We’re all feeling the effects of The Beast from the East, which has wreaked havoc across the UK this week with snow blizzards and freezing temperatures. And, now that Storm Emma has landed things don’t seem to be warming up any time soon.
But it’s not just the roads and runways that are feeling the effects of the sudden cold spell. These harsh conditions can also play havoc on our gardens and in particular, ponds.
Dave Hulse, fishkeeping expert at Tetra explains, “A sudden drop in air temperature does not mean that water temperature will also plummet; water is an excellent buffer against temperature change, so it will take several days for the temperature of a pond to decline significantly.
“However, small shallow ponds (below 2ft in size) which have aeration devices running will chill much quicker, which can be dangerous for your fish.”
Dave adds, “To reduce the chances of your water temperature falling below a safe temperature, fountains, waterfalls, venturis or air pumps should be switched off as these will only increase the contact between water and the icy cold air, which will excessively chill the water.
“If a garden pond freezes over, although it can be tempting to smash a hole in the ice, so the water is aerated for the fish, this can send a large pressure wave through the water which can be very alarming to them. Ice on the pond surface for a day or so will not trouble the fish, so try not to worry. Should you need to create a hole, this is best done by placing a saucepan of boiling water onto the ice and allowing it to melt a hole.
“It is important to offer fish food even in the coldest of weather, otherwise the fish will deplete fat and even muscle energy supplies which can hinder their progress into the warmer spring period. Offer the fish small amounts of an wheatgerm-based pond fish food, this is easily digested by the fish. Fish may sometimes refuse the food hence net out any uneaten after 30 minutes.”