Spring Clean Out Instructions
Spring clean outs are usually done early spring, before your pond awakens from winter dormancy. Clean outs should take place before water reaches 55 degrees F.
- Container to hold fish and frogs
- Fish net
- Five gallon buckets to collect leaves and debris
- Old clothes (You’re going to get dirty)
- 25’ of 1.5” or 2” discharge piping
- Sump pump with a screen or skimmer pump with chicken wire around it
- High pressure nozzle for your garden hose or power washer
- Garden shears (for trimming plants)
Steps for Successful Clean Out:
1. Begin draining pond. Use your pump with chicken wire or screen around it to help protect fish from being sucked in. Use some of this water for the container to house fish in. Also make sure you move the piping around a few times so all the water doesn’t go in one place. (This water is excellent for fertilizing plants.)
2. When water level reaches about six inches, turn pump off and catch fish. (It’s a waste of time to try and catch then when pond is full!) Place fish in container and make sure to cover if you have Koi because they do jump.
3. Once fish and others are in container, begin hosing down rocks and gravel.
4. A high-pressured nozzle or power washer should be used for hosing down rocks. Don’t wash away all algae because a little bit will be beneficial in developing your ecosystem. (For an average size pond, 11’x16’, this takes about 15 minutes.)
5. The most time consuming part will be washing the debris off your rocks and gravel. DO NOT use the power washer for this; use the water coming out of the garden hose. Keep pump plugged in, water and sediment will go to the deepest part of the pond so it will be able to get sucked out.
6. Clean out skimmer box by sucking out water and hosing down. Clean out net and filter pad too.
7. Clean your BIOFALLS mats and lava rock by hosing them down until they’re clear.
8. Now that the pond is pretty much cleaned out, remove the pump and begin filling the pond. Once your pond is half full you can begin to reintroduce your fish and plants.
9. Remember…if you’re using city water, you need to use a de-chlorinator. Chlorine will kill fish. Add the appropriate amount of de-chlor so you can start adding fish. Dip your buckets into the holding tank and fill them with a few inches of water. Add your fish and float the buckets in the new water.
10. After around 15 minutes, begin splashing pond water into the bucket. By now temperatures should be close to the same (pond water and bucket water). You can now add fish into pond.
Note: Clean out should be done in timely fashion. Fish are weak in the spring. They shouldn’t be kept in full sunlight or in container outside of pond for more than a few hours.