Opening your pond for the first time in spring or summer is an exciting occasion for any water feature enthusiast. Not only is this the best time to introduce new additions to the pond environment, you get to take a close look at how things have changed since it was closed.
At Big Al’s Pets we have helped all kinds of pond environment keepers prepare their spaces for the first time – or just for the first time this season. We have a little bit of everything required to keep your pond and its animal inhabitants happy and healthy.
Step One: Address Structural Concerns
Take some time to examine the pond feature and its immediate surroundings for damage. Winter weather conditions can cause a surprising amount of damage even to relatively durable elements such as rocks and paving cobbles. Repair or replace any damaged item. This will ensure that the environment is safe for plants, animals, insects, birds, and people.
Step Two: Clean the Pond Environment
Even if your pond and its immediate surroundings have simply been under snow all winter, a lot of cleaning will need done before any new features can be added. A thorough cleaning will remove any dirt, bits of trash, natural debris, and other material that can potentially harm the water feature.
Cleaning is also important because it discourages activity by pest species that might damage the pond in its sensitive early stages of life.
Pond vacuums are very helpful when cleaning the environment after winter inactivity. Small ponds can be manually cleaned without much difficulty. Some pond owners like to use natural enzyme and bacteria products to assist with cleaning.
Step Three: Start the Pump
Select a time when you will be home for several hours so you can keep an eye on the pump during its initial period of operation. A little time is required to ensure that the water is being moved when it needs to be. This is the best time to detect any problems, so it is worth setting aside an afternoon to run the water pump for the first time.
Step Four: Start the Filter
You should be sure to clean the filter medium if the system has not been used in a while. Once this is done, you can boost the health of your bacteria colonies. In fact, this should be done even if the pump has been used all winter. There are several good products available that can be used to enrich your helper bacteria.
We stock items such as:
- Aquascape Pond Starter Bacteria
- Aquascape Pond Water Treatment - Maintain
- CrystalClear Biological Clarifier and Sludge Remover
- Aquascape Beneficial Bacteria
Biological cleaning agents help prevent the growth of harmful or excessive entities. The right additives will help maintain an optimal balance of microbes to ensure a healthy pond environment. Some pond owners like the convenience of automatic dosing systems. This can be a good solution for periods of time when you have to be away from home. Dosing your pond environment with the right biological additives is an important part of maintaining its health throughout the year.
Step Five: Begin Testing the Water
Once the water system has been repaired and cleaned, and the pond facility prepped for the season, it is time to begin testing the nature of the water. Use your preferred water testing kit to monitor levels of nitrate and ammonia. Your tests should indicate zero nitrate and ammonia. If the test displays an amount of either of these substances, perform a partial water change and redo the test. Repeat these steps until ammonia and nitrate are both absent.
Adding Fish and Plants
Once your water system is operating optimally, you can begin thinking about the fish and plants that will be added to the environment. Conditioning animals and plants to the environment takes a little additional time, so be sure to anticipate this when determining your spring pond opening timeline.