Preparing Your Pond for Fall and Winter

Preparing Your Pond for Fall and Winter

Camila Grottesi

It’s officially fall.  And for many of us, it’s time to prepare our ponds for the approaching winter season.  Aquascape has a great informational pamphlet surrounding this very subject: Fall and Winter Pond Care, which is summarized below.  You can read Aquascape’s entire article here.

Falling Leaves

There’s no avoiding the falling leaves but it is something that must be addressed.  If you have a skimmer, a large majority of the leaves will be captured here.  Others will be left to sink to the bottom of your pond.  Large quantities of leaves that are left in your pond will decompose and rob your pond of oxygen.  A good preventative measure is to cover your pond netting until the majority of the leaves have fallen.

Fall Plant Care

After the first frost, you should stop fertilizing your pond plants.  As leaves and foliage die and turn yellow, cut them back.  Hardy bog and marginal plants should be trimmed back to within 2 inches of the water level.  Water lilies should be trimmed back within 2-3 inches of the base of the plant.  Tropical plant varieties will need to be removed the pond and brought inside, otherwise, they can be treated as annuals and replaced next year.

Fish Care

Pond water temperature is crucial in relation to the feeding your fish.  If you have been feeding your fish all season long, you should feed your fish a premium cold water fish food when the pond water temperature reaches 65°F.  Aquascape offers a Premium Cold Water Fish Food that contains a high quality protein and a stabilized multi-vitamin.  Once the water temperature has reached 50°F, it is time to stop feeding your fish completely.

Winter Fish Care

Your pond should be at least 18 inches deep for over-wintering your fish.  In extreme cold climates where your pond can freeze over, it is important that you maintain an opening in pond so that air and gas exchanges can take place.  In other words, the decomposing organic matter can be released and replaced with oxygen.  There are several options for eliminating pond freeze-over.

One popular method is the use of a floating de-icer in the pond.  Aquascape Aquadeicer™ 200 is thermostatically controlled to kick on when the water temperature reaches 32 °F.  This is a very worry-free solution for your winter fish care.

Another such option is to place your existing pond pump close to the water surface to help create water movement.  This may help to prevent freezing over of the pond in that area.  It will also allow for the exchange of gases.   If this method isn’t effective, you should consider the floating de-icer discussed earlier.

If you have an overstocked pond (more than 10” of fish for every 100 gallons), it is wise to incorporate 2 or 4 stone Aquascape bubblers into your pond to increase your oxygen levels.  Incorporate Aquascape’s AquaClearer™ Extreme Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria to help eliminate the decaying organic matter and help maintain a healthy pond.

Optional Winter Pump Care

The decision to run your waterfall over the winter months is entirely yours to make.  Aquascape does note that the build-up of the ice on the waterfall can lead to water being diverted out of the pond, which could lead to significant water loss.  Proper care should be taken to monitor your pond during the winter months to avoid such an accident.  If this happens, shut down and disconnect the pump and store it for the remainder of the cold season in a frost-free location.  Keep the Aquascape pump submerged in a bucket of water to keep the seals lubricated.  Always be sure to read proper storage care for your specific pump.

If you do run your waterfall over the winter, monitor your water levels as evaporation will occur in the winter as well.

Aquascape Fall and Winter Products Available:

AquaForce™ Solids Handling 1000 Pump– Perfect all season long, but also excellent for use as a winter de-icer, with it’s flexible extension tube and low maintenance, solid-handling design.  Very energy efficient, running on 50 watts.

Pond Aerator: Helps prevent icing-over of your pond in the winter, as well as providing significantly increased levels of oxygen in your pond for healthier fish and better breakdown of organic matter.

AquaDeicer™ 200: Thermostatically controlled de-icer that works only when water temperatures are at 32 degrees or lower.  It will efficiently maintain an opening in the ice on your pond all winter allowing for the escape of harmful gases caused by decaying organic material.

Aquascape Premium Cold Water Fish Food Pellets: This is scientifically formulated to provide premium nutrition to all pond fish including goldfish and koi at colder temperatures.

Aquascape AquaClearer™ Extreme Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria: Contains 7 pure strains of concentrated beneficial bacteria that works quickly cleaning and balancing your pond, works at temperatures below 50°F.

Pond Thermometer: You have to have one.

You can find all your Aquascape products here at Best-Planet!

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