At Webb's Water Gardens, we want your pond, fish and equipment all at peak condition every season. Over the next four weeks, we'll be providing you tips to help you do just that. To receive these via email join our newsletter. First up: Seasonal Shutdown
Fall is the best season for clean-ups and clean-outs. Fish are at their healthiest and can better handle any transition during this time. With cold weather quickly approaching, it's important to know how to prepare for the harsh winter.
Below you'll find a brief step by step guide for fall and winter pond care.
If you haven't already, get leaf netting up now. After all the leaves have fallen, use a long-handled net to remove residual fallen leaves, twigs and dead foliage from the pond bottom. As these organics breakdown they produce toxic gases that can harm fish, so you'll want to remove the majority before winter. A leaf blower works well for displacing the remaining leaves surrounding the pond.
Once, water temperatures drop to 55 degrees, start feeding your fish a cold water wheat germ food. These foods are higher in carbohydrates and serve the purpose of putting fat on the fish. Remember, once water temperatures reach 40 degrees you will stop feeding your fish altogether until the spring. Doing so will avoid any metabolic complications.
Pump : Disconnect your pump & check valve and allow the water to drain from your plumbing and waterfall. Clean excess debris off your pump, disassemble if necessary, and inspect for abnormal wear and/or damage. Storage will depend on what type of pump you own - call (866) 819-7663 for details.
Filter & Skimmer : Wash all filter media. Pressurized filters should be drained and brought indoors. Submersible filters can be brought indoors or left inside the pond, unless they have integrated UV's. Gravity fed bio-filters should be drained and empty. Lower the ponds water level below the skimmer door and drain skimmer. This will prevent warping and cracking from freezing/thawing ice.
UV Clarifiers : Disassemble UV Clarifiers and bring indoors. Clean the quartz sleeve with a diluted solution of white vinegar or CLR. UV bulbs should be replaced after every 12-14 months of operation.
Trim back hardy marginal and waterlilies a few inches above the soil. Make sure to relocate these plants to the pond bottom below the freeze line as they will require a dormancy period. Bring any tropical marginal plants indoors. These can be overwintered as houseplants but, remember to keep the soil always wet - they are still aquatic plants. Tropical waterlilies can be overwintered two ways. You can either bring them indoors keeping the pot submerged in water or, remove the tuber from the pot and store inside a sealed mason jar with moist sand, stored in a cool dark place such as a basement.
During the winter months, maintaining an area free of ice is vital for fish health. Without an opening in the ice, not only do toxic gasses become trapped but, the supply of dissolved oxygen slowly lessens and may not replenish. Aeration and de-icers help to keep a hole open in the ice during winter months.
An aerator provides water movement towards the surface helping to maintain an opening in the ice. Itís important to remember that aeration diffusers need to be relocated closer to the pond surface during the winter months. This will ensure the warmer temperature water in the deeper portions of the pond to go undisturbed, where the fish are dormant and overwintering,
A floating de-icer is the easiest means for pond winterization. These units float on the pond surface providing an opening in the ice and are available in a variety of wattages. Integrated thermostats allow the unit to run on an as needed basis.
Even after a thorough cleaning, some debris will remain in the pond. These bacteria will aide in accelerating the decomposition of leaves and other organic matter during the fall and winter months and will also jump start your ponds ecosystem come spring.
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