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Best time to desilt a pond?

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: General
Forum Name: Wildlife Gardening
Forum Description: For discussion about wildlife (especially amphibian and reptile) gardening
Printed Date: 31 May 2020 at 5:47pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: Best time to desilt a pond?
Posted By: chubsta
Subject: Best time to desilt a pond?
Date Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 8:22am
My pond is probably about 12feet by 5, varying depths up to about 3feet in the centre. It is a pond-liner surrounded by patio stones.

There are a small amount of goldfish, which i hope to remove, and a lot of weed with a large lily. The pond seems very healthy at the moment, it is full of dragonfly and damselfly larvae, leeches, small crustaceans, a few surviving frog tadpoles, and for the first time in years a couple of newts.

The trouble is is is getting very silted up, to the point where the central 'trench' is probably only foot deep at the most. In previous clean-ups i have removed everything from the pond and completely cleared it out before refilling and putting a small amount of the week back in, however, this is obviously catastrophic to the life in there which although it always recovers I can't help feeling terrible about everything that dies.

This year I have the plan of using a small drill powered pump and hose to suck the silt from the bottom over a period of a few days, if i can just clear the majority of the silt i will be happy as i also intend to remove the fish, and surrounding trees have been removed which should mean that less leaves etc get blown into the pond. Hopefully this will mean a lower rate of silting in the future...

So, thats the background out of the way, now when should i do it? Should i do it now and risk loads of small critters getting sucked through the pump as the pond is full of them, or should i wait until autumn or spring when there is less life overall in the pond but then of course some may be hiding from the cold in the silt.

Basically, i want to get rid of the silt with the least possible impact on the dragonfly larvae, shrimps and particularly newts, not bothered about the leeches as there are millions of them!

Any and all advice on how to go about this job would be appreciated!

Posted By: PondDragon
Date Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 11:46am
Late summer / early autumn (late August - September) should be a good time, as many ponds naturally dry up at this time. Amphibians should mostly have finished breeding by then. A lot of the insects should also be in their mobile, adult stage so can fly off to other ponds (water beetles, bugs etc.).

Very little is going to be living actually in the silt apart from right at the surface - if you transfer the weed/plants to suitable temporary accommodation you should retain quite a lot of the pondlife.

Posted By: superdart
Date Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 3:06pm
Nice weather in October is a good time and use a pond vac if you can.

Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 11:02pm
Originally posted by superdart superdart wrote:

Nice weather in October is a good time and use a pond vac if you can.

A pond vacuum? I never knew they made such a thing but i have had a quick look around the net and found a few suitable candidates so may very well buy one to make the job easier.

My biggest concern is the newts, i have wanted to have them in the pond for so long that i can't take the risk of either harming them or disturbing them enough to make them leave. I guess i could always try catching them in the run up to the cleaning operation but i don't even know how many there are, i have only seen two individuals sitting under the lily pads, there could be only those two or there could be dozens...

thanks very much for the advice so far though, guess it is definitely a job that can wait until the autumn.

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