20 Steps to a Successful Spring Start-Up

  1. Prepare fish holding containers. Make sure that you make provisions for covering each container with a net to keep the fish from jumping out.
  2. Drain the pond. Don’t forget to fill one of more separate containers with pond water where the fish can be kept while the pond is being cleaned.
  3. Disconnect the Circulation System. This will allow the water in the plumbing to drain.
  4. Catch the fish. Drain the pond to roughly 6 inches of water in order to catch the fish easily and safely.
  5. Remove Debris. All large debris, such as leaves, pine needles and twigs should be removed by hand.
  6. Remove your plants from the pond. This is especially important if you plan to use a high-pressured washer. Place them in either the same containers used for holding your fish, or provide a separate holding container.
  7. Wash the pond (optional). A 1500-PSI pressure washer or high-pressure nozzle on a garden hose is recommended. This step may not be necessary each year, or in all situations, but it’s best to make that evaluation when the pond is drained and large debris has been removed.
  8. Rinse the pond even if you don’t do the optional thorough cleaning. Take the time to rinse the pond after debris is removed, while continuing to pump out the dirty water.
  9. Clean the filter and skimmer. Spray down all filtration media and rinse down the filter and skimmer units as well.
  10. Trim, cull and replace plant material. Before adding plants to the pond, take the time to trim back and split them to ensure that they don’t overwhelm the pond or become root – bound in their containers
  11. Refill the pond. Pull out the clean-out pump and begin refilling the pond.
  12. Re-connect the circulation system. Check and tighten all connections.
  13. Turn the system back on. Once the pond is full, begin circulating the water again.
  14. De-chlorinate the water. Most city water contains either chlorine or chloramines and should be treated but if you’re not sure what’s in the water, treat it with a product like Nursey Pro’s EcoStarter, which will remove both.
  15. Check you pH level. It should be in the 6.5 – 8.5 pH range.
  16. Add bacteria. Jumpstart your pond’s biological system by adding bacteria. Make sure water temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  17. Check the fish for disease or infections. It is recommended that you treat the fish in their temporary holding containers before re-introducing them into your pond. If you can’t do this, then use a medicated food once the fish are back in the pond.
  18. Take inventory of your fish. The recommended stock rate is 10” of fish for every 100 gallons of water. If you exceed that, you may want to consider offering some fish to your friends, neighbors, or other pond owners you may know.
  19. Acclimate your fish to your new pond water. A spring cleanout can be stressful to fish, so proper acclimation is suggested to decrease stress and prevent possible health problems.
  20. Turn on the pond and enjoy your pond for another year!