The fish are starting to get active and the weather is warming. Depending on your preferred equipment weatherization method or climate, some choose to turn off the pumps, drain filters and plumbing and this usually requires from some extra preparation measures to insure fish safety and fast start up of the filtration system.
If your filtration system has not been running for even one day or as much as months, then it is important to flush and backwash the system first "prior to permitting any old water" in the filter to pass through it and return into the pond. Back washing will flush out old remaining dirt and any bacteria that remains in the system that is likely to be dead and can cause serious health issues if released back to the pond. It could have turned to a Pseudomonas species type of bad bacteria or it may have parasites that if permitted to be flushed into the pond may cause rapid death or fish health issues to fish coming in contact with it. It can take as little as 0.005 parts per million of Pseudomonas species to instantly kill a Koi fish.
Be sure to clean out the skimmer basket, empty any other pre-filters like the pump baskets and if you have settling chambers, they too should emptied and washed out well prior to starting up the filtration system or starting pumps. (Considering a great pre-filter? - Click Here)
We do rely on our filtration system to provide us with water quality, yet most pond keepers may not know the benefit of adding some very important water treatments to really benefit starting up the biological and or cleaning up crud in the pond.
Adding the following products have been proven to really benefit the ponds ecosystem in more ways then we might think. The Microbe-lift company makes three products that we have tested and found to really help. One is called Microbe-lift SA and the another is Microbe-lift PL. The SA (Sludge Away) product primarily improves on removing or digesting sludge. It does contain some beneficial bacteria that is also found in the PL product, yet the PL is much more about improving the ecological/biological and beneficial bacteria in our pond and to help populate them in the filtration system and throughout the water column. The best approach is to use them both. This has proven to greatly improve the ponds health by populating it with a broad spectrum of millions of species of fresh and stronger beneficial bacteria in our pond that greatly improve it in many areas and even visually. In the days to weeks to follow after adding it, the water may seem to look clearer, crud on the waterfalls will begin to vanish and even some algae that grows on the waterfalls or streams is likely to clear up as well.
By taking the simple steps of back washing the filters and adding beneficial chemicals that can not only populate the filtration system, it can improve the ponds ecosystem by adding new strains of good bacteria all of which can result in avoiding potential problems and giving the pond a fresh start of eliminating old accumulations of crud and one very healthy start for the new year.
We have experienced great results in testing both the Microbe-lift SA and the Microbe-lift PL when added together. When we spoke with the owner of Microbe-lift and their biologist, they both agreed that their is added benefits and a synergy when adding them both to the pond at the same time.
Worth noting is one other product that many are not aware of. It is called NITE OUT II. This product contains a tremendous amount of the three types of beneficial bacteria that our pond requires to perform the Nitrification cycle in processing our fishes waste. Especially great to have on hand in case your test kit shows an increase in Ammonia or Nitrites, by adding the NITE OUT II, it will add the beneficial bacterium to reduce them.
You can find all of the above mentioned chemicals - http://koipondcentral.com/products/accessories/microbe-lift.php
Always offering " Clear Solutions to your pond! "
~ ~ One last tip: Beneficial bacteria become weaker over the years, adding the about products as new strains of stronger ones to keep up with your ponds demands.