At this time of year there will normally be a build-up of debris. Fallen leaves need to be netted out; you can prevent leaves from entering your pond with;cover net which will not only catch the leaves and pine needles but also protect your fish from predators such as herons who will be on the lookout for more fish as winter approaches. Plants, both marginal and deep water need to have dead growth cut back and tidied up. Near the end of autumn you should cut plants back to 6” above the water level. TIP: Do not cut Equisetum (Dutch Rush) until spring as you may kill the plant.
Debris at the bottom of a pond can be left if it's not too deep and it's a nature pond without fish. However if your pond contains goldfish or koi waste and other debris at the bottom is advised to be removed. The reason for this is that fish become dormant in the cold months, their bodies digestion and immune system does not work as sufficiently as they go into an almost hibernated state. Fish sat in sediment and waste at the bottom are more likely to get bacterial infections. We recommend a Pondovac for cleaning out the bottom of ponds as it makes the process quick and easy without distressing your fish. TIP: Do all your maintenance on the pond before winter; Autumn neglect will lead to a problematic spring.
Preventative Autumn Fish Treatment
A preventative broad spectrum treatment is recommended before the winter. This will reduce background levels of bacteria and parasites before winter sets in. Come and speak to a member of staff for advice and to see the different treatments we can offer.
Pond Pumps and Oxygenation
Before winter arrives, you should raise any pumps in the pond up, the reason for this is because the bottom of the pond where the fish are is a few degrees warmer and you don't want your pump pulling this water in and circulating it with the colder water at pond. You are best to leave the pond alone during the winter months, apart from allowing the pond to breathe during freezing conditions. A waterfall, a pond heater or an air pump should normally stop the water from completely freezing over. If o temperatures are due to fall below -5 c a pond heater or alternatively an item that floats on the water that you can remove the next morning will leave a gap in the ice allowing the pond to expel harmful gases while letting oxygen in. Furthermore if such conditions are expected it is advised to switch any water falls or fountains off, as pond surfaces can completely freeze and the water coming down the waterfall or out of the fountain will settle on top and can pour over the edges and drain your pond without you realising.
Its also time to think about changing your staple food to wheatgerm food. As soon as water temperature drops o below 10 c you should feed wheatgerm, and then stop completely once the water reaches o 4-5 c. Even if there is a day or two o when water temperature reaches 8 c, it is best to look at how the weather will be for the rest of the week. As their bodies become dormant so does their digestion, any undigested food can start to rot in their bodies which can be fatal for them.