Pond Cleaning Procedures Recommended by Modern Design Aquascaping Serving Knoxville, Maryville, and Surrounding Areas
Modern Design Aquascaping cleans, maintains, and repairs ponds Knoxville, Maryville, Farragut, Lenoir City, Blount County, Knox County and neighboring areas.
I wanted to give you all an in-depth look into your professional pond cleaning, what is included with our service, and what you will have to do after the cleaning is completed. There is a time here in East Tennessee when the water temperatures start to maintain above 55 degrees and that is when the team at Modern Design Aquascaping goes into full-time pond cleaning. During this season, our techs stop doing water feature construction and devote 100% of their attention to clean outs so that everyone can have their pond cleaned as near to the optimum time as possible! Many folks are unaware that the metabolism of your koi is slow and sluggish in the cooler temperatures and this is why we like to wait for it to warm up before we start clean-out season!
First of all let's clear up what the goal of a pond clean out is. It is simply to remove 80-90% of the accumulated organic debris from the previous year! We do not want to sterilize or sanitize your pond, just get it in great shape to set you up for a successful year of easy-maintenance on your water feature! Our process is what we refer to as a comprehensive cleaning and component inspection.
It all begins with setting up a holding tank to house your wildlife. Fish, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, crayfish, and whatever other life has populated your pond will all need a place to relax while we clean house! We set up the proper sized tank(s) in a nearby, shady spot or under an umbrella. The clarity and quality of your water, combined with the amount of fish you have, will determine how much of your existing water we can keep. The more of the original pond water we can keep the better because the animals are already acclimated to the chemistry and temperature of the water they are in. We put aeration in the tank and add a detoxifier that removes ammonia and lightly sedates the fish. If the water is extremely dirty, we well add an external pump and filter to the holding tank to pull out some of the sediments while we are cleaning the pond.
We begin filling our holding tank with the cleanest water from your pond, right off the top, without stirring anything up. Again if your water is very polluted we will draw our holding tank water in through fine filter pads to help remove solids on the way to the holding tank. Once the holding tank is as full as we would like, or if we have run out of useable water, we pump the remaining pond water away to an appropriate location. As the draining of the pond nears completion and we get to the bottom of the pond, we climb in and carefully catch the fish in large bags and relocate them into the holding tank. We avoid nets so we're sure that we don't tear fins, tails, etc. The holding tank MUST have a net over it to keep fish from jumping out and something that floats for frogs to perch on while they wait! Once all of the animals have been moved, it is time to begin cleaning.
We begin our cleaning with the filters. If we are cleaning a pond when it is warm enough that the beneficial bacteria are active, we try to save any biological filter media like filter pads or bio-balls that are live filters. These filters need to be lightly sprayed with pond water to remove the large solids and then put into the tub with the fish. The live bacteria colonizing on these items can't be seen but they're there, and they require oxygen to survive the clean out. Once the filters have been cleaned, we begin on the rest of the feature. Large debris is gathered by hand and removed from the pond. Minimal pruning is done to the aquatic plants that are actively growing in the pond but now is the time to remove excess-unwanted plants and to divide and re-pot lilies or lotus.
Next we pressure wash. The goal is to get most of the junk off the rocks and loosen the sediments so they are easier to flush out during the rinse phase of the clean out. Be sure not to let the debris dry out between phases of the clean out as it rinses away much easier if it stays wet. By pressure washing from the top down, we allow a second person to begin the rinse phase in the streams and waterfalls while the pressure washing continues in the pond.
Once the pressure washing is complete, rinsing can commence in the pond. Again remember to go top to bottom on the walls. Once we finish wall washing, gravel is rinsed and swished around to remove that 80-90% we are looking for. Clean out pumps are running in the lowest part of the pond bottom to keep the dirty water moving out at all times during the entire clean out process.
When we are good on the cleaning, we take the time to check out all of the light fixtures for functionality and to be sure lenses are clean. Pumps are removed as well as check valves and inspected for debris, damage, etc. and are then replaced. Stones are re-stacked and gravel is spread around as necessary to cover up exposed liner areas at this time. Skimmer filters and pre-filtration pads are washed and re-installed properly. It is time to put the animals back.
The water in the holding tank is pumped back into the clean pond. If we didn't get to keep much of the original pond water, we added extra detoxifier to the holding tank and added fresh water slowly into the tank during the entire clean out process with a trickling hose. We want to have enough water to put back in the pond to ensure the immediate return of the fish. Again this allows us to use the bags and slip them right back into the pond. No need for acclimating them into new water, the process is smooth and easy on the fish. We always do whatever it takes to make sure this can happen.
We are done with our part at this point. We leave a hose trickling in the pond, add the proper dose of starter bacteria to the pond, return the filter media to its proper locations, and clean up our mess. It is the home owners responsibility at this point to turn off the hose when the pond is full and plug in the pumps. This needs to be done as soon as the pond is full. Skipping this step can be disastrous!
We recommend that our pond owners add the normal weekly dose of bacteria daily for the first week. Each day the filter pad in the skimmer should be removed, bacteria added into the skimmer to seed the biological filter, and the pad should be cleaned and put back. Do not put bacteria into the skimmer with the pad in, you will only kill it and wash it back out when you clean the skimmer pad! Future maintenance will include cleaning your pad and basket in the skimmer and adding your beneficial bacteria weekly. You will most likely also use something for string algae, there are many products to choose from. Please don't over-dose as many of those products can be harmful to your fish if you add too much. To determine pond gallons go (Average Width) x (Average Length) x (Average Depth) x 7.5 = Gallons Approximate.
Please note we take no responsibility for the health of your fish. We do everything we can do to ensure their health and happiness, but in the end, things can happen. If you accept our clean-out agreement, you also accept this fact.
Thanks & Happy Pondering ?
John G Adams
Facebook: Modern Design Aquascaping
John Adams is a professional pond artist and builder.