Dambly’s Blog: Pond Care
Ponds are a great addition to any yard, adding a soothing look to your property. Preparing your pond for Winter can sometimes prove to be challenging, but with this guide you shouldn’t have any trouble at all! We’ll teach you how to make sure your fish remain healthy, when to start transitioning your pond to Winter, and how clean it out. You’ll be ready for Winter in no time!
Step 1: Clean out debris
As leaves begin to fall, removing the debris is arguably the most important part of winterizing your pond, as any left over filth will jeopardize your water quality and therefore your fish. To do this, grab a net and gently gather the leaves in the water. Be careful not to harm your fish. We recommend cleaning out the debris before the water sinks below 50 degrees. Any colder and your fish won’t be as mobile, making you more likely to accidentally remove some of their protective slime while cleaning.
Once you’ve got the debris out, use a pond net to cover the surface. When the leaves begin to fall, most of them will simply be caught by the net. Some will inevitably slip through, but these can be dealt with later. The vast majority will be caught by the net. Just be sure to clean them off once a week or so!
Step 2: Clean up annual plants
With the weather turning, most of your annual plants (including floating water hyacinths, floating water lettuce and tropical plants) will likely fail to make it through the cold Winter. Before you do anything else, clean out those plants. The less debris you have in your water come December, the better off your fish will be.
Still, if the coming Winter is mild, some plants may be able to survive if prepared properly! Take your plants and fertilize them with spikes or tablets, then sink them to the deepest part of your pond. If conditions permit it, they may be able to pull through the winter unharmed.
Have your plants cleaned up by the end of October and head on to step three!
Step 3: Add Pond Salt and Microbe-lift to keep your fish healthy
We recommend you use a double dosage of Pond Salt once Winter arrives and it’s cold enough to shut down your pond. The salt will prevent your fish from catching illnesses. Then put in some Autumn Microbe-lift per recommended dosage for your pond (see the bonus step for more information!). This will efficiently decompose those scraps of debris that may have slipped through the net.
By putting in a double dosage of Pond Salt in the Winter, you’ll also be making your life easier in the Spring. Come Spring time, you’ll just need to empty out half of your old water and replace it with fresh water! The right amount of salt will already be in the pond.
Step 4: Stop feeding your fish
As with most forms of outdoor gardening, temperature is everything when maintaining your pond. Throughout the earlier Fall months you should be feeding your fish with Spring & Fall Diet. This will give them the protein they need to make it through the Winter. Once the temperature drops to 45 degrees, it’s time to stop feeding your fish. The fish’s metabolism will have plummeted to the point where they can no longer digest.
Step 5: Choose to keep your pump on or off!
This final step is really up to you, the pond owner. Some owners like to keep their pump on throughout the winter, while others prefer to shut it off. Both are fine options, and we’ve got you covered regardless of which strategy you choose.
If you’re planning on keeping the pump on, make sure to keep its opening clear. If ice builds up around the opening it can redirect water flow and create a real mess.
If you’re opting to turn the pump off, make sure to submerge it in a bucket of water indoors. If left to dry, cracks may develop in the pump’s seals and break it. You’ll also need to have a pond heater to keep your pond from freezing over! We carry 3 different styles, all of which are easily installed and sure to get the job done. The pond heater is activated by a built in thermostat. Once the water temperature drops to below 33 degrees, the heater kicks on. It shuts back off once the water heats back up to 37 degrees.
Step 6: Winterize Your UV Filter (If Your Pond Pump is OFF)
If you have a UV filter and are taking out your pump you’ll need to winterize that as well. Disconnect the filter and store it in a warm place, making sure there’s no water left in it. If water freezes in it, the filter will be destroyed.
Bonus Step: Know your pond’s gallon size!
A lot of customers will ask us for help maintaining their pond, but they don’t know exactly how much water it can hold. The size of your pond effects how much water treatment you’ll need to keep the pond looking fresh all year round, so make sure you know the gallon size! To calculate this, just follow this formula: Pond length x width x average depth x 7.5. Once you’ve got that number, you’ll know your gallon size!
Hopefully this guide has provided you with the information you need to prepare your pond for winter. If you have any questions that we may have missed, feel free to come by our location at 51 West Factory Road in Berlin, New Jersey or call us at (856)-767-6883!