Tips for Opening the Pond
Opening the Pond...
We all know when the water warms up the
fish start looking for something. We probably have gone out to
purchase the cold weather koi food by now too, haven't we?
Well, there are some things we need to take care of before the
Do the spring cleaning- a
thorough cleaning- get all the gunk out of the filter, off
the bottom, from between the rocks. Wash it out, vacuum it
or pull it with your hands. What I do with mine is to hose
it down into the pond where the bottom drain and filter will
remove it. However, if you don't have a bottom drain or
(God forbid!) filter, you are better off using a vacuum.
There are manual pump action vacuums which are quite
reasonable to purchase. There are vacuums that are
motorized and do everything but the dishes for you. But get
something! In certain areas of my stream where leaves
collect I find it easy to remove them with a net by swirling
the water. Also, when raking leaves from the garden, be
sure to get those that are stuffed in and around the pond.
Get a new test kit- test kit
reagents can become ineffective after one season, so pick up
a new one. Then test the water to see where you stand. We
don't care about the color or how clear the water is yet,
just how toxic it is or isn't. If you have access to a
Cornell Cooperative Extension facility, have your water
tested professionally. They will give a much more
sophisticated review for the first time, and then you can
follow up with weekly testing.
Keep records- it is important
to record when you do water tests, what the results were,
and what you may have added to the pond—and when. If your
fish become sick later on, you may need to track back to see
if something went wrong and it will be there in your
Water Change- do a 30-50% water
change now. In case there were any over-wintering
parasites, you will remove many of the problems with a water
change. It helps charge the fishes' immune system to add
new water. Always use dechlorinator when adding water to
the pond, or spray the water above the pond to removed
chlorine. If chloramine has been added to your water
supply, you can test your tap water, after dechlorinating,
for ammonia, and the presence of ammonia will tell you
chloramines are in the water.
Add Bacteria- one of the slowest
to re-establish in the pond is the bacterial colonization.
So, help it with a bacterial additive. You will be feeding
the fish and need bacteria for the filter. Otherwise, you
will be putting the fish at risk for high ammonia and
Check the fish for behavior or sores-
we don't want to ignore any problems now. The fish immune
system is not performing well until the temperatures warm
up, so if there are problems now, they will only get worse
before it gets better. Learn to use a microscope! Learn
how to do a scraping for parasites before you start dumping
treatment chemicals into the pond. It will only stress the
fish more to subject them to unnecessary chemicals.
-- by Carolyn Weise
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