How to clean a fish pond

It’s that time of year! Spring is the best time to give your pond or pondless waterfall a deep cleaning. At Good Earth Water Gardens, we’re happy to take this task off your hands. But if you’re a dedicated DIYer, we want to empower you to do the job right. Here’s what you need to know.

Does my pond need a cleaning?

Maybe. Not all ponds need a thorough spring cleaning. If there’s a layer of crud at the bottom and the water is a dark color, you need to clean. But if the water’s clear and there’s just a little debris that you can stir up and nab with a net? You can get away with just a little tidying up.

What tools do I need to clean my pond?

This task doesn’t require a lot of special equipment. Here’s what we suggest:

  • A clean-out pump with a hose that’s about 25 feet long
  • A high-pressure nozzle for your garden hose or a pressure washer
  • Garden sheers for trimming plants
  • A big bin, garbage can, or child’s pool to hold any fish
  • A net to cover the fish container so they don’t jump out
  • A fish net
  • Buckets to collect debris and leaves
  • Aquascape Pond Detoxifier

What are the steps for cleaning my pond?

Our friends at Aquascape created this handy video to show the cleaning process from start to finish.

Let’s break it down.

First, drain the pond or pondless waterfall.

  1. Put the clean-out pump in the deepest part of the pond or in the waterfall vault or snorkel.
  2. Drain the water into the surrounding landscape. Remember to move the pipe two or three times during this process. That way, the water will seep into the ground and won’t flood your yard.
  3. If you have koi, use some of the pond water to fill the holding container. Once the water in the pond is about knee-high, you can remove the fish with a net. Then, move them to the holding container.
  4. Keep the koi in the holding container for no more than several hours. Make sure the holding container is in a shady spot. Keep a net over the container so the fish won’t jump out. If you have an aerator or bubbler, you can use it in the container to help oxygenate the water.

When cleaning, you don’t want to overdo it. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Rinse the inside of the pond. A pressure washer is a good way to get debris off of rocks and gravel.
  • Leave some of the algae. It will help develop your pond ecosystem.
  • Use a gentle stream from your hose to clean the rocks and gravel. Start at the top and work your way down. Every once in a while, turn on the clean-out pump to remove the dirty water.
  • Watch the color of the rinsing water. Once it starts to look clear, remove the pump and begin filling the pond with the hose.

Once you’ve cleaned the pond, clean the filters.

  1. Remove debris from the bottom of the skimmer or pondless vault. You can do this by hand or you can use the cleanout pump.
  2. Remove the media nets and filter pads from the filter. Rinse them off so all the gunk is gone.

Finally, get the fish back where they belong. You can do this once the pond is about half full.

  1. Add Pond Detoxifier so the water is safe for fish.
  2. Dip a five-gallon bucket into the holding container. Fill it with water.
  3. Catch your fish. Put them in the bucket. Put the bucket into the pond that’s filling with clean water. This helps the fish get used to the temperature.
  4. Wait about 15 minutes. Then put some of the pond water into the bucket.
  5. Wait a few more minutes. The temperatures in the bucket and in the pond should be about the same. Dump the koi into the clean pond.

And that’s it!

Enjoy your pond in the coming months

Starting the spring with a clean pond or pondless waterfall sets you up for success. It means your water feature should be low-maintenance and worry-free for months to come.

If you need a hand getting your pond or pondless waterfall ready for spring, or if you have a question, Good Earth Water Gardens can help. Connect with us online or call us at 913-749-8090. We’re happy to talk you through spring cleaning or take on the job.