Top 10 Cleaning Your Pond Tips

  • Replace the water in your pond

    with clean, dechlorinated water (or kill valve closed and vacuum out dirty water). Rinse all equipment (pumps, filters, etc.) thoroughly to remove excess dirt and debris before placing them back into the pond. Use a garden hose spray nozzle to rinse your pond liner and other equipment, or use a small submersible pump to siphon cloudy and murky water from bottom of pond and replace with fresh dechlorinated (no chlorine) water. Be sure to wash inside filter just as thoroughly as you do outside filter housing unit! This is important if you have an under gravel filter because there can be quite some buildup of debris under the gravel bed.

Filter Media

  • Remove unwanted organic material

    (leaves, dead algae, fish waste, etc.) by hand or with some mechanical means (netting, siphon hose). If you have a skimmer net it may be easier to clean filter that way. Fish nets or pond vacuum also work well for cleaning out stubborn areas where leaves and other organic material collects. After all the extra organic matter has been removed check your water chemistry levels to ensure they are within guidelines using one of many test kits on the market.

  • Once you see your fountain is flowing properly again

    pump any accumulated muck towards your waterfall area where it can flow harmlessly out of your pond system It’s not uncommon for rocks and other equipment to collect algae that when removed reveal what appears to be a new-found (and sometimes quite large) hole in your liner. This is perfectly acceptable and simply requires the rocks and debris placed back in their original location.

  • With your pump, fountain and all water features turned off

    land forms and gravel cleaned up for easy access, lift out any under gravel filters and canisters (if applicable). The entire pond bottom should be visible including areas which might not have been accessible before such as areas under waterfall or behind rock formations. Using an underwater vacuum system with rigid wand attach it to your garden hose so you can more easily siphon out dirt from difficult spots. If using an automatic pool cleaner ensure all mechanical parts are safe for use in the pond environment before plugging it in.

    If you need to scrub any areas with under-gravel filter or canister system, be sure to use an old toothbrush and wear protective gloves. If using a vacuum wand be very careful not to damage liner while vacuuming! Use soft bristled brush for scrubbing filter racks if needed, then rinse well with garden hose. It’s important that all this equipment is thoroughly rinsed prior to placing back into your pond as any residue from soap, debris from rocks being washed out etc. can contaminate your water and kill fish/plants/bees!

  • Fluff up under gravel bed

    by pushing it around with hands or rake so that entire surface of bed is visible. This allows for maximum bacteria contact.

  • Remove filter from the pond

    and if applicable, dismantle any canister filter system to gently rinse inside filter media with garden hose or submersible pump. If you cannot get water under gravel filters to your drain area only install these types of filters in a separate location where you can allow dirty water to drain out elsewhere (not down into your main pond). Many times an outside drainage tile away from the pond will work great for this purpose! Before reassembling make sure all mechanical parts are safe for use in a pond environment by sticking ones finger in dirt and turning on equipment while submerged underwater it should not feel sharp, but move through soil easily without much impact or noise generated from movement.

  • Replace filter system

    and re-attach to pond pump and fountain (if applicable). Ensure all connections are tight and there is no water leakage.

  • Place all equipment

    (fountain, rocks, waterfall, etc) back in place over the course of one day so your fish get used to these changes gradually instead of suddenly finding everything gone and then returning after a week or more! If you have plants floating on the surface, use a large plastic container to weigh these down into the water or remove them from the pond until the job is completed if they’ll pose a safety hazard while cleaning the rest of your pond.

  • Add water conditioner

    according to directions for removing chlorine and chloramine from the fresh new batch of water that will be entering your pond.

  • Turn on pump and watch your water flow again!

    Be sure to check water levels throughout several weeks after cleaning out pond, adding plants/bees etc. Soil under liner always recedes over time (especially if heavy rainfall) so it’s important to make sure you refill all areas behind rocks, waterfall or other equipment that require refilling to remain level with rest of main body of water. This ensures even distribution of pumps power and safety for fish located in deeper areas. It also helps keep debris from accumulating near bottom edges where it can be more difficult to clean!

After the initial large cleanup is done I recommend taking a few minutes each week while your filter is running (if you have one) to siphon out any dirt or leaves that have fallen in. You can do this with the hose connected to your pump, stuck through a tarp under liner etc. Just be sure all water is flowing out elsewhere – never siphon dirty pond water into your main pond!

You may also keep any underwater sand areas clean by carefully netting sand and pulling up/siphoning sand from underneath (and throwing it away somewhere where it won’t clog pumps). A new layer of gravel will soon cover any areas you remove sand from and help camouflage them until they blend in naturally over time again.

If you follow these 10 simple steps on how to clean your pond, your water garden environment should return back to normal within a weekend at most and allow you many more years of enjoyment with your water garden friends!

If you have an outdoor pond or water garden environment, chances are you’ll need to perform some cleaning on it at some point. If you simply let debris build up in the dirt under your liner, algae blooms can cause dirty brown water which won’t support fish health over time. Spring is by far the best time to clean out ponds as this allows the bacteria needed for filter processes to naturally grow back during warmer months while minimizing fish stress all year long! You should also consider having a “spring” cleaning done any time summer temperatures are predicted to be extremely high/hot for prolonged periods of time – even if winter was mild and there wasn’t much growth on your pond bottom yet. More on that later if you’re interested.

There are some basics to cleaning out ponds I recommend everyone know before deciding how to clean your pond on your own, but first let me say there are different reasons for doing it at any given time – all of which depend on your specific situation. You may want to clean out a small kiddy pool if you have young children who insist on playing in the dirt and using it as “their new sandbox” or you might decide to tear down an old garden pond because you don’t have the budget/energy for repairs this year (or next) etc. How to clean your pond really depends on YOUR needs and desires!

FAQ: is my water feature safe?

If you’ve ever stepped into your backyard and felt a little bit of shock or fear when seeing your own water feature for the first time – don’t worry! This is completely normal as you’re probably not used to seeing such a big part of your yard looking so different than it would throughout the rest of the year.

People often ask me “is my pond safe? Is my koi healthy?” and many times I can tell they’ve had a very difficult time with maintaining their new water garden or outdoor pond without help from someone experienced who has taught them how to clean their pond, maintain proper water chemistry etc.

What’s sad is that these same folks have been spending their money on expensive koi food, medications and even chemicals thinking they doing what was best for their koi while still trying to maintain a clean pond environment. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that many of these folks were only harming their koi and never even knew it, wasting more money than they needed to by not doing simple things like how to clean your pond properly and choosing the best products for their situation (and what NOT to use).

If you’ve ever wished there was someone who could visit your water garden, help identify problems areas and walk you through all the steps required in order to get your outdoor pond or water feature looking beautiful again – we can help!

Thanks for reading at Meyer Aquascapes! We hope you’ve enjoyed our post on garden pond design. Please leave a comment below if you liked it or have any questions. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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