It’s Almost Spring! Time to Reopen your Koi Ponds and Water Gardens!
Winter has finally passed, and its transitioning to spring, and that means opening up your water gardens and koi ponds. The most important things to remember when opening everything, is to take your time.
First thing you want to do is inspect and clean. Look over all of your equipment and make sure everything is in good, working condition. Make sure there are no cracks or broken pieces. If you do have any concerns, please feel free to reach out to us. After inspection begin the cleaning process. Start by getting all of the large pieces of debris and algae that you can see. If you used a protective debris net, go ahead and remove that and clean off any leaves and branches on it. Next, remove as much of the debris off the bottom of the pond, you can scoop it out manually or use a pond vacuum. Many opt to fully drain the pond and pressure wash the rocks and liner at this time as well. Be sure to remember to dechlorinate any newly added water. Some areas of the country treat water with chloramine, so be sure to use a water conditioner that specifically removes chloramine and not just chlorine. Chloramine Remover can be found here.
Next, take a look at your skimmer, waterfalls, filters and UV lights. Remove old mats, nets or any biological media and clean them, if applicable. Replace the matsand ensure that everything is clean and able to run properly. Filtration is very important, especially in the early months of your pond, so it’s important to keep an eye on these in the beginning. Check your UV lights and inspect that nothing is cracked or broken. It’s easy for the bulbs and quartz sleeves to crack, and a crack in the sleeve can lead to water getting on the bulb and total failure. Spring is a good time to install new UV bulbs and be sure to replace any broken pieces before turning anything back on.
Once you’ve cleaned the pond and filtration systems out as much as possible move on to your pump. Most people turn on their pumps when the temperature rises above 50°F for a consistent period. As long as you are past the danger of a hard freeze it's fine to run the pump. Make sure that when you start your pump back up, that you’ll be able to spend time around the house so you can monitor the water levels and can notice if anything seems out of order. The pump combined with the filters will begin to make your pond cleaner and clearer. Be sure to remove any large debris that you may have missed in your initial cleaning. Also, if you had an aerator running, continue to use it to keep you pond oxygenated.
Now it’s time for beneficial bacteriato help start up your biological filtration. Continue to add on a regular basis, even throughout the summer. If you have any questions about how much to add, please feel free to ask us! Also, be sure to test your water, the nitrite and ammonia levels should be zero. Start adding the beneficial bacteria when the temperature is 55 degrees or higher, if you prefer getting started earlier you can add cold water bacteria around 45 degrees.
You can now begin to reintroduce your koi back to your pond if kept indoors during winter. You have to be careful in this process because koi are more susceptible to sickness during this time and keeping stress to a minimum is key. As far as feeding, you should not feed your koi until the temperature is consistently above 50°F, as your koi are still in hibernation and feeding them could cause them to get very sick. When the temperature is consistently in the 50s but not quite in the 60s use a special cold water food for spring and fall. Once the temperature reaches the 60s, you can begin to use normal fish food.
Hardy plants can now be put back into your pond. Place any plants that belong on the bottom in the same place so they can begin to grow. Also, check to make sure that any plants have not outgrown their pots. If they have, make sure to repot and divide up any plants. Once everything is back in place, begin to fertilize. Keep track of every plant and make sure that everything stays healthy.
No two ponds are the same and we know that all types of obstacles can present themselves. We have several videos on how to reopen your pond, check those out here. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to call us at 855-781-4747.
*Note that these recommendations can be different based on your geographic location and pond style.