Pond Care in Winter
Cold weather can be challenging for pond owners as it can cause many disruptive changes to pond water, plants and livestock. With this in mind, paying extra care to pond maintenance during autumn and winter is essential. It will not only make such changes easier to handle but also ensure your pond will still be in excellent shape when spring rolls around.
At Discount Leisure Products, we aim to help pond owners in all aspects of pond keeping, which is why we’ve created a pond care in winter guide so you can properly care for your pond during colder seasons. By taking note of our useful tips and deciding whether they suit your needs, you can give your pond the care it deserves throughout autumn and winter, improving its condition throughout the rest of the year.
Read on to learn more about the best ways to look after your pond in autumn and winter.
1.1. Remove dead leaves
3.1. Feed your fish less
3.3. Don’t break the ice
Prepare your pond plants
Pond plants are an essential part of your pond, as they help it to maintain a balanced ecosystem and a natural, appealing look. They also act as a natural filtration system, removing toxic chemicals from the water and providing shelter and shade for pond life.
Remove dead leaves
During the winter months, many types of pond plants stop growing and lose their leaves. If dead leaves accumulate on the water’s surface over time, this can cause decreased oxygen levels in your pond, posing a risk to fish and other wildlife. To avoid this, remove dead foliage and debris regularly starting at the end of Autumn to maintain the oxygen levels in your pond. If your pond features water lilies, ensure that these are pruned to their lowest point so they can begin the growing process again after the winter.
Maintain your pond water
While clearing and maintaining your pond plants will positively affect your water quality, there are additional steps you’ll need to take to prevent it from deteriorating over the winter.
Leave your pond pump running
There is often some confusion about when to turn off pond pumps in winter, as many guides offer contradicting advice. While turning your pond pump off during winter may be necessary for countries that experience significantly lower temperatures, here in the UK, turning off your pond pump could negatively affect your pond’s ecosystem.
Biological filters have beneficial bacteria that help break down toxic chemicals in your water, improving its overall quality. Shutting down your pump will prevent your pond water from passing through the filter, causing the bacteria to die. With this in mind, leaving your pond pump running throughout the season will ensure the water has a consistent oxygen level. So, while the helpful bacteria may become dormant due to colder temperatures, they will be kept alive until the temperature rises again in the spring.
Install a pond heater
Another excellent way to maintain your pond water during the winter is by installing a pond heater. This will prevent your pond from freezing completely, which is especially important if you have fish, as it allows the gaseous exchange required to keep them healthy to continue as normal. You can help prevent ice from forming on the surface of your pond by aggravating the water slightly. For example, you can use a pond skimmer to help circulate the water’s surface, stopping ice crystals from forming and clearing any floating debris.
Remove the ice if your pond freezes
Suppose your pond does freeze over this winter. In that case, debris and waste will continue accumulating and decomposing beneath the surface, causing the toxic gases it produces to become trapped in the pond, lowering the water quality. This can harm your fish, even after a few days, so you must act quickly to resolve this. Ensure that a small surface area of your pond is kept free of ice so the water can get the oxygen it needs while also releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere.
Protect your livestock
Pond owners who keep fish must remember the following advice to ensure their fish are kept safe throughout the winter.
Feed your fish less
Your fish’s metabolism naturally slows as the temperature falls, so it can take them longer to digest their food. This means you’ll need to feed your fish less frequently to prevent food from going uneaten and affecting your water quality. As it can take some fish up to three days to digest their food, we recommend feeding them every 2 or 3 days to ensure they still receive proper nourishment.
Change your fish food
Changing your fish food during the winter to wheatgerm-based pond food is essential to aid your fish’s digestion process. Wheatgerm-based food contains less protein than other fish food, so it is easier for your fish to digest at lower temperatures, working best when the water is between 4°C and 10°C. However, when the water drops below 4°C, you should stop feeding your fish until it begins to warm up again.
Don’t break the ice
A frozen pond can harm your fish’s health, so keeping a small surface area free of ice is essential. While it might be tempting to break the ice to clear it, this sends shockwaves through the water, causing a high-stress level to your fish, possibly leading to their loss. Furthermore, fish are extremely sensitive to the slightest temperature change, so pouring hot water over pond ice could also be dangerous. We recommend using a hot object, such as a pan holding boiling water, to slowly melt the ice without disturbing your fish.
Pond care in winter with Discount Leisure Products
If you properly care for your pond during winter, it is more likely to thrive in spring and summer. The tips above will help you look after your pond plants, water and livestock and maintain their condition all year round. Discount Leisure Products offers an impressive selection of high-quality pond supplies with everything you need to build and maintain indoor and outdoor ponds. Discover the collection today to get started.