First pond clean help


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I inherited a wildlife pond when I moved into this house. After research and hard work I have tidied the pond up. Created a rockery and a waterfall. I have got power down to the pond. The filter and pipework is installed. I have ordered the pump and next week I am going to start cleaning the pond

My plan was to set up a paddling pool. I reckon I would get 50% of the pond water in the paddling pool we have. Move the frogs and tadpoles into there and the plants. Next step is to empty half of the remaining half. My question is what do I clean? I dont plan on scrubbing anything. Also how much sludge should I remove

After the clean I plan on putting the paddling pool water back in. So the pond has had a 25% water change. The water is quite brown. Should I do a 50%? Then top the pond back up. Dechlorinate. Turn the pump and filter on and cover with a net. Does that sound ok? I have an aquarium inside but this is a kind of next bigger step. I will order a pond test kit for the water and this may sound silly but how can I test it when its brown. I'm guessing the filter will clear the water up. I'm also unsure when to add the fish. So many questions!
 
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brokensword

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My plan was to set up a paddling pool. I reckon I would get 50% of the pond water in the paddling pool we have. Move the frogs and tadpoles into there and the plants. Next step is to empty half of the remaining half. My question is what do I clean? I dont plan on scrubbing anything. Also how much sludge should I remove

I'd get out all I could; you've got your inhabitants safely outside. Don't scrub, as you said, just net out the muck.

After the clean I plan on putting the paddling pool water back in. So the pond has had a 25% water change.


I'd go slow with this so everyone gets used to the new parameters. Trickle or 20%, wait a few days, fill up some more.


The water is quite brown. Should I do a 50%?

No, imo, not necessary. Whatever is left in your water column should filter out with time. Especially if you have a bog!


Then top the pond back up. Dechlorinate.

Dechlor as you go, not after. You're adding too much water and some of your wildlife might be adversely affected.


Turn the pump and filter on and cover with a net. Does that sound ok?

Yep.


I have an aquarium inside but this is a kind of next bigger step. I will order a pond test kit for the water and this may sound silly but how can I test it when its brown. I'm guessing the filter will clear the water up. I'm also unsure when to add the fish. So many questions!


I don't test, so others may have to weigh in but especially once your water is debris free, you can get good readings. I don't think cloudy water has any worse effect on most of your tests, but am unsure exactly. Go slow with the refill. Also, make sure the temp of the added water is less than 5 deg F difference than your old pond water. If you have to, let the added water sit and acclimatize to match your saved water. Trickle change will help with this, if you go this way.
 

addy1

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All great advice up above!
 
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Thank you everyone. I'm dreading cleaning the sludge on the bottom. More than likely that where the frogs are. How much of this sludge should I clean? Also could I add fish say start of November. Air temperature is getting chilly now. Like 6 or 5C during the night. Peaks at about 12C in the day. Or should I just let the pond run for a few months and try to cycle by adding ammonia and add fish in March or April when its warmed up?
 

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I'm dreading cleaning the sludge on the bottom. More than likely that where the frogs are.
If your frogs winter there why don't you wait until spring to clean some of the sludge out of the pond? This time of the year I do my best to not bother the ponds bottoms. I have a ton of frogs that over winter and tads and who knows what else.

How deep is the sludge?
 
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Wait till spring! When the water is warm enough for your hands to not hurt, frogs are singing but no frog spawn, that’s when I’d work on it. And you can set up the pump outlet to flow over quilt batting, pure polyester fibers, to get the particles out of the water, so it will clear up. Then move water, lifeforms, etc over, and then net up any sludge you can.
 
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What's quilt batting? My filter has uv, sponge and bioballs. I dont know how deep anything is as it's the first pond clean I've ever done. Also in February last year it was full of frogs mating. I'd rather disturb them now and if frogs are in the sludge I would leave it and not move it. Also I'm moving the water into a paddling pool slowly so any tadpoles will end up in there temporarily. As people have said I will top water up slowly over a period of say a week. Itll be as cold now as it would in March
 

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You know your area better than we do. Go for it!
 
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I feel if I see frogs I wont do it. I have seen tadpoles but as i said they're being moved then put back in. The last thing I want to do is kill anything. I just dont know how crazy to go with the cleaning. Their are small pea gravel stones in on the shelves. Should I take them out or leave them? Also can i add fish this time of year or should I cycle the pond with ammonia over winter?
 
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When should I add fish once it is all cleaned out? I plan on leaving it for a week letting the filter clear up the water then I wanted to add fish. If I get it done start of next week then itll be the start of November. Is that too late to be adding fish? Do I have to cycle the pond first. I only planned on adding two goldfish to start with
 
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This also may seem daft but my pump and filter will both be wired into the same fused spur. Will the uv on the filter be ok being on without water running through. It will only be for a split second until the pump pumps the water up to the filter
 

mrsclem

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Is your filter with the uv a canister filter? How cold does your weather get? UV and canister filters will freeze and should be brought in if temps get below freezing.
 

brokensword

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When should I add fish once it is all cleaned out? I plan on leaving it for a week letting the filter clear up the water then I wanted to add fish. If I get it done start of next week then itll be the start of November. Is that too late to be adding fish? Do I have to cycle the pond first. I only planned on adding two goldfish to start with
if you're right on the border of winter temps, I'd wait until next spring, but you CAN add now; just make sure the water temp the fish are coming from is within 5 deg F of the pond water (and ACCLIMATIZE them thoroughly). When the temps go down, the fish will want to slow and go dormant, right along with the bacteria (which is the heart of your cycling). Still, as long as the temps are the same, two small fish should be fine, especially if they're goldfish. You won't get much of a cycle going this year, anyhow and another would have started next spring. Unless you're in a hurry and know you can spend any appreciable time around your pond for this season, might think about adding next spring, after the water temps are over 50 deg F. That said, fish are always more susceptible to diseases/pests upon coming out of winter.
 
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It's a box filter. It's hard to say how cold it will get. The last few winters have been fairly mild. At present the air temperature is around 12 to 14C in the day and 7 to 9C at night. By the time I'm ready to add fish its showing it as around 10 to 11 in the day and 7 to 8 at night. The key is finding fish being sold outside which are already use to the temperature. The shop I would rather go is indoors :(
 
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addy1

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Their are small pea gravel stones in on the shelves.
I have spilled pea gravel here and there, I would leave it.
Will the uv on the filter be ok being on without water running through.
It should not harm it.
If I did get fish now would I need to feed them a winter wheat germ?
It depends on how clean you make your pond, plant algae wise. Mine get fed nothing, but I have a lot of plants that stay in the pond over winter.
 
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If it's warm enough for you to be cleaning the pond, when you clean the sludge from the bottom, just put it in a garden bed - if there's anybody living in the muck, they'll figure it out. These wild critters aren't as dependent on us as we like to think they are - I mean, they found there way to you on their own, they'll figure out what to do next. That's always been my approach anyway. I kind of keep my needs on at least an equal footing with the frogs - if I have the time to get a job done, I'm going to do my best to impact them as little as possible, but I'm still going to do what I need to do. And quite honestly , every spring we find a couple of frogs that stayed in the pond and didn't survive the winter, so there's no guarantees that they will make it even if you leave them be. Nature has a way of balancing this stuff out. Ultimately they would most likely prefer you leave the whole pond as is, but you get a say too!

We'd love to see pictures of your pond! Show us before and after so we can OOOOOHHH and AHHHHH at your hard work!
 
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I've spent the past six months building the decking wall and painting and doing the rockery and tidying the garden up. Been doing it on and off. Now I just need to clean the water, trim the plants and install the pump
 

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