Cold weather can cause a lot of problems for any garden, and one area of concern can be your pond and how to keep it cared for during the winter. Even though you’ll be spending less time out in your garden during the colder months, it’s still important to keep your pond running as it usually would, no matter the weather.
If this is your first time maintaining a garden pond during the winter and you’re looking to get prepared, here’s your guide for how to look after a garden pond during the winter.
Step 1: Changing Your Fish’s Diet
It’s always important to check how the change in temperature will affect your specific pond fish so you know how to plan a winter feeding routine. You may need to feed your fish less than usual during the cold months if their metabolism is slowed due to the changing temperature. You may also need to change the type of food, as well as quantity, to fit with the changing weather.
If you do overfeed your fish in the winter, this could lead to leftover food sitting in the pond water and compromising it.
Step 2: Protect Exposed Fish
As plant life can become scarce in winter (therefore providing no cover or protection for pond fish), and fish will move slower due to the drop in temperatures, you may want to install protection against predators like birds, such as netting.
Step 3: Keep Your Pond Pump Running
There’s no need to shut down your pond pump during the winter. Keeping it running means you can maintain a healthy balance of water quality to protect both your pond and your fish so that they can continue to thrive. You’ll want to do a maintenance check on all pond equipment, like filters and pumps before the cold weather hits so that you can make sure they’re all in working order.
Step 4: Reacting to a Frozen Pond
It’s always possible for a pond to become frozen in winter. What’s important is how you react to this and how quickly you respond. You shouldn’t ignore a frozen pond, and you should be sure to check every day whether your pond surface has frozen over.
If the water has frozen, be careful not to break the entire surface of the ice. This can cause distress for the fish underneath. Don’t be tempted to melt the ice with hot water, either, as this can also cause distress through abrupt temperature changes.
What you can do is break a small portion of ice in your pond to leave a small area uncovered in order to allow trapped gases to escape.
Key Take Away
For first-time pond owners, the approach of winter can be an area of concern if you’ve spent so long building and caring for your pond and the fish within it. As long as you take these key steps, you can prepare your pond for the worst and make sure that your fish and pond water can remain healthy.