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153 Gallon Pond Cleaning On 3/30/11

Last Updated: 1/22/14

Diary of Events 3/30/11

Photos from 3/30/11

This is just the cleaning list. To see information on the 153 gallon pond's statistics, history, and past cleanings, go to my 153 Gallon Pond Section.

I used the 2010 pond cleaning page as a guide to write this 2011 one but did change everything that was relevant or changed.

Diary of Events 3/30/11

Overview of the Day:

On 3/30/11, I cleaned out my 153 gallon pond. It went pretty much as planned. I got up at 7:00 am and finished the morning animal feedings at 8:47 am when I started collecting supplies. The air temperature was 40 degrees F, there was no rain until late in the day, and there was no wind thankfully. The 153 gallon thermometer read 42 degrees F. I was ready to start bailing at 9:24 am. I bailed water into my two old kiddie pools, the smaller kiddie pool, and two holding buckets (one for the fish, one for the frogs). The water was green from suspended algae. I cut some mint around the pond by standing in the empty pond. The mint grows in to the pond from all directions. I replaced three bricks under water that had fallen apart and two of the brick cap stones (pavers).

When I clean the pond, I bring up buckets and then go sit down on a gardener's kneeling pad. When I start, there is little debris so I pour it through an aquarium net and then look for movement. This year, I had moved the wood frog eggs to other ponds ahead of time but it looks like a missed a few dozen. That meant a lot of minute newly-hatched wood frog tadpoles which I had to pick up delicately. By the time I get to the bottom of the pond, there is so much debris that I net what I can and sift through that but eventually just have to pour blobs of gravel and slop on the ground and pick through it to find the animals I list below. I hand pick out the snails, tadpoles, minnows, worms, and insects. In the process, I miss a lot of the snails, tadpoles, and insects. I am sure I did not miss any frogs or fish. I pulled off large cascades of terrestrial mint growing in to the pond. They are a great filter but they will take over if not trimmed. It will not take long for them to regrow.

By 12:30 am (22 minutes later than last year), the pond was fully empty but not yet cleaned. I went inside to eat lunch and clean up a little. By 1:04 pm, I was back outside. The air temperature was up to 47 degrees F (much colder than last year).

Back outside, I squirted off the pond and used the OASE Pondovac to get all the stuff out. I then filled up the 153 gallon pond. I refilled it to the level it was from the bailed water. I added the following additives:
About 1/2 cup of pond salt (~25% of the recommended dose on the container for ponds with plants; half as much as I usually put in), a half teaspoon of BZT, a half dose of Stress Coat, a half dose of aquarium Stress-Zyme, and a dusting of baking soda. I also put in the little barley straw pad in its holder. I got the PondMaster filter and bell fountain going and let the Luft pump heavily aerate.

I squirted off the fake koi (used to float but now it sinks) and three clay pots (spawning sites for the rosy red minnows) and put those back.

Then, I repotted the plants. On the bottom was one two gallon pot of waterlilies. I potted the lily with clay dirt from our old garden. I did not need to prune it. I topped it off with pea gravel and gave it two Pondtab fertilizer pills. In order to put it back in the deep end of the pond, I rolled up my pants, took off my boots and socks, and put on water shoes so I could step in to the very cold water. I brought a towel to dry off.

I bailed the water, animals, and plants from the three kiddie pools back in to the pond. This year, there was a good amount of anacharis but no hornwort. This year, I saved just a few sprigs of the mint in the water because I know it will soon grow back in to the pond.

In the overflow was a two gallon pot of iris. I repotted it as is in Aquatic Planting Soil.

The other pots consisted of two two gallon and one one gallon pots of various water iris. I had a lot of iris. I saved all of the iris and potted them back in three two gallon ponds, one of which I put in the 50 gallon tub pond. I had ordered more planting soil but it never came so I had to pot the lilies up in dirt. I put two two gallon pots back in the 153 gallon pond.

All the saved water, plants, snails, tadpoles, insects, fish, and frogs were back into the pond by 2:14 pm.

I put fresh regular pea gravel along the east and south sides of the pond. The other two sides abut the earth directly. I put a bag of mulch on parts of the other sides after trying to weed things out. I put two new solar lights by the pond.

This year, I did not clean out the back 16 gallon liner pond or set up the mosaic pond as I have done in the previous years. It was just too much. I am just too old.

All the pond stuff was up by 4:00 pm. The air temperature got up to a warm 48 degrees F! It actually was not bad for a day that was supposed to rain all day. The rain just started as I finished.


This year, the pond had a good amount of anacharis pieces and mint.

Here are the plants that I repotted.

I started with four pots. One was the blue iris which was in great shape and sits in the small marginal shelf by the overflow (it takes up the entire shelf). In the deep end of the pond was one two gallon pot. In the main marginal area, there were one one gallon pot and two two gallon pots all of iris.

In the 153 gallon pond.


Here is what I found in the pond! I had to hand pick through every bit of slop to get all these animals.

The interesting finds for the year were a busted up fake lily and a dead slug.

Photos from 3/30/11

All of these photos were taken on 3/30/11.

153 gallon and tub ponds before the cleaning, facing northwest.
153 gallon pond
153 gallon pond during the cleaning when the pond was empty. Supplies are all over.
Brick work looking inside the 153 gallon pond. You can see the two cap stones on the right that I changed out.
Brick work - this is a close up of where I changed out the cap stones where the edging has collapsed. It collapsed because it was built over the hole of my first pond which was a 50 gallon storage tub buried there.
Brick work - the shallow overflow area
Brick work - the close up of the bricks was to show how I made a ledge on which two layers of bricks sit which are topped with the brick cap stones which are stepping stones. You can also see hair algae on the liner.
153 gallon pond - empty
153 gallon pond - refilled and ready to go, facing northwest. The 20 and 50 gallon tub ponds can also be seen.
153 gallon pond - facing northwest after I put in a little mulch
153 gallon pond - facing west
153 gallon pond - facing southeast

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