SPRING / SUMMER
"Spring is the most exciting time as a pond owner."
The thought of the fish reappearing after those long winter months for their first feed of wheatgerm, the budding pond plants and that sun glistening on that beautiful clear pond water.
But it's all not that simple! We need to prepare the pond for the upcoming warmer summer days and nights. We need to clean the pumps and filters thoroughly which will help them with the soon to happen onslaught of fish mess etc, we need to be removing any visible waste matter like old leaves etc.
Being spring is the ideal time for a 'spring clean'. An ideal time to to clean out the pond from bottom to top. Remove the build up of all the silt and muck from the bottom, clean the sides of all the algae and potential blanketweed, remove some of the old plants and freshen up with some new, clean all the outer features like your waterfall and fountains.
The fish will thrive in a newly cleaned out, fresh looking pond. Spring is the ideal time to prepare your pond for those glorious summer months, but the hard work must be done first.
As for feeding, do not be fooled by the sunshine, be aware of the temperatures, both in and out of the pond. If you feed your fish and temperatures are below 10 degrees, you risk killing your fish, be patient and wait for continuous warmer temperatures.
When you do eventually start feeding, you must use a WHEATGERM based food to start, this is easier to digest for the fish, and gets them back easier into feeding mode!.
"Routine jobs before the Winter sets in."
Remove as many leaves as you can, particularly before they sink. Do this at least twice a day so as to keep on top the the leaf fall.
Trim and remove dying foliage before it rots and affects the water quality.
Think now about starting to reduce the amount of feed you are giving the fish, as the water temperatute is now dropping considerably.
Feed only Wheatgerm based food now. I strongly recommend 'MEDIKOI Wheatgem & Garlic Pellets'
For any help you might need preparing for seasonal changes and indeed for general maintenance of your pond, consider purchasing one of the 'MONTHLY MAINTENANCE PLANS', and put your mind at rest.
"Don't break the ice!!"
Have you ever seen someone tap their finger on the glass of an aquarium? The fish jump, the sound waves scare the crap out of them. This is not healthy for fish, for some reason making loud noises affects fish negatively, causing them to become susceptible to bacterial infections and viruses. Were am I going with this? It is winter and if you have fish in your pond you probably know that a frozen over pond or water garden often has fish-kill, (fish that die during the winter). Some people think they see the fish under the ice which don’t appear to be moving are actually dead, frozen in the pond. Unlikely– unless the pond is frozen to the bottom. Though your fish can die with a quarter inch of ice, they will not die from the cold. They die from both the lack of oxygen as they use up available oxygen in the water and no new oxygen can penetrate the ice. If your pond freezes over in one night and thaws the next day, it’s nothing to worry about– the fish are probably never going to notice.
Keep a pump running that will provide a hole in the ice. Often a pump upwelling from the ledge will provide a strong current upwards. It will however cool the water to a much lower level at the bottom of the pond. Also make sure your leaves & debris are out of the pond before winter, you don’t want your pump getting clogged when its 10 degrees outside and you having to go unclog it. An aerator that blows air under the water will keep a hole in the ice as the water is always moving where bubble are coming up. These are sometimes more expensive or need attached to an existing pump.
Last of all, I would like to disprove the myth of fish freezing in ice during the winter. Every year I hear this from people, “I can see them in the ice, they aren’t moving, they are frozen and come back to life when it thaws”. This is by no way true or scientists would be studying the first fish that did this. The truth is that as the water gets cold the fishes metabolism slows down to the point where the fish just basically sits in the pond with his gills moving. They are winter couch potatoes, go out every few days they will have changed position a bit and every thaw they will swim around a little. The metabolism is so slow you cannot ever feed fish Nov-April. When I was young ,on the first nice day of spring, I killed my favorite koi by feeding him. I gave him a big old lunch of pellets and he gobbled them up as fast as possible, he was about 16″ long so he was a great size. His stomach hadn’t digested anything in 6 months, he ate a lot. It was quick, I had no idea what I had done. When he floated to the surface a few moments later he looked so stretched out It was easy to see what had happened. He basically burst from the inside. It was tragic. That’s a little about fish in cold water.
STOP FEEDING IF WATER TEMPERATURE HAS FALLEN BELOW 10 deg.