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Winterizing Your Pond


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I figured, its a good idea to have some general ideas about winterizing your pond pinned up here, since that question has popped up quite a bit the last few weeks....


It depends on where you live and how cold it is getting in your area, if your pond is inground or above. Inground ponds are more temperature stable. If you are living so far up north, that your pond freezes solid during the winter, then its best to bring your fish in. They dont have to be in a warm living room, a unheated basement or garage will do just fine.


Different kind of goldfish are more suited for overwintering outside than others. Comets, commons, shubunkins, fantails, oranda, ryukin and ranchu are much less sensitive than others, and would do fine outside. Koi of course are the hardiest of them all, and you dont have to worry about them too much.


The volume of the pond should play a big part when it comes to the question of overwintering. The bigger the pond, the more stable the water temperature will be.

My 160 and 300 gl tubs are doing fine in the Florida winter, but if they would be standing in a backyard someplace in New York, I would definetely bring them in.


Feed them good balanced food during the warmer month before it gets colder, that will help them build a fat layer on which they can depend on when the food source is not available during cold weather. Reduce feeding over time, and once the temperature hits the mid 50s, stop feeding alltogether.


The bacteria in your pond filter will also slow down during those cold winter months. There is another reason not to feed the fish during those cold periods, since the bacteria will not work on full power.


Airpumps can be shut down or the outflow drastically reduced, depending on how cold its getting. The airpump brings the air temperature thats outside the pond right inside the water and your fish, and we dont want to bring any extra cold air down to them.


If the water that comes out of your filter, splashes a long way down back into the pond, you can get plastic pipes from your hardware store to extend the output of your filter further down. This will shorten the time the water back to the pond is exposed to the cold air.


Fish will stay at the deepest part of your pond when its getting cold, and stay there, almost motionless. Their metabolism is at an almost stand still. They still might come up and beg for food when the sun is out, but dont be tempted to feed them. It does not do them any good, the food will only rot in either the pond or in their intestines.


There are a few items you can get that will help your fish stay warmer during the next few months. For smaller ponds, styrofoam sheets from your local hardware store will help to keep the temperature in your tub or pond warmer. Just make sure you dont cover the entire pond, there should be a small spot left open for oxygen exchange.

If you have your ponds all in one small area, like I do, I use plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling all the way to the ground to build sort of an extra room for the winter, in which its not as cold as outside the plastic sheets. I can put a heater in the middle of the *room*, if it gets really bad.

De-icer is definetely something worth while if you are living in part of the country where ice is a problem. As long as the pond is not frozen solid, a deicer will keep a small part of your pond surface area open for gas and oxygen exchange. A solid frozen pond surface will prevent gas exchange, and your fish will slowly suffocate.

Heaters are also a neat thing to have. Some fish are not bothered by the cooler water at all, while some hover around in the area where the heater is installed. It does not mean you have to buy a heater that heats the entire pond area, a smaller heated part of the water is just fine.

Gosh, I hope I didnt forget anything. If anybody finds more helpful ideas, please feel free to add on! :hi

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