In my final post on pond winterization, I will be discussing how to properly prepare your fish and plant life for the cold months ahead.
Getting Your Fish Ready for Winter
Many people are concerned about their fish not making it through the winter. However, if you follow these simple rules, you shouldn’t have any problem:
Don’t overfeed your fish.
The metabolism of fish is controlled primarily by water temperature. This means that as your water gets colder, your fish need smaller amounts of food and less protein. Protein is harder to digest, so if you feed your fish high-protein food in cold water, they are going to excrete the extra as ammonia. A build-up of ammonia in the water stresses your fish and reduces their ability to survive.
How do you solve this problem? Once the water temperature drops to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, start feeding your fish Spring & Autumn fish food. Then stop feeding your fish altogether once the temperature drops to about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Their metabolism will be completely slowed down at that point, and they can survive without food until spring.
Make sure a section of your pond is at least 18 inches deep.
As the weather gets colder, your fish will migrate to the deepest part of your pond to stay warm. Water that is at least 18 inches deep will provide them with a “warm” home for the winter.
How to Get Your Pond Plants Ready for the Cold
If you wait too long to take care of your pond plants, you will end up with a pond full of rotting leaves and buds. Follow the tips below to make sure your pond’s plant life is ready for the cold months ahead:
1. Trim bog and marsh plants before frost hits
2. Pull out water lilies and trim off ALL their leaves
3. Move all potted plants into the deepest area of your pond to prevent them from freezing
4. Save any tropical lilies by storing them in peat moss, or just discard them
Don’t Worry, Your Pond Life Will Return
Remember, winter does not mark the death of your water garden. Instead, it is a time for your fish and plant life to rest up and get ready for yet another lively spring. If you follow the winterization tips outlined in my “How to Get Your Pond Ready for Winter” posts, you will be prepared to get your pond ready for the winter months ahead.