How do you know if you need to perform a spring clean out on your pond. The first answer is very simple. If you have a basic water garden style pond, you should be doing a spring clean out every year. If you have a dedicated koi pond, also known as a bottom drain pond, you should not have to do a spring clean out, but you do need to do some extra spring maintenance, and if you have a Helix Advanced Suction Grid pond, you should not have to do a spring clean out, but you do have some spring maintenance you should do. If you’re unsure which of these styles you might have, here is some basic information to help you decide what you have, so what maintenance you need to do.
A water garden pond generally consists of a filter, a pump, sometimes a skimmer, gravel across the bottom of the pond, and sometimes rocks lining the walls. Your basic Home Depot/Lowes style of pond, is definitely a water garden. There is not much in the way of filtration, just a pump sitting in the pond with some media around it to keep the pump from getting clogged.
This style of pond with the pump on the bottom, will require a spring cleaning out, and may require a couple more significant water changes during the summer, that involve vacuuming the bottom clean. These kits do not have a skimmer, so the pump is literally drawing debris directly to the bottom of the pond. The filter media on the pump prevents the debris from going into the pump, so it just kind of sits on the bottom and decomposes.
Not only does this create a really messy bottom, but it also contributes to an undesirable algae issue. So, we absolutely suggest a spring clean out on this type of pond, and an additional vacuum any time you see debris building up on the bottom of the pond. This vacuum may happen as often as once a month, and most likely will not remove more than 25% of the water volume from the pond.
During the spring clean out is also when we suggest trimming and thinning any plants in this style of pond. Thinning them out encourages them to grow more, which means they will absorb more debris from the water column.
If your pond has a skimmer and a waterfall filter, you should definitely perform a spring clean out, even if the pond still looks clean! I often have people say that they haven’t done a spring cleaning in 2 or 3 years, because the pond looked so good. The important thing to know about a pond with a skimmer is that you will get much less debris settling on the pond bottom, but there is still debris building up behind the rocks on the walls, so EVEN IF IT LOOKS GOOD, it still needs a clean out every spring.
A dedicated or bottom drain pond does not need a spring clean out because there are no rocks or gravel in this pond for debris to build up behind. These ponds have either concrete or liner walls and floor, to allow good movement of debris to the bottom drain.
What they should have every spring though is a complete cleaning of all filter equipment, including vacuuming the bottom of the skimmer, and waterfall filter. If there is a bead or external filter, the media may need to be thoroughly cleaned or replaced, and the UV light should be replaced at this time too. Even if the UV bulb is still lighting up, the gases inside of out that control the free floating, unicellular algae are no longer effective. Also, this is a great time to ensure that the bottom drain line is completely cleaned out, which may take several findings of your settlement tank.
A Helix Advanced Suction Grid Pond should not need a spring clean out. We typically add an extra heavy dose of beneficial bacteria HYPERLINK and switch the suction side of the pump to pull almost entirely from the suction grid. This pulls that heavy dose of bacteria deep into the gravel on the bottom of the pond, really helping to break down any debris that may have been trying to build up in there.
This is also the time that you want to trim and thin plants in the active bog, and in the body of the pond. Remember this thinning of the plants encourages them to grow more, which means they will be absorbing more debris from the water column.
If you have more questions, or would like to schedule a spring clean out, give us a call.