Winter is the season to relax and enjoy your pond with less worries of upkeep.
Marginal plants should be trimmed back to go dormant for the cold months ahead. Lilies also get trimmed and lotus which, after being trimmed, should be moved to the deepest point of the pond to be protected from freezing that can damage their tubers.
There is no need to feed your fish as their metabolism has slowed down significantly, and any excess of food becomes indigestible.
It is especially important to keep an air hole, a small area that is keep from freezing over, on the ponds surface. This ensures that harmful gaseous waste products will not be kept trapped under the surface, harming the fish and the health of the ecosystem. We recommend using an aerator, which keeps movement of oxygen into the ponds water ensuring an adequate air hole plus, providing supplemental oxygen which is necessary for good health of your fish. Moving the aerators air stones to the second shelf during the winter is recommended. Additionally, to keep a hole in the ice a deicer can be used. Which only runs during periods of freezing temps, not all winter long, with its temperature sensitive controls. In combination with the pump kept running, which is recommended until significant ice build up during very cold temperatures, there will be enough oxygen circulating through the pond’s ecosystem. Though it is not bad thing to supplement with an aerator as well, especially if you have fish.
A big question during the winter is whether the pump should be unplugged or kept running. The overall health of your pond’s ecosystem is greater if the waterfall pumps are left running all winter long. The exception is when ice builds up during extended periods of freezing temperatures, when it stays below freezing during the day and at night for extended periods of time. It is important to make sure that ice does not divert water outside the pond or stream. When you do see a considerable buildup of ice around the waterfall that prevents flow of water, avoid breaking up the ice and instead, unplug the pump until temperatures rise again and the ice melts away. If there is a time during the winter where ice has overtaken the pond and caused the pumps intake to be diminished, unplug to prevent damage and wait until the ice has had time to start to melt away before turning back on. Keeping waterfalls running provides a flow of oxygen into the ponds water and lessens the amount of waste that builds up from stagnant water if you were to turn the pump off, making spring opening of your pond much easier.
The drop in temperature reduces the growth of algae, but it is not to say that is completely prevented. Especially if there is a flux of temperatures from cold to warm, you may still see some growth. Alongside of monthly treatment of specially formulated cold-water bacteria, Microbe Lift Autumn-Winter Prep, it is can still be beneficial to use Barley Extract, Pond Balance or Algae D-Solv.
Now, enjoy the beautiful ice sculptures and relaxing sounds of the trickling drops of water throughout. Ice will form on your waterfall and streams of every size and shape, much like no two snowflakes are ever the same. The ice will sparkle with delight on bright sunny days. We hope you can enjoy the winter wonderland we have ahead, though we are looking forward to the life of spring just as much as you are.