What should I do with my pond in winter?
Don't be dismayed by cold weather! Water features in the winter can be beautiful, low-maintenance, and great for birds!
To Run Or Not To Run?
If you are planning an extended trip away from home or don't have a way to add water from evaporation during winter (more on that later), then shutting your pond or pond-free waterfall down for the winter is the best option. You will need to remove your pump for the winter. And by the way, we can do that for you!
Pond-free Waterfall Care In Winter
You should consider whether to run your waterfall in the winter or not and still have a plan for filling it from evaporation. Keep an eye out for ice dams in severe winters and melt the ice with hot water if dams form.
Caring For Your Fish In Winter
When the water is 55 degrees (usually in October or early November), stop feeding your fish. Your koi and goldfish will begin to 'hibernate," looking very slow and maybe even hiding from you! The fish are not digesting food at this point, but they are still breathing. It's essential to keep a hole open in the ice for your fish to breathe. Fish are still open to predation in winter, so keep your floating alligator handy.
Keeping A Hole In The Ice
For pond owners with fish, you must keep a hole in the ice for your koi and goldfish to breathe in the winter. You don't need to "heat" your pond or even keep it totally ice-free. All you need is a single hole in the ice cover. We achieve this with either an aerator.
Topping Off Your Pond
It's normal to add water to your water feature in the winter. As ice forms, it's using water from your feature, so that's less water usable by your pump! Have a plan ready before winter on how you'll accomplish this: sometimes you have to get creative -- running a house from the kitchen sink is a common story we've heard!
What to Do If Your Pond Freezes Over
In winters with polar temperatures, de-icers and aerators may have a hard time keeping a hole open in the ice. Ice can form inches thick. Watch the video below to see what you should do in these cases to keep your fish safe and your pump and piping protected from damages.
Algae In Winter
If there is algae in your pond or waterfall in winter, then you can join the very large club of us this happens to! Just know it's normal and not harmful (just a little icky looking). If the algae is really bugging you, there is a topical algaecide (see link below) that you can use on your waterfalls.
Your Pond Will Probably Not Look Great
If your pond looks like our pond pictured here, then don't worry: that's normal! Your pond may be dark from tannins released from leaves and the lack of filtration in the winter. The dark water is not harmful at all to fish. Plan on cleaning your pond in the spring though!
Find all the winter supplies you need.
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