Winter tips Part Two.

In this weeks newsletter we are continuing the “hints and tips for winter” theme. In last weeks email I covered feeding and winter maintenance.

This week we are taking a look at protecting your fish from the effects of extreme cold and big temperature fluctuations.

Also this year more than ever people are trying to cut back on electric bills. Ponds are not expensive to run but there are some simple changes that you can make that will help to keep the cost of running a pond down. 

We are also discussing a common problem pH crash and how to avoid it. All this and more in this newsletter.
Want to save some money this winter check out a recent YouTube video. Please help support the channel, post a comment, thumbs up the video and subscribe to the channel.
It is not a good idea to allow your pond to become so cold that it freezes up. Ice damage to pipework, UVs and filters can be expensive and very inconvenient to fix.

Should you discover a sheet of ice sitting on top your pond you can quickly melt through with hot water from a kettle. This will open up a hole and allow some fresh oxygen in for the fish.

Under no circumstances should salt be thrown onto the ice as this can cause rapid cooling. It is not a good idea to use a hammer to smash through the ice as this is very stressful for the fish.

Heating a pond can be very expensive and I personally don’t think it is necessary.

However I do recommend stabilizing the temperature at 10c and that may require the use of a pond heater.

During a typical British winter it is common for big changes in temperature to occur. These changes are stressful for the fish and gradually weaken the fish leaving them susceptible to all manner of parasites and bacterial issues. 

The most straight forward pond heater is an in line electric heater. This will be installed directly on your pipe run and it heats the water up as it is passing through. Most designs will have a built in thermostat to allow you to set a desired temperature. The heater will automatically turn on or off as required.

In general it is recommended that you allow 1kW of heating potential per 1,000 gallons of pond water. However there are many variables that must be considered. With good insulation a 1kW heater will have no problem stabilizing a 2,000 gallon pond in all but the most severe of conditions.

It is even possible to use an aquarium heater. They are very cheap to buy and can be placed in the filter. Two or Three will be all that is required to maintain an ice free pond. Again insulation is very helpful. 

It has become the norm for a lot of Koi pond keepers to cover their ponds during the coldest winter months and there are many ways this can be achieved.

I have come to the conclusion the most straight forward and cost effective way of doing this is just to float large sheets of basic everyday polystyrene directly on the water surface. Leave at least 30% area free to ensure sufficient gas exchange.

There is no better way of insulating your pond. It is far more efficient than plastic poly-carbonate panels and much cheaper and simpler to install.

Just because it’s winter do not neglect your water tests. 

If you watch my YouTube channel you might have seen the videos I posted on pH crash. I have made two specific videos on the topic and often mention the problem.

Over the last 5 years or so we have seen a multitude of cases. It is not a problem that only occurs in winter but for various reasons it does appear that it is more common in winter.

pH crash can have devastating consequences for your fish.  The sad thing is it is very easy to prevent.

Oyster shells can stabilize the pH of a pond by raising the KH of the water. They will very slowly dissolve when the pH is lower than about 8. You can not over dose your pond on shells. They will not dissolve when the water becomes and Alkaline. We recommend the use of shells in all ponds. 1 bag per 2,000 gallons should be regarded as a minimum.

You can purchase KH buffer powder. It is very fast acting and will eliminate to risk of a pH crash. As a simple guide I use 2 egg cups full per week in my 2,000 gallon pond. It is very affordable.

It is always better to be prepared and not wait until there is a problem. Do not under estimate how damaging low pH can be. If you visit the store with a sample of pond water we will gladly test your pH and KH for free. Lets see if this year we can avoid any catastrophes!

This year’s hot topic has been the alarming rises in energy prices. A lot of people who have visited the store have been asking how they might be able to save on the running costs of their pond.

In general a sensibly designed pond will not cost a fortune to run. But there are some simple changes you can implement during winter and the changes will add up to a saving.

I recommend you watch the YouTube video I made a week or so ago. It has a lot of money saving tips such as installing a multi speed pump that can be turned down during winter.

You will also find more tips in the many other videos that I posted to YouTube they are listed at the bottom of this email.

Thank you for reading this newsletter enjoy your ponds through winter, hope to see you at the store soon.


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