to clean the bottom of the pond or not

addy1

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I was out getting the lilies ready for winter, pulling, adding fertilizer, kitty litter and sinking.

The water was crystal clear I noticed the lack of debris on the bottom. I have not cleaned the bottom of the pond in over 5 years.
I think the amount of plants I have sucking nutrients out takes any plant matter that makes it into the pond and uses it up.

I did not groom the lilies once this summer, so all the old buds, leaves etc ended up somewhere, not in the pond! There is nothing there.
So if you don't want to mess around with cleaning the bottom of your pond, have lots of plants sucking up the nutrients and snails munching on the plants.
At least that is my theory!

This is the 5 foot deep area, you can see the spilled pea gravel, spilled years ago. The large black lumps are trap door snails.
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mrsclem

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I noticed the same with my pond. 16 pots of lilies and no dead leaves or flowers cleaned out this year. I know there were leaves on the bottom a couple of months ago. I do use Pond-zyme every month but you may be on to something!
 
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addy1

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I add nothing to the pond except water.

Used to take the net, net the bottom, pick out all the critters, then finally the light bulb came on, hours of work, I would get maybe a quarter of a 5 gallon bucket of stuff to toss. So quit cleaning, the pond is happy the fish are happy I AM HAPPY!
 
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Same here @addy1 - the big stuff goes over the side and the little stuff sinks to the bottom where it magically disappears. I can count on one hand the number of times I used the net this year, and several of those times was to push around lily pots when I didn't feel like climbing in!
 

addy1

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This is a picture from the gopro around 5ish feet deep, there is nothing there. Makes me happy, one task I did but never liked and after a few years quit doing it.
pond.JPG
 

addy1

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Just remember my total filtration is a plant filled bog. Nothing else. And I have around 10 lilies in the pond and marginals. And a forest of hornwort. The plants suck out the nutrients from the pond
 
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Addy. Your shubunkins are soooo.. pretty! I didn't notice anything on the bottom of my pond today either. I can see some gravel and a few rocks that fell in at one point. Oh and I did discover one huge trap door snail on my liner today. That's strange.... I don't remember putting any in!
 

addy1

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I did discover one huge trap door snail on my liner today. That's strange.... I don't remember putting any in!
You probably had a ride along when I sent you plants. The babies are really tiny. They have live birth. I have lots of them.
 
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You probably had a ride along when I sent you plants. The babies are really tiny. They have live birth. I have lots of them.
haha. That's what I was thinking too! It was at least the size of a golf ball of bigger. I thought it was a rock at first and then realized a rock couldn't hang onto the liner the way it was doing. I used to have them at my old pond, but gave up on them because the raccoons liked eating them.
 

addy1

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but gave up on them because the raccoons liked eating them.
The raccoons are abundant around here. They have never bothered the pond, that I can tell. The snails like the deep part of the pond, that is where they love to hang out.

I do have them in my shallow ponds also. So far they seem to survive.
 
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That's amazing that the bottom is so clean. I wish ours would be like that. We have a lot of trees, so a lot of stuff gets into the pond, even in the summer. I dredge the bottom with a net in the spring, fall and maybe once in summer. Every time there's a good pile of junk removed. I carefully forage through it and sometimes have to rescue snails, plants and fry.
 
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My pond looked good this year with minimal maintenance and no UV light ! We hung our net ( mesh material that catches small debris as well as leaves ) on tall poles over the pond....wild life could get in and out of the pond, but lots of leaves etc., didn't fall into the pond .
 

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So if you don't want to mess around with cleaning the bottom of your pond, have lots of plants sucking up the nutrients and snails munching on the plants.
I skipped cleaning the bottom of the pond last year and worried about the frogs and fish all winter, but they all made it, of course. I still have not cleaned the layer of muck at the bottom. Might try leaving it again until next year.
 
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What are you guys using to clean the bottom of your ponds?
 
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My pair of ponds are fairly small, 5x9 with about 35' of stream and 9x12. Both are about 40" deep in places. I have lots of anacharis and several water lilies, along with a small bog. I've never cleaned the ponds, just add water to make up for evaporation and all the plants in the bog and along the stream. It stays crystal clear. There must be around 20 goldfish ranging from 3" to 9". There are also lots of native snails about 1" in size and I do mean lots!

In the 3 years and a couple months that it's been running, there must be about 1-2" of muck in the deep spots, although there is so much growth down there that it's hard to tell. Must must come from the fine volcanic soil here, which is super light and coats everything, inside and out. So whatever muck builds up is almost certainly from this. Yes, our house is dusty too, and I have to clean the computers at least every couple months, a cloud comes out.

Personally, I feel that unless the pond is way overstocked with fish and understocked with plant life, cleaning does more harm than good.

I also have a 55 gallon aquarium in the house with 2 6" or so goldfish (comet and shubunkin) and around 10 small bronze corydorus catfish. With lots of plants also, about all I do is feed them and change the filter once in a while if it clogs up. I haven't cleaned the aquarium, other than algae on the glass, in 3 years. Everything stays healthy, so why fiddle with what works! Oh, I do change about 1/3 of the water every month of so.
 
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