If you don't live in SJ, but still want a professional to take of your pond, click here to find your local Certified Aquascape Contractor.
It only takes a second to write that, but actually doing the cleaning can be an all-day event. Nearly all of the ponds we see in the forested towns of SJ accumulate enough leaves and debris to deserve a complete clean-out each spring. You'll know it's time for a cleaning when the water is dark and there's a layer of muck on the bottom. To learn more about performing a spring clean-out, read these Spring clean-out instructions.
The pump is what keeps your water ecosystem alive. It keeps the water flowing and drives the skimmer and filter. It is critical that your pump works properly, so here's a few ways to check it and make sure.
First, check the water levels. The water should be about 3/4" below the opening of the skimmer. Next, empty the skimmer basket and check the filter pads underneath. If they're heavy and loaded with gunk, take a hose and flush them out. As long as they are in one piece and aren't falling apart, they can be reused for another season. If you hear your pump gurgling when cleaning the skimmer and the pond isn't low on water, then it could be a debris build-up blocking the water from getting to the pump.
If your pump is completely not working, you're going to need to go check the GFI where it is plugged in. (If you are not using a GFI outlet for your pump, we strongly advise that you contact an electrician to set one up. It ensures your exterior electrical connections are safe, and it cuts the power in case there is ever problem in the circuit.) Open the hood of the GFI box and press the reset button. If the circuit is fine, the button will remain depressed and power will be restored. If it clicks right back out after you press it in, then there is a problem in the circuit; most likely some water got in and you'll have to wait for it to dry before it'll reset. To test if your pump is making it trip, try resetting the outlet with nothing plugged in. If it holds on its own and trips when you plug the pump back in, then you know there is an electrical problem with the pump. If that is the case, it is best to send it back to the manufacturer to have it repaired or replaced.
Sometimes the problem with a pump is just a broken part. Aquascape sells replacements for the most commonly worn parts in their pumps; and if you're not sure what you're doing, we can help you with the replacement process and guarantee it is done correctly.
3. No Leaks!
Adding water every day to make up for a leak is not just a hassle, it can contribute to excess algae growth from nutrients that are naturally in the water. Part of our Exploratory Cleanout Service is to identify any leaks in your water feature and to prescribe a solution for them when they are discovered. Click here to read our blog post on leaks if you think you may have a leak in your pond.
Add beneficial bacteria to populate your pond with the building blocks of a healthy ecosystem. It is important to do this after a cleanout, because if you cleaned it well then you have likely removed much of the bacteria colonies that were there last year. Continue to supplement with bacteria regularly throughout the season. It competes with the algae for nutrients, starving the algae of its food source. We use the Aquascape’s Automatic Dosing System to do this automatically, ensuring the correct dosage for your pond and eliminating the need to dose it by hand every day.
5. Aquatic Plants
Plants will utilize nutrients in the pond that otherwise would feed algae growth. We consider plants to be a vital component to the pond ecosystem. Using a variety of plants that are adapted to your region will not only add color and make your pond look more natural, it will also keep your water cleaner via the reduction in algae.
Give your fish small amounts of food at a time. You want to see that they are eating all the food you are providing; give them no more than can be consumed in a few minutes. Any food that the fish do not eat will sink to the bottom and become food for algae. It can be difficult to estimate exactly how much food to give your fish, so err on the lower side. In an ecosystem pond, koi and goldfish are able to forage for much of their diet, and they may want to eat more on one day than the next. If they beg for more, you can always feed them another small amount. The goal is to starve the algae, not the fish! See our post: How much should I be feeding my koi? for more information.
7. Have it your way, and have fun!
You can customize your water feature with new plants and landscaping, lighting, or by moving around some of the smaller rocks. Get creative because after all, your water feature is your masterpiece to enjoy and show off to others.