There’s something about water that speaks to the soul of every living thing. And I can’t think of anything more relaxing than spending a lazy afternoon around the pond, listening to the sound of the water while tossing tidbits of juicy fruit to your koi.
But if you don’t maintain your garden pond properly, it can become ugly and unhealthy, leaving your poor fish gasping for air (or worse). Your pond needs and deserves a little TLC. But knowing what to do —and when to do it — can be a bit challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before.
So to help you keep your pond looking its best — with clear water, happy fish and healthy aquatic plants — we’ve put together this seasonal maintenance guide for spring and summertime. You can see the guide for fall and winter here!
Caring for your pond in the spring.
After the snow finally melts and you rush outside to check on your pond, don’t be surprised to find it green with “algae bloom.” Although you might find the presence of an abundance of algae distressing, it’s a normal part of your pond’s lifecycle. And if your pond is well-balanced and maintained most algae problems will resolve on their own.
But if you find algae particularly worrisome you can scrub some of it off and remove it by hand, but make sure not to remove it all. A certain amount of algae is actually beneficial to your pond —absorbing the nitrates left in the water after beneficial bacteria have finished degrading fish and plant waste.
Here are a few more tips to get your pond ready for summer.
- Remove muck on the bottom. If your pond has more than an inch of muck (decaying organic material) on the bottom, remove it. Too much muck sucks the oxygen from the pond water and stresses out your fish.
- Drain the pond and hose down the liner. To avoid excess muck build-up in the future, install an aeration system or toss in some pellets full of healthy bacteria.
- Check for leaks and patch them up using a pond repair kit. This will keep you from having to constantly top up your water, saving you time and money.
- Remove any leaves or debris to prevent the build-up of toxic gases. To maintain a healthy pond it’s important to prevent plants and nutrients from entering the water.
- Reinstall the pump and filter, making sure everything is running properly. Replace any worn or broken parts.
- Return your tropical plants to your pond once the threat of frost has passed. Divide and replant water lilies and other marsh plants to keep them vigorous.
- Resist the temptation to feed your fish until the water stays consistently at 50°F. Their metabolism is sluggish in the spring and they’re unable to digest their food properly, making them sick.
Caring for your pond in the summer.
With the right balance of plants, fish, aeration and filtration, a pond becomes its own self-cleansing ecosystem —meaning you can kick back and enjoy your pond all summer long with just a few basic maintenance chores.
- Check your water level regularly to keep the water properly balanced and prevent salt and mineral build-up. Adding small amounts of water more often is better for your pond than having to add a large amount all at once (so you don’t upset the balance you’ve worked so hard to achieve).
- Make sure to test the water chemistry weekly. Watch for excessive amounts of ammonia, chloramines, and chlorine as these chemicals will kill your fish.
- Keep your plants neatly trimmed and remove dead leaves, flowers and overgrown plants. Not only will they clog your system, when they start decaying they can release harmful elements into your water, turning it black or green (threatening your fish and damaging the structure of your pond).
- Consider adding a fountain or bubbler to increase aeration for fish. The warm summer water can reduce the amount of oxygen available in the water. Also, make sure to check the filters and pump intakes weekly for clogs.
- Watch your fish for signs of disease (such as fin rot, fungus and whitespot). Often that’s the first indication that there’s something wrong with your pond’s ecosystem.
- Control plant pests to maintain healthy plants and fertilize potted plants monthly with aquatic-plant fertilizer tablets to keep them at their best.
- Control excess algae with a long-handled bristle brush, rake, or pole. If this is an ongoing problem, you may need to add more plants to rob the algae of nutrients.
Want to leave your pond maintenance to the pros?
At Raymar, we’re passionate about creating outdoor spaces that invite nature into your life — and giving you the support you need to make pond ownership stress-free.
If you’re interested in leaving the hard work to us, check out our pond maintenance packages or give us a shout!