Spring Garden Pond

Are You Ready? Make Sure Your Spring Garden Pond Is Ready For The New Season! Now is the time to think about your pond and make sure it is in perfect condition to take advantage of Spring when it comes.

It has been particularly cold in my opinion and while this is good for the natural system it does pose potential problems… the colder the water the less food your goldfish or koi eat and the more their immune system is weakened.

Imagine what you and I would look like and what shape we would be in if we had reduced our food consumption and dietary intake by about 75% for 3 months?

Your biofilter will have slowed down dramatically and it will not kick in immediately the weather (water) warms up. It takes time for bacteria levels to increase and they need food (from fish waste) and oxygen to allow this regeneration to take place. Here’s my suggested check list in terms of what I think you should think of doing in next 2 weeks or so…

1. Clean out your pond is there is a heavy deposit of silt and other debris on the bottom. Do this at midday while water is warmer and fish not comatose.

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Put your fish in a holding system using existing pond water not fresh water and catch them with a soft net to transfer them from one location to another. You can create holding system using containers or crates in which plastic sheet has been placed. Conserve as much of old pond water as you can for putting back into pond.

Throw the debris onto your lawn or garden.

2. Strip down your biofilter and clean everything using pond water (not fresh tap water). If you are using any plastic media as biofilter surface consider replacing this with Alfagrog… 1 litre of Alfagrog is equivalent to 40 litres of plastic tubes, plastic balls and plastic material of most sorts.

If you have a traditional box biofilter consider changing flow from a down-flow arrangement to an up-flow arrangement. In this way water distribution across the biomedia is better and it easier to backflush all solids accumulation out of biofilter. Think of installing an outlet drain valve at the bottom of your biofilter to make frequent cleaning quick and easy… Just take a bucket of pond water, remove lid and flush all waste back down the biomedia bed through the bottom drain valve. Don’t forget to close drain valve when you are finished.

3. Check when you last changed your UV lamp… The lamp will last a maximum of 8,000 hours so if you have run it for about a year it is finished even if you think it is still working.

One problem that most people are not aware of it the “fogging” of the quartz tube inside an UV. The quartz tube must be completely clean and transparent to work at maximum efficiency. Over time especially if the UV is stopped and started often the quartz surface becomes covered with a brown film consisting of salts that were dissolved in the pond water.

The easiest way to clean the quartz tube is to put it in dilute acid (pool acid but very dilute… ie add lots of water) for 30 minutes or so and then remove and wipe clean.

4. Make sure any food left over from previous season is not mouldy… Unlikely on Highveld but coastal regions could be different. Always feed high quality food to your fish… Over time it does not cost more because you feed much less to get same results. More importantly less debris accumulates in biofilter and on pond bottom.

5. There is no need to add chemicals to your pond as many retailers might suggest as Spring approaches… In fact don’t even test the pond water unless you have very good reason to and you know what to do to (a) understand the result and (b) what to do about the result; if anything at all.

6. Get to the nursery early because there is always a shortage of pond plants in South Africa.

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