A Guide for Cleaning & Opening your Pond


As the weather is starting to turn into true Spring weather, it is time to clean up those ponds and get them started for the Spring and Summer!


We recommend the following steps:

Step 1: Remove your pond netting and rake up and remove any excess debris.

Step 2: Use a skimmer net or pond vacuum to remove any debris within your pond.

  • If you have a lot of debris & muck, 2-inches or more, a complete pond cleaning is recommended.

Step 3: Bring up your winterized pond plants, cut back any dead leaves and place them in their proper home for summer.

  • This is also a great time to divide and repot any overgrown pond plants.
  • You can also start fertilizing Water Lilies in May; once a month until the end of September
    > Make sure your plant is actively growing before fertilizing the second time.

Step 4: Perform a 10-25% water change.

  • When performing water changes you do not want to change the water temperature more than 5 degrees.
  • Add Pond Basics Water Conditioner before adding any new water. This neutralizes the chlorine and chloramines while detoxifying heavy metals found in city tap water and well water. It also reduces your fish stress and helps them to regain a healthy slime coat after a long winter.

Step 5: Check out your filter material. Pull it out and give it a good rinse before you reconnect the pump and filter for the season.

  • Do not use bleach or use soap when cleaning your filter media.
  • Be sure not to over clean your filter media.
  • If filter mats are over worn, it is time to replace them.

Step 6: Reconnect your pump and filters.

  • Be sure to CLEAN & TEST your pump before installing.

Step 7: Test your water quality with a pond test kit.

**You can always bring a water sample into the Garden Center for a FREE water test! We are more than happy to give you tips and help you figure out any actions needed to be taken next. **

  • Ammonia, Nitrites & Nitrates should be at 0
    > If Ammonia, Nitrites & Nitrates are above 0, perform water changes, following step 4, until levels are reduced.
    > Pond Basics Ammonia Neutralizer can be used to detoxify ammonia levels.
  • Your pH should be between 7 to 8.2
    > If pH levels are off, consult a pond specialist at Hoffman’s Water X Scapes for guidance.
  • If you have pond fish, salinity should be between 0.06 & 0.1%
    > To reach a salinity of 0.06% to 0.1%, add ¾ cup of pond salt per 100 gallons of water.
    > Do not use table salt, or salt that contains Iodine. Pond salt is 100% pure salt that contains no additives.
    > Be sure to periodically test your pond water for salt %. We can do this at the Garden Center for FREE, to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be.

Step 8: Add a Spring and Fall Bacteria (or a Cold Weather Bacteria), along with a Dry Start-up Bacteria monthly.

  • We suggest Pond Basics Fall & Spring Pond Treatment with Pond Starter Dry Bacteria.
  • This is also a great time to add some Pond Basics Barley Extract to help with fighting off debris and algae build up.

Step 9: If you have a UV clarifier, make sure the light is still operational and that the unit is not leaking.

  • If the UV bulb is older than 2 years, replace it. UV bulbs lose their ability to effectively kill algae after 18 months.
  • Clean the quartz sleeve, checking for any breaks or cracks.
  • CAUTION: Do not turn on the UV unit within 48 hours of adding your bacteria. Give it a chance to colonize first. The UV will kill them off before they have a chance to grow if you turn it on too soon after adding the bacteria.

Step 10: Prepare for those pesky Heron! You can net your pond for protection or provide hiding places for your fish with plants, rocks, koi castles, etc. Decoys can also be used and placed around your pond.

Step 11: Keep an eye on water temperatures and check out our blog on ‘When to Start Feeding your Fish in the Spring.’ We recommend adding a Nitrifying Bacteria before you start feeding your fish.

Step 12: Enjoy you pond for another season!


As always, we are available for any help and can offer any supplies you may need. Don’t forget, we have Pond Services available! Give us a call and schedule your Pond Opening/Cleaning.