The autumn season is the best time to begin to weatherize your pond. As the temperature drops and the leaves begin to turn and fall, it’s important to step up the care of your pond or water feature to protect your investment. If you have fish, it’s particularly crucial for their survival.
Helpful tips to protect the health of your fish and pond during the freezing weather conditions:
- Remove leaves and any dying plant foliage from the pond, otherwise, they will decay and pollute the water and heavy leaf fall/accumulation will clog a skimmer.
Divide some types of aquatic plants (waterlilies and iris).
- After your hardy plants have stopped growing, cut back the foliage and lower the pot to the bottom of the pond.
- Cover your pond with leaf netting. Try to do so before the leaves begin to fall.
- Consider adding a floating de-icer to keep an area free of ice; this allows for oxygenation and gas exchange during the period’s ice has formed and covers the pond.
- Begin feeding the fish less when the water temperature drops to the sixties as their metabolism slows down in the colder weather.
- Add a Koi Kastle fish shelter to help protect your fish and provide a hiding place from predators and keep them more comfortable during the cold weather.
- Once the water temperature has dropped to the fifties or high forties, stop feeding the fish until the spring.
- When the water temperatures drop to the high forties reduce the circulation of the pond water by either turning off the pump for the winter and draining all of the plumbing or preferably place the pump or intake to the pump closer to the water outlet or waterfall and pick up water from mid-level of the pond.
- Then turn down the water flow, but keeping the water flowing through your biological filter.
- However, if you keep your filter running through the winter, take precautions against the water from freezing in your plumbing; in case of a power outage.
- Do not break the ice in the pond surface as the shock waves created can hurt or kill your fish. In case of a frozen pond emergency, in order to thaw out a section of the frozen pond, use boiling water to melt the ice instead.
- Floating de-icers have a built-in thermostat to turn the heating element on when the water temperature drops below 40 degrees and can keep a small pond from freezing solid, which will protect your fish.
- Consider multiple de-icers depending on the size and depth of your pond.
- Some owners lay down a piece of plywood or insulation board over a section of the pond bank where the de-icer resides to prevent the warmth from escaping too quickly.
- If you use an aerator to keep your pond well oxygenated and help keep a section of your pond open in the wintertime, remember, it is capable of hyper-cooling your water. Therefore, to prevent this it should be kept in an insulated chamber (outside the pond) in order to pump in less frigid air, or the pump should be kept indoors with just the airline and airstones being used outdoors.
- Remove snow from the pond surface. Snow coverage prevents light penetration, making it impossible for the microscopic plants in your pond to photosynthesize and produce oxygen, which your fish need to breathe. By removing from at least a portion of your pond surface, will help reduce the likelihood of this from happening.
- Invest in a generator or a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) to help protect your pond in the vent of severe storms or power outages so that your de-icers and aerators will continue to work, as a complete freeze can deplete the available oxygen in a relatively short time.
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