Cleaning the pond out is sometimes a necessary task. Usually if there is over an inch of mulm or sludge like substance on the bottom of the pond It is a good idea to clean that out before your fish have to sit in it all winter while they are hibernating.
Steps for the pond clean out with fish
- Fish will need a holding container. It should have a cover or netting to keep fish from jumping. Set it up in the shade and use a pump or air stones to keep water oxygenated. Provide adequate space for fish to stay in holding for 4 hours or more. A small kiddy pool or rubber maid tanks work well.
- Drain water to from pond to fill the fish holding tanks. When tanks are full finish draining pond and Stop draining 8-10 inches from the bottom to catch and move fish. Sometimes we scoop fish in a plastic bags which seems the easiest on the scales and the fish will not flop out as they would in a net. This method also keeps them buoyant to not damage internal organs. Take great care while moving larger fish as they are more susceptible to internal damage.
- Take time to inspect your fish’s fins and slime coat. There should be good slime and no damage to fins or skin. It is also good to determine if you have too many fish . Count the fish and measure body length (nose to before the tail) WE recommend 1 in of fish for every 7.5 gallons of pond water if they are less than 10 in . Or 1 in of fish for every 10 gallons of pond water if they are over 10 inches .
- Divide and repot over grown plants. IF plants do not need dividing and repotting just cut back old yellow foliage. Some foliage of reeds and grasses will still look nice for winter and you can wait to trim them to just before spring growth starts.
- Finish completely draining the pond. Get all mud out of the bottom with a wet dry vacuum or scoop and wipe it up with sponges and buckets.
- Clean filters, pre filters, and waterfalls . Run clean water through piping to wash out the lines
- Refill pond. Add dechlorinater according to directions if you use city water.
- Fish should be bagged and returned to the pond. Float the bagged fish 20 minutes to acclimate the temperature if the new pond water is a different temperature from the temperature in the holding tanks
- Restart pump and filters