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The yearly cycle of your pond is important, and with Spring just ready to poke it’s head out following our Swell UK essential tips for getting your pond ready for Spring might just make all the difference in the Spring and Summer when you can enjoy your garden pond at it’s best.
We’re sure we don’t need to tell you to dress sensibly for this occasion – temperatures are still pretty low this time of year, but if you can brave the bite of cold air, this is well worth it!
Spring pond pump maintenance
Just as the winter frost is ebbing away is a great time to perform some essential maintenance on your pond filtration system!
Over the winter, debris from blown leaves, twigs and the general seasonal decay of your pond plant life will have likely sunk to the bottom of your pond, and if like more people you use a submersible ‘wet’ pump, you will likely find it in a bit of a mess!
Remove it from your pond and follow the instructions for cleaning if you have them to hand. If not, usually getting a good scrubbing brush out of the cupboard is a good idea. You want to remove as much of the dirt and grime as you possibly can from the outside, and inside of the pump.
As you do so, check for blockages in the water intake near the impellor. Not only does a blockage impede the flow of water to your filter, but hard particulates can damage the impellor itself, sheering off the blades and making it useless.
Consider picking up a spare impellor to make sure your pump last another year. For example we stock a great selection of Juwel spare impellors.
Spring Filter Box Maintenance
Once your pump is sorted, it’s time to look at your filter.
Once again, check for blockages, build ups of debris and sludge and clear them out manually (some nice rubber gloves make this a little more pleasurable). Once that is complete, you need to give your filter media a clean to make sure it is still effective.
Both sponges and biomedia (usually in the form of some plastic balls or other finer media) MUST be cleaned using dirty pond water. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there’s a very good reason for it:
While the mechanical aspect of your filter will remain unaffected, the biological cleaning power of your filter relies on tiny colonies of bacteria that live in your filter media. Cleaning it with tap water means you are adding chlorine and a whole host of over bacteria killing chemicals to your filter, destroying your bacterial colonies and making your pump ineffective for when Summer comes around.
Big Pond Clear-Out
This is the obvious, but perhaps messy bit. Just like your house might want a traditional Spring Clean, extending the same level of care to your pond yields big results too. Remember all that decaying plant matter we talked about? Well it’s best to remove this from your pond mechanically. Consider some good pond scissors to cut away dead plants, a net to remove any floating debris, and if your budget can stretch to it, get yourself a pond vac or sludge buster to tackle the layer of nasty brown sludge at the bottom of your pond.
This stuff acts like fertiliser for pond algae, and while inactive during the winter, the Spring and Summer sun will allow algae to grow again, and much faster if it can get all that ammonia from the sludge. Pond vacs cost can range depending on the model but can make a huge difference to your water quality and stop algae from developing quickly.
A luxury for some ponds and an essential algae buster for others, UV sterilisers only need a little maintenance at this time of year.
Some are built in to your filter, and some are added as an “in-line” UV in your pipework, but both need the same work. Firstly, if you haven’t changed the bulb in the last 6 months, do so now. Although the light might be on, there may be nobody at home in terms of UV light, which tends to diminish after 3 months and effects are negligible after 6. There are some great offers on bulk UV bulbs around this time of year, so splashing out a little extra now could be worth it.
While you’re changing the bulb, don’t forget to check your O-rings (the little rubber seals that go around the bulb and keep it water tight), as well as the quartz-sleeve that allows the light to shine through and kill algae. O-rings may deteriorate over time but cost pennies to replace, and Quartz-sleeves may crack or smash (a little more expensive, but worth the investment to keep your UV running).
Pond Test Kits
Well, all these little tasks have you out in the frosty air anyway, so you might as well go the whole hog and test your water quality too. A lot can change over the winter months, and you may find that important chemicals have spiked or lulled since you last looked. A good pond test kit or lab gives you quick and easy results and may warn you of impending problems, allowing you to take swift action to avoid fish death or algae problems later.
Don’t forget, your pond is for your fish too (not just to look nice). Give them a good check over for disease or parasites if you can, and keep track of their numbers – an overstocked fish pond produces more waste than your filter can handle.