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FALL(Not Spring) is the best
time of year to clean your pond. Not too cold,
not too hot, and fish are at their strongest. Ponds and
their inhabitants winter best when relatively clean-
Bio-systems go dormant once water temperatures drop below
50 degrees. -In the spring, fish are weak, lean, and just
beginning to 'wake up'. They are most susceptible to
diseases caused by stress, parasites, and poor water
quality because their immune systems shut down in the
a plan and collect necessary tools and
equipment for the job. Collect and place all necessary
tools and materials nearby. This will make a dirty job go
is a List of recommended tools and supplies
- Temporary Holding Tank for Fish & Old Pond Water
- Aeration Bubbler and screen for Temporary HoldingTank
- Grates or Net for FishTank, block or bricks to keep
grating in place
- Sheets or Newspapers to keep out-of-water Lilies and
submerged aquatics damp
- Pump (existing pond pump?) for removing water from the
- Pump screen and necessary adapters and hoses
- Hip Waders, Boots, Gloves
- Fish Net
- Dredge Net
- Buckets/Wheelbarrow/ Bags, etc. for Debris
- Hose with Spray End for rinsing pond edging and sides
- Scrubbies, Brushes
- Shop Vac and Old Broom to sweep muck toward it
- Water Garden Guide for depth/trimming reminders about
- Plant Trimming Tools
- Dirty Dirt, and Pea Gravel or Sand to top off potted
- Dechlorinator (make sure you have more than enough!)
- Beneficial Bacteria
- KH and pH Test Kits
- Baking Soda
UP FISH CAMP
Step 1: Set up your fish holding tank
close by, preferably in the shade near a GFCI protected
outlet. Pump the clean top layer of water from your pond
into the holding tank. If the water quality is good, try
to save 25 - 50% of your pond volum. Test and start the
bubbler in the fish holding tank.
Step 2: Begin removing the water and plants from
- If your water is clean, save as much as possible,
using a large holding tank.
- If your water is dirty/weedy, save just enough for
your fish holding tank.
As the water level falls, remove plants and plant
supports, trimming/tidying pots and plants as you go. Use
the water you are removing to water your garden. Start
with easy-to-reach marginals. Next, lilies, lily-like
aquatics, and submerged aquatics from the deeper water- Remember
to cover these plants to keep their leaves moist!
Remove and store/compost/trash any tropical plants. Remove
and hose down/scrub plant supports.
WAIT to remove fish until all plants and
supports are gone and the water level is low. Lowering
the water level will minimize trauma to you AND your
Step 3: Carefully remove the fish, frogs, tads and
other critters when the water is low (within
4-8 inches from the bottom- don’t forget to cover the
holding tank with net/grating to prevent ‘jumpers’ &
Step 4: Now for the deep cleaning!
Protect the Patina! Gently hose down the sides and
shelves, keeping the short algae growth damp- it provides
a happy place for microbes to live, and fish a tasty snack
– AND – this algae out-competes single-celled green water
algae. Dredge with a net to remove most of the debris, and
Sweep/vacuum the muck from the bottom. Have a container
close by to hold the debris. Use your hose with spray end
to clean out the Shop Vac and filter between cleanings and
to hose down plant supports and the sides of the pond.
Note: Many of the plants in your garden might enjoy the
nutrient-rich muck from the bottom. Pull the mulch away
& pour directly at the base of your garden plants.
IT ALL BACK TOGETHER
Step 5: Use your Water Garden Guide to
figure total approximate gallons in the pond and begin
filling the pond.
saved a substantial amt. of water with your fish, figure
the total saved gallons, and remember to leave room for
this water later.
dechlorinator for the amount of new water you will be
adding. Gently replace plants at desired depths, starting
with lilies, lily-like aquatics and submerged aquatics in
deep water, then the marginal plants on upper shelves or
6: Test and treat the pond, and add beneficial bacteria.
7: Add fish last. If you saved a lot of their
water, add it at this time. If their water is undesirable,
just add the fish and discard their water.
8: Clean-Up and Put Away Tools & Equipment (clean
Shop Vac, scrubbies, pumps, buckets, holding tanks etc…)
and Tidy Up around the Pond.
9: Sit Back and Enjoy – and give yourself a big pat on
SEASON CARE FOR TROPICAL PLANTS
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