It’s that time of year again. Leaves are falling and there is a chill in the air. So, you might be wondering what is needed to winterize your koi pond properly. Luckily, the team here at Art of the Yard has over 30 years of combined experience on this matter and more, so we’d like to pass along some of our insight to you. Below are eight tips for getting your koi pond ready for winter.
Now, when prepping your koi pond, it’s equally important to prepare your fish as well as the pond itself. This ensures that the fish have the best chance of surviving the cold winter and your pond has the best chance of not being damaged by frigid temperatures.
Both goldfish and koi are somewhat hardy fish, so you can anticipate that they will be just fine over the winter. The key is to ensure that the water does not completely freeze, they have enough oxygen, their water quality is maintained. Below are a few things that you can do to winterize your koi pond and help them comfortably make it through even the coldest Colorado winter.
Once the water temperature falls below 65 degrees, start mixing cold-water fish food into their regular summer food. When it drops below 59 degrees, they should only eat cold water food. Stop feeding them altogether once the temperature remains consistently below 48 degrees. Fish metabolisms slow to the point that they stop digesting in the cold.
Keep your pond free of leaves and other plant debris. As organic material breaks down, it lowers the quality of the water and the amount of oxygen available to the fish. Use a pond vacuum to clean it thoroughly. Then place pond netting over everything to keep the debris at bay.
To help maintain water quality, add cold water beneficial bacteria. Good water quality is crucial to helping your fish survive the winter.
While you can do a lot to winterize your koi pond, you’ll have to keep an eye on it when the temps drop. Vital to fish survival is the presence of oxygen in the water. Always maintain a hole in the ice to allow oxygen in and emit noxious gasses out. You can use heaters, de-icers, and aerators – or a combination of these – to maintain proper air flow.
Pond salt is helpful to fish by encouraging mucous slime coat production and facilitating osmoregulation, key for winter survival. Shoot for a concentration between 0.1% and 0.25% (roughly 1-2 pounds of salt to each 100 gallons of pond water).
Hardy plants can survive the winter in the pond even if frozen, so you don’t have to do much with these. Marginally hardy plants do okay, but will die if their crown freezes. Be sure to place these below the ice line for the winter. Tropical plants must remain indoors, or they will die. The beautiful thing is that many pond plants double as great houseplants during the winter.
Remove your magnetic drive or asynchronous pump and store it in a dry place. A direct drive style pump can be left submerged.
If you have a waterfall, it’s a good idea to shut it down for the winter. Freezing temperatures can cause unnecessary havoc, and it’s simply best to avoid it.
We hope these tips to winterize your koi pond have been helpful. Remember, you can always call us at Art of the Yard to answer your questions about pond winterization, to perform the service for you, and much more. We’re here to help you get your pond ready for the deep freeze.