A very informative article concerning fish health in the spring written by Paul Curtis titled, “When the Ice Melts and the Water Warms!” was published in the March/April Pond Trade Magazine. I wanted to share the highlights with you as many of our ponds are currently experiencing this seasonal transition.
Depending on your location, the transition into spring can be harsh on your water garden fish. As cold-blooded creatures, fish are dependent on the temperature of their environment and these chaotic and rapid temperature fluctuations can be stressing.
A lack of biofiltration and a lack of food due to cold temperatures add even more stress to our fish. So a decline in water quality and fish nutritional deficiency is likely. In addition, organisms that cause disease come to life in the warming water. So that gives these bad guys a fighting chance against fish that have an already weakened immune system. Couple that with an inactive biofiltration system and you have a recipe for disaster.
Some ways to help ease the seasonal transition and reduce the likelihood of stress:
- Pond shading can help to alleviate drastic temperature changes
- Feed your fish a high quality diet all year long. “A fish is only as strong as the food it is fed.”, states Paul. Stress reduces the immune function and makes fish more susceptible to diseases, so a seasonal fish food can help as well. To understand more about seasonal fish food, read this article.
- Once filters are started for the season, monitor water quality carefully and regularly by checking the ammonia, nitrite, alkalinity and pH levels. Alkalinity levels below 100mg/l will not allow the bio-filter to operate at its peak efficiency. Spring startup needs this peak efficiency.
- Preventative treatments in the spring may be a good choice if you repeatedly experience problems on spring start up. Consider a broad spectrum disease treatment.
Fish can tolerate some stress but eliminating the stress factors that we can control will help you to have healthy fish.
Paul Curtis is the principle of AquaSolver and AquaFinn, the parent company of the MinnFinn line of products. www.aquafinn.com