The life aquatic

What goes around comes around, and there's no truer saying when it comes to gardening '“ if it's April, it must be time to clean the pond.

WATER WORLD: A pond should be an integral part of the garden.

That is, of course, if you have a pond. If you don’t, then consider getting one – even if it’s only to attract wildlife.

Even in mid-winter, there’s something about a pond. True, it may be frozen solid but it won’t stay that way; a few days of sunshine and warmth, and the shadow of winter has faded.

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Early April should be the time when spring really announces itself; when fish start to emerge from their slumbers and when frogs do what frogs have to do.

So, it’s time to wake up the pond. The fish and the aquatic plants don’t really like disturbing after months of winter, but that doesn’t mean you should leave well alone.

Filters will need cleaning and re-starting and the water quality will have to be checked for nitrate levels.

When the temperature rises, the warmth will encourage algae to sprout; in a well-tended pond, that should be no problem because aquatic plants should also start to grow and suppress any unwanted vegetation.

But if you are worried that things may be getting out of hand, you can always apply an algae treatment.

Then it’s the turn of the fish. Providing they have survived the winter and the attentions of any scavenging herons, they will need feeding daily – give then as much as they can stomach in two minutes.

They will not be feeling 100 per cent and could be too weak to fight off attacks from parasites; if they show any signs of a slimy coating on their scales, use a proprietary remedy which can be added to the water to clear parasites.

And having mentioned herons – stop them from getting a free meal at your expense by stringing lines of twine across the pond, or else net it. It’s not the most attractive thing, but if it saves a few expensive fish, then it’s worth it.

If the pond is just a pond – fishless but still an integral part of the garden – simply clean it. Rake out all the decaying vegetation, remove pondweed, top up the water level and tidy up the marginal plants.

Frogs will love it, insects will be drawn to it, birds will drink from it and come April 2017, you can do all the work again...