How to Keep a Pool Pump Clean

A backyard fish pond surrounded by foliage and grass.

A pond will accumulate algae naturally as organisms and bacteria grow in the water. However, sometimes it can become lodged in your pump, preventing it from functioning normally. Below are some simple tips for getting rid of string algae jamming a pond pump and how to keep it from happening again.

Clean the Pump

There are several different kinds of algae that can thrive in pond ecosystems. While some of it is good and a natural part of the ecosystem, string algae is not. You'll know you're seeing string algae if it’s stringy, obviously, and if you are able to simply pull it out of the pond. It likes to stick to bottom of ponds and grow upwards in long strands. This can get caught up in your pump and other mechanical systems very easily, and the best way to clean the pump is to take it out and physically remove the algae. You can use a brush to scrub any buildup on the outside of the casing, but if any has gotten inside, you will need to remove the pump from the pond altogether.

First, disconnect the pump from any hoses or power to make it safe to work on. Then, dismantle the pump so that you can clean all the parts in detail, one-by-one. Only use pond water to scrub these parts clean, as even tap water can mess with the delicate ecosystem of your pond when the pump is reintroduced. Once this cleaning is complete, reassemble and reconnect the pump.

Cleaning Products

A lot of people make the mistake of cleaning their pump or filtration system with household cleaners. While this may make sense in theory, it can be deadly to the ecosystem of your pond. Even if you think you have rinsed the pump clean before putting it back in the pond, you are still going to introduce a new chemical in to the pond. If you feel you need to clean with more than just water and elbow grease, visit your local pond supply store and get an enzyme or bacterial cleaner. These kinds of cleaners are eco-friendly and will not hurt the inhabitants of your pond. These can also help to cut back on any foul odors produced in the water.

Removing String Algae from the Pond

You will want to look into other methods of banishing algae from your pond, especially if you have a frequent problem with it. You may encounter some problems with this task, however. Products designed to kill algae can also kill any fish you may have, and products like herbicides will kill the algae as well as any other plants you have. But while neither of these are a good option, there are a few products available that are made for this problem specifically. Go to your local pond supply outlet and ask a specialist for the best product that will not kill the fish or plants.

Barley, for example, has been used most frequently to help prevent string algae. It produces a natural enzyme that makes it difficult for string algae to grow and reproduce. A bale of barley tossed in the water will help rid your pond of this problem. It is suggested that you use one bale per 1000 gallons of water. You should only have to do this every eight months or so. It won’t work on any algae that’s already in your pond, so keep in mind this is a preventative treatment. You also need to be patient when using this method of prevention, as you will not get immediate results; it can take as long as two months to see improvement. In the meantime, you will have to pull the algae out by hand as it becomes visible in your pond.