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8 things to do before Jack Frost arrives

koi pond bridge in winter

In many parts of the country weíll soon be saying farewell to Jack Oílanterns and hello to good ole Jack Frost. Make sure you and your pond are prepared for a winter freeze by following these pro-active tips from our lead pond tech, Joe, below.

1. Bring your garden hose indoors

There may be times throughout the winter that youíll notice pond levels drop due to evaporation or an unfortunate leak. Under these circumstances youíll want to top off your pond using your garden hose. The last thing you want to find in this situation is a frozen, unusable hose, especially if the water level is dangerously low for your fish. Before heavy freezing hits, bring your hose indoors to avoid water freezing inside the hose, making it unusable.

2. Keep conditioners & dechlorinators on hand

When you do need to top off your pond, or if you decide to do a partial water change, make sure you have water conditioners and dechlorinators on hand. As always, itís important anytime youíre adding water to a pond to neutralize chlorine and other elements in tap water. Left unconditioned tap water can be dangerous to your fish and threaten the vitality of the environment youíve built.

3. Mark the perimeter of your pond

If youíre anticipating heavy snow this winter, use inexpensive marker flags to outline the perimeter of your pond. These flags can ensure you wonít lose visibility of your pondókeeping you, your family, your pets and any visitors safe. Preventing a potential fall into the pond is paramount. (Itís also a great idea to have lighting around the perimeter year round for nighttime visibility.)

4. Protect your equipment

Freezing temps are a threat to pond equipment left outside. If you keep your pump or any other pond equipment running through the winter (or havenít winterized it yet), keep a watchful eye on the temperature. When you see extended periods of freezing ahead, make sure to properly drain equipment that will be prone to warping or cracking such as filters and any UV you may be running. You can bring them inside for the rest of the winter season or feel free to turn them back on after freezing conditions lift. Itís important to note that manufacturer warranties donít cover damage due to freezing conditions, so itís definitely in your best interest to stay ahead of old man winter!

5. Move aeration near the pond surface

If using an aerator during the winter, move diffusers near the surface of the pond. Aeration is great for keeping a hole in any potential ice at the surface and for keeping oxygen flowing throughout the pond. However, diffusers need to be moved closer to the surface of the pond so that the water near the bottom of the pond can stay at a consistent (warmer) temperature for your fish. Also, youíll want to move it up sooner than later simply so you donít have to get into a freezing cold pond!

6. Last chance for tropicals

If you havenít already, bring in your tropical plants. They wonít survive winter temps. Keep them in wet soil and enjoy their bounty inside. Come spring you can bring them back outside to enjoy the loads of sunshine from which they thrive.

7. Throw a beach ball under your pond net

If you keep netting up for predator protection in the winter (after the leaves have fallen), itís a good idea to give the net a good boost above your pond surface to keep it from dipping into the water after a snow or ice fall. Fish can unfortunately get stuck in the netting if it gets in the pond. One easy way to boost your net is to throw a beach ball underneath it. As it floats on the pond surface, it will keep the netting up and out of the water. Not feeling the pool party vibes? PVC piping can also do the trick. You can also use these same ideas earlier in the fall season, especially if you have heavy leaf fall.

8. Last call for proactive and corrective fish meds

If youíd like to apply any proactive fish medication to your pond water, late fall is your last chance. After pond water drops below 50 degrees, medication wonít be effective - the fish's immune system stops functioning at this water temperature. To be effective, medication must work alongside a functioning immune system as the fish needs to assist with the healing.

So there you have it, 8 tips to employ before Jack Frost comes knocking. Use these tips, and your pond will be prepared for his colder temps.

koi pond bridge in winter

Article Posted: 10/26/2022 04:24:14 PM

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