Pond Cleanout Day

On Saturday, I had to duck out of a fun meetup with Garden Faerie, Garden Girl, and Mr. Brown Thumb at the Macy’s Garden Show because earlier that morning I found that the pond needed its annual cleanout NOW.

Pond full of algae

The whole pond looked a little too much like that – string algae was everywhere. Given I had just cleaned a bunch out a few days before and it was all back again, it was time to spring into action.

Pond cleanout: muddy lava rock bags

Here’s the top of the biofalls after we turned the pump off and took off the rocks around the top.

Pond cleanout: biofalls filters, full of mud

Once you take out and clean out the two mesh bags full of lava rock, you then take out the filters. Their weight was doubled or tripled by the amount of muck clinging to them.

And then there’s the skimmer filter…but see how different it looks after it gets cleaned out!  Note how the dirty filter is sagging and the clean one isn’t: that’s the weight of the mud.

Pond cleanout: muddy skimmer filter

Pond cleanout: cleaned skimmer filter

We didn’t try to suck up any of the muck on the bottom of the pond in this go-round.  We’re going to do the twice-daily seeding of the pond with bacteria and enzymes for two weeks, and then re-clean the skimmer filter.  That should really clean things up nicely; if not, then time to clean the bottom of the pond.


9 responses to this post.

  1. Wow, what an informative photo post. I didn’t realize how much gunk formed over the winter. And, while I know it’s suboptimal for a pond, I do find the first photo very cool aesthetically. It was fun meeting you and I’m working on a post of my trip, which should be up later today.


  2. Posted by lakechicagoshores on April 20, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Yeah, I’m actually quite fond of a little bit of string algae in the “stream” in between the two waterfalls. I should have really taken a picture of the pounds of algae and decayed leaves that I’ve pulled out of the bottom of the pond over the past week!

    It was great meeting you too – see you at Spring Fling!


  3. Eeeewww! I can see why you needed to get home and take care of that! Glad you had a warm day for the cleanup.

    It was nice seeing you again this weekend!


  4. Posted by lakechicagoshores on April 20, 2009 at 8:52 am

    It was nice seeing you too, and it was a gorgeous day to walk around downtown. It’s funny how once I noticed how warm it was and that the pond was getting more clogged with gunk no matter how much algae I pulled out, I developed an urgent need to do the cleanout ASAP!


  5. Wow a pond can be a lot of work!


  6. Posted by lakechicagoshores on April 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Yeah, it can, although this cleanout was under 90 minutes. I have a tougher time with the next step, which is adding in the enzymes and bacteria twice a day. I already forgot to do it this morning, so I think I need to put a note on the fridge telling me to do this before I have breakfast or dinner.


  7. Yuk!
    I’m in the process of building a couple of ponds and a stream in my garden – hope they don’t get as grotty as that! Mind you, I haven’t seen string algae in ponds here in the UK, so I might be ok!

    We do have a posh German filter system which Himself researched and fitted, so I can’t remember anything about it (- I don’t do technical!), but I know it works, which is good enough for me!!!

    PS. I found your blog via Monica at Garden Faerie’s Musings and have really enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you.


  8. Posted by lakechicagoshores on April 22, 2009 at 8:25 am

    String algae and mud are spring visitors to every pond in the US Midwest, alas. I’m guessing filter cleaning is ubiquitous to all ponds, but the stringy stuff may only occur when the pond gets really cold in the winter. Once it gets warm here and the biofalls has working bacteria, the string algae disappears until it gets chilly in the fall.

    Glad you visited, and I’ll watch your progress on your blog!


  9. […] April 23, 2009 Filed under: Gardening, Pond — lakechicagoshores @ 1:31 pm In my previous post about the annual pond cleanout, I neglected to show the nasty pond gunk that convinced me that it was time to get […]


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