Now that autumn has officially arrived, it is time to start thinking about getting our gardens and ponds ready for the imminent cold weather. Here are some do-it-yourself pond winterizing tips to help you keep your equipment in good working order, your pond looking beautiful and your fish in good health.
• To prevent extra leaves and debris from falling into the water, you can place a protective pond net over the pond before the leaves start to fall off the trees. Then, you can simply roll up the net and remove the leaves. Remove the net once the trees are done shedding. You can use specialized netting or even strawberry netting if you prefer.
• Remove leaves and debris from the surface of the water and bottom of the pond using a long-handled pond net to simply scoop them out.
• Trim back any marginal plants so that their leaves don’t make it into the pond.
• Clean and remove algae from stones and decorations if you find that there is significant build-up.
• Perform a water change. Up to 50% of the water in your pond could get changed at this time of year.
• Add a water conditioner or water treatment that contains strains of cold water bacteria. This will accelerate the breakdown of leaves, fish waste and sediment that settle in the pond over the winter months and make spring cleanup much easier.
• If you have invested in tropical plants that are not hardy for your area’s climate, they can be removed and brought indoors for overwintering.
• Since pond fish are cold blooded, the temperature of the water will affect their metabolism. They cannot digest very well under cold conditions so you must cut back on feeding and change their diet (reduce the protein) when the water temperature dips to 60 degrees. Stop feeding them altogether when water drops to 40-45 degrees.
• Clean your pond’s water pump and filters. If water will drop below 40 degrees, shut down the water pump altogether and remove the pump and filter media. Drain and store your submersible pump and filters in a dry, frost-free location, following the manufacturer’s suggestions.
• A de-icer or an aerator should be installed at the surface of the pond to provide gas exchange in the water. Without gas exchange, your pond will not be able to support your fish through the winter.
Following these easy DIY home improvement tips will help to protect your investment and maintain your beautiful pond.