Caring for your pond during winter

Winter can be hazardous for ponds and pond life, when the temperature starts to drop and frost and ice start to creep in it can spell disaster for the...
Koi fish in a natural stone pond

Winter can be hazardous for ponds and pond life, when the temperature starts to drop and frost and ice start to creep in it can spell disaster for the ecosystem of a small pond. However, the good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure your pond blossoms next spring as well as it did last.

The major thing will be keeping your fish happy. Generally, fish will hibernate in the bottom of your pond during the winter months, but it is still vital that the pond does not freeze over as this can lead to poisonous gases having nowhere to escape to, which can be very harmful for your fish. While this is not so much of a problem in the UK, as our winters are not cold enough, you can still help prevent this by using a pond de-icer to keep a hole in the ice – and if your pond does freeze over simply pour warm water over the ice to make a hole in it.

As the fish will tend to swim down to the bottom of the pond where the water is warmest during the winter, it may be a good idea to turn any pumps and filtration systems off or down for the winter. Not only will this save on costs but also the filtration system will not be needed as much at this time of year as your fish will be producing less waste to be filtered. The circulation of water will also not be needed because cold water is more oxygen-rich than warm water so pond aeration is not as vital. In addition, circulating the water may adversely affect your fish hibernating at the bottom of the pond.

Another thing you should do in the autumn and winter is to invest in netting for your pond, particularly if you have many overhanging trees nearby. This will stop dead leaves from falling into your pond and decomposing, causing noxious substances to be carried in the water. In a similar vein, it is a good idea to clear dead vegetation from your pond when plants inevitably wither during the winter period.

If you follow this advice, you’re sure to have live fish and a blossoming pond next spring!