Updated: Nov 1
Caring for a pond takes less effort than maintaining a lawn. The ecosystem you helped to create by having Jefferson Landscape and Design install a pond, does most of the work for you. So aside from stepping out of the way and allowing nature to take its course, there are a few basic things you need to know.
Purchases to Make and Tools You Need
Mail in your warranty card for your pump that came with your pond.
Purchase a digital thermometer for your pond.
Pond and waterfall lights won't last forever. Simply remove the bulbs and take them to your local hardware store. Easy to replace!
Aquatic plants are necessary for taking up sludge and excess nutrients. Jefferson Landscape and Design installs plants for 90 percent of our clients; however, many of you enjoy adding plants after we have gone, as well you should. When adding plants take them out of their containers (unless they are grossly invasive, in that case consider something else).
Algae are a natural part of any ecosystem and should never be thought of as something you want to completely do away with. However, string algae is best taken care of with a product called Algae Fix®. It's easy to apply and does the job for you as the algae detaches and winds up in your skimmer bag. All you have to do is remove it.
Pond Salt only gets added once per pond filling and is optional. Add 1 cup of Pond Salt for every 100 gallons of pond water for healthier fish. Using more than this application will hurt your plants and is not recommended. Less is more, in this case. A good formula for figuring out pond gallons: Length x Width x Depth x 7.48 = Gallons. (Example: for an 11' x 16' pond the formula would be: 11 x 16 x 2 x 7.48 = 2,633 gallons or less than 25 cups of Pond Salt.)
Test your pond water with an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Test Kit. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals sells a kit that provides a chart for aquarium solution / PH Balance / Pond Salt for Ponds with plants.
Check and Maintain
Once it starts getting colder, use your digital thermometer when feeding your Koi to check the pond temperature. When it drops below 50 degrees you will want to stop feeding your Koi until the temperature rises again. (See About Fish.)
Empty the skimmer net as needed. This will be different for everyone. Some clients don't have to remove the skimmer net until they change out the biological filter located beside it.
Rinse out the mechanical filter located near the pump if it gets murky. Do no rinse out the pads in the waterfall unit.
Continue to add aerobic bacteria to your pond.
Annual Check-Ups and Spring Cleaning
Check the biological filter in the skimmer to see if it needs rinsing or changing (probably not), no more than once a year.
Ponds larger than 2,000 gallons may only need a clean-out every few years, and larger ponds may never need a spring clean out! The larger the pond, the easier it is to maintain. Generally, you can tell just by looking at the pond. If it looks the same in March as it did in June, then you can skip these steps.
Most of our clients have never had to worry about this process
Drain the Pond.
Disconnect the Circulation system.
Catch the Fish (Drain pond to 12 inches of water in order to catch fish easily and safely).
Rinse the Pond / Spray Rocks.
Clean the Filters.
Refill the Pond.
De-Chlorinate the Water (Check levels).
There are hundreds of different types of algae, but they can basically be classified as either green water algae, or string algae. Our goal in teaching you to maintain your water garden is to limit the algae growth and keep it at a highly manageable, optimal level. Some algae will always be there (a little on the rocks and gravel is great!), but we like to do away with the string algae once the Koi have had an opportunity to nibble a bit.
Creating a balanced ecosystem doesn't happen overnight, so please be patient. However, if you purchase your fish 10-15 days after your pond is installed, continue to add the aerobic bacteria and buy a few extra plants, you will join scores upon scores of happy customers.
Welcome to the water gardening World!