Pond fish winterization procedures will depend on the depth and size of your pond, along with the equipment and the species of fish you have. Practices will also vary depending on the location of your pond and the average temperatures the area receives during the winter months. Here are some tips for getting your fish ready.
Ensure The Water Is Balanced Before The Weather Changes
For ponds and water gardens it is a good idea to maintain water balance throughout the year, but this becomes extremely important in winter. Implementing partial changes to the water before the temperatures drop will help to rid the pond of nitrates which will provide the fish with water that is healthier.
Alter The Feeding Routine Of The Fish
During winter your fish will have a slower metabolism, which will make it harder for them to digest their food. When water temperatures fall to 55 degrees or less, it is a good idea to change the food you’re feeding the fish or the schedule. Special food for cold water can be provided and if the temperature continues to fall to 42 degrees or below you should cease feeding them. At this temperature their metabolism will fall further and feeding them more will cause an aquatic imbalance.
Use Cold Water Bacteria In The Pond
Cold water bacteria are a necessity when temperatures fall. The reason for this is due to their metabolism, which will slow or even stop completely. The bacteria will perform less cleaning than usual, so adding more of it will allow waste to be metabolized which provides cleaner water for fish.
Maintain An Open Pond Surface
When a pond freezes over, the exchange of gas between the water and air will cease. This is extremely dangerous for your fish. Some owners try to resolve the issue by creating a hole in the ice, but this will make the problem worse, because it can create shock waves which will kill them. The wiser course of action is to prevent the pond from freezing over. One way to do this is through the usage of aerator bubbles, which most pond owners in the northern hemisphere should have. If you live in a place where the winters tend to be severe, it may be necessary to purchase a de-icer which is dedicated.
Maintain Clean Water At All Times
Poor water quality is a leading cause of problems during the winter months. You should begin netting the pond during fall, as this is when leaves will begin falling from the trees. If leaves are allowed to get in the water and accumulate there the consequences can be disastrous, as their decay will cause the water quality to deteriorate rapidly. This in turn will lead to the fish being harmed. Maintaining clean water is the most important step you can take to ensure your fish remain healthy and vibrant during the winter months. This involves how, when and what you feed them as well as the water quality and temperature.