Ponds Need Attention in Spring
It’s time for spring pond care. Fish that have been staying down at the bottom of the pond are rising to the surface to bask in warming sunlight and pond plants are sprouting. But this is also the time that the water will turn hazy and, in some cases even become an opaque pea green in color.
Start feeding your fish once the temperature of your pond water rises above 50′F. It’s best to use a specially formulated ‘winter’ food for easy digestibility. Being cold-blooded, fish do not digest food so well when water is still cool. Switch to regular fish food once the water rises above 60′F. Feeding too early with regular food can lead to lot of uneaten uneaten food that can pollute the pond water.
Springtime is the time to clean up any remaining dead or damaged foliage that may remain on bog or water plants. You don’t want it to rot down into the water. This is also the best time to pull out overgrown water plants and divide them up so they’ll have plenty of room to grow in the coming year. While repotting, you can slip in water plant food sticks into the potting soil. Water and bog plant material that you don’t want makes an excellent addition to the compost heap.
Warming temperatures can cause string algae to develop in your pond which will need your attention in spring. String algae can swirl through your pond and clog up everything so it should be removed. The fogging or opaque green water I mentioned above is also caused by algae, but this type will do no harm. It is just unsightly for us humans, but the fish love to eat it. As the water warms, the green water algae will go away on its own.
Pay special attention to your fish during the spring. This can be a time when the fish can stress with temperature changes and that might make them more vulnerable to parasites and other diseases. Inspect your fish daily for any suspicious changes in behavior and look for visible lumps, spots, stringy growths, sores or other abnormal changes. Most illnesses can be treated quickly to avoid problems from spreading. You should be able to get advice and medications at your local pond supply store.
Pumps that have been idle all winter will also need inspection before starting up your systems. Make sure all pipes are clean before turning them on again. Also check for any winter damage to pipes like cracking or splitting. Expect there might be some rotting odor from accumulated mulm in pipes and at the bottom of the pond. Any discolored water and unpleasant smell should clear up in a matter of minutes if all the filters and leaf traps are cleaned and working properly.
Cleaning up your pipes, pumps and filters and checking all connections at the beginning of the season will help your pond start out right. All ponds need attention in the spring, but if you clean, repot and feed plants and check your fish regularly, it’s likely you will avoid many of the problems that arise at this time of year.
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