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How to Drain a Garden Pond

How to Drain a Garden Pond

Are you curious about how to drain a garden pond in your home? Our in-depth guide on how to drain a garden pond is an excellent resource for your curiosity. Draining a garden pond comes with a heap of benefits.

It doesn’t only allow you to rebalance life in the pond. It also allows you to use the drained residue as a source of fertilizer. After all, the discharged material is normally nutrients produced by fish and plants in the pond as well as minerals.

Reasons to Drain a Pond

As mentioned above, draining a garden pond comes with numerous benefits.  However,  draining a mature pond can have negative effects on the ecosystem as well.  After all, the pond would've developed a large population of beneficial bacteria, microorganisms, and plants to help the fish in it thrive.

Draining and refilling such a pond will take considerable time to develop the maturity it enjoyed.

If you have fish, a matured pond is even more important as it produces resources such as ammonia, nitrites, and nutrients required to nurture the fish.

In this case, investing in a pond vacuum is the way to go. This is because a pond vacuum allows you to clean it without having to fully drain and distort the ecosystem. Therefore, fully draining a garden pond must come with valid reasons.

Typically, reasons to drain a garden pond include:

  • Replacing or repairing the pond liner
  • Redesigning the garden and pond space
  • Move fish from one pond to the other
  • Doing necessary water changes
  • Checking fish for parasites or injuries

Where to Drain Pond Water? What’s the best option?

How to Drain a Garden Pond: where to Drain Pond Water?

Pond water is normally packed with a wide selection of beneficial microorganisms – especially water from a mature pond. This means that draining it straight into the sewer system is basically wastage. Instead, you can use the water as fertilizer. Depending on the type of plants and fish in the pond, pond water is packed with high quantities of phosphates and nitrates; making it even better than commercial fertilizer.

You can simply collect the pond water using buckets and then, easily transfer the water to the plants that you need to use fertilizer on.

Alternatively, people who have garden ponds prepare their investment sooner. Instead of having to juggle buckets and buckets of water around, you can simply plant trees and plants around the garden pond. This allows you to easily drain the pond water around the densely planted areas, allowing the water to swiftly spread through the soil and enrich the roots of the vegetation. Additionally, you can choose to drain the water into the lawn to promote increased and healthy growth of the grass on it.

How to Drain a Pond Quickly and Easily

There are several ways you can drain a pond depending on the size and your budget. You can choose to drain a pond with or without a pump. However, for fast and quick drainage, you definitely want to use a pump.

Method 1 – Submersible Pond Pump

 For super fast drainage, a submersible pond pump is the best option.  These pumps are ideally designed to be used by both small and large ponds. To empty a garden pond using the submersible pond pump, simply position the pump’s output hose into the garden or where you want the water to be expelled.

Then, place the pump at the deepest point of the pond to guarantee maximum drainage.

To ensure your pump can manage the weight requirements, check its power output to see if matches the depth and size of your pond.

To check this value, look at the maximum weight the pump can lift pond water. The higher the value is, the more power it will have.

Alternatively, you can opt for an external pump – however, it comes with limitations. If your external pump is installed in a way that it is below the waterline with a fixed intake, you may have trouble draining water below its intake height. To fix this problem, invest in a hose extension to extend the pump's depth.

Method 2 – Solar Powered Pond Pump

To save more on your investment and energy consumption costs, you can opt for a solar-powered pond pump.  The drawback that comes with a solar-powered pond pump is that it only works efficiently for small ponds.  Additionally, due to the minimal energy, these pumps are designed for slow drainage.

Furthermore, you must remember that solar pumps are powered by sunlight, thus, they will only work efficiently during summertime when the sun is bright. However, solar-powered pumps also come with advantages.  Since they are solar-powered, they are ideal for remote areas or if you don't have a nearby power outlet to use electric powered ones. 

Because such pumps are designed for small, shallow ponds anyway, you will not have to struggle with inadequate power to pump water to ground level and into the garden. To ensure maximum drainage, go for a pump with an output of at least 200 to 500 gallons per hour.

Method 3 – Pond Vacuum Cleaner

How to Drain a Pond Quickly and Easily: Method 3 – Pond Vacuum Cleaner

Alternatively, for fast drainage of small to large ponds, you can opt for a pond vacuum. The best part about using a pond vacuum is that you will not only drain the water. You can also use a pond vacuum to simply clean it. However, if you want to enjoy full drainage performance, you may want to invest in a premium quality pump.

Most pond vacuums that can clean and drain are built with a discharge feature to allow you to remove the water you’ve drained. However, for most pumps, you will have to switch off the suction feature to be able to open the backport for drainage. This means that with a large capacity vacuum, you will be able to drain more water in a shorter period.

Method 4 – Siphon Hose/Pump

A siphon hose or pump comes in handy for a small pump. However, it is only ideal for very slow drainage. A siphon hose pipe works for small elevated ponds. Whilst you can use any hose, it is recommended that you use a hose with a manual pump design to prevent you from having to physically suck the water through the hose.

For easy extraction, ensure you get an adequately sized hand pump and hose. Typically, siphon hoses combined with a hand pump will drain between 2 to 10 gallons per minute.

This means that with a maximum capacity of 10 gallons per minute, it will take 40 minutes to drain 400 gallons of water.

If you don't have a pump, you may take 10x more time to drain the water.

How to Drain a Pond Quickly and Easily

If you don’t have access to a pump, you can choose to drain a pond without one.   Yet, if your pond is large, the task can be time-consuming.  To drain water manually from a pump, you will need a siphon hose, rock or brick, and a nozzle.  If you don’t have a siphon hose, you can use a standard garden hose.

  • Plug the hose to a faucet and extend it to where you want to empty the water. If the hose is too short, add an extension to cater to the needs.
  • Attach a nozzle to the other end of the garden hose and turn on your water source.
  • When the hose fills up with water, close the nozzle, turn off the spigot, and disconnect the hose from it. Then, hold the tube vertically to trap water in.
  • Then, find an area with a lower elevation than the pond to discharge your pond water.
  • Hold the nozzle and gently place it on the ground, and dip the other end to the pond. For maximum results, choose the deepest part of the pond to place the hose. Use a brick or a rock to securely hold the hose in place.
You must be asking yourself, how does a standard hose work without a pump? This is because when you set up the equipment and submerge the hose underwater, water cohesion happens inside the hose that is filled with water. As liquid flows out of the open nozzle, the water on the other end is sucked whilst also pulling the pond water.

What to Do After you Drain a Pond

How to Drain a Garden Pond: what to Do After you Drain a Pond

You may have other reasons to drain your pond – including changing the liner or improving the overall pond environment. Yet, ultimately, you will have to clean it up and enhance the ecosystem environment. Since you will drain all the water, it serves as a perfect time to ensure everything is in perfect order.

 Check the liner to ensure it is immaculate, check light fixtures, check the filter, and other elements to ensure everything is proper before you refill the pond. 

Furthermore, you want to power wash the pond basin including the pond liner to remove any grime, sludge, or muck. However, to ensure you introduce your fish and plants back into a nurturing environment, you want to ensure it is ideal for their survival. After all, you will most likely refill the pond using tap water.

Dechlorinate The Water

The number one thing you want to do is to dechlorinate the water.  Water coming from your tap will contain significant amounts of chlorine and chloramine (a mixture of chlorine and ammonia).  This is because the chlorine in the water helps to keep out bacteria that would otherwise harm our health.

The levels of chlorine in the tap water are not enough to harm us but can easily harm small fish and plants. Increased amounts of these substances can affect the survival of your fish. This is because microorganisms needed for fish survival will not survive in such water conditions as well. Furthermore, chlorine can be toxic to aquatic creatures such as goldfish or koi.

So before you add your fish to the water – improve these conditions. You can easily dechlorinate the water in your garden pond by using a wide selection of available de-chlorinator treatments, activated carbon, or use dedicated filtration units. With filtration units, you will have to install a permanent one.

If you are on a budget, you don’t have to invest in any chemicals or filters. Instead, you can follow the traditional dechlorinating process. To do so, simply put the water you want to add to the pond in a bucket and let it stand for 24 to 48 hours.

Typically, the small amounts of chlorine found in tap water will rise to the surface and escape into the atmosphere – after all, chlorine comes in gaseous form. However, this process only works for smaller ponds.

If you try to use it for large ponds, it will take you days to dechlorinate all the water you intend to use.

Furthermore, this process only works for removing chlorine but not chloramine.

How to Properly Refill Your Pond After Draining

After setting the ideal chemical environment for the water, you need to add supplemental elements such as good bacteria to promote fish and plant health. You can do so by physically adding the good bacteria to the water. You can simply buy these microorganisms online or from a physical store.

The good bacteria help to promote a healthier ecosystem so your fish and plants can thrive better. In addition to adding the good bacteria, you need to perform quality tests on the water to ensure the water is ideal for fishing and plant survival.

Similar to how you would check your pool, check the nitrite, ammonia, pH, and kH levels in the water. If you are unsure of what the levels should be, a simple check online can help you to easily find out.  Quality checks on your water are important even if you partially drain your pond  as they are the simplest indicators of whether your fish and plants are in an ideal environment or not.

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