Fall Pond Maintenance - Cleaning Your Pond

In the Fall the amount of organic material in your pond is at it's peak.  This is due to a combination of falling leaves and the accumulation of sludge from prior months.  It is critical to clean out all the organic debris from you pond, including leaves and sludge, before the first freeze.  As they decompose, precious oxygen is drawn from the pond water at a time of year when oxygen is already at a premium.  This robs available oxygen from the fish and other aquatic life.  Decaying organic matter is also prime ground for harmful bacteria and parasites to spend the winter.  During a warm spell or early spring they can quickly attack your fish before their immune systems have a chance to reestablish.  

Eliminating sludge can be accomplished by scraping the bottom of the pond with a utility net, or using a pond vacuum such as the Pondovac 4 or the Matala Pond Vacuum II.   Using  Microbe Lift Autumn/Winter Prep will also help accelerate the breakdown of organic debris in the pond.

In the meantime, newly falling leaves have to be kept out of the pond. One option is to use a net to skim leaves off the surface of the pond as they fall, but this can be a daily chore. Also, don't expect a skimmer to get all the leaves. Skimmers are designed to get the occasional leaf or other floating debris.  Heavy leaf fall can clog a skimmer several times a day. Installing leaf netting over the pond is the most efficient way to keep leaves out of your pond.