Blog Article

Winter pond care

Winter pond care

Date: 23 January 2023 | By: aqua

Though in the winter months ponds may be limited in what they offer you, they are a vital habitat for fish, wildlife and plants year-round, so it’s important to keep them healthy. Winter pond care is relatively minimal, but carrying it out regularly will mean the pond is better prepared when the spring and summer arrive, enabling you to get maximum enjoyment.

Most debris should have been cleared from the pond in the autumn, so the main focuses for winter are the pump and filter, and your livestock.

Here are a few tips to consider…

Should I keep my pump and filter running through winter?

As the pond water temperature drops, fish metabolism slows, and plants die back. This means there is less work for the pump and filter to do, but it’s still wise to keep them running throughout winter. Continuing to oxygenate the water, and filtering out any debris, will maintain levels of beneficial bacteria that help keep your water and fish healthy.

Should I Feed My Fish In The Winter?

As fish metabolism slows in colder weather, so does their digestion. When temperatures consistently drop below 10° it is important to use a wheatgerm based feed as this is easier for them to digest and we would recommend feeding only every few days. Once the water temperature drops below 4° you should stop feeding your fish altogether and wait until it warms up again in the spring.

Be aware that feeding fish during short mild spells in the middle of winter can hinder rather than help. Fish will use up vital energy continuing to look for food after the mild spell has ended. Rest assured there will be small amount of natural food in the pond to keep them going through these brief breaks from winter.

Squire's garden centres have a range of foods suitable for winter feeding

A pond thermometer is a handy, inexpensive winter pond care accessory to have, helping you to regularly monitor the habitat of your fish during the colder months.

What To Do If Your Pond Freezes?

If you find your pond has frozen over then do not break the ice, as this will cause shockwaves through the water which will stress the fish.

Our advice would be to place a pan filled with boiling water on top of the ice surface, this will allow the ice to melt slowly, without distressing the fish. We would not recommend pouring hot water onto the ice as this will increase the temperature of the water. Remember, fish are very sensitive to temperature change.

How to prevent your pond from freezing over?

Once ice forms a cap over the ponds surface, oxygen levels will begin to drop and harmful gases will build up in the water, which could be hazardous to your fish. They should be able to cope for a few days but no longer. Here are some steps you can take to prevent your pond from freezing over:

  1. Keep your Pump and filter running – This circulates the water and prevents ice forming. Move your pump off the bottom of the pond in winter and away from fish to avoid disturbing them during hibernation. Try to keep the pump close to the waterfall or filter outlet.
  2. Keep an air pump turned on – As the air stream displaces the water, it prevents the surface from icing over. It acts just like a normal pump, plus it creates an attractive effect on the water’s surface and is beneficial to the health of fish and plants.
  3. Get a pond heater – These are often small, floating units which keep an area of the water just warm enough to prevent ice from forming, allowing harmful gases to escape.

Winter pond care complete, now you can look forward to Spring!

As winter comes to an end and temperatures begin to rise, it’s an ideal time to book us in for a thorough pond clean. We can carry out maintenance, service equipment and get your pond looking it’s best for the warmer months ahead, ensuring it continues to offer its residents an optimum habitat.