Text Box: Spring Cleaning!  Fish Care and Handling
   It is vital to carefully handle your pond fish (and plants) during your annual pond cleaning, or you could lose them.  The plants are the easy part.  Keep them in the shade and cool and wet with newspapers during the cleaning process.  (See sections on division and transplantation of water lilies, lotus, and water irisÖ) 
   The fish are the most fragile part.  Handling them will stress them, making them more susceptible to disease. The danger though, is the risk of oxygen depletion during the cleaning process.  Also, if you are on city water, the water MUST be dechlorinated before returning them to the pond or you will lose them.
   Fill a large container such as a 30+ gallon trash can with water from the pond (not the hose).  Add a pump to this tank so your fish will have adequate oxygen.  Youíll be able to catch your fish easier when the water level gets down around 6 inches and the plants have been removed.  Pond fish nets are available at Shady Lakes in various sizes.  
   Use your existing pump to drain the pond.  You can use this water to irrigate your garden as itís loaded with wonderful nutrients.  Hose the algae and debris off the walls of the pond and drain this water as well.  Once the water is out, remove all the sludge from the bottom of the pond.  Carefully use a flat nose shovel.  Scrub the pond with brushes.     During the cleaning process, watch for signs of lack of oxygen in your fish.  If your fish are unusually sluggish, gasping at the waterís surface, or going belly up they are in  danger.  You must get a pump in the holding tank to agitate the water to oxygenate!  
   Once the pond is clean, begin to refill immediately.  Bag your fish in water from their holding tank.  Blow in extra air so the bag will float, and place the bag of fish in the newly cleaned pond to float for 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not crowd your fish in these bags.  When itís time to release them, gently lift them out with wet hands or use a small net.  Please donít just pour the dirty water with the fish into your clean pond! 
   Before releasing your fish, it is imperative to dechlorinate the pond with AquaSafe if you use city water.  Carefully figure the gallons in your pond and dose accordingly.  To figure gallons:
Average length x width x depth 
x 7.5 = gallons  
(x  5.9 for round ponds) 
Enjoy!  We know that it is work to do the annual cleaning, but the immediate beauty is worth the work!  And your fish will love you for itÖ

 

Fish Care HOW TOÖ