Most of the US has suffered through a brutal and long winter (it is snowing outside my window today!), and, as soon as we got a few nice sunny days in the mid 50-60’s, everyone started to get spring fever. For those of us with ponds, we get the more specialized pond fever. You really have to be careful with pond fever, because if you start treating the symptoms too soon, the pond will only suffer. You have to wait until the fever has broken and the temperatures are staying in the 60’s to 70’s.
There are things you can do with your pond before temperatures are staying consistently in the 60’s to 70’s, but most will be maintenance type projects. Check all the pumps and lights you removed from the pond last fall and make sure they are in working order. If need be, get replacement parts and/or buy that upgrade you have been waiting to get. You can purchase some of the chemicals you will need to start up the pond, but do not apply them to the pond just yet. Products like Complete Water Conditioner or Stress Coat can help neutralize the chlorine of chloramines in any additional water you have to add to the pond, or if you plan to drain out some water and make an actual water change. Do not forget to add some Pond Salt for the volume of water you add. (Approximately 2 cups of salt per 100 gallons.) Hopefully, you did a pretty good job of cleaning out the pond in the fall, but if there is still debris along the bottom, be ready to add products like Microbe-Lift Spring/Summer Cleaner or Sludge Buster Blocks to help break down this excessive organic material. If your pond is still fairly new or if you had to strip it completely down, be ready to add some of the beneficial bacterial solutions to jump start the biological filtration, products like Crystal Clear One Fix or Microbe-Lift Nite-Out II. It is important to wait until the pond water is consistently above 55F before you would want to add any of the liquid treatments.
If you just cannot wait to do something, you could install the pumps and lights and start them up, assuming you will not experience any more freezes (and this year, who knows!). This might stir up some of the settled debris and cloud the water. You could use one of the flocculating products like Accu-Clear to remove the cloudy haze, as this is not temperature dependent. You could also set up your filtration system, though at this time, you would only benefit from the mechanical and chemical filtration. Any biological filtration would still be rather dormant until the water warms up. If there is residual algae on the rocks along the edge of the pond or as part of the waterfall or stream, this would be a good time to clear the algae off the rocks with a product like Green Clean or Crystal Clear Algae-Off. These dry granules literally oxidize the algae right off the rocks. I am sure every time you come near the pond, your fish start begging for food, but do not fall for their act. At cooler temperatures, the fish literally cannot digest the food.
Once the pond stays above 55F, it is time to add the liquid supplements, maybe add some more fish, and start feeding one of the wheat germ based style foods like Blackwater Cool Season Food or Tetra’s Spring & Fall Diet. While we hope everything goes well, spring is a time when some parasite infestations and bacterial infections are more likely to occur. To treat parasites, you can use Microbe-Lift Parazoryne or Pond Rid Ich+, and for bacterial infection, use Pond MelaFix or Pond PimaFix. Another option for both problems would be Tetra’s Pond Fish Treatment.
With a little preparation, you can be ready to take your pond to the next level. It is alright to get all excited and make plans to make the pond bigger, install a more efficient filter or add a small stream to the waterfall, just do not let the pond fever go to your head and get you into trouble by starting too soon.