Although pond maintenance is not a difficult task, it needs to be cared for year round. There are specific things that need to be done each season to ensure that your pond and its inhabitants survive year to year. Listed below are the seasons and the tasks that should be completed for each.
Fall & Winter Time:
If your pond is less than 18″ deep in most areas or if you have a patio pond, you will need to bring your fish inside for the winter time; otherwise, see the last bullet of information.When the water temperature drops below 60 degrees, feed your fish the wheat germ sticks and stop altogether when the water temperature is consistently below 50 degrees. It is dangerous to feed the fish when the temperature is this cold because their digestive system can not handle the food properly; which may result in death. You should continue to add stress coat as well, as the fish undergo severe stress while the temperature of the water drops.
Disconnect and clean your filtering system, pump, and waterfall feature. The external filter should be drained and cleaned, but does not have to be brought inside. Any filters or pumps that are in the water should be cleaned, especially the impeller on the pump, and can be left in the water or brought inside. The UV sterilizer must be brought inside before any freezing weather and should be cleaned, inside and out.
Remove any leaves or plant matter that has fallen in the pond and you should add natural enzymes to help break down any organic waste. We sell pond netting and skimmer nets in a variety of sizes to match your size pond. Microbe-Lift Autumn Prep is a great product because it contains natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria that will continue working and will survive the freezing temperatures.
Bring tropical plants inside, throw away any floating plants, some bog plants can be used as house plants, and hardy plants should be placed on the bottom of the pond. (Call and/or ask if you don’t know which plants are hardy and which are tropical)
The most important step to ensure the survival of your fish is to keep a hole in the ice throughout the winter. You do not want to continue your normal aeration because you want the water on the bottom to remain undisturbed, warm pocket of water. If you circulate the water as you do in the summer, the cold water will be brought to the bottom, removing the warm pocket of water. There are three options to choose from to keep the hole open; one is a small winter pump, an aeration kit, and the other is a de-icer. The pump should be positioned at the surface of the pond, pushing the water horizontally. This will keep a hole open through a mild winter, but should be checked if the temperature is going to drop into single digits. The aeration kit allows for proper exchange of oxygen and gases and can be used year round! The de-icer is a great option because it is very energy efficient (200 watts) and is thermostatically controlled (will turn on and off when necessary).Â The de-icer simply floats on the surface and has been tested and works to -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove any leaves or organic matter that may have settled over the winter time using a net or vacuum.Remove and clean your winter pump or de-icer.
When the water temperature reaches an average of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, reinstall the filtering system, UV, pump, and restart the waterfall, fountain, and/ or spitters. Make sure that they are all clean and functioning properly.
Add beneficial bacteria to your biological filter, add natural enzymes to help break down any organic matter that may still exist, and add stress coat to help the fish come out of the hibernation state safely.
Place your plants back on the shelves, clean and cut them back if necessary.
Start feeding your fish the wheat germ sticks until the water temperature reaches 60 degrees.
Check and correct the pH of your water, we suggest that it should be around 6.8. Check it regularly in the morning, as the pH rises as the day continues. Replace filter pad and media.
Continue to feed your fish, we recommend that you do not feed them more than once a day, for no more than 5 minutes; all of the extra food should be removed, this also means that you are feeding them too much.Continue to add the beneficial bacteria and natural enzymes bi- weekly, stress coat whenever you add new fish, handle your existing fish or if there is a significant change in the pH or temperature of the water.
Monitor the pH to ensure the health of your fish, especially when adding new fish (6.8 pH).
Clean the mechanical (sponge) filters regularly, you will notice that they need to be cleaned when your water flow from the waterfall or fountain is reduced from its normal flow.
Add plant life, up to 70% water surface coverage. Fish, snails, tadpoles, and mussels to help balance the eco-system and to help clean and clarify the water.