Opening Ponds In Spring
Opening Ponds In Spring
Firstly, any pond de-icers or heaters should be removed, cleaned thoroughly and stowed away until the cold weather returns later in the year, and it’s advisable to do the same if you’ve left your pump in place; check, also, that it’s still working and there are no leaks. And then it’s time to get to grips with the spring-clean.
Remove any fish that have over-wintered in your pond and place them in a holding tank until the clean is complete, but use water from the pond as the chlorine in fresh tap water will shock them; cover the tank with a net just in case your fish get a little excited and decide to jump!
If you have left your pump in situ, it won’t guarantee your pond is free from rotting leaves and branches, especially after the strong winds in February. A long-handled skimmer net can be used to clear out sludge and any debris that may have accumulated at the bottom, and if there’s a little ore tan a net can handle, consider a pond hoover to make the job easier. Don’t discard the sludge; it’s full of nutrients and can be dug into flower beds in the garden, and don’t worry if the water becomes murky, it’ll settle after a couple of days; draining and refilling should only be necessary every five years or so unless it’s overloaded with fish, but speak to our experts if you’re unsure.
You’ll need to ensure the pH, nitrate, ammonia and nitrite levels are right, and we have water-testing kits available to assist you; adjust levels where necessary, and reinstall your cleaned pump.
If your filters were left in the pond, clean them too, but again, use the pond water rather than tap water. Add some water to a bucket, swill the filters around and squeeze to remove anything lodged that might block them, but be gentle as they will still contain bacteria, and you want to keep it that way. Filters that have been removed will have lost theirs, so you will need to introduce a live bacteria supplement to kickstart them; we recommend Evolution Aqua Pure + or Pure Pond, available in out Aquatics Department.
Plants that were not pruned before winter should be pruned now and divided if they’re too big; tubers that were stored over the winter months can be placed in the spring sunshine until they begin to sprout and then planted in sand inside a container of water until temperatures increase to around 21°C; at that time, they can remain outside. Alternatively, consider investing in some new plants – available at Brookside Garden Centre right through to the autumn – as spring is the best time to add them to your pond. If you’re repotting larger or existing plants, be sure to choose baskets in suitable sizes and line them with hessian before carefully removing the plants from their current baskets – ensuring no damage to the roots – placing in the new basket and filling with aquatic compost; pack tightly, and top with around an inch of gravel before gently placing in the pond. If you need any help or advice, just visit our store and ask one of our friendly staff.
And then there are the fish: check all your fish carefully for wounds or illness and treat as necessary – our experts are always available to offer advice. As their immune systems have not yet fully recovered, this can be a stressful time for you fish so ensuring ammonia and nitrate levels are right is essential; once the temperatures improve so too will your fish.
Last year’s food should be discarded and replaced, but only offer small amounts of fresh food until your fish are back to normal; a low-protein wheat-based food is a good start until your fish are ready for a high-protein feed.
Don’t let your fish become the food! Predators – especially herons – are active now and will be eyeing your pond carefully for the chance of an easy meal; you can protect them with netting, decoys or electric fencing, and if you have any concerns, head to our Aquatics Department.