PRODUCTION

How to Clean a Fish Pond


May 14, 2022

Fish pond in backyard

A backyard fish pond provides a welcoming home for aquatic life and a peaceful and beautiful retreat for you. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your small garden pond is essential to creating a healthy and clean environment for your plants and fish.

Why Is Your Fish Pond Water Turning Green or Brown?

Have you noticed a green or brown coloration in your fish pond? This darker color in your pond results from algae overgrowth and organic matter decomposition. Foliage such as leaves and branches and fish waste can accumulate, decompose, and create high nitrate and phosphate levels in your pond. 

A slight green or brown tint may be normal, but it is a big problem when you notice bad smells and a sludgy consistency. A bit of algae is beneficial to your pond’s health, but excessive algae growth can negatively affect your fish population. Brown water can result from decomposed plant components called tannins or soil erosion.

All the fallen leaves, fish waste, and other debris can provide food for your algae to thrive. Algae produce oxygen during the day via photosynthesis. At night, the algae still use oxygen but do not produce any. Keeping algae under control and regularly cleaning plant matter in the water can keep your pond healthy and prevent murky water from developing.

API Pond Pond Zyme Sludge Destroyer, 8-oz.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Aglaefix, 32 oz.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

When to Clean a Pond

Large tropical fish pond

How often you should clean your pond depends on its size, location, and other environmental factors. Plan to perform a deep clean once or twice per year. You may only need to deep clean it once per year with regular care and maintenance. Early spring is one of the best times to clean your pond of any fallen plant material, sludge, and other debris. Cleaning in the fall can also be a good idea to get your pond winter-ready. 

What You Need

Cleaning a fish pond requires a few essential tools and supplies. The fish pond cleaning supplies will vary depending on your pond’s needs.

Here are some of the best fish pond cleaning equipment and tools you may need:

  • Pond cleaning net
  • Large bucket (5-gallon)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Clean out pump and hose (optional)
  • Fish holding tank with air stones and a screen or net to temporarily house fish, keep proper oxygen levels, and keep them from jumping out
  • Pressure washer or high-pressure nozzle for garden hose
  • Garden shears to trim plants
  • Garbage bags
  • Water treatment – beneficial bacteria, algae control, sludge reducer, water conditioner (optional)
  • Waders (optional)
  • In-pond skimmer (optional)
  • Pond water test kit (optional)
  • Barley straw (optional)

Wilco Branded "For the Farmer in All of Us" 5-Gallon White Plastic Bucket

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Removing the Fish

Fish swimming in pond

In some cases, removing the pond fish is not necessary. Before starting the deep cleaning process, removing the fish may be recommended if the pond is especially dirty and smelly. Light fish pond cleaning may not require removing the fish. 

If removing the fish is necessary, be sure you have a container/fish holding tank big and deep enough to hold them, and use the same pond water to fill the container. Avoid using water from your hose or your tap water in a large container because chlorine can hurt your fish. 

After moving your fish into an appropriate container, place a net or mesh covering on top to keep them from jumping up and protect them from predators. Do not completely seal the container. Put the container with fish in a shady area. 

If you have drained the water completely and filled it up with water from the tap or hose, it will be chlorinated. Wait about 24 to 48 hours before putting your fish back into their home. Putting your fish in too soon can kill them.

Nylon Fish Net, Small, 48-In.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Drain the Pond Water

If you regularly take care of your pond, there may not be a need to drain it as often. Draining ponds is usually meant for ponds that have accumulated a lot of debris or mud or ponds that have never been cleaned. Draining the water ensures that the cleaning is effective, quick, and easy compared to cleaning a dirty pond without emptying it.

When draining the water, place the pump at the deepest point in the pond. Ensure all the electrical equipment related to your pond is unplugged and fish and plants are removed before draining it. Drain the water into the immediate landscape. Move the pipe around a few times to avoid flooding one part of the yard.

Clean the Pond

Filling pond with water

Light cleaning can involve using a pond net to skim the top of the water to remove any plant material and other debris floating above. For deeper cleaning, unplug and remove any pumps, potted plants, and other decorations from the pond. Put any plants in a shaded and moist area to keep them in good shape while cleaning. Removing these items can make it easier to clean the sides and bottom of the pond.

A pressure washer can get rid of dirt and mud from rocks and gravel. Start from the top and go down to the bottom of your pond. Occasionally use the vacuum pump to remove the dirty water if necessary. Stop using the pump when the rinse produces relatively clear water. Remove the muck and other debris that accumulates on the pond floor. As best you can, remove the debris from the corners and any plant shelves in your pond.

If you notice any algae overgrowth on the sides of your pond, you may want to clean most of that out, although some types of algae can be helpful for your fish and the pond’s ecosystem. Algae can provide food and oxygen for fish and other aquatic life. A standard toilet brush can help you clean the sides.

While you are at it, give your plants a light pruning by removing any dead leaves, stems, and roots. You can use a hose to rinse off the dirt and other debris that can get dirty during the cleaning process.

Clean the Pump and Filters

Cleaning your pond filter and pump can keep your aquatic ecosystem pristine. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with pond water or rainwater to rinse the pump and filter instead of using chlorinated water from a hose or the tap. Chlorine can destroy beneficial bacteria. Clean debris from the bottom of the skimmer with your hands or a pond cleanout pump. 

A hose, power washer, or brush can carefully be used to remove the hard-to-clean parts. Remove the impeller cover and carefully remove the impeller/rotor. Use a soft-bristle brush to clean the pump’s components. Filter pads can be cleaned with a hose or rinsing them in pond water.  

Fill the Pond

Before refilling, replace any underwater lighting bulbs that need replacement. Once you have performed your deep cleaning, it is time to put everything back into the pond, such as a pump, pond plants, fish, and decorations.

If you filled your pond with chlorinated water, allow the water to sit for at least 24 to 48 hours before placing the fish in it again. You may also use a pond chlorine neutralizer to instantly make tap water safe for your fish. Putting your fish in chlorinated water can harm them and kill them.

You may also use affordable pond tests for pH, which can fluctuate throughout the day, and other chemicals, which can harm your fish.

API Pond Chlorine & Heavy Metal Pond Water Neutralizer, 16-oz.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Regular Pond Cleaning and Maintenance

Koi in a fish pond

Now that your pond is squeaky clean, you can maintain it like that for a long time without the need to call in the pros with regular cleaning and maintenance. Muck and algae and other debris can quickly accumulate on ponds of any size. As long as you regularly upkeep it, you should be able to maintain a clean pond that does not smell or look bad. 

If you do not own one, invest in a pond pump and filter to keep your water clean and aerated. Adding barley straw bales, pellets, or liquid extracts early in the spring season is a natural way to reduce algae growth. Enzyme cleaners are another natural way to clean a pond. They work by eating the pond muck and sludge. Bird or pond netting over the pond during the fall and spring can help keep your pond clean from debris.

2-Pack Barley Straw Bales

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

When to Call a Pond Cleaning Professional

In most cases, you can take care of your pond cleaning and maintenance on your own and save money by not calling the pros. However, if your pond has a lot of pond sludge or muck on the bottom, it can be detrimental to your fish. You may need someone who is an expert at cleaning fish ponds.

Pond cleaners can dredge or vacuum out the sludge in small ponds. Investing in a pond vacuum can be a good option for those who want to clean their ponds on their own but may require spending more money and time. 

Keep Your Fish Pond Clean and Tidy with Wilco Farm Stores

To keep your pond fresh and clean all year long, head to Wilco Farm Stores for your fish pond cleaning supplies. Wilco can help give you the tools and supplies you need for your pond’s proper maintenance and care.

Category
Author
Tags