First, let's list some MYTHS about the winter...some false myths:
Ideally, 30 days or so before your water temperature drops to 60degrees…
-Remove all sludge, fish waste, and leaves from the bottom of the pond. You do want these going through biological breakdown over winter in your pond
-Do a 20-30% water change to remove excess Nitrates and add a good dechlorinator that deals with ammonia as well.
-Deep Clean your filter…pads, bio balls, etc. Replace with new media pads, etc to remove extra Nitrates
-Start slowing down the feeding routine to reduce fish waste going into winter and to prep your fish for further food reductions when temperatures drop
-Optional treating for Flukes and Parasites going into winter can protect your fish when their immune systems are low
Organic sediments (leaves, fish waste) on the bottom of your pond creates anaerobic zones that can have odors and worse create breeding grounds for parasites, fungus, and toxic gases. Poor water clarity and water quality will result from sludge build up and severe cases can lead to disease and fish loss due to the amount of toxins in the pond. Sludge digesters are packed with living enzymes and beneficial bacterias that breakdown and convert the sludge and nitrates to safe proteins, water and oxygen creating a win win for everything in the pond.
Leaves can be your worst ENEMY in the fall and winter. As they fall to the bottom of your pond and decay into sludge, they take oxygen and add toxins into the water. Coupled with the decrease in beneficial bacteria during the winter, decaying leaves can create nightmare water quality issues for your Koi. Nets for Sale
Your aquatic plants need a little care in the fall as they go dormant, and then nothing until they return back in the Spring. The care they need is dependent on what kind of plants they are.
-Tropical plants…like tropical lilies, Papyrus, mint, and many taros, etc need to be protected in the winter so moving indoors or into the garage in a bucket is wise.
-Perennials are hardy and will most always be fine in our winters…Hardy Water Lilies, Iris, Palms, Rushes, etc. These need care by the plant type, but in general trimming the browning folage so it does not decay into the pond and making sure the pot is cleaned of String Algae, etc as needed so as not to seed winter algae varieties
Keep in mind while the plant top may go dormant, many plants grow roots in the winter so Spring repotting is always recommended.
It is not recommended to repot aquatic plants until Spring at which point new soil, fertilizer, and a root hair cut is recommended.
There are good plants to add to your pond for the winter...plants that grow in the cold water rather than go dormant.
Hornwort and Parrots Feather are our choices.
Call us for ordering details. 210-659-5841
There is a correct way to feeding your Koi this winter. Feeding is based on water temperature so a simple water thermometer is a great addition to have going into the colder months.
How you WINTERIZE your equipment depends on the equipment you have...correct protection will make a huge difference when it freezes.
External pumps should never be turned off during the winter unless you drain them completely of water or bring them inside. In water freezes inside the pump, it will expand and lead to probable breaking of parts internally…killing the pump.
Submersible pumps can be left on or turned off as the water in them is very unlikely to freeze. You may want to turn them off to prevent your water feature from icing over and loosing water out of your pond. This is safe with a submersible pump.
External filters need to be protected from freezing temperatures properly. Like your external pumps, still water can freeze and expand inside them, breaking seals and parts. It is best to leave water flowing through these or disconnecting and emptying completely.
Fountainheads and water features are more likely to ice over due to the surrounding air…this can be a problem so thought needs to be put into whether to shut off…if there is a submersible pump, turning off is the safest option. If you have an external pump leading to your water feature, you may want to divert the water back into the pond through piping and bypass the water feature on known freeze potentials.
The BLUE HERON is your primary predator during the winter. This migratory bird makes it’s home in Texas during the cold winter months so you need to protect your pond! They are more patient than your fish are smart so it is up to you to keep them from getting to your Koi and Goldfish.
Netting your pond with a fish-safe pond net is always the best option for winter protection. These nets come in several sizes and can be staked into the ground and hang over the pond in a non-invasive manner so you can still enjoy your fish, but the predators cannot.
Decoys are also great options...From Blue Heron to Crocodiles...decoys can add protection and character to your pond.
WATER TEMPERATURE IS EVERYTHING
Feeding, Fish Metabolism, Beneficial Bacteria, Ammonia control, Oxygen levels all work together
@65degrees - slow down feeding, plants start going dormant, algae growth stops
@60degrees - Feed occassionally when you see fish are active, beneficial bacteria will become ineffective, metabolism slows way down, Ammonia levels become a concern if fish get stressed, Tropical plants very likely to die off.
@55degrees – Stop feeding your fish as their metabolism declines to nothing, most Tropicals will not tolerate, Any ammonia and Nitrites in water will not be consumed by bacterias.
Water Temperature is everything...you need to watch as winter is coming on and then again as Spring is nearing. Don't jump from full feeding to no feeding, and back again...ease into changes and adjustments...but make sure you do.