Winterize Your Pond Properly

Fall and winter can wreak havoc on your pond. It is in the colder months that the most debris will fall into the pond: twigs, leaves, and other garbage that will accumulate on the bottom and begin to decompose. This decomposition process will lead to toxic gas production over the coming months. To minimize the problem before it starts, Fall is a great time to collect the floating debris and clean the muck from the bottom of the pond.

pond cleaning equipment

If there is a layer of ice on top of the pond, the gasses will be trapped, and can damage the fish and the eco-system. If you can keep a hole open in the pond ice for the exchange of toxic gasses and oxygen, the fish will be healthier and the pond will maintain its balance more easily. (Ice is usually acceptabale if it doesn't cover the entire pond for more than a couple of days.)

Don't, under an circumstances, chip or chop away at the surface ice as this creates serious, injurious shock waves through the water.

If your pond is in-ground, keep it full of water. Turn off the pump and filter when freezing is possible. It is best to remove and store your pump wet (in a bucket of water) somewhere where it will not freeze. This will keep the O rings wet and help to prevent drying and cracking of the seals before next Spring season. The pump will last longer if you follow this practice. Store the filter where it will not freeze as well.

You can leave the fish in the pond if it will not freeze solid. They will lye on the bottom during the cold months, swimming very little in almost a state of suspended animation. Feed increased rations in the early Fall to give your fish fat to store for the Winter months. Feed a lower protein diet as the temperature drops and gradually cut back the amount of food as well until you stop feeding altogether below 45 degrees F.

Install one of the pond heaters designed to create a hole in the surface of the pond. In very large ponds, install two or more heaters. No pond heater is designed to keep the pond water warm (like in an aquarium). They are designed to keep a gas/oxygen exchange hole open only.

You can also install an aeration pump that will send bubbles to the surface of the pond, adding oxygen and maintaining an agitation hole in the surface of the pond to allow toxic gasses to escape.

If you keep live plants in your aquarium, their rootstock must not freeze. If your pond is deeper than 3 feet you may be able to just lower the rootstock below the 3 foot mark (all the way below the freeze mark if it is below 3 feet.) If you want to be sure, take the plants out of the pond, wrap the rootstock in newspaper, keep them damp, and store in a cool basement or garage that will stay between 40 ° F and 60 ° F. Be sure to check them frequently to see that they stay moist.

Winterizing plants in northern climates is challenging at best. Sometimes it is just as economical and convenient to purchse new plants in the Spring.

If the pond is above-ground, empty it, bring your fish inside to an aquarium, and winterize your plants indoors for sure.

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Winterize Your Pond