Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Koi Pond Cleanup

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.




19 comments:

  1. Looks like you guys had a very long weekend, but it paid off. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was one of those project that takes way longer than you think it should, but is very rewarding. The lilies were repotted as well, so there will be lots of flowers soon.

      Delete
  2. So, I guess the only missing parties are the minnows? Where did they go? LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's just say they went to minnow heaven ;-)

      Delete
  3. Wow, that looks so clean and beautiful now, esp. the beach. I just got my final water feature, a disappearing fountain, cleaned out last weekend. Messy work, but it makes such a difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Messy and wet. Luckily the weather cooperated and we had a warm day. Now my new pond crinum has a tidy home. Thanks.

      Delete
  4. I was just thinking what a wretched job that was when I came to your last two photos. Wonderful transformation. I hope my stock tank plants grow as big as yours. Right now they are really puny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When the water warms up, the plants will surprise you in their ability to grow and reproduce. Ponds and stock tanks can get overgrown very quickly. To keep lilies tidy, I try to divide them every year. I think I must have skipped last year from the looks of that mess.

      Delete
  5. That is one great looking pond.

    We had a smaller one in our old garden. It was quite a job to clean. Those plants grow fast.

    We didn't have Koi..just BIG goldfish. Unfortunately, these fish became dinner for a Great Blue Heron. Very sad.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've had our share of predators; hawks, herons, and raccoons to name a few. We sometimes place a large net over the pond. It's unattractive and causes problems, so we limit it's use.

      Delete
  6. Dang that beach area looks nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll pass that on to Richard. He does nice work.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful! But, oh my, what a lot of work. I need to clean out my stock pond water garden, but I keep putting it off.
    Cindy S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's easy to postpone those messy jobs, and pond cleaning definitely ranks high on the messy-job-o'meter. We're going to keep the stock tank going, so I guess I'll be cleaning that next year. I'll check in with you for some tips.

      Delete
  8. The photos detailing the cleanup are great! I recognize some of the pond plants in the photos including parrots feather, umbrella palm, green taro, and some hardy water lilies.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fantastic job! You know it's quite good and healthy to clean your pond once in a while. :)
    Ed of PondClean.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Working on our overhaul now. Our looks a lot like yours (and then some), minus the minnows. I've been taking pictures along the way and can't wait to see the transformation complete! Thank you for the motivation to continue...and not fill the blasted hole with concrete! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Have you tried using Pond Dye before? I've heard many good reviews about it, but I'm still to test it out for myself. We've been having algae problems for our above ground pond. I don't really mind changing the water often, but it’s really tiring to clean out the sides of the basin every month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like barley straw for a natural algae preventer. We added an inline UV light and haven't had any algae problems.

      Delete