Article - Opening the Pond
Opening the Pond
Before you do anything, check around the pond, look at the fish, look for leaks, and make sure your pumps and filters are clean and in good working order. If you didn’t clean the pond in fall, you may need to do a good cleaning this spring. However, the fish are less able to handle stress in spring. Wait until the water warms to around 65-70F, consistently, to give the fish a chance to acclimate. They need to build up their immune systems and revitalize before facing any big operations.
Cleaning the pond is primary, and a water change may be just the ticket. During the winter months leaves, dust and debris have continued to land in the pond. It will build up if not removed. Your filter can handle a lot of it, but any leaves on the bottom should be taken out manually. Doing this when the water temperatures are 70F+ will assure that you won’t remove the fish with the leaves. (I’ve already done that before!)
Begin feeding the fish when water temperatures are in the 55-60F range, with wheat germ-based foods, once a day. Give them time to adjust and to build up their immune systems first. Eating takes energy, and at lower temperatures, more energy than they will receive from the food. Watch the fish for signs of trouble: any sores, flashing, or gasping at the surface. Any fish that do not swim with the others is suspect and may be ill. Do water tests before adding any chemical treatments. In spring, the water is not as stable, so there may be ammonia or nitrite spikes that are affecting the fish, rather than parasites. When in doubt… do nothing!
Add beneficial bacteria when the water is consistently above 55F. Use Microbe-Lift/Spring Summer Cleaner to speed up removal of any leftover bits of leaf matter. If your filter is not working, fix or replace it before you begin to feed the fish. Meanwhile, put an air hose in the pond to increase gas exchange and oxygen reduction potential. If you live through spring, summer’s a breeze!