Winter pond tips. Part One.

This weekend I made a YouTube video with Matthew on winter pond tips. Please help support the channel, post a comment, thumbs up the video and subscribe to the channel.

Winter is just around the corner. 

In this weeks newsletter we are looking at preparing garden ponds for winter, discussing the changes we need to make to the feeding of our fish and I will be making some recommendations for winter maintenance.
As the water temperature starts to drop our fishes metabolism will reduce and their activity level to slow down. This is perfectly normal behavior. Don’t worry if your fish are not as active as they have been throughout the summer.

When the pond temperature drops to about 10 or 11c make the switch to wheatgerm fish food when your. Wheatgerm is the ideal fish food for your fish in winter. 

It is a food source rich in complex fats, vitamins and minerals. It also contains slow releasing carbohydrates. These are the essential elements that your fish need in their diet to remain fit and healthy during winter. 

Wheatgerm is very easy for your fish to digest even when their metabolism has slowed to a crawl and they are becoming  somewhat dormant. Feeding should be reduced to daily rather than, twice or three times daily. The quantity that your fish consume may also be less compared to what they were consuming during the warm summer months.

Dried fish food is great value for money and should make up the bulk of your pond fish’s diet. But I believe that it makes a lot of sense to supplement your feeding with what I call proper fish food.

The range of frozen fish food you see here is generally marketed towards the aquarium market, but I use it to feed my pond fish too. There is nothing better for maintaining good digestion and avoiding swim bladder problems. 

It is very similar to the natural diet, fish would feed on in a large lake where, the fish would be down in the mud sifting through all the sediment seeking out nutritious Benthic organisms. You will not find much of a benefit on the bottom of a typical garden pond or Koi system. They are just too clean and well filtered.  

The range of foods includes Bloodworm, Brine Shrimp, Daphnia, Mussels, Krill, Chopped Cockles, and Tubifex . They are conveniently packaged in blister packs that can be popped out as needed and simply thrown straight into the pond without defrosting. They hit the bottom and get spread out evenly within a few minutes.  

I feed my fish half a dozen mixed cubes per week year round. Even in winter when the pond freezes over I still recommend feeding a few cubes of bloodworm. It will keep your fish’s digestion processing something.  

If you have a planted pond now would be a good time to do some pruning. Over the winter a large amount of aquatic plants such as Lillie and marginals will naturally die back and sink to the bottom of your pond. Removing the excess growth and cutting of dead stems and leaves before this takes place will prevent large build up jamming up your pump.

If your garden is like mine at home, falling leaves can be a nightmare. It is surprising how many leaves gather on a pond. The problem is once they hit the surface they will sink, rot down and block up your pump!

You could use a pond skimmer that floats on the top and scoops them up into a basket. There are portable ones that can be packed away after winter. Alternatively place a net over the top for a few months, it will help keep out the leaves and you can peel it back every other week or so to scrape off any that have gathered. 

Just because it’s winter don’t stop your regular pond routine.

In winter filters can get filthy. A filthy filter is not a healthy environment for the nitrifying bacteria.

Filters will need to be checked and cleaned. Drain down your settling tanks, wash through brushes and sponges. 

Ponds with with bottom drains should be purged clear. It might surprise you how much material is building up in the pipework. 

If you are not sure what I mean by purging then I recommend you watch this YouTube video. 

The last thing you need is it getting blocked completely and your only option to clear it requires drastic measures. Emptying the pond and rodding it clear is no fun in winter!  

In the next email we will continue the winter theme and discuss heating ponds, money saving tips and how too avoid a devastating pH crash!

Thanks for reading.



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