Written by Adam Farrelly
The 5 steps below will outline everything you need to know to be ready for a rich season of colourful healthy fish and peaceful summer evenings beside your perfect pond.
As winter draws to a close, minds inevitably turn to the coming spring and the possibilities for both the garden and pond. For those who have ponds ready and waiting, this is the perfect time to get prepared.
1. Cleaning Your Pond
As the pond sits throughout the winter, sludge and debris will inevitably build up on the surface and on the bottom of the pond. Pond netting can go some way to alleviating this but it is always best to clear any foliage or debris from the surface of the water with a pond net or skimmer. If the bottom of the pond is particularly dirty, a decent pond vacuum will allow for a thorough clean. If blanket weed is present, remove as much as possible with a net and treat with blanket weed removers once the pond filtration is up and running.
2. Check the condition and health of your fish
As fish begin to emerge from their winter dormancy, they are at their most vulnerable when it comes to infections and disease. This is the ideal time to check your fish over for any signs of disease or stress, as they may well get worse as the water warms up. Look for signs such as clamped fins, ulcers and signs of stress such as rapid gill movement or flicking.
3. Checking your pond equipmentWhen the season is about to start it is a must that all equipment be up to scratch, as last minute replacements for broken components can be a real headache. If the main pump has been off for the winter, check that it runs fine and that all inlets are cleared. Check for any leaks, and run the entire pump and filtration system for a few hours to ensure all is well. This is also an ideal time to replace any UV bulbs that are due replacement, as any UV system running on a pond should have its bulbs replaced annually.
4. Testing the pond water
The old adage of not keeping fish but keeping water, is true for our ponds as well. As the season begins, test your pond water for all essential parameters, especially Ammonia and Nitrite, and ensure you address any problems before the season begins.
5. Feeding Time
Once the fish are fully awoken from their winter dormancy, you can start to feed them again. Low protein foods such as wheatgerm are ideal for starting out, as the fish's metabolism will still be very low, and feeding protein rich foods at this stage can cause undigested food to foul the water, and possibly even cause death if the fish cannot excrete said food. Once the temperature is consistently between 10-15 degrees celsius, general koi sticks can be fed and once summer kicks in, rich growth enhancing foods can be offered.
As we all look forward to warmer months ahead, it helps to also be prepared. A rich pond full of happy fish is something all pondkeepers aspire to each year. Pace yourself with the steps above and you too can enjoy the months to come. Happy Pond Season from all of us at Aquariumkeeping.co.uk