Are you ready for Spring? Apparently Mother Nature isn't! Making sure you open your pond from its winter hibernation in the correct way is vital for both fish health and the overall success of your ecosystem pond or water feature.
If you installed pond netting before the leaves dropped in the Fall, then most of those pesky little leaves should have been kept out. However, it is still recommended that you use a pond net to scoop out any remaining debris from the bottom of the pond. You will want to do a proper full clean-out if there is an excessive amount of debris buildup, sludge or fortuitous amounts of algae growing on the rocks. It is essential to remove as much of this organic material and waste from the pond as possible. For ponds that have a small amount of "muck" or sludge buildup that can't be removed with a net, we recommend adding Aquascapes Sludge Cleaner. This product contains several different strains of beneficial bacteria that helps remove the finer debris and particles.
It is also important to add live bacteria to the pond at this time of the year. As mentioned in the monthly tip article it is advised to add a coldwater bacteria formula. The strains of bacteria contained in the coldwater formula are able to function in cooler temperatures. The addition of beneficial bacteria is an essential element to opening your pond. It helps restart the biological processes within the pond as well as lowering levels of nitrates, phosphates, ammonia, and organic debris, all directly related to water quality and fish health issues.
Adding salt during this time of year will greatly benefit your finned friends. It aids in preventing and warding off parasites that will surface with the warmer temperatures. In addition salt helps your fish maintain essential electrolytes and repairs their natural slime coat. At this time of year it is also a good idea to add parasite and disease preventatives. This will help lower the risk of your fish coming down with these ailments.
Be sure to trim off any dead foliage from plants around the pond. Be careful to avoid damaging any new growth. This helps the new growth to develop. Fertilize each plant with 1-2 tabs of pond plant fertilizer making sure that the fertilizer is safe for use in an aquatic environment. Remember to leave a little space between the plant roots and where you place the fertilizer tabs.
If you own a smaller water feature such as a fountainscape or spitter then your start-up is fairly simple. Start off by draining the basin of your fountain. Next clean out any debris within the basin or the surrounding area. Keeping the basin free of debris and leaves ensures proper circulation and water flow. After cleaning the basin and re-installing the pump, refill the basin with fresh, clean water. It is crucial to NEVER let your pumps run dry, as this can cause irreversible damage.
By completing these early care steps yourself or by using our highly trained crew at Action Water Gardens, it will greatly reduce how much work or effort will be required to maintain your water garden during the summer. A little extra effort or money now will save you lots of time, frustration and money later in the season.