Cost: $150+

Time: 1 Day

Skill Level: Intermediate

Is it getting close to the time of year when you need to awaken your pond from its winter sleep? Are you curious about the best way to do this?

In this post, you can find out how pond contractors and DIYers can do spring pond cleaning. Different contractors and DIYers can have slightly varying processes, but they should all get your koi pond (or other types of ponds) clean, clear, and ready for spring!

By the end of this post, you’ll know if an early spring pond cleaning is a project you want to DIY, and you’ll definitely know what a good process should involve.

*The cost to clean out a pond varies greatly.

How To Do Spring Pond Cleaning

Beautiful pond that has undergone spring pond cleaning


  • Gloves
  • Sump pump
  • Long hose for the sump pump
  • Garden hose
  • Large buckets
  • Pond vacuum (optional)
  • Fish net
  • Large tub for fish
  • Large net for tub
  • Garden shears


  • Water detoxifier
  • Cold water beneficial bacteria (optional)

1. Drain Most Of The Pond Water

Make sure to drain the pond almost all the way so that it’s easier for you to catch and remove any fish in your pond. We find it best to drain it at least halfway down, though some people may drain it as low as 6 inches. Use a sump pump or clean-out pump to do this.

It’s best to drain the water into a temporary tank or container so that you can safely move your fish out of their home while you clean.

2. Move Your Pond Fish To A Temporary Tank

Koi fish in pond

After draining the water out of the pond, carefully scoop up any pond fish and place them in the temporary tank you filled with their pond water. Fish are sensitive to changes in water chemistry and water temperature, so this keeps them comfortable and prevents stress-related health issues. Make sure to put this tank in a shady spot so that they don’t overheat.

You will want to put a net over the top of the tub and weigh it down. This will keep your fish from jumping out and giving you a heart attack.

3. Remove The Muck

You’ll need to remove it using your hands or other tools. Scoop it into the large buckets you have.

Muck is the layer of organic material that builds up on the bottom of ponds over time. It consists largely of decaying plant matter, mud, silt, fish waste, and other organic debris. It reduces water clarity which makes it difficult for aquatic life to find food or shelter from predators. Additionally, excess muck can lead to oxygen depletion, which can kill off fish and other aquatic organisms.

4. Clean Your Filters And Pump

Clogged pond pump

Now it’s time to start cleaning out all of the filters and the pump inside your pond. This includes biofilters, filter media, and skimmers. Make sure to rinse the filter mats, bioballs, and skimmer parts off with the same water you used to fill up the temporary fish tank with.

5. Make Any Repairs

Once all of the filters are clean, take a few moments to inspect your pond and pond equipment for damages. This includes:

  • Holes in your pond liner that need patching
  • Rusted or damaged pump
  • Light bulbs and fixtures that need replacing
  • Rocks that need reshifting
  • Liner edges that need hiding
  • Filter media that need replacing
  • Aquatic plants that need trimming or replacing

6. Wash The Rocks

Spring pond maintenance process

There are two steps for washing the rocks. The first is to use a garden hose to rinse muck and algae off of and between rocks. Then, use a pressure washer to get some (not all) of the muck and algae off.

Be careful not to wash away all of the algae from these rocks, as it still plays an important role in maintaining balance within an aquatic ecosystem like yours.

7. Clean And Repair Any Additions

You may have added lights around the pond or other filters such as a UV clarifier, IonGen, auto dosers, and more. Now that spring is here, check these items to make sure they are in good working order. Make any necessary repairs or replacements before turning them back on for the season.

8. Remove Any Heaters If Used During Winter

If you use heaters or de-icers for your pond during the winter, now is the time to take them out. Your pond isn’t going to freeze (or refreeze), and your fish will be fine.

You can also take this time to move any aerators back to their normal area.

9. Reassemble Your Filters

Put the filter mats, bioballs, and any other filter parts back together and in their place.

10. Refill The Pond

Filling up a pond

Use your garden hose to refill your pond. This can take a while, so you can use this time to rest and check your fish for signs of parasites or infections.

11. Treat And Test The Water

The next step after filling up your pond is treating and testing the water for optimal living conditions for your fish. You want to make sure harmful bacteria and parasites are eliminated and that the chemical makeup of the water (pH, kH, balanced chlorine levels, etc.) is good for your fish. There are several ways to treat the water.

Testing kits can help determine if there are any impurities in the water that need to be taken care of. Once this has been done, you can add beneficial bacteria solutions to help with nitrogen cycling and keep oxygen levels balanced in your pond.

12. Acclimate And Reintroduce Your Fish

You can’t just put your fish back in their pond because the new water can put them into a state of shock. The water isn’t the same temperature and doesn’t have the exact same chemical makeup as the original pond water. Since fish are very sensitive to water quality changes, you need to acclimate them to their new water.

Here’s how:

  1. Put your fish in bags full of their old pond water
  2. Take this bag and put it in an empty bucket
  3. Place the bucket in the shallow area of your pond and, over the next 15 minutes or so, slowly add the new water to the bucket and the bag. This helps the water temperatures to even out, giving your fish a less shocking introduction to their new water
  4. Then, let your fish free and repeat the process as many times as necessary

More Tips For Spring Pond Cleaning

Check Your Pond Pump And Other Mechanics

Make sure that all of your pumps and filtration systems are running correctly and that they are clean. If any of them need repairs or replacements, now is the time to do it.

You should also check any outdoor electrical wiring and connections to make sure everything is safe from water damage or other hazards. We recommend against making repairs to electrical units as it is dangerous. Hiring a professional is the best safeguard against serious injury or death.

Introduce Beneficial Bacteria To Improve Biological Filter Effectiveness

Add beneficial bacteria to improve the effectiveness of your biological filter. Beneficial bacteria eat away at organic waste, like algae, dead plants, and fish waste. This helps keep your pond clean throughout the year. You can introduce beneficial bacteria into your pond by using additives such as aqua-culture bacteria products or bio-filters.

Add Pond Plants For Algae Control

Pond with many aquatic plants

Introducing plants to your pond can help control algae growth in the warmer months ahead. Adding native aquatic plants will help reduce nutrient levels in the water while providing additional oxygenation. This makes them great additions to any pond ecosystem.

Floating plants like water lilies or duckweed can also be very helpful in reducing sunlight exposure on the surface of the water, limiting algae growth even more.

Slowly Increase Fish Feeding

During the winter months, your fish will have eaten less food because they were in a state of hibernation. This means that when it’s time to introduce food back into their diet, it needs to be done gradually so as not to shock their systems.

Start by offering small amounts of food, slowly increasing the amount over a period of several weeks until you reach the normal level of food for your fish.

Try Something New

Man kneeling down by pond plants

Another great way to spruce up your pond during spring cleaning is by trying something new design-wise. You could consider rearranging elements such as rocks or plants in order to create a different visual effect in your pond. There are also some pond landscaping ideas you can try!

Alternatively, you could add some new decorations or features, such as waterfalls or fountains, in order to create an even more dynamic landscape around your pond.

Wake Up Your Pond With The Princes At Amen Corner Ponds

Now you know all about the importance of spring pond cleaning and how to go about it. But not everyone has the time or energy for this messy and exhausting process.

Amen Corner Ponds’ experts have experience with koi ponds, ecosystem ponds, garden ponds, and more. We can help you get it ready for the year.

Fill out our contact form and learn why Amen Corner Ponds is renowned as the premiere pond maintenance provider in the area. We look forward to helping you make your dream of a great-looking, healthy ponds come true.