Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pond Cleaning Day



Yesterday, Jim gave the pond a light spring cleaning. The goal was to eliminate the decomposed plant material and fish waste that causes poor water quality. This was also an opportunity to give a few fish to a friend with a larger pond; too many large fish in our pond was causing concerns about water quality and overall fish health.
The first step was to remove the water from the pond. Jim hooked up a large, flexible pipe to a submersible pump and filled the blue tank, which would become the temporary fish home.Here comes 'Lucky"! The rest of the water was released into the gardens. The best fertilizer ever!

Once the pond was empty, it was time to bring out the industrial-strength shop vac. Out comes the black, stinky, anarobic goo! This was promptly deposited into the compost bins and throughout the garden beds---truly, black gold.
(Notice that most of our water plants sit on a shelf that rims the perimeter of the pool. Technically, this would be considered too shallow for water lilies, but ours thrive.) At this point, a blast of water from a high-pressure hose nozzle works well to loosen off a bit more crud from the boulders, pots, and pond walls (concrete, in our case). You can also employ a stiff-bristle brush if you want to, but, hey, no need to go crazy. A bit of algae and bacteria are a good thing!

The most time consuming part of this whole process? Refilling the pond! We use non-potable water from a small well on our property. The water is somewhat alkaline and we don't use any corrective treatment for it, but the plants and fish thrive anyway. (I'm convinced that most pond/fish care literature is way too fussy!)

As you can see, our hardy water lilies are starting to emerge and are packed into their pots. Stay tuned for Water Lily Dividing Day, coming soon!

13 comments:

Allison said...

Ahhhh! Good times! Say, which fish got to go to a new home?? Good job Jim!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Our "blue" fish and a couple of hatchlings that had were in the 10-12" range.

Les said...

I did the same thing recently. I do not use an elaborate filter, just some lava rock in a waterfall chamber. About twice a year I clean it out and put the accumulated sludge on my garden where the plants love it.

Mark N Denver said...

Jocelyn - Put in a small (500 gal.) pond last summer. This will be my first attempt at a clean up. I had a problem with string algae - big time. Got some barley pellets and put them in my waterfall filter. It worked very well - now I just have to get in and clean up all the decaying dead algae. I have seen my fish (3 koi)with the increase in temperature. They have hidden in some cave features most of the winter months. Thanks for the pix of the cleaning process. Will have to go to True Pump and get another pump and some large hose. Using Kosher salt to clean up the algae and gunk.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Les, we have used lava rock in the past as filter medium and it works just fine---much better than the sand filter we first installed 20 years ago!

Mark, we have also used the barley pellet/salt treatments a few times. Every year is a bit different, and I think it all comes down to the winter-spring weather conditions. Glad the photos were helpful!

Pam/Digging said...

Oh, I need to divide my water lilies, and it's a chore I dread every year.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Pam, I think that dividing water lilies is - at this point - the most physically demanding chore that happens in my garden. Note: I usually pass it off to my DH!

buy viagra said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hose adapters said...

Cool! I also have pond in our backyard and I also planning to clean it. Thanks for the idea. Keep posting.

-seff-

harley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harley said...

Magnolias out last week or so I am guessing before they are really flashy. holiday weekend is a festival in the town of Magnolia . There are dozens of varieties through the historic gardens and the city. Shutterbug dream if you want some great pictures of spring.


Waterfall Pumps

online casino said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Clark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.