Spring is the perfect time to treat your fish to a special day spa, and help them swim into the season in style. While you are doing your yearly spring pond cleaning, your fish must be removed from the pond providing a perfect opportunity to treat them to ‘Champagne Baths and Caviar Dreams’, as Robin Leech used to say (pun intended!).
Before your fish get “warm” in summer, there’s a narrow period of time where the water temperatures are too cold for the fishes’ immune system to function well. This is when your fish are most prone to developing illnesses because parasitic and bacterial populations are growing rapidly.
Setting Up The Spa
In order to create the perfect fish spa experience, set up a large holding tank in a safe quiet place near the pond. A well-rinsed Rubbermaid storage bin or cattle-feed trough works well. A good rule of thumb for the size of your holding tank is 1 gallon of water for every 1 inch of fish. Fill the tank about ¾ full using the clearer water drawn from the surface of your pond. Just like people, fish don’t like change. By using existing pond water to fill your holding tank, you can reduce fish stress during the transfer, by keeping temperature and water biochemistry constant. Also don’t forget to place an aerator in the holding tank to increase the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and help remove toxins.
Once you have filled your therapeutic tank, it is time to add the proper water treatments. Dissolve the appropriate amount of Aquascape Pond Salt in a small bucket of warm water, and then slowly pour it into the holding tank. Saline water helps fish develop a healthy “slime coat”, which treats and protects the fish from harmful parasites and bacterial infections. It also helps promote healing for any minor skin injuries. Don’t over salt the water. Adding 3 pounds of pond salt for every 100 gallons of tank water creates a salt concentration of 0.3 percent, which is perfect for a therapeutic treatment. In addition to the salt, you must add Aquascape Pond Detoxifier to bind any harmful toxins, balance water chemistry, and further relax your fish.
When you are moving your pond pets from their natural environment to their holding tank, be sure to drain the water down low first, so that they are all swimming at the bottom of the pond, and don’t have to be chased around. As you know, fish can be nervous, and this can also raise stress levels. Ideally, equipment should be sterilized before it’s used on your fish to avoid the transfer of a virus or bacteria to your fish.
Sterilization of fish handling gear is simply achieved with a misting bottle of chlorine bleach at a 1:30 dilution, then rinsing with clear water and air/sun drying.
To prevent fish spinal injuries when netting, approach from below using a proper koi net larger than your LARGEST fish. Catch your favourite fish first, and don’t forget to cover the net when travelling between your pond and the therapeutic tank. Fish can swim up to 40 km/hr and jump higher than an NBA all-star! Remember to release the fish gently into the tank, by lowering the net gently into the water, and letting them swim out on their own. Your fish can spend the next several hours in their “day spa” while you finish your spring pond cleaning.
For The Pond
Don’t use salt in your pond, as this will kill all your favorite aquatic plants. The best way to prepare the water for your pets’ return is to treat your pond with Aquascape Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria. Beneficial bacteria start working immediately in spring reducing ammonia, nitrite & organic debris at water temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius. While not essential, adding cold water bacteria will give your pond ecosystem a 2-3 week head start in spring. Equally vital is Aquascape Pond Detoxifier to remove harmful chlorine & ammonia, chelate copper & heavy metals, and instantly “age” the water. Once the water warms to 15 degrees Celsius, switch over to using Aquascape Aquaclearer Beneficial Bacteria to help keep water clear all season long.
Once the water in your pond has been treated, it’s time for your fish to go back home. It is VERY important to check the pond water and the tank water temperatures using a Pond Thermometer. Fish can be reintroduced to the pond once the temperature difference between the tank and pond is within 4 degrees Celsius. If not, you must cool/warm the tank water no faster than one degree Celsius per hour to safely acclimatize your fish to the newer temperature. Hold off feeding fish in the clean pond for a few days after their spa treatment. This will allow fish to de-stress and adapt to their freshly cleaned home, and build up stomach enzymes to easily digest food. Use high-carbohydrate Aquascape Cold Water Premium Fish Food when the water temperature reaches 10 degrees Celsius and high-protein Aquascape Premium Color Enhancing Fish Food when your pond warms to 15 degrees Celsius. And if you REALLY love your fish, give them delicious Aquascape Pond Fish Vitamin Treats twice a week to help boost their immune system.
Wow! After a spa say like that, what’s on next – a ‘finacure’?