Our 10 year old koi pond was way overdue for a serious cleaning. The beach was totally overgrow and the entire pond was mired in muck.
The current mess is mild compared to the overgrown elephants ears and umbrella sedge we dealt with last spring. The bog plants had completely taken over the shallow end of our keyhole shaped pond. Pond plants multiply at an amazing rate and it doesn't take long for things to get out of control.
The primary motivation in this most recent pond cleanup was the elimination of pond minnows. Without any natural predators, the minnow population was totally out of control. The water was thick with them and we had a strong suspicion that the minnows were eating our fish eggs and keeping our goldfish and koi from reproducing.
The weekend before the big cleanup, we prepared a 6 foot round stock tank as a temporary holding tank to house all the goldfish and koi.
In order to eradicate the minnows, we would have to completely drain the pond. We used a dirty water sump pump to suck out the water.
We used the cleanest water to top off the stock tank and then filled every container we could find with the pond water. Some of the pond water was used to provide a temporary home to pond plants.
Some of the pond plants were just a tangled mess and were not worth saving. Interestingly, these milk crates were used to support the pond's pump and pre-filtration unit. They were not intended to be used as planters.
We pulled an unbelievable quantity of muck out of the pond. It's amazing the fish had space to swim.
The sump pump continued to empty the pond until almost all the water was gone. When the pump couldn't continue, we switched to a wet/dry vac for the last bits of water and gunk.
During the clean up, we temporarily displaced some of the native pond inhabitants. All the frogs and turtles received temporary homes and waited patiently until we could get the pond refilled.
Re-potting the plants was the next phase in the cleanup. The parrots feather looked so good growing up on the beach, but it had to go. Later when the beach was rebuilt, I was glad we cleared it out.
Some parrots feather was saved and re-potted.
After the parrots feather was removed, we realized the beach was in very bad shape and decided to completely remove all the rocks and rebuild it.
The final product was well worth the effort.
Hopefully, we can go another 10 years or more before the next major pond cleaning.