Spring is almost here, and your pond or water hole will be waking up from its deep winter sleep. Now is a great time to undertake a few simple maintenance steps that will ensure your pond stays happy and healthy throughout the year.
Whether you’re an HOA or golf course, a little pond maintenance goes a long way. It helps clear out debris which in turn will reduce the nitrates and nutrients which the algae feed upon. It also helps make the pond more attractive to our feathered and aquatic friends. A pond with clean, clear water will only help to improve property values and the quality of life of all those who walk by it.
Nature Takes Time
It can take some time before the entire benefits of pond maintenance manifest themselves. The natural processes that a healthy pond undergoes take time to establish. The beneficial bacteria also need time to reach a healthy population size. While bacterial additives can help, it’s still going to take several months from the time you start cleaning up the pond to the time when you start to realize the full benefits.
Remember, from the day the pond was created, mother nature has been trying to reclaim the land lost to water. If you don’t perform regular maintenance, it will only be a matter of time before the pond silts up and turns into a stinky, smelly, swamp.
We’ve come up with 8 easy-to-do maintenance tasks that you can perform on your pond. By doing so, you will ensure that your ponds stay clean, good looking, and healthy for a very long time.
When fall came last year, the trees lost their leaves and a good portion of them wound up being blown into the pond. Over the course of the next few months, those same leaves sunk into the water and traveled down to the deepest part of the pond. This poses a problem because the beneficial bacteria are in short supply in the deepest part of the water and they can’t break down the organic material fast enough. This leads to increased nitrate and nitrite levels which will provide food for a massive algae bloom once the spring sun starts to warm the water.
Spring is a great time to perform an audit of all the equipment that you use to maintain the ponds. Do you have the proper equipment to maintain the pond? If not, set aside some money to buy what you need – whether it’s a new net, or supplies for emergency repairs. Gloves and other misc. items will make life a lot easier when performing pond maintenance.
Lower Stress of Fish
If you have fish in your pond, they can get stressed out very easily during the transition from winter to spring. Fish tend to hibernate during the wintertime by slowing down their metabolism and consumption of energy. As the spring temperatures start to fluctuate and warm up starting in March, the fish can get stressed – especially when there are large fluctuations in water temperature. A good way to ease the stress of the fish is to turn off waterfalls or fountains during periods of cold spells. This in turn helps slow the rate at which your pond cools off.
If you feed your fish, wait until the pond water reaches a consistent temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time period, a wheat germ-based food will be much easier for fish coming out of hibernation to digest. Specialty pond and fish stores sell special chemicals and salts that can be added to the pond which will encourage the growth of a healthy coat of slime on the fish, which in turn will allow them to fend off infections and parasites.
In order to help discourage unsightly and out-of-control algae growth, add some plants to the pond. The plants will compete against the algae for nutrients as well as add to the natural look and feel. They will also provide shelter and food for the various aquatic animals that play a critical role in maintaining the balance of life in your pond.
Now is the time to add beneficial bacteria treatments to help jump start the process of breaking down organic matter. There are several DIY pond water test kits you can purchase online to make sure that your water has the right nutrient levels. The bacteria treatments will help reduce the harmful toxins and restore balance to the water levels.
When testing your water for certain parameters, be sure to test at the same time every day. Nitrate and nitrite levels may be higher or lower at certain times of the day, depending on water temperatures.
Check Electrical and Plumbing
If your pond has a waterfall, fountain, or pumps, run a safety check on all electrical and plumbing elements. The biggest threat to electrical and plumbing are clogs and dirt so be sure to spot check the areas that you can.
If you have a filtration system, perform the maintenance tasks suggested by the manufacturer. Cracks in filters and kinks in plumbing lines can very quickly lead to a disaster. Be sure to test the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet – electricity and water are a dangerous combination.
Plan for the Year Ahead
Do you or your crew perform maintenance on a regular basis? If not, then it might be time to consider dredging the pond. If the pond suffers from ugly discolored water, offensive smells, or algae blooms, this means the health of the pond is out of the natural balance. If it’s left to its own devices, the pond will eventually turn into a stinky, smelly, swamp which is a breeding ground for mosquitos and other pests.
A properly dredged pond will help remove organic material which is the main cause of the discolored water, funny smells, and massive algae blooms. It will also save you money by reducing the amount of chemicals that have to be added to the pond to control the algae and the weeds.
If you find yourself in need of pond cleaning or dredging beyond your capabilities, contact us. We can handle projects of all sizes.