With winter fast approaching it is time to start thinking about maintaining our garden ponds and water features. There is nothing more beautiful that seeing a frozen lake or river however a frozen pond that is stocked with fish is detrimental. The decisions here is whether to keep your system running or switch it off.

Turn it off?

This option can be easily done with a water feature as it just needs to be plugged out. With a pond its a little more complicated. First thing to consider is whether or not you have any fish or wildlife in your garden pond that switching it off may have a detrimental effect on the stock in the pond. If the temperature is freezing over the winter and the water freezes over on your pond then everything in your pond may die as a result. It is important to note that if you do decide to turn off your filter during the winter months then invest in an air stone which will provide vital oxygen to your pond and it will also stop your pond from freezing over during this time.

Keep it switched on? 

If you decide to keep your water feature or pond filter running throughout the winter months then it is important that you keep a close eye on the pumps as they will require some maintenance. If they freeze over then this can cause problems for the pumps long term. The other thing that can happen that the features partly freeze over and the water runs out of the feature which would result in the pump running dry which in turn causes serious problems for the pump. If your pump is switched off and the water freezes over do not try to switch the pump on. If you decide to keep your pond filter running it would still be advisable to invest in an air/oxygen stone to provide extra oxygen in your garden pond and it is an extra precaution to ensure that your garden pond never freezes over completely.

If you have a concrete pond and do not have any fish then it is advisable to empty out the water from this pond during the winter months. The reason for this is that if this pond freezes over the expandable ice can cause serious problems such as cracks in your pond If however you have fish, keep the filter running and again put an air stone in to the pond as an extra precaution. During extremely bad winters we keep filters and air stones running however one year it was that cold our filter froze and the only thing that saved our pond fish was the air stone as it provided a small hole in the ice allowing the gases to be released from under the ice and still providing vital oxygen to the fish. It also has been known for ponds to completely freeze over in to one big ice cube and if this happens then unfortunately there is no going back for your pond fish that’s why it is so important to ensure that this doesn’t happen to your garden pond.

Feeding your Fish During Winter?

This is something that people tend to be unsure off as even though it may be December if may not be cold. So once the temperature drops to below 10 degrees then it is time to switch to wheatgerm fish food. Wheatgerm provides all nutrients and vitamins that the fish require during the autumn and winter months. It is recommended to feed your fish 1-2 times per day and only put in as much as the fish will eat in approximately 1-2 minutes. Once the temperature drops to below 4 degrees and freezing temperatures your fish will become dormant and therefore require no feeding.

I hope this information is helpful and please get in touch if your require any further information. (Moyvalley – 0469551953 or Navan – 0469060000).

The Garden Ponds Team xx