With another Charlotte winter on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about how to protect your koi pond from cold weather and a drop in water temperature. Just like your garden needs protection during the colder months, so does your water feature. The best way to do this is to winterize your koi pond.
Here are a few koi pond winterization tips to help you prepare your pond for winter and ensure that your fish stay healthy and happy all season long.
Switch To Cold Fish Food
You need to switch to cold fish food when the water temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit and below. Koi are cold-blooded creatures; their metabolism slows down in winter and colder water temperatures, so they need less food.
If you continue to feed them the same type of food, they will not be able to digest it properly. The wrong kind of food will make koi sick and potentially die as the food just sits in their stomachs. Fish cannot eat the same when water temperatures lower to a certain point.
Cold fish food is specially formulated to be easy for koi to digest in the winter. It also contains all the nutrients they need to stay healthy during winter as the water temperature lowers. It is high in protein and fat, which helps koi to maintain their body temperature and stay fit. Check out this guide if you’re unsure what to feed your koi fish.
Remove Fall Netting
After fall ends and winter begins, your pond netting is probably full of leaves and other debris. As part of the koi pond winterization process, you’ll want to remove the net before it gets too full and falls into your pond. The same thing can happen if it snows; since snow is heavier than leaves, the net can collapse much more quickly.
Take Out Any Leaves And Debris
Removing all leaves and debris from the water is essential when winterizing and cleaning a fish pond. There are several reasons for this:
- This organic matter can decompose and release toxins that can harm your pond fish
- Decaying leaves can lower the oxygen levels in the water, causing stress for your fish
- Leaves and debris break down into organic material, which looks terrible and can end up smelling weird, making your pond gross and lowering the water quality
Keeping your pond water surface clean and free of debris can help ensure a healthy environment for your fish during the winter months, even when the water temperature drops.
Clean Skimmers And Biological Filters
Skimmers help to remove leaves and other floating debris from the surface of the pond water. Biological filters provide a home for beneficial bacteria that break down waste material.
Cleaning your fish pond’s skimmers and biological filters will help remove any build-up of algae, debris, and waste accumulated over the growing season. Also, cleaning your skimmers and filters will help ensure that your fish pond can function properly come springtime.
This koi pond winterization step helps your pond function correctly so it can keep itself clean, clear, and beautiful.
Trim And Prep Aquatic Plants
Aquatic plants can provide several benefits for fish ponds, including shade, oxygenation, and hiding places for koi. However, pond plants can also become a liability during the winter months.
Dead leaves and stems can decompose into the pond, causing water quality issues. In addition, overgrown plants can block sunlight and prevent koi from getting the necessary warmth they need to survive the winter.
You should trim and prepare your aquatic plants as part of your koi pond winterization routine. Trimming will help to protect the plants from the cold weather and prevent them from dying. Trimming the plants will also help keep the pond clean and debris-free. To properly prepare your aquatic plants for winter, you can:
1. Trim off any dead or dying leaves
2. Cut back any overgrown stems
4. Pile up some extra leaves or mulch around the base of the plants to insulate them from the cold
Introduce Cold Water Bacteria
Better winterize your pond by adding cold water beneficial bacteria. Cold water bacteria help to break down leaves and other organic matter, keeping the pond water clean and clear. It also helps to reduce ammonia levels, making the pond more hospitable for koi and other aquatic life.
Most importantly, cold water bacteria help to oxygenate the water, ensuring that koi and other fish can survive the winter months. Check out this handy guide if you have other questions about how to best care for your koi fish.
Add An Aerator
Aerators help to keep the water circulating and prevent it from totally freezing over. They also introduce oxygen into the water, which is essential for koi health. In addition, aerators help to break up debris and organic matter, keeping the pond clean and healthy. For this reason, adding aerators is vital as part of your pond winterization routine.
You’ll want to place the air pump in a shallower part of the water. Placing the aerator deeper will mix the warmer deep water with the cooler upper water, making it more uncomfortable for your koi.
Install A De-Icer
De-icers help to keep a hole in the ice, allowing gases to escape and preventing the formation of harmful conditions under the ice. They also help to maintain water circulation, which is essential for keeping koi alive during the winter.
When choosing a de-icer to winterize your pond with, make sure to select one that is specifically designed for fish ponds. Regular de-icers can release harmful chemicals into the water that affect water quality and can harm or even kill koi.
Do not break a hole in the ice. Sound is louder underwater, so breaking a hole in the ice for your fish would be like if a tree suddenly shattered the roof above your head. It’s terrifying and can send your fish into shock, which can be bad for their health.
Take Predator Protection Measures
Even though it may be winter and the temperature drops, predators can still target your pond fish. The threat of predators is why you’ll want to take the usual protection steps and add a dark pond dye to your pond water as part of koi pond winterization. The dye will make it harder for predators to see your pond fish.
To Run Or Shut Down Your Waterfall?
Shutting Down Your Waterfall
If you don’t shut down your waterfall as part of your koi pond winterization process, the pump will continue to run, which can cause the water to freeze and damage the pump. In addition, the falling water can create ice dams that can damage your koi pond liner. These ice dams can also shoot water into your yard and make it swampy.
To shut down your waterfall, turn off the pond pump and allow the water to drain out. Then, remove any debris from the pond and cover it with a tarp or bubble wrap to insulate it from the cold.
Leaving Your Waterfall Running
You can leave your waterfall running; just be sure to have a pond contractor winterize your pond for you. They can make sure it’s best set up to survive winter (though there is no guarantee.) You’ll need to keep an eye on your feature and the pipes.
Get Your Koi Pond Ready For Winter With Winter Pond Maintenance From Charlotte Backyard Ponds
As the water temperature lowers, now is the time to prepare your fish pond for winter. It’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your fish, pond plants, and equipment from the cold weather.
Not many pond owners have the time or energy to do the koi pond winterization process. However, Charlotte Backyard Ponds can help!
You can use our koi pond winterization service to ensure your pond and koi fish are ready for the colder months. Fill out our contact form today so we can start talking about winterizing your koi pond – it’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about this season!