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Pond Maintenance Calendar

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Spring:

As signs of the end of winter begin to disappear, the pond, flora, and fauna will slowly start to awaken in early spring.

  • Test pond water temperature & chemistry: ammonia, pH, nitrates, nitrites, Calcium Hardness (KH) & General Hardness (GH) Treat as needed.

  • Remove all plant debris and sludge that accumulated in the pond over winter.

  • Check pump(s), filter(s), skimmer, water fall(s) fountains for proper working order & repair as needed

  • Check for & repair any leaks

  • Compare pond water clarity, color to its peak condition last summer. Check for foul smell.

  • Spring Cleanout (full or partial) depending on pond conditions BEFORE water temperature reaches 55°F/12.8°C for several days. 

 

When water temperature is above 50°F / 10°C for several consecutive days:

  • Replace Ultraviolet Clarifier bulb, clean crystal and inspect housing (if applicable)

  • Jump-start the pond in the spring by adding supplemental cold water bacteria per manufacturer instructions.

  • Inspect fish for any symptoms of disease and treat accordingly. (March) 

  • Start feeding your fish- begin with small amounts of a high quality fish food formulated for colder water temperatures (50°F - 60°F /10°C - 15.5°C).  Do not overfeed! 

When water temperature is consistently at  55°F/12.8°C - 60°F/15.5°C:

  • Feeding- Increase amount to moderate.  Do not overfeed! 

  • Observe and inspect fish for  symptoms of disease. If any spots and ulcers are present, give them appropriate treatment.

  • Treat algae with barley straw bales or extract - avoid algicides.

  • Return perennial aquatic plants to their proper water depth 

  • Add new perennial aquatic plants (May is typically the best time in our area).

  • Mid-late spring: thin aquatic plants as needed

  • Cut water lily leaves below the water level

  • After the threat of frost is gone: add tropical aquatic plants & floating annuals

  • Pond surface should have 50% - 60% coverage via a combination of aquatic plants to help control algae, provide shelter for fish from predators & to help keep water cooler during the hottest months of the season.

Late spring:

  • Divide & repot water lilies and other perennial aquatic plants as needed.

 

Throughout the spring:

  • Test pond water temperature & chemistry: ammonia, pH, nitrates, nitrites, Calcium Hardness (KH) & General Hardness (GH) Treat as needed.

  • Remove plant, leaf and other organic debris on a regular basis.

  • Skim pond surface on a regular basis or install a pond skimmer to remove pollen and floating debris on surface of water.

  • Rinse filter media using pond water as needed (do not over rinse- keep the beneficial bacteria!) 

  • Partial water changes of 5-15%  once a week- based on water test results. Be sure to treat new water to remove chlorine & chloramine. 

Summer:

  • ​As the temperature of the pond water increases during the summer months, it is especially important to test water temperature.

  • Warm water has a low capacity for holding oxygen. Adding a pond aerator is an ideal solution. Shade from aquatic plants is also required.

  • Prune aquatic plants as needed to maintain open water surface area while maintaining coverage of 50% - 60%.

  • Inspect water lilies for pests, remove damaged leaves.

Throughout the summer:

  • Test pond water temperature & chemistry: ammonia, pH, nitrates, nitrites, Calcium Hardness (KH) & General Hardness (GH) Treat as needed.

  • Feed fish high protein diet in the morning (do not over feed)

  • Remove plant, leaf and other organic debris on a regular basis.

  • Skim pond surface on a regular basis or install a pond skimmer to remove pollen and floating debris on surface of water.

  • Rinse filter media using pond water as needed (do not over rinse- keep the beneficial bacteria!) 

  • Partial water changes of 10- 20%  once a week- based on water test results. Be sure to treat new water to remove chlorine & chloramine.

  • Thin out oxygen plants and remove finished flowers and brown leaves of water lilies and marsh plants.

  • Feed water lilies monthly.

  • Feed perennial and tropical aquatic plants as required.

 

 

 

Fall:

As fall arrives, the number of brown & dead leaves start to make their presence known in and around the pond.

  • Installation of a pond net at the onset of fall will over the pond surface will help prevent vegetation from falling into the pond.

  • Prune all brown, dead leaves off all aquatic plants. 

  • Stop fertilizing all aquatic plants when the weather gets colder to signal the end of the growing season.

  • Feeding fish: As the evening air temperatures begin to fall, transition fish to cold water fish food.

  •  STOP feeding fish when water temperature is around 55°F (10°C) ​

  • Remove all tropical & free floating (such as water lettuce and hyacinth) aquatic plants after the first frost and compost them.

  • Hardy water lilies will turn brown after the first hard frost. Remove leaves and flowers - cut below water level.

  • Remove the pond net when water temperature drops below  41°F / 5 °C.

  • If your area experiences periods of extremely cold weather (IE: snow/ below 32°F / 0 °C)  during the winter months, consider installation of pond de-icer to allow toxic gases to escape the pond and oxygen to enter. Combine with aerator for maximum benefit.

Throughout the fall:

  • Test pond water temperature & chemistry: ammonia, pH, nitrates, nitrites, Calcium Hardness (KH) & General Hardness (GH) Treat as needed.

  • Partial water changes of 10-20%  - based on water test results. Warm air and water temperatures are a good reason to continue weekly partial water Be sure to treat new water to remove chlorine & chloramine.

 

Winter:​​

Here in the Cowichan Valley & Eastern Vancouver Island, our winters are mild compared to what most other Canadians experience. There are a few things our ponds need in order to be in their best health when spring arrives:

  • Feeding fish: Colder weather results in colder water temperature. When water temperature in pond is between 60°F / 15 °C - 50°F / 10 °C- feed fish cold weather food with less protein. STOP feeding fish when water temperature reaches 50°F / 10 °C. Undigested food in the fish digestive system can lead to loss of fish.

  • Continue adding cold water bacteria - per manufacturer guidelines. 

  • Ponds without fish: Our climate means you can keep your pump running as a waterfall or stream throughout the winter months. 

  • Ponds with fish: Our climate means you can keep your pump running- move the pump from the bottom of the pond- closer to the surface to create a gentle bubbling on the water surface. It's important to keep a hole in any ice that may form on the pond so that any gases created by organic material decomposition have a place to exit the pond. Another option is to add a pond aerator sized to you pond. It is highly recommended to turn off and  the waterfall or stream throughout the winter months. Left on during freezing temperatures, waterfalls and streams can have a cooling affect and de-stratify the water & jeopardize fish health.

  • Due to the colder water temperature, the biological activity in your pond will be insignificant as a result of low light levels during the winter months - your filter and your Ultraviolet Clarifier (UVC) can take a break until spring.

  • Pressure filter: remove, drain, clean per manufacturer instructions & store in a dry warm place.

  • Gravity filter: Can be left in full filtration mode. 

  • If your pond doesn't have any anti-freezing features, consider alternatives such as an aerator or a combination of aerator & de-icer to prevent pond from freezing. 

  • If ice forms on the pond - remove any snow that accumulates on the surface of the pond, to provide sunlight into the pond.

 

Following a good seasonal maintenance routine is the way to a happy, healthy pond ecosystem. 

"The Pond Pixie" and her team are happy to help you really love your pond all year long. 

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