Cleaning out a pond

Please could someone tell me what is the best time of year to clean out my pond? There are no fish in there but frogs, newts & various Things I haven't ID'd yet.

I don't want to disturb anything while they're breeding so I'm guessing that this time of year is a no-no (shame as it's lovely and hot!). There is a lot of sludge at the bottom from leaves falling in it, and I would very much like to find my concrete toad which fell in there a couple of years ago.




  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    You could clear out some sludge, sort through it and put back anything that moves. I do that in patches, a bit at a time. 

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    I'd stir it up slightly to left the sludge from the bottom and do a particle water change. Do this a couple of times, from now til late August and over time your pond should become clearer.

    Really you shouldn't clean ponds by emptying the water fully. This upsets the balance and causes many problems. If possible use only rain water to refill, as tap water can start algal blooms.

    Failing that, fill buckets/tubs/kids pools with tap water and let it sit for a week or two. Get yourself a big sieve to strain and catch any wildlife, and count the buckets of water.

    This is the best way of changing water without too much disturbance.Oh, and don't go crackers when you start to stir up the sludge.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    and even if it looks ugly put it back.

  • nut- I should have followed that advice when my ex fell in .......image

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Ooops, chose a few wrong words in my post. Must be getting late. image

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Try and keep the leaves out of the pond; when they rot they produce 'orrible gas!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024
    Fairygirl wrote (see)

    nut- I should have followed that advice when my ex fell in .......image

    We never think of these things til it's too late image

  • maryplainmaryplain Posts: 40

    I don't want to change the water or anything drastic like that, I was going to scoop out the sludge and do as nutcutlet suggested, try to repatriate anything alive as I go. But I don't want to go stirring up the bottom of the pond if there's anything likely to be hatching eggs or anything in there.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,707

    I think that if you must do it, late summer/early autumn is the time to be doing it. 

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    that's the best time. sludge is part of its eco system though so go easy. 

  • maryplainmaryplain Posts: 40

    Thank you. I will hold off abit, and make sure I am not too thoroughimage

  • I agree with nutcutlet that you will not want to get rid of the all the sludge. If you just want to get rid of some of it, I would suggest that after you do your sieving, leave any sludge piled up next to the pond for a few days so that any remaining pondlife that get through the sieving have a chance of finding their way back in. To give them a fighting chance, best done when it is overcast.

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Which ever way you look at it - you're still going to be disturbing whats down there. Eggs and all...

    By stirring a very small area (football size) over a course of a couple of months, could be a gentler way to clean the pond rather than scooping up mud and leaving it on the side of the pond. The creatures in the middle are not getting out, no matter how overcast or how long you leave it there.

    However, I do agree - having some sludge is good for the ponds eco-system.

  • maryplainmaryplain Posts: 40

    I wish I hadn't planted all the things round the pond now, then maybe their leaves wouldn't have fallen in the pond, but I got so upset when I found little froglets dried up by the side of the pond due to it having no shade. That's why I planted all round it, hence all the leaves.

    The trouble is, it's not a very big pond, so a bit of sludge goes a long way and it has built up quite a bit over the years the pond has been there.

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Having kept ponds for 20yrs, you have to apply the same maintenance techniques that you would use in a garden, to a pond. This means regular & often especially late summer/autumn....when you see something dead, rake it out the pond - don't let it sink to the bottom.

    Plants are excellent for a balanced eco-system, never regret having them !

    It's up to you which method you choose to clean your pond - what is the colour of the water ? 

  • maryplainmaryplain Posts: 40

    It's gone really green since the weather warmed up. I do have oxygenating plants in the pond but it always goes green in the summer.

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    It must be mostly in the sun all day, yes ?  The best way to tackle green water is to stop the sun's rays hitting the surface of the water.

    This can be achieved by putting a physical barrier between the two. Pond plants like water lilies (deep) and fairy moss ( floating) are good. So is tall marginal plants like reed or iris sited on shelves. Tall plants with shallow roots planted around the edges, especially placed between 11am - 3pm - anything that will cast a shadow or block the sun is good.

    I have in the past covered half the pond with long planks laying them in between the plants for a few weeks, does the trick.

    But I suggest thinking down the lines of  - how to shade at least half my pond from the sun for clearer water.

  • maryplainmaryplain Posts: 40

    Thank you. I do have some of the plants you've suggested but I expect they are in the wrong place. I had some problems when digging out the hole for this pond, which meant that it wasn't quite the shape I'd anticipated, and the shelves are not where I'd planned them to be. One day when I have time I will dig out the photos of it under construction which will explain what I mean, but in the meantime I have taken some pics of it as it is now. The water doesn't look that green in these but it is awfully cloudy.



  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Lovely pond !!

    I used to have 2 ponds in my garden. The fish pond was in full sun and always went green and a bit of a battle at times. And the wildlife pond was in shade from 11am onwards......and I could always see to the bottom of it - crystal clear water.

    You should try the plank idea for a few weeks, if you don't have kids. Starve the algae of its food source, the sun. See if you can rid the water of its green hue. It might still look cloudy but with hand filtering and partial water changes this would improve in time.

    No, the plank idea won't look attractive but experiments never do. It could give you a direction in which to follow from here. But don't cover the lilies or oxygenating though - they need full sun.

  • valjoyvaljoy Posts: 1

    Hi struggling with dead pondlife and a need to clean asap.  Any advice please as we have no equipment?  Thankfully only 4 foot pond and shallow but full of gunge and gravel.  Any suggestions would be great.


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