Fall Pond Maintenance For Your Water Feature

If you want to learn the different parts of fall pond maintenance, then this is the article for you! The importance of each step can be found here too, such as why netting your pond is key for this seasonal maintenance (hint: it has to do with cleanliness and organic breakdown). Doing this can ready your pond for fall and make winter maintenance quicker and easier, plus it keeps your pond looking its best.

No time to read the full article? Download your free personal PDF copy of our Guide To Fall Pond Maintenance here.

The Importance Of Fall Maintenance

In broad terms, fall maintenance cleans your pond and makes it ready for autumn. At the end of the process, your pond should have all of its parts clean, have a net, have a de-icer, and be running smoothly. This also makes winter maintenance easier because the pond is already running well and, since it has fewer leaves and less waste in it, it’s easier to clean. There’s not much harder about owning a pond than picking the leaves and organic matter out of the bottom before winter sets in.

Pond before fall pond maintenance

Quick Overview Of Our Process

This is a quick overview of what Premier Ponds does for our fall pond maintenance process. You can find more details on these below this checklist:

Taking Out The Fish

We get asked the question of “What do I do with my pond fish during maintenance?” quite a lot. Many fish owners think they may have to get rid of their fish because they don’t know what else to do. It can be stressful and time-consuming trying to get all of them out, especially because they’re super quick.

Don’t worry, we have the solution!

Take a large tub and fill it up with the pond water and transfer your fish to it for a quick vacation. Make sure to use the same pond water so you eliminate the risk of stressing your fish. Then comes the hard part of catching your fish and transferring them into the tub (we got pretty good at it after a while).

Draining The Pond

This happens along with the cleaning the pond components step! As you drain the water (leave a shallow puddle), use it to clean the filters and other parts as necessary. Premier Ponds uses professional grade pumps (about $250) to remove the water and it still takes about an hour for most ponds. Imagine how long it would take using a bucket…

Mucky pond bottom with sump pumps in it for fall pond maintenance cleaning

Removing Waste

This is the mucky part of the job where all the leaves, wood, debris, and other junk needs to be taken out. Removing them helps keep the pond clear, reduces stress on the oxygen levels, leaves less material to break down during winter, and keeps the pond ecosystem in balance. This debris can also clog pumps, unless you have a solids handling pump, and help cause other issues which can increase pond maintenance. Cleaning the debris out can help your pond look better, work smoothly, and keep your fish happy and healthy.

Cleaning The Rocks & Gravel

Carefully use a power washer to clean the rocks and gravel. Hovering 4-6″ off the ground is the best way because it cleans out most of the muck while keeping the beneficial bacteria alive. This step helps eliminate any scale and buildup and keeps your pond looking better and cleaner for longer.

Pressure washing the pond shelves and walls during fall pond maintenance

Pond Component Cleaning/Replacing

Do this step along with the draining! This can involve pumps, skimmers, bio-falls, underwater lights, filters, aerators, GFCI, and any additional parts present. These parts have parts of their own that need individual cleanings, such as filters having baskets and pads. All of these parts go through wear and tear as well as some parts, like the filter pads, get dirty. If they become dirty or worn down your pond won’t work as well and may even break down. Pond maintenance can ensure this doesn’t happen.

Clean these parts with the pond water you drained earlier (using tap or hose water kills the beneficial bacteria left on the pads).

Dirty filter pad and basket needing cleaning
This image is of an Aquascape brand filter

Repotting & Trimming Aquatic Plants

This is an essential step in pond maintenance for any season because if left unchecked they can easily take over your pond. This is why Premier Ponds likes to put them in pots. Keeping aquatic plants in pots makes them easier to maintain and prevents self-cannibalization, which means killing other plants and themselves by using all the resources. You can prevent a pond takeover, and keep your plants healthy, with a repotting and trimming. It also improves the overall look of your pond, like giving your pond a haircut. The video below can show you more:

Refilling The Pond & Adding The Fish

After you fill the pond back up using a hose, add a pond detoxifier and de-chlorinator to make the water safe for your fish. Introducing the fish to the new water is an important process. Put them in buckets or bags and place them in the new water, making sure not to let the new and old water mix (yet). Over a period of 15 minutes or so, splash the new water into the old to acclimate the fish, then release them. You can see more in this video:

Adding Beneficial Bacteria

Beneficial bacteria is another layer of filtration for your pond (you can’t have too many filtration types). They help reduce algae and toxins from your pond by breaking down sludge and waste, which is why you don’t want to wash them away during the fall pond maintenance process.

Installing Netting

Installing netting is what sets fall pond maintenance apart from other seasonal maintenance. The netting keeps leaves from sinking to the bottom of your pond and messing with the ecosystem’s balance. This makes future cleaning and maintenance easier too.

Fall Pond Maintenance Is Important

Following this process can ready your pond for autumn! Your pond will be clean, clear, working smoothly, and be ready for the season. Skipping a seasonal maintenance can have negative side effects on your pond, which is why they’re so important.

You can read about our fall pond maintenance services here >>