Winter is winding down. The days are getting longer; the weather is getting warmer. Now is the time to get your koi pond ready for summer.
Proper garden pond maintenance is essential to the health of your fish, plant life, and your pond’s ecosystem overall. A thorough springtime cleaning is the number one way to keep your pond looking beautiful well into autumn and to prevent serious issues with water quality or fish health.
Warm Weather and Your Pond
Hot Oklahoma summers can wreak havoc on a neglected backyard pond. As the temperature heats up and the water warms, your pond comes back to life! But the heat also causes faster decomposition of sludge, fish waste, and debris on the bottom of your pond and between the rocks and gravel. Without manual removal, these can overwhelm both your biofilter and the awakening beneficial bacteria. With your biofilter and beneficial bacteria overworked, unsafe levels of ammonia and nitrites begin to form, leading to unsafe levels of algae or worse – killing your fish and plants. A thorough springtime cleaning can prevent biofilter overload, keeping your pond healthy all summer long.
Why Koi Ponds Need Spring Cleaning
Backyard water gardens thrive on a balanced ecosystem. Springtime cleanings are a critical component to keep your garden pond thriving.
A healthy pond ecosystem relies on four factors working together in harmony. Here’s how spring maintenance affects each of these factors:
- An effective filtration system. Everything starts with your pond’s filtration system. The biofilter pulls particles from the water and hosts beneficial bacteria that eliminate and convert toxins in the water. A professional pond cleaning service will clean all filters and check that your filtration system is working correctly.
- Beneficial bacteria. Fish waste, decomposing plant life, and other debris in and around a pond cause an increased level of ammonia. Beneficial bacteria work to convert waste into nitrates, an element that is essential for healthy plants and clean water. As a garden pond matures over time, more and more of these beneficial bacteria occur naturally. However, newer ponds need a little help. Springtime pond maintenance should include adding beneficial bacteria to your pond to jump start this conversion process. Ask your pond cleaning technician which product and dosage is best for your pond.
- Fish and plant life. A pond’s ecosystem relies heavily on plants and fish. Aquatic plants work in conjunction with your pond’s beneficial bacteria to eliminate harmful elements from the water, prevent algae growth, and add oxygen that is vital to the survival of your fish.
Koi not only look beautiful and add color to a garden pond but also give the beneficial bacteria the “fuel” it needs to work properly.
As summer approaches, plants begin to grow, and fish become more active. Spring pond maintenance will check the health of your plants and fish, fertilize plant life, and start proper fish care. It’s an annual check-up to make sure all pieces of your pond’s ecosystem are healthy and ready for the hotter months ahead.
- Pond additives. Newer ponds benefit from chemical additives that help the entire ecosystem function more efficiently. Over the years, as your pond matures, it should become mostly self-sustaining. But a springtime clean-out is an excellent time to assess a pond’s overall health and determine if any additives are necessary.
What’s Included in a Springtime Pond Cleaning Service?
We suggest pond owners schedule service as soon as the weather begins to heat up – usually between now and June here in Oklahoma. If you have larger koi then the sooner the better. Larger koi are at a higher risk for stress and changes in their water chemistry, the colder the water the calmer they are through the cleaning process. (If your pond has koi over 14” and you would like more information on how we specially care for them, please call 405-473-2042 and speak with a Pond Pro). At Oklahoma Ponds, our springtime pond maintenance includes the following:
- Carefully remove fish and plants, placing them in holding tanks with oxygenating aerators.
- Drain all water, vacuum out any debris or waste, and pressure wash all surfaces.
- Inspect and clean the filtration system to ensure proper functioning, and introduce beneficial bacteria as needed.
- Inspect any installed lights and clean lenses.
- Test existing water for harmful elements. Introduce additives as necessary.
- Inspect hardy water plants for overgrowth and potential issues.
- Reintroduce and acclimate fish into the freshly-cleaned pond and examine them for any health problems.
Garden ponds should be enjoyable, beautiful additions to your space. A thorough springtime cleaning will help your pond flourish all year long.
Contact the Pond Pros at Oklahoma Ponds today to schedule your cleaning.