interrupter) switch on your electrical outlet. Reset the switch and try again. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you should contact our service department.
Give your pond some culture – Bacterial culture that is – not Italian opera. Start seeding your biological filter with beneficial bacteria to help break down harmful ammonia & nitrites. At this time of year you should use Aquaclearer Extreme Cold Water Liquid bacteria. It starts working at temperatures as low as 4.4C giving your pond a head-start in spring. And don’t forget to treat the water with Aquascape Pond Detoxifier to remove chloramines, heavy metals and ammonia which are deadly to fish and other pond life.
Fish at Home:
First, check both the water temperature in your fish tank, and in your pond. Slowly add fresh, treated pond water to your holding tank, acclimatizing the fish to the new pond water temperature at the rate of 1 degree Celcius per hour. When the temperature of the water in the tank is within 4 degrees Celsius of the pond water, carefully release your finned friends back into their squeaky clean pond. They will be very happy and grateful.
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