Fish Pond Maintenance for Fall
In the article I’m going to tell you about Fish Pond Maintenance for Fall.
Koi Ponds and Goldfish Ponds Require Special Care in the Autumn
There are things that need to be done to get a pond ready for the winter season. When the autumn weather cools, fish and pond plants transition to a dormant state. As a Koi or goldfish pond changes from summer weather to winter weather, maintenance and feeding routines must change.
If fish are fed regularly during the summer, slow down on the feeding once temperatures drop below 60 degrees F. Feed no more than once or twice weekly. Fish are cold-blooded animals. Their metabolisms are slowing down as temperatures drop and overfeeding could kill the fish due to lack of digestion process. Once the temperatures drop to 50 degrees F, stop feeding the fish completely.
As the pond plants become smaller with the cooler weather, predators can readily see the Koi and goldfish in the ponds. Owls, hawks, raccoons, and neighborhood felines can readily feast on the prize fish, so providing a place for the fish to hide is necessary. Commercial fish “castles” can be purchased, but there are some simple and inexpensive solutions.
Large clay pots turned on their sides will provide the fish with a place to hide. Inexpensive storage crates can also be used. Choose dark colors so the crate will not be as visible below the water. By turning the crate upside down and placing a large, flat rock on the top, the fish are able to enter through the holes in the sides of the crates.
If the openings are not large enough for the fish, simply cut larger holes randomly to accommodate the size of the fish. Plastic or metal crates will last a long time and are much less expensive than the fish “castles”.
Tropical plants in the pond will not tolerate freezing. Relocate the plants inside the home and maybe they will survive the winter. Some can be allowed to dry out, placed in peat moss or wood shavings, and stored in a closet or garage as long as they do not freeze. Some tropical plants are:
- Calla Lilies
- Elephant ears
Hardy bog plants along the edge of the fish pond should be cut back so that none of the emergent vegetation will freeze and foul the pond. Bog plants love the wet sloppy mud along the sides of the pond and will come back in the spring bigger and better than ever. Some hardy bog plants are:
If the depth of the pond is below the freeze line in the area, plants at the bottom of the pond will winter in the pond. Pond lilies, for example, are probably already on the bottom of the pond and will do well there.
Cleaning the Pond
Remove all leaves, debris, sticks, dead and decomposing organic material, and fish secretions from the bottom of the pond. A total clean-out, using a pond vacuum or a siphon, is ideal. No matter how it is done, the pond must be clean. Once the pond freezes over with organic waste on the bottom, ammonia gasses are produced that will kill the fish.
Covering the pond with netting for the winter eliminates debris getting into the pond. The netting can be purchased from most nurseries or made from nylon netting available in hardware stores. Netting will also eliminate the threat of predators. The pond can be completely covered with visqueen, making a pond greenhouse. Visqueen works well as long as air can flow freely in and out.
Maintaining a Koi or goldfish pond is a meaningful effort. A pond adds pleasure, tranquility, and enjoyment for the entire family. Fall pond care eliminates added work when spring comes.