Spring Pond Start-Up

Are you getting sick of winter? It’s never too early to think spring pond start-up! Starting up a pond in the spring is kind of like getting a pond ready for winter, but in reverse. Although it may be tempting to start things up at the first sign of warm weather, we recommend holding off until the nighttime lows are not routinely going below freezing. Starting a pond too soon can put extra stress on fish that are already in a weakened state from their winter slumber. When the nighttime lows are mainly above freezing for the long range forecast, then you know it is time to go!

Koi Ponds and Water Gardens

  • Put your pump in, and reassemble all the components of your filter system. If you followed our advice about moving your biofilter media into the pond for winter to keep it alive, you will start the year with instant filtration!
  • Check for leaks and watch your water level closely for a day. Frost in the ground has a bad habit of disheveling a perfectly designed pond or waterfall system.
  • Begin feeding your Koi a Wheatgerm-based diet once the water has warmed to 50F. Good diets to use during this period are Keystone Koi Pellets, Blackwater Cool Season, and Tetra Spring & Fall Diet. Be sure to use a Pond Thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
  • Adjust your Aeration System or remove your Floating Heater-De-icer. If you have an air system, move the air diffuser back out into the middle of the pond.
  • Avoid doing any major pond cleaning until your fish have had a chance to actively feed for a couple weeks. Fish are in a weakened state after enduring a long winter without food, so they need to recover before you stress them out again with cleaning activities.
  • When cleaning time comes, we recommend doing a partial pond cleanup, unless things are really bad. Complete pond draining and cleaning is very stressful to your fish, and will harm the pond’s beneficial bacteria population, so this should only be done if sediment has built up to the point where you measure it in multiple inches. Pond Vacuums, Nets and other Equipment are available on our website to help clean things up.
  • Don’t introduce new fish or plants until things have stabilized and are looking pretty good and the water temperature has gotten up into the 60’s.


Natural Ponds and Lakes

  • Adjust and service your Aeration System. Generally, you should aerate off to the side and shallow in the winter, and deep and thoroughly in the summer. Service Kits and Air Filters are available through our website.
  • If you use Pond Dyes be sure to apply it before the weeds and algae have a chance to really take off. It is never too soon to apply a pond dye!
  • Get your Minnow and Gamefish orders in early! Fish farms raise fish through the summer and sell everything they can in the fall, leaving many varieties of fish in short supply in the spring. Email us at info@keystonehatcheries.com if you are interested in stocking fish (we currently only stock fish in Wisconsin and Illinois).
  • Begin your Beneficial Bacteria treatments about when the water reaches 60F.