9 Steps On How To Clean A Koi Pond In Columbia, MD, Back To Beautiful

How To Clean A Koi Pond

“In nature, ecosystems are cleaned regularly by heavy rains. In a closed system backyard pond it is important to physically drain and clean out waste and sediment. We recommend our clients do this on a yearly basis every spring for the best results. This will closely mimic mother nature’s spring rains which then lead to crystal clear water and a healthy environment for fish and plants to thrive all season long.”
– Andrew Lingan, owner of Premier Ponds

Would you agree that your pond is one of the most beautiful parts of your home? Don’t you want to keep it that way?

In this post, we’ll cover the process of cleaning a koi pond so you can keep your backyard pristine. By the end, you’ll know how the pros do it (and why they charge what they do).

Whether you choose to follow this process or have a Maryland professional pond cleaning, you are only 9 steps away from a beautifully clean koi pond.


Key Points

  • Draining the koi pond allows for a detailed cleaning, which is essential for maintaining the pond’s ecosystem and aesthetic appeal.
  • Regular inspection during cleaning helps identify and fix problems like overgrown plants, liner damage, or debris build-up, preventing major complications later.
  • Proper care of aquatic plants and regular maintenance of pond equipment like biofalls and skimmers are crucial for a healthy and visually appealing koi pond.

How To Clean A Koi Pond In Columbia, Maryland

Floating and marginal plants in a backyard pond

Let’s explore these 9 steps on how to clean a koi pond and see how they can help your pond go from mucky to magnificent:

  1. Remove Any Fish And Drain Your Koi Pond
  2. Check Your Koi Pond For Problems
  3. Clean The Pond Shelves And Walls
  4. Power Wash Your Koi Pond
  5. Care For Any Aquatic Plants
  6. Cleaning The Biofalls & Putting It Together
  7. Cleaning The Skimmer Parts
  8. Refill Your Pond And Put In Your Koi Fish
  9. Enjoy Your Amazingly Beautiful Pond
  10. Bonus Step: Netting For Fall Maintenance

Tools And Materials For Cleaning Your Koi Pond

  • 200+ gallon tub for any fish
  • Sump pump
  • Vacuum pump
  • Pressure washer
  • Hose and spigot
  • Planting supplies
    • Pot
    • Plant fertilizer
    • Dirt
    • Gravel

1. Remove Any Fish And Drain Your Koi Pond

Koi in tub during koi pond cleaning

Now there are certain methods for how to clean a koi pond that allow the pond to still have water in it. We like to drain the pond instead so we can do a more detailed clean.

There are some worries that this method can hurt your pond’s ecosystem, specifically the beneficial bacteria. Don’t worry; if done correctly, the draining will not have any lasting negative impact on your koi pond.

Here is how to drain your koi pond:

  1. If you have fish, use the sump pump to drain it down to a foot of water left
  2. Put some of the pond water into the tub for the fish (it puts less stress on them)
  3. Now move your fish to the tub
  4. Finally, drain the rest of the water out

But don’t start cleaning it just yet.


2. Check Your Koi Pond For Problems

Premier Ponds owner checking a pond

There’s more to the how to clean a koi pond process than the actual cleaning. Sometimes small problems can become more recognizable when the water is gone. That makes this an excellent chance to look for any problems with your pond:

  • Overgrown plants
  • Broken materials
  • Liner damage
  • Non-organic debris
  • Shifted rocks

It’s better to fix these issues now rather than let them become major complications later.


3. Clean The Pond Shelves And Walls

Premier Ponds leader cleaning a koi pond

This is the muckiest step in how to clean a koi pond. Plant matter and muck, in general, can worm its way between the rocks. It gunks up your pond and makes it look…messy.

You can flush that muck out using the sump pump and your pond water. It’s both convenient and environmentally friendly.

Now you just have to use the vacuum pump to remove the waste.


4. Power Wash Your Koi Pond

Pressure washing the pond shelves and walls during spring pond cleaning

Scale, algae, and debris are still left clinging to your pond. Left alone, it can build up and hurt your pond’s look and ecosystem.

But you have a pressure washer.

Holding it too close to the rocks can damage them, the beneficial bacteria, and the liner, so take care! 8” or more is enough room to clean the rocks without damaging anything.

The pond part of the pond is now clean, but the rest isn’t.

Some pond contractors don’t agree with this step in our how to clean a koi pond process. As long as you do it carefully and correctly, it won’t damage your pond.

You can learn the importance of rocks and gravel to koi ponds >>


5. Care For Any Aquatic Plants

Left unchecked, aquatic plants can be just as bad as algae. They can clog your pond and make it look disorganized and untidy.

This is the part in the how to clean a koi pond process where you grab your shears and any repotting materials. Trim back any plants that are overgrowing their area and any dead plant matter.

If your plants are growing out of their pots:

  1. First, put plant fertilizer into a plant pot
  2. Next, put in a few inches of dirt
  3. Then, cut a bulb from the existing plant
    • it should be the diameter of a cantaloupe and trimmed at the top
  4. Plant the bulb
  5. Cover the bulb with a thin layer of dirt
    • gently pack the dirt so it isn’t loose
  6. Finish it off with a thin layer of gravel

Your plants should now be under control and ready to grow. Check out the video to see this process as it happens.

You can also discover some of the best aquatic plants for koi ponds >>


Step 6: Cleaning The Biofalls & Putting It Together

Cleaning bioballs part of waterfall

How to clean a koi pond also involves the parts that aren’t the main pond. Your waterfall, which makes the most relaxing sound, needs cleaning too.

That’s because it also serves as a filter for your pond’s water. The biofalls (biological filter waterfalls) is made of 3 parts appearing in this order:

  • Bioballs
  • Filter mats
  • Rack

Take each part out and clean it with the hose and/or sump pump. Then you’ll want to put it back together in reverse of the above order.

Now your biofalls should be beautiful and working smoothly.


Step 7: Cleaning The Skimmer Parts

Skimmer basket with debris

Leaves, plant matter, and debris are all caught by the skimmer (mechanical filter).

This one needs cleaning every so often because it catches larger debris. The filter mats also need cleaning.

You’ll notice something different though: a pump is attached to the bottom of the basket.

  1. Unattach the pump
  2. Take out the skimmer
  3. Clean the parts as you did with the biofalls

Put it back together, and now you have a clean skimmer.

Cleaning a skimmer isn’t just part of the whole how to clean a koi pond process. Pond owners need to check their skimmers at least once per week.


8. Refill Your Pond And Put In Your Koi Fish

Starting to properly reintroduce fish after cleaning a pond for spring

Don’t put the fish in yet!

Putting fish in new water right away can be harmful. It’s chock full of chlorine, fluorine, and other types of -ines.

Thankfully, you can prepare the water for your fish with a pond detoxifier. Neutralize those harmful chemicals and get your fish back home!

You’ll want to follow the correct process for introducing your fish. They can get hurt if you don’t, and nobody wants that.


9. Enjoy Your Amazingly Beautiful Pond

Sitting inside and enjoying the view of a pond

And that’s how to clean a koi pond! You deserve to feel proud of your pond. It should have clear water, beautiful plants, and happy fish.

Now it does.


Bonus Step: Netting For Fall Maintenance

Your pond has a new enemy during fall: leaves.

They can easily clog filters and obscure the water. Left alone, they can break down and become the muck lying on the bottom of your koi pond.

The best course of action is to stop them from getting into your pond using netting!


The Importance Of Regular Koi Pond Cleaning

A dilapidated pond before cleaning

The water can be so crystal clear you can count the rocks on the bottom. Aquatic plants can bring splashes of color, like green lily pads and pink lotus flowers.

But something this beautiful has to have a catch. The catch for koi ponds is that, if left unattended for too long, they can get mucky:

  • Algae take over the pond
  • Water becomes cloudy
  • Plants overgrow
  • Debris clogs the filters
  • Organic matter (muck) gathers on the bottom

Ponds with even one of these symptoms can quickly become an eyesore.

You can stop these from happening to your koi pond with regular cleaning.

Nobody deserves to feel embarrassed when they think of their pond. The good news is you don’t have to ever feel that way again if you use this pond cleaning process.

You can download our guide to spring pond cleaning for more information.


FAQs On Cleaning A Backyard Koi Pond In Columbia, MD

How to Manage Algae Growth in Koi Ponds?

Regularly remove visible algae and consider adding algae-eating fish or plants. In Columbia, MD, controlling algae is vital due to the region’s climate, which can promote algae growth.


What is the Ideal Frequency for Water Quality Testing in Koi Ponds?

Test the water quality monthly to monitor pH levels, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. In Columbia, MD, seasonal changes can affect water quality, making regular testing crucial.


How to Safely Handle Fish During Pond Cleaning?

Gently transfer fish to a holding tank with pond water during cleaning. In Columbia, MD, it’s important to minimize stress on the fish, especially during extreme weather conditions.


A Clean Koi Pond Is A Happy Koi Pond: Get Yours With Premier Ponds

And that is how to clean a koi pond!

Premier Ponds specializes in transforming your backyard koi pond into a stunning, healthy aquatic environment. Our team of experts is equipped with the knowledge and tools to handle all your pond cleaning and maintenance needs efficiently.

Don’t miss the opportunity to have the pond of your dreams. Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call to start your journey towards a breathtaking backyard oasis with Premier Ponds.

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