Now is the perfect time to winterize your pond. As fall begins we will notice the temperature dropping and the leaves starting to change colors and falling to the ground. The entire pond, including the fish and plants, all need their own special care and have very different needs in the winterization process which require you to ensure specific treatment for each category.

To ready your pond for another winter you may want to begin byPond cleaning your pond, pumps, and filters from all leaves, muck, fish waste and any other debris you may find. Once you have cleaned out the debris, you should cut away dead or dying leaves on aquatic vegetation and remove. Any hardy plants you may have you may want sink to the bottom of the pond to better their chances to survive. You should also lift your pump off of the bottom of the pond at least 12” to help keep the fish and hardy plants warmer through the cold months. At this point if you have a UV light you may want to disconnect it and store it in a safe place. Don’t forget to add your cold weather bacteria to help break down fish waste through the colder months of winter. Once you have everything cleaned you may want to cover the pond with pond netting to prevent new falling leaves from getting into the pond.

Now that temperatures are dropping & if you have fish, you should consistently check on the water temperature to determine what kind of food to feed or if you should even feed your fish at all. When the water temperature drops to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you should switch the food to a cold weather diet which is low in protein. As the temperature continues to drop you will notice that at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit your fish may lose interest in food so you can cut the feedings to only 2 or 3 times a week. When your water temperature reaches 41 degrees Fahrenheit, you should no longer feed them at all. You can cause harm to your Koi and goldfish by feeding them through the winter because there digestive system slows down causing digestion not to occur.

Now that you have your pond clean and free from leaves, the last step is to find what method of keeping the ice from freezing that works best for you. I prefer using a 1500 watt pond heater although there are many different options to choose from like an aerator, a lower wattage pond heater, or just keeping your waterfall running. I have found that the most effective method is a higher wattage pond heater just because there is less of a chance your pond will freeze over on cold winter nights. Air holes are crucial for toxic gases trapped under the ice to escape. These gases that get trapped under the ice are formed from decaying debris and fish waste.  It is usually the trapped gases that kill the fish during the winter, not the lack of oxygen or cold water.

-Provided by Oakland Columbus

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