Spring Pond Maintenance In 7 Expert-Tested Steps

Wake Your Nashville Pond Out Of Its Beauty Sleep And Ready It For The Year

You can help your pond and your backyard wake up for spring! Every pond owner needs these 7 steps to spring pond maintenance. Pond contractors should use this proven process to make sure your pond is as clean as it needs to be. 

You can see the steps we use in the post below.

What’s This Spring Pond Maintenance Thing About?

“It’s to wake up our pond and get it all nice and beautiful for spring!”

Pond that just had spring maintenance done

Tracy looks from Lisa to the pond and back again. “I get that, but what makes it different from a normal pond cleaning? I’m guessing it’s a deeper clean.”

“You would be right! Want to hear exactly what they do and why it’s important? The pond contractor we hired was nice enough to answer all of my questions and make me feel better about the whole thing,’ Lisa replies.

“I’d love to! It will be great to know for when we get our own backyard pond,” Tracy says excitedly.

Here are the 7 spring pond maintenance steps Lisa tells Tracy.

7 Important Spring Pond Maintenance Steps

  1. Drain water and remove fish
  2. Power wash rocks
  3. Clean the pond bottom
  4. Clean and check filters
  5. Check any additions
  6. Care for plants
  7. Put it all back together

“Wow, a lot sure happens in 7 steps!” Tracy notes. “Yes it does and here is why each step in this spring pond maintenance process is important,” Lisa continues.

1. Draining Water And Removing Fish

“This step prepares the pond for cleaning.”

We take the fish out and place them in tubs. These tubs have the original pond water in them because new water can shock the fish.

Draining a pond using sump pumps to clean it for spring

“Shock the fish?” Tracy says questioningly. “Yes. They aren’t used to it. It’s like walking outside during winter with no clothes on, but it’s -20 outside.”

Draining the pond allows the cleaning crew to get into all the nooks and crannies of the pond. This is where sludge, muck, and algae can get stuck. “Gross. I’m glad they drain it then,” Tracy says.

“Actually, the next step in this spring pond maintenance process would be impossible if they didn’t drain it,” Lisa goes on.

2. Power Washing Rocks

“This step cleans the rocks and moves the nastiness to the bottom.”

Power washing helps get the gunk and muck out of the cracks and off the rocks. Algae tend to stick to rocks too so this helps remove it.

Woman cleaning her pond with a power washer

“But they’re careful not to get it too clean,” Lisa says. “What? What does that even mean?” Tracy asks in surprise. She thought they’d want to get the pond as clean as possible.

Beneficial bacteria live on these rocks and help keep the water clean and clear. Power washing too much and too closely can destroy them. This would make it harder for your pond to balance itself once the cleaning is done.

“Ok, that makes sense then. They certainly know more about ponds than I do,” Tracy admits. “Once all that gunk is loose they move on to the next step of pond maintenance for spring.”

3. Cleaning The Pond Bottom

“This step gets your pond bottom all nice and clean.”

All that nasty sludge gathering on the bottom of your pond has got to go. It dirties the water, makes the pond look nasty, and isn’t good for your fish when there’s too much of it.

“This is the grossest step in spring pond maintenance, isn’t it?” Tracy guesses. “Sounds like it to me too,” Lisa agrees.

“Then you have to take care of the parts that help keep the pond cleaner between cleanings.”

4. Cleaning And Checking Filters

“This step cleans what keeps your pond cleaner.”

Skimmers are filters that catch larger debris like leaves and sticks. You’ll have to clean these out yourself every now and then. We take them apart, make sure they aren’t damaged, and clean the filters that are in them.

Skimmer and filter mat ready for fall pond maintenance cleaning

“It only takes a few minutes which is really nice,” Lisa points out.

Some ponds come with a biofalls filter doubling as a waterfall. The water circles through the system and runs through the biofalls. It uses beneficial bacteria to clean the water and keep it clearer. We hose these off too.

“You’d think they would be done after this,” Tracy says. “We still have a few more steps to cover though,” Lisa proceeds.

5. Checking Any Additions

“This step makes sure any extras are in good condition.”

Underwater pond lighting and some landscape lighting around it

Additions can include underwater lights, auto-fill systems, IonGens and other filters, and anything else you might have. We check to make sure they are working and working well. 

“Then they can take care of the plants!”

6. Caring For Plants

“This spring pond maintenance step can make the price change.”

We’ll fertilize the plants, but sometimes they need more than that. Plants will outgrow their containers and need dividing and repotting.

Cutting back plants so they look good

“Otherwise they’ll overgrow and look bad,” Tracy says confidently. “Looks like your gardening experience is coming in handy,” Lisa says.

“Now, on to the last step of pond maintenance for spring!”

7. Putting It All Back Together

“Now comes the fun part!”

The filters are back in place, the additions are taken care of, and everything is nice and clean. The pond is filled with water, but it’s not the original pond water.

Starting to properly reintroduce fish after cleaning a pond for spring

Fish are very sensitive to changes in their water. Most of the time new water needs treatments so it’s easier for the fish to transition to. You also have to reintroduce them the right way.

“How DO you reintroduce fish properly?”

Put them in a container, like a bucket or open bag, and set it in the water. Don’t let the new water in at first. Every few minutes let some of the new water in. Do this over a period of 15+ minutes, then let them out.

“And then they’re happy, healthy fish in a nice and clean home,” Tracy finishes.

And Then…

“Well, that’s it for now,” Lisa says. “You just have to clean the skimmers and make sure the water stays clear and that’s it until summer or fall maintenance.”

Tracy isn’t sure she wants a pond though. She could just get one of the other types of water features instead.