How to Clean Your Backyard Pond

How to Clean Your Backyard Pond

Glimmering clean water surrounded by well-manicured gardens can make your backyard a peaceful sanctuary. Dirty, grimy water that smells and attracts insects and critters, however, can do just the opposite. That’s why you’ll want to take care to keep your pond clean.

A clean pond, when well-maintained, isn’t such a chore to maintain. However, if you’re moving into a new space or just refreshing for spring, here are some pointers on how to bring your backyard water feature back to life.

Gather Cleaning Equipment

Cleaning a pond requires the right equipment. That means a quality pump and pond vacuum, a net with extending handle, and a set of pond scissors or pliers for clearing aquatic foliage. You’ll also need dechlorination chemicals, a marine thermometer, a shop vac with a nozzle attachment and a net to remove fish if you have any.

These basic tools should allow you to cycle the water in the pond and remove any floating debris. Also, have a replacement filter element on-hand for servicing your system.

Prep Your Pond

Begin your cleaning by chemical testing your pond to determine the PH level and checking the temperature. Next, remove any fish. You’ll want to have a relocation plan for them that includes enough space and water that’s been brought to an appropriate temperature and PH. Then, you can remove any muck or sludge that has built up over time using a shovel. Larger bodies of water may require dredging.

Drain the Pond

Only remove half the water from the pond. The remaining half will probably appear dirty and murky, but you should never replace all the water at the same time because this would destroy the complex ecology you’ve spent time building up.

Instead, rinse the rocks and other features and scrub them until clean with the water low. You can use a nozzle attachment on your shop vac to remove debris from the bottom of the pond. To save water, you can remove the debris you sucked up with the vacuum through a filtration system.

Add Clean Water

With the pond effectively cleaned, you can add water back. In some instances, this might come from your holding tank. You should always test the water you’re adding to ensure it is at or close to the PH of the water that will remain in the tank. Be sure to add dechlorination chemicals, since most tap water has been treated with chlorine.

Restock Your Pond

With the work done, you can add your fish back to the pond. Make sure the PH levels are close before you do. You should plan to clean it again in another six months or so barring any major issues.

Now that your pond is clean, you can once again take pride in its addition to your yard. It will also serve as a much healthier environment for fish and other members of the biome. Perhaps this process is old-hat to you, but if you’re new to pond ownership, you’re now prepared to maintain a beautiful water feature for years to come.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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