koi holding tanks during cleanout Pittsburgh p

Pond Cleaning

How Often Should I Have My Pond Cleaned?

​In the Pittsburgh-Irwin-Greensburg-Ligonier areas, we recommend that “Ecosystem Koi Ponds” (ponds built with skimmers, biofalls / wetlands / bogs, and gravel bottoms) receive a Spring Cleanout every 1 to 2 years to remove any build-up of non-decomposed organic material that collects within the gravel bottom. Other styles of koi pond (such as the traditional English-style) can benefit from a Spring Cleanout, although these ponds tend to require more routine maintenance throughout the year as well. If you have questions about your backyard koi pond cleaning and maintenance in Pennsylvania, please feel free to contact us for answers.

We have all of the necessary equipment and knowledge to perform a proper Spring Cleanout.

You can expect the following steps to occur during your Spring Cleanout:

Pond will be drained - Fish removed and placed in holding tanks - Wash down rocks and gravel in pond and stream using a high-volume / low-pressure pump - Pond water is reclaimed for cleaning purposes - Biofalls and skimmers cleaned - Pumps inspected and hooked up - Proper water quality treatments administered - Minor adjustments to rocks - Pond re-filled with water - Water flowing and fish placed back into the pond*. Other tasks such as thinning/removing plants, pressure washing rocks, etc. are performed on an as-needed basis.

*We prefer to have your pond completely full and running when we complete a spring cleanout. In some instances (very large koi ponds, very dirty pond water, low water pressure from your spigot, etc.) we may need to fill the pond partially and return the following day. Fish may be placed back into the pond or they may rest safely overnight in our large holding tanks. This is determined on a case by case basis - please ask for details regarding this possibility. We want to keep your pond and fish as healthy as you do.

“Should I pressure wash the pond rocks?”

Pressure washing the inside of a pond might remove a very important piece of your filtration system. The brownish colored film that covers the rocks of a healthy pond is called “Biofilm”. The biofilm contains millions of natural beneficial bacteria, diatoms, and other micro- and macro-organisms that help to maintain the pond’s balanced ecosystem. When the biofilm is removed, the ecosystem suffers a sudden imbalance and can often lead to green water algae blooms or other water quality issues. In healthy, well-kept ponds, we leave the biofilm intact and use only a high-volume/low-pressure spray to wash down the gravel. In ponds that are suffering major water quality issues, or have been neglected for several years, we may pressure wash the entire interior in order to get back to a “square one” condition.

“What happens to my fish during the cleanout process?”

We take every precaution to keep your fish happy and safe during the entire process. First, we set up one or more of our professional 500-gallon holding tanks in a flat area near the pond. Then, pond water is pumped into the tanks. Once the tanks reach a desired water level, we transport the fish from the pond to the tanks using soft mesh nets. Netting is placed over the tanks to protect your fish. At the end of the cleanout, and if the pond’s water was clear, we re-use the existing water from the tanks by pumping it back into the pond. This helps to reduce stressful acclimation time for the fish, as well as uses less of your home water supply. Obviously every pond and situation is different, so we determine how much original pond water to use on a per-site basis.

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