Sierra Water Gardens
Spring Pond Start-up
We do not provide pond cleaning services!
Pond Cleaning and Spring Start-up Recommendations.
Spring is the most difficult time of year for cold climate Koi keepers. Unpredictable Spring weather gives way to heavily fluctuating water temperatures which keep our Koi swimming in and out of dormancy. It is also the time of year that requires the most out of us so that we may get the most out of our pond long into September and even October.
Temperature is Topmost!
When our Koi are awakening from their Winter torpor, so too are the parasites and bacteria that went into dormancy with them. But while these two main threats are active and feeding, the immune system of our Koi is still trying to reestablish itself and is unable to fight of infection. The range of temperature that this situation is most problematic is between 40 and 60 degrees, otherwise known as Aeromonas Alley. There are steps that we as pond keepers without heaters can take to reduce the threat of parasites and pathogenic bacteria in our ponds during the tempestuous Spring months.
1. The first step is cleaning your pond. You can clean your pond any time of year, and it is not uncommon to see us cleaning our ponds at Sierra Water Gardens if we get a few balmy days in February. We clean ponds for obvious aesthetic appeal, but the most important reason is for something we cannot see. The aeromonas, or flesh eating bacteria that cause ulcers on our fish, thrive on leaves and other organic debris that has been decaying throughout the course of the winter. Removing the detritus begins to starve the “bad” bacteria of their food source and also allows a full and effective parasite treatment once the water reaches 50 degrees.
2. The next step is to begin treating your pond. Once the pond reaches a consistent 50 degrees we being treating it with ProForm-C and Koizyme. The former is a parasite treatment that we use throughout the course of the season and when adding new fish while the latter is an Aeromonas treatment that we add to the pond weekly. Because Aeromonas work in numbers, frequent water changes throughout the year also help us in combating them. A 50% water change will effectively reduce the number of Aeromonas by half.
Temperature also dictates when and how we feed our fish. Once the water reaches a consistent temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit it is safe to begin feeding wheat germ food until the water reaches 60-62 degrees (usually in June). From there the water will warm to the ideal temperature for our Koi, 75 degrees, and we can feed our fish a high protein diet.
The ultimate goal of a yearly pond cleaning is to make next year’s cleaning that much easier.
DIY Pond Cleaning
1. Begin draining your pond
2. Fill up a horse trough or temporary tank (that can be covered) with the existing pond water and put a small pump or air stone inside.
3. The lower the water level is, the easier it is to catch fish. When the water has lowered to this point, transfer the fish as gently as possible to the holding tank. We like to use a sock net as it allows us to handle large fish with minimal stress on us and the Koi.
4. Once the Koi are out and the pond completely drained, remove any potted plants (place lilies in a tub of water so they don’t dry up) and begin “lightly” pressure washing the sides and bottom of the ponds.
5. If you have small river-rock in the bottom of your pond, now is a good time to permanently remove as much, if not all, of it as you can. Now is also a good time to check the fittings and seals on any submerged plumbing as well as rinse off any filter media
6. Fill the pond. But, before you do, make sure to check-out a water meter from us at Sierra Water Gardens. It’s free to use, and will tell you the exact gallon count in your pond—the most important thing a pond keeper should know!
7. Once the pond is full, start it up! Use a high quality de-chlorinator, but because this is such a large amount of water we usually like to let the pond run for 24-36 hours before reintroducing the Koi to insure that the chlorine has had time to completely dissipate.
8. Once the Koi are in the pond we follow this treatment schedule as long as the water temperature is at least 50 degrees. This may seem like a lot of work, but we promise that it will greatly improve the health of your Koi and your overall enjoyment of the hobby…it did for us and we can help you!
Day 1: Proform C
Day 2: Proform C
Day 3: Prazi dissolved into Proform C (no water changes or treatments for 7 days)
Day 10: 20% water change, begin Koizyme start up treatment (dosage depends on temperature)
Day 11: Koizyme
Day 12: Koizyme
Day 13: Microbelift
Day 15: Turn on UV light
Day 19: Begin weekly maintenance Koizyme treatments
9. And don't forget to fertilize your water plants! We have fertilizer stake for lilies and other pond plants!