Honestly why would you want to shut down your pond for the winter?
You will lose all the winter wonderland effects created by your waterfalls, stream and pond.
Anytime you shut down a pond for any length of time, the water is going to get stale and stagnant. You could drain it completely but what are going to do with your plants and fish?
The best alternative is to leave it running.
In the Fall you can do some preparations to get your pond ready for the Winter months.
Pick a nice day or two in the Fall. Enjoy the beauty of the day outdoors and get your pond ready at the same time.
1. First of all, you will want to switch your fish to some kind of Fall fish food. It is easier to digest and if you sparingly feed your fish during the summer you could feed a little extra so they get extra nutrition to make it through the winter.
2. Switch your summer beneficial bacteria to Fall bacteria Spring/Fall beneficial bacteria packets contain cold water bacteria and therefore will work much better in cooler water.
3. For algae control, you can keep up your regular treatments. Pond balance, Algae Off and Barley extract will continue to work into the Fall and even early Winter months.
4. Aquatic plants. Continue to deadhead your aquatics. You will notice more and more dead or dying leaves. Lotus are one of the first to die back. Eventually the plants will totally die back. Keeping the dead plant material out of the pond, will decrease the amount of debris in the bottom of the pond. All plants can be trimmed down to about an inch or two above the pot. Tropical marginals need to be removed before the first frost if you wish to save them. Keep indoors, in decorative pots that will hold water. Keep by a sunny window and don’t let them dry out. Put back out into the pond next year.
5. Leaf nets are great for keeping the leaves out of the pond, especially during the time in the Fall when leaves are dropping like crazy. The black of the leaf nets doesn’t take away from the look of the pond that much. The net will keep your leaf maintenance to a minimum. If you use PVC or electrical gray conduit, you can make a tent-like frame that keeps the leaf net out of the water and most of the leaves will just blow off. Right before you put your leaf net on is an ideal time to trim your plants. To avoid the need to take the net off, take dead leaves out and put the net back on. When the leaves are done dropping and your yard is cleaned up, you can always take the leaf net back off.
6. If you have an aerator in your pond, most of the time it should be in the bottom of the pond. Before putting on your leaf net or before winter sets in, take the air stones and bring them up to an 2nd (upper) shelf. They will keep a better air hole in the ice during the Winter. By bringing the air stones up, you are leaving a thermal area in the bottom of your pond for the fish to winter over.
By doing these simple things you will have your pond prepared for the Fall and Winter months to come. You can sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of Fall and the Winter Wonderland created by your streams and pond.