Pond Maintenance: Cleaning Out Your Pump Pond Maintenance: Cleaning Out Your Pump

A small pond can be a relaxing addition to a backyard garden, however, without regular pond maintenance, these artificial ponds can become a murky sludge.

Rotate the Water
About once each week (more often in the summer and less often in the winter), you need to check the water level of your pond. When the pond is full, find a "marker" that you can use to measure the water level. If the water level has dropped significantly (due to evaporation), then you need to add more water to bring the water back to a full level. You can also skim off some of the water and use it to water your garden - the water is a great (and free) natural fertilizer. Changing about 10% of the water regularly prevents chemical buildup that can corrode the pump. However, do not add too much water at once. Adding more than 10% of the water at once will cause dramatic chemical and temperature changes that can kill fish or plants. To avoid this risk entirely, add the water in intervals. Add one or two percent of the water, then focus on a different task for fifteen or thirty minutes. Add another one or two percent of the water, and repeat the cycle until the pond is full.

Remove Decaying Matter
At least once a week, check the bottom of your pond for decaying vegetation and remove any dead plants, leaves, or other organic matter. Use a net to remove any debris and add it to your compost pile, or compost it directly on your garden. Remove any children's toys, tennis balls, golf balls, or other items that may have fallen into the pond.

Cleaning the Pump
The pump is a key factor in maintaining the health and cleanliness of your pond, but without regular cleanings, it can be corroded and destroyed. To extend the lifespan of your pump and improve the health of your pond, clean the pump regularly - as often as once a week during the summer or once a month during the winter. Before cleaning your pump, read any care instructions that came with the pump, since the procedure for taking apart the pump for cleaning may vary by model. Unplug the pump and remove it from the water. Remove any algae or pet hair that may have accumulated on the pump. Wipe the outside of the pump with a damp cloth. Remove the pump cover by sliding it off of the pump. Screwdrivers are generally not required for this. Inside the pump, pull out the impeller, which is usually just held magnetically. Soak the impeller in a dish of lime scale removal product for at least 20 minutes. Use an old toothbrush to clean the inside and outside of the pump as needed. Replace the impeller and return the pump cover to its original position. The pump should now work smoothly at full capacity.

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