Backyard Bliss: How to Clean and Maintain Your Koi Pond in 9 Steps

It's time for a koi pond that’s calming and clean

Paige Novak
Written by Paige Novak
Updated April 25, 2022
Children feed koi
Photo: Odua Images / Adobe Stock


Flex your DIY muscles.

Time to complete

3 hours


$55–$300 (cost of pond pump and dechlorinator)

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What you'll need:


  • Pond pump
  • Hose
  • Fish net
  • Relocation tank
  • Skimmer
  • Rags


  • Fish safe dechlorinator
  • Toothbrush or other light-bristled brush

What sounds better than a sunny day and a drink by the water? Even better—you won’t need to leave your backyard. Koi ponds are the perfect water feature design that adds serene beauty and style to your home. 

While these ponds have perks, there are plenty of things to consider before installing a water feature at your home, like installation, proper care, and maintenance. Follow along below for simple koi pond maintenance. In no time, you’ll have a clean koi pond you and your fish will love.

9 Steps for Koi Pond Maintenance

  1. Remove the Koi Fish

    Note that this part gets a little messy. Have a relocation fish tank filled with water (make sure it’s a safe temperature) and ready for your koi fish. Use the fishing net and remove the koi fish so they’re secure.

  2. Clean the Debris

    Now that the fish are safe and sound, you have to remove the large debris. Just like a pool, you’ll grab your skimmer and remove any large leaves or sticks floating in the pond.

  3. Drain the Water

    Next up, you’re ready to pump the existing water from the pond. Draining makes it easier to clean the pond’s liner. For this, you’ll need your pond pump. 

    The pond pump should be submersible so the water will fully drain. After placing it in the pond, it will suck up the older water and remove debris. In no time, you’ll be left with an empty pond.

  4. Let the Pond Dry

    After the pond is empty, you’re going to want to let it dry for at least an hour. Once it’s dry, you’re good to start removing parts.

  5. Remove the Parts

    Start by removing faux plants and structures. Then, move on to removing any lights, features, and the pump.

  6. Scrub the Pond

    Your koi pond should now be completely dry and empty. Start scrubbing the pond with a light hand. You can use a toothbrush or any other lightly bristled brush. This will get rid of any scum and algae lurking around. 

    You can’t use any cleaners since you’ll be placing your koi fish back in the pond. Instead, use the sprayer attachment on your hose along with a brush to clean the pond liner.

  7. Pour the Decholrinator

    Now that the pond is clear, you’re going to add a fish-safe dechlorinator to the pond. Just be sure it’s approved for use in the pond before using the directed amount.

  8. Fill the Pond

    A hose fills a pond
    Photo: Repina Valeriya / Adobe Stock

    Dechlorinator is done, and now you should get the hose. Use your hose to fill up the koi pond. In no time, your fish will have fresh water.

  9. Add the Koi Fish

    Last, but arguably, the most exciting step—add your accessories, plants, and fish houses back into your pond. Then, get your relocation tank and fish net to place your koi fish back into the pond. Watch in delight as they enjoy their new, clean home.

DIY Koi Pond Maintenance vs. Hiring Pros

Koi pond maintenance is something any DIYer can tackle, but it does take some time. If you’re short on time, hire a professional landscaper to get the job done. Either way, you’ll have a clean koi pond that you and your fish are sure to enjoy.

Additional Questions

Where can I buy a pond pump?

There are pond pumps available for sale at pet stores, landscaping stores, and even some major retailers. You’ll want to look for a pond pump made for outdoor gardens. 

Is algae harmful or beneficial for your koi pond?

Whether you’d guess it or not, there’s a lot of speculation about whether it’s a good idea to remove algae from a koi pond. Some say that algae is an important part of a koi pond’s microbiome, but too much is a hazard to your koi fish. As a general rule of thumb, removing excess algae is important so it doesn’t overgrow, which causes a lack of oxygen in the water.

When should I clean the koi pond?

You should clean your koi pond in the spring. This is the general recommendation because it allows you to remove any dead debris that accumulated over the fall and winter seasons. Plus, this gets your koi pond ready for the summertime.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.