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Tips for Water Gardeners
Pond Winterizing

Protect your FISH and PLANTS during the winter.

Toward the end of the pond season, it's time to start thinking about what needs to be done to your pond. Here are some steps of the essentials that you should do to protect your fish and plants just before and during the winter months.

POND CLEANING: During the pond season and as fall becomes near, one may expect a few leaves and debris of some kind in the pond water. These should be cleaned out. Leaves can be cleaned out using a coarse net. Sludge usually has to be cleaned out with the use of a pump on the bottom of the pond, therefore, creating a partial water change. We prefer no more than a 25% water change. Your fish needs to make it through the winter, lets not put any more stress on them than necessary. The bottom line is that if the leaves were left in the pond, they would rot and cause the release of harmful gases during the winter months. This would also be a good time to clean your filter system.

PLANT PREPARATIONS: Once the temperature of the water reaches approx. 40 degrees F, the plants will begin there processes to prepare for winter. Once the plants have turned brown, cut them back just above the surface of the water. You should remove all brown lily pads and stems from your water lilies and then submerge the pot back to the bottom of the pond. The plants that you had obtained as tropical plants, needs to be brought in doors, either as a house plant or bare root for storage.

FISH CARE: Here again once the water temperature reaches below 45 degrees F, one needs to change their daily routines. That includes discontinuing all feedings. At this time the fish will have begun their hibernation process. The fish's metabolism will have slowed down too much to allow food to digest properly. In actuality you would be doing the fish more harm than good, if you were to feed at this time.

POND FREEZING: Now winter is upon us and the pond is starting to freeze over. Use a preventive measure to prevent this from happening. The pond needs an area to allow for the escaping of gases. There are one of three methods that most people use to keep an area of the pond broken up from the ice. One method would be to use the water pump, raise the pump up to a shelf in the pond or position it in a container closer to the surface and allow the water to spray upward, this should keep the ice broken up. Another method would be to use an aerator. This method has the same effect as the pump, except it doesn't take water in and then pushes it out, it only pushes the water out causing circulation and keeping the ice broken up. The third method is the use of a de-icer, which is sometimes used in conjunction with an aerator when the conditions become very cold. I must add that the method of a hammer or the use of a heavy object is not an acceptable method of breaking up the ice. This will send shock waves through the water that can seriously harm or kill your fish. If you didn't use precautions to keep the water from freezing over, use hot water or some method that doesn't cause any harm to the fish; then you can insert foam, plastic or something that will help to keep the opening area in the ice.

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Little River Water Gardens * 3771 108th Ave. SE * Norman * OK * 73026

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