A pond can be a lovely addition to a garden, but as the weather grows colder, it requires a little work to ensure that fish and waters remain happy and healthy during the winter months. To help, Dave Hulse, Tetra’s technical consultant offers his top tips on how you can help your consumer’s ponds stay In top shape this autumn, ranging from managing aeration to protecting pumps and filters.
Keep on top of fallen leaves
Fallen leaves and debris are an inevitable part of autumn, however it’s important to try and prevent them from accumulating on the surface of ponds as this will ultimately create a harmful atmosphere for fish.
Not only will dying foliage use valuable oxygen as it decays in the water, it will also contribute to the amount of solid waste and the concentration of algae-encouraging nutrients. Placing netting over the surface of the pond where possible is the best way to catch the leaves and protect fish from the elements.
Switch to a wheatgerm based food
As the temperature grows cooler, it’s important to reduce the amount you’re feeding fish as their metabolic rate decreases and their requirement for food declines.
When it’s colder, fish digest what they eat less efficiently and so when the water temperature dips below 10°C, fishkeepers should switch to a wheatgerm-based food product. This offers fish a ready source of protein and energy, which is useful to them during the autumn and winter months. As fish can initially be wary of new food, slowly introduce any dietary change by blending the new food with their usual diet during the first few weeks.
Manage aeration carefully
Cold water holds more oxygen than warmer water, yet in cooler temperatures a fish’s oxygen requirements are less. Therefore, as we move into Autumn ponds will require less aeration, as this also increases the contact between pond water and the cold air chilling the water. The risk of over-aeration or a sudden cold spell can cause the water temperature to plummet to a level where fish may suffer. As the seasons change, it is essential to carefully manage all waterfalls, fountains, air pumps and any other aeration devices to protect fish.
Protect pond equipment
From late autumn onwards, quartz sleeves in ultra-violet clarifiers are not such a necessity and so can be disconnected or bypassed and taken indoors. Similarly, delicate pond equipment, which is susceptible to frost damage, should be either stored indoors in the chillier weather or protected with thick bubble wrap.
For more information about Tetra and its products please visit www.tetra-fish.co.uk