With the arrival of fall in Denver comes the need for sprinkler blowouts, adding weather stripping and other home preparations for the cold weather. So, what about your koi pond?
At Art of the Yard, we typically install koi ponds during warmer months, so when the temperature starts dropping, our customers naturally have questions about how to maintain a koi pond in winter. Today, we discuss how to winterize your pond to ensure your water feature and your fish are protected.
Now, the best indication of when it’s time to begin winterization is water temperature. An easy way to keep track of your water temperature is to tie a thermometer to a string and hang it in your pond. That way, when you want to check the temperature, you can quickly retrieve the thermometer.
Based on temps, here are some tips to help you with proper koi pond care for winter.
Prepping Your Koi Fish for Winter
As the water cools, your fish will have more difficulty digesting food. Once it cools to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, start feeding a more easily digestible wheat germ-based food.
Your fish need to bulk up a bit for winter, but be sure not to overfeed. A good rule of thumb is to feed 2-3 times a day, an amount they will eat in 5 minutes or less.
Once the water reaches 40 degrees, they won’t be able to properly digest food, so stop feeding.
Caring for Your Pond Plant Life
To maintain a koi pond in winter, trim off and clear out overgrowth from the koi pond. This is a great time to divide and repot plants as temperatures are typically not too low and the roots can recuperate and flourish. If you take the time to do this step, you will get to enjoy more blooms next summer.
If the water drops below 60 degrees, any tropical plants you have should be removed and discarded or stored indoors. You can also give us a call and set up a winter prep and maintenance schedule, and we’ll take care of this stuff for you.
Winter Cleaning Your Pond
Aquatic life needs a bit of debris for burrowing during the winter, but too much will deoxygenate the water in your koi pond and produce toxic gases.
Try a 50% water change to clean out the excessive debris. A fine weave aquarium net and pond vacuum are both very helpful for this process. Remember you don’t have to get every little piece out, but if the water is still murky the next day, do another 50% water change to maintain a koi pond in winter.
Controlling Leaves & Debris
An easy item on the list of koi pond care for winter is to cover your pond with a net to help keep leaves and other debris from falling into the water. The net should be positioned above the water so you can easily detach it to get rid of leaves as they fall.
Advice for De-icers and Pumps
If the water temperature goes below 40 degrees, you can install a de-icer to provide an air hole at the top of the water freezing over. Also, remove the pump, so the top can act as a thermal layer and keep the depths of your koi pond a bit warmer for your fish.
For more information about how to maintain a koi pond in winter, be sure to contact us here at Art of the Yard in Denver. One of our knowledgeable experts will be happy to help, and we even offer help koi pond winterization services for true peace of mind.