Tip #1: Early spring pond tips
The weather is now gradually warming up and you will notice that your fish are becoming more active. Now is the time to do a few maintenance jobs around the pond and to be vigilant for any signs of problems with the fish.
Have you checked your pump recently? Many people spend less time looking after their pond in winter and therefore the likelihood of their pump(s) becoming partially clogged is greater. If you have an inlet strainer, remove it and clean it as necessary. If you are able to get access to the impeller (rotor inside the pump) you should check that also. It is quite possible that some debris could be trapped in the impeller thus reducing pumping efficiency and wasting electricity.
If you have a bottom drain, check that there is no weed clogging it or plastic bags that have blown into the pond. The pipe from the drain should be purged too in order to remove any waste that has settled in the pipe. This is particularly important if you have had a partly blocked pump (thus reduced flow) or if you have turned your pumping flow down for the winter.
If you have ceased feeding in the winter it is important that you start feeding at exactly the right time. As soon as you have a week of warmer weather, the fish will start to be much more active. This is the time to start feeding with a wheatgerm food. However, beware of the trap that is common at the beginning of the year when you get 1 week of warm weather followed by two of freezing weather. Keep an eye on the long range forecast and as soon as you see a couple of weeks of improved weather, you should now be safe to start feeding.
Fish usually emerge from the winter in a weakened state and seem to be more prone to health issues. Parasitic infections are rare in very cold conditions but as soon as the water warms, parasites can be ready to take advantage of any fish in a weakened state. Either stay vigilant and treat at the first sign of trouble or you may wish to treat prophylactically with formalin and malachite green (available as several well-known brands) for instance. Bacterial infections may cause problems at this time too. If you see that your fish have damage or infected scales, they should be cleaned up and treated with a topical antibacterial medication. If you are not able to do this then it would be worth seeking competent help so that a small problem might be nipped in the bud.
Remember, just a small amount of maintenance can pay dividends and can prevent more serious problems from developing.