If you live in an area where the pond goes through a Winter season, getting it ready for the Spring will involve several steps to get the new season off to a good start. The first priority is to check/install the water pumps and filtration system, making sure that the pump and fittings all work properly. Ideally, you cleaned out the filter in the Fall. If not, clean and get any new filter media required to get the filter back in service. This is also a good time to check and maybe change the UV bulb in the sterilizer to make sure it will eliminate any free floating algae. If over the Winter you planned to add any additional water features, new fountains or a waterfall, etc, now is the time to put them in place. Once we get all the mechanical features working properly, we can start to condition the fish and the water.
As your pond and fish come out of hibernation and the water temperature stays above 50F, we will need to supplement the beneficial bacteria with products from Microbe-Lift or Pond Logic. It is important to jump start the biological filtration to prevent ammonia poisoning or other stresses that might cause a parasite outbreak. We can protect the fish with products like Complete Water Conditioner to replenish the slime coat of the fish, and also neutralize any chlorine from new water added to the pond. If the rock work has algae build up, products like Oxy-Lift or Green Clean can be used to clean the rock surface. These products can also be used on planters that have developed nuisance algae growth. Any perennial plants should be inspected and thinned out if need be; lily tubers can be separated and replanted to increase the number of buds over the Summer. New plants can be placed in mesh Aqua Planters with Planting Media and positioned along the perimeter of the pond to create new focal points and provide shade for the fish.
With all this activity, the pond fish will be coming out of their slumber and looking for something to eat. The low protein, wheat germ-based foods, like Cool Season Fish Food or Spring & Fall Diet, are the best option. Be sure to initially only offer small amounts of food. Once the temperature is above 60F, you may want to offer a 10 day feeding cycle of the Blackwater Medicated fish food to help prevent any bacterial infections as the fish recover from the stress of Winter. If your pond is a “formal” design with no real plants, this would be a good time to add Pond Blocks to prevent the growth of algae. Be aware that the liquid treatments for green water (Algae Stop, AlgaeFix, etc.) should not be introduced until there is green water to eliminate or prevent stress on the fish. If you notice any wounds on your fish, a full treatment with Pond MelaFix will eliminate the infection. You may see your fish chasing each other and a lot of splashing along the plants or edge of the pond – do not be alarmed, it is just the fish spawning!