First time pond clean


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I inherited a pond when I moved into the house I'm in now. It's one dug into the ground. Over the years I've invested and made it a feature. Built a decking wall around it. Tidied all the edge up. Made a rockery last year and formed a waterfall. The filter is in at the top. I just need to clean the pond and put the pump in

Its been a wildlife pond for a few years. The frogs are now active and spawned. What is the best way to empty and clean the pond. I planned on using the kids paddling pool and empty 50% of the pond into that. Then I planned on emptying another 30%. Cleaning on the sludge on the bottom and then put the 50% back in and topping the rest up and dechlorinating. I reckon I can do it in a day. Is moving the frog spawn a bad idea or should I leave it while doing the cleaning?I'm also after advice on some plants. Currently there is Marsh marigold and two dropping sedge. I planned on removing one dropping sedge but what should I add? I was thinking something oxygenating? Maybe some forgot me not to grow on a shelf/edge?
 

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Normally most of us here wouldn't recommend emptying and cleaning any pond unless it had some devastating chemical intrusion or it's a terrible filthy muck filled mess.

There are several reasons for this.

It takes weeks for a pond to cycle and seed beneficial bacteria which is essential to a healthy pond. So, basically you will be killing off that well established good bacteria and starting all over.

There are many natural organisms living in your pond that are also beneficial. Some you can't even see. You will be killing them too, including the frogs you mentioned.

Your liner and everything in your pond is covered with a beneficial biofilm that is also an important component of your filtration.

Ponds are not fish tanks.

Ponds should never be "hospital clean".

I never do water changes. I let nature do that when it rains.

I'm in the crowd that strives for a pond that is as natural as possible. I do very little maintenance. I'll net debris off the bottom once in the Spring and once in the Fall.

I filter exclusively with a wetland bog, no commercial filters or UV lights. No filter pads to rinse...ever.
 
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So do you recommend I just net the bottom of the pond. Its situated under trees so there will be leaves at the bottom. The water is very brown and murky and a lot of duck weed on top. Where am I better off getting pond plants from?
 
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I know the plants is after the clean. The pond id class as small. Between 1500 and 2000 litres. The plants in there at the minute are marginals. Will I need oxygenators. Hornwort maybe? The pond will be being supplied from a waterfall so I know that will help oxygenate the pond
 

addy1

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The frog spawn can be a bit fragile if moved around. You might want to wait until they become tads.

I would net the bottom and sort out the good critters from the muck. Take your time to a bit at a time.

I also only filter with a bog.
 

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I echo what PJ said; I've never cleaned my pond nor done water changes, have bog for almost maintenance-free filtration, and am probably what everyone else thinks is over stocked. Success gives me more time to just tweak the esthetics and enjoy a drink by the pond more often. You can save yourself a lot of time next year by netting the pond before the leaves fall and then removing later. Otherwise, yes, slow, easy sweeps of the net to take out the accumulation.
 
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So do you recommend I just net the bottom of the pond. Its situated under trees so there will be leaves at the bottom. The water is very brown and murky and a lot of duck weed on top. Where am I better off getting pond plants from?
Yeah I agree. Run the net slowly along the bottom to pick up any accumulated debris. I second what addy said about sifting through the stuff you net out. I have saved many trap door snails and tiny fish that way. Just toss them back into the pond.

The net will stir things up a bit, so wait a day or so for the water to clear back up.

Duck weed is good. The fish love to eat it and it probably helps absorb excess nutrients in the water.

There are many online places that sell pond plants. You'll be surprised that many "pond" plants are actually just regular plants and you can buy many of them at your local nursery or garden center.

The more plants, the better. They will help clear up your water.

It's typical for the water cloud up a bit in early Spring, but as the beneficial bacteria and plants kick in, it usually clears up.
 
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Thank you. Your advice has saved me doing what I thought was going to be a big job! I have a net for the pond but I'm wondering how to net it with the plants growing quite large and out of the pond. Il attach pictures. I have heard of bog filtration I dont know if my pond is big enough. I'm just sticking to the pump and filter method however this comes at a cost electrically. I've worked out it will cost me £55 a year to run if it's on 24/7 355 days a year. Should I turn it off in winter. Turn it off at night. Or leave it running the whole time
 

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I'm also wondering what the best way to net it is to stop the leaves falling in? It's quite a task
 

addy1

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Some have made a pvc frame that they put up when the leaves start falling with a fine type net over it. I just ignore them, don't get enough to bother me.
 
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I do what addy mentioned.
I have a lot of trees and I have a frame made of pvc pipe that I setup every Fall. It has a pond net draped over it. The PVC pipe is 3/4" and the net is an economical nylon pond net. The net is the same type people use to protect their fruit trees from birds. PVC pipe is cheap and the net is cheap.
I have driveway marker sticks hammered into the ground. The ends of the PVC pipes slip over those sticks tightly forming a big bows, maybe 3 feet high, so the tall plants are no problem.
 
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Cleaning is removing leaves Twiggs some duck feathers . Removing everything is starting over any beneficial microbes bacteria and inverts are now gone and your starting from scratch. To us mud is not desirable to microbes and bacteria some can't live without it
 
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Thank you for all the advice and ideas :) I am definitely going to raise the net in autumn for the sake of the plants. Am I remove all the sludge or leave some?
 
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Thank you. Once I've finished and had the filter running for a week or so il upload pictures of before and after
 

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Slowly remove the sludge debris etc, it depends on how deep it is how much you want to remove. If real deep move it slowly, there might be trapped gases down there.
 
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I'd say it's quite deep. When I shove a stick in it goes so far then needs not loads but a bit of force. Last year I moved a stick round the bottom and it began to smell so you are correct. I hope when I start messing the frogs jump out. I have moved the algae today and it's hard to see in the pictures but this is what I'm dealing with. An immense amount of frog spawn and lots and lots of leaves. The large clusters of frog spawn are everywhere. I will move them to one side and clean out then back to the other side. I hate disturbing wildlife but if I dont do it soon then il never do it and at least their isnt any tadpoles to worry about just yet. How can I protect the tadpoles with a pump as well. I have a hozelock aquaforce pump which has a wildlife protection system. It makes the holes smaller but I'd say tadpoles still stand no chance. Or is it just one of those things?
 

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That is indeed mucky! Slow going, no rush. Remember - it bothers you far more than it bothers any creatures who call it home! Do a bit every day and you'll tackle it. And put the stuff you scoop out in your garden or compost - that stuff is like black gold!
 
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It hasnt been cleaned since I've been here which is nearly three years. I will put it in my planters :) i also plan on getting some new pond plants so could put it in there. Any suggestions with the tadpoles?
 
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addy1

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I don't have that type of pump, what kind protection is that? I put a 5 gallon bucket around the draw for my external pump, drilled full of holes it makes the draw anyone place a lot lower.

I have a hozelock aquaforce pump which has a wildlife protection system.
 

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