How to Maintain
Maintaining a pond is easy with the right equipment.
A solids handling pump combined with a Ultra Violet Clarifier (UVC) and biological filter makes pond keeping easy.
The following are a few tips to help you with the ongoing maintenance of your pond and just remember regular maintenance is better than doing a massive clean every year:
- Clean your pond pump and pond filter when you notice the flow is reduced, maintenance on pumps and filters should be done regularly.
- Remove sludge from the bottom of the pond, treatments or pond vacuums can be used.
- Remove leaves with a net or a skimmer product, this will help reduce the amount of sludge that builds up on the bottom of the pond.
- Test your water every couple of months to make sure that everything is in balance.
- It is also good practice to do partial water changes of about 25% a month to help freshen things up.
- Filter materials should be cleaned in buckets (free of herbicides and pesticides) of pond water and the dirty water should be discarded onto the garden.
- Chlorinated tap water should never be used to clean the filter material as the chlorine in the tap water kills the beneficial bacteria in the filter.
- When replacing the filter materials it is better to stagger the change over a few weeks so all the bacteria is not discarded in one hit.
- When changing the water or topping up the pond a de-chlorinator should always be used.
- An Ultra Violet Clarifier (UVC) lamp should be replaced every year, even though the lamp works they lose their efficiency after approximately one year. Clearpond recommends Philips UVC lamps as they are rated for 9000 hours of use, far more than other brands on the market.
- Water features should be topped up only every so often – it is better to empty the feature and refill the feature with fresh, clean water. As the feature’s water evaporates, salts and minerals are left behind and this build up can cause pumps and filtration equipment to fail, replacing the water will help eliminate this. :
Spring is the season where the most crucial part of the upcoming pond season is prepared for. As the water begins to warm it is now time to start removing leaf litter and debris accumulated over winter. By using an OASE Pondovac 4, Oase Pondovac Classic or a Clearpond Turbo Vac this will make the job a lot easier. Plants that have overgrown their pots over the last season can be divided, repotted and Clearpond Aquagrow Fertiliser Tablets can be added to the potting soil to increase growth and bloom intensity.
Any dead leaves can be trimmed off as well. If your fish have bred or have started to get too big for your pond it is now a good idea to move them on and thin out the fish stocks, it is easier to transport fish when the water is still cool, so spring is an ideal time to do this. Pond filters can be added to the pond by using Clearpond Biostarter and this will enable the filter to handle the increase in biomass but before any fish are added to the pond it is worthwhile to get the water tested by an aquarium or pond dealer. As the fish are becoming more active it is a good idea to increase the amount of protein in their food and also feed more often but just make sure if there is any food left over it is netted from the pond and discarded.
If you have an Ultra Violet Clarifier on your pond, the globe should be replaced as they have a working lifespan of 8000 – 10,000 operational hours and the quartz sleeve should also be cleaned. The pump and filter should be cleaned and checked and made ready for summer and any foam sponges in the filter should be replaced as needed.
- If you have a UVC, now is a good time to replace the lamp.
- Any o’rings in your pump, filter and UVC should be removed and lubricated or replaced if they have deteriorated.
- Check your fish's health, excess fish and baby fish can be moved on to shops or friends.
- Pond plants can be fertilised for maximum summer growth and flowering.
- Check your pond’s water quality, any measurements that need correcting can be done now.
- Debris and leaves should be removed as the water will begin to warm as summer approaches and these pollutants will rapidly foul the water if left in the pond.
As the water is now reasonably warm a higher protein diet should be fed to your fish and as the fish are eating more and growing quickly you will need to maintain your pump and filter regularly to ensure the filtration system can keep up with the increase in waste. If string algae are starting to grow it is a good idea to use OASE Algo Direct to aid in the removal of string algae or Clearpond Pond clean to remove green water algae.
For statuaries without fish or plants Clearpond Feature Clean is ideal to aid in the control of algae.
Summer is the season to sit back and enjoy your pond and with the preparation of your pond done in spring there will be little maintenance to do apart from filter and pump cleaning as required. Plants can continue to be fertilized in summer to encourage new growth. Summer is the breeding season for most outdoor fish and a smaller pellet of flake food should be used to feed them.
- Feed your fish more, as their metabolism speeds up they will require more food.
- Keep an eye on your fish for signs that there is a lack of oxygen in the pond – add an air pump to prevent this.
- As soon as a drop in water flow is noticed the filter and pump will need to be cleaned, maintenance on your pond equipment over summer is very important as more waste will be produced by the fish and therefore the filter will block quicker.
- Water change your pond, no more than 25% at a time, remember topping up is not a water change!
- Oxygen is essential in your pond, ensure you have plenty of air going into your pond; air pumps, fountains, water courses and waterfalls not only look good, they help add oxygen to the pond.
As the outdoor living of summer begins to wind down some maintenance will need to be undertaken on the pond. As leaves begin to fall they should be netted off the surface of the pond and vacuumed off the bottom. Any dead flower stalks and leaves should be trimmed from the plants and discarded. The fish can now be fed a lower protein diet as their metabolism slows and they will eat less and less.
- Plants can stop being fertilised, they will begin go dormant soon and will not require as much nutrient.
- Leaves that have fallen into the pond from surrounding trees should be removed.
- Sediment built up over summer should be removed.
- Pond plants can be separated and re-potted.
- Give your pond pump and filter a thorough “end of summer” clean.
- As your fish's metabolism slows, they will slow down and become easy prey for birds, adding pond netting or a Pongard to your pond will help prevent bird predation.
As the water is quite cold now the fish can be fed less and remember to remove any uneaten food from the pond. Plants will become dormant and will not require any fertilizing and if any succumb to the cold, they will need to be removed. Pond pumps and pond filters will need to be checked every so often to remove leaves and other debris.
- Remove dead or dying lily and marginal leaves and stems.
- Reduce feeding your fish as their metabolism will be quite low and they do not require as much food.
- Winter is probably the best time to install a pond or water feature, that way it is settled and running smoothly by the time summer returns.
- Remove rotting leaf litter and debris from the pond.
- In cold areas, pond pumps should be moved closer to the pond’s surface as mixing deeper cold water with warmer surface water can chill your fish causing unnecessary stress.