Seasonal Pond Care
Fall Pond Prep
To prepare your pond for falling leaves, you will need to consider covering your pond with a leaf/debris net as soon as the trees begin to change color. Below is a list of items to begin thinking about at that time:
- Cold water fish food
- Mock Cold Water Formula (beneficial bacteria)
- Pond net
- Pond aerator
As the leaves begin to fall, so will the temperatures. We recommend that you begin slowing down the feeding process for your fish as the water temperatures near 65 degrees. It is wise to switch over to a lower protein (or Cold Water Food) for your koi and goldfish until water temperatures drop to around 55 degrees. At that time, you should stop feeding them all together. The reason behind this, is that as your fish begin to have slower metabolisms, they cannot process a high protein diet. If you continue feeding with a high protein food, you will in turn create a toxic environment and possibly create a fish loss.
The same guideline can be said for switching over to cold-water bacteria, such as Mock Cold Water Formula. When your water temps are regularly between 40-65 degrees, you should use this bacteria that will colonize in colder temperatures.
Covering your pond with a leaf and debris net will save you time in the spring when re-opening your pond. Placing the net over your pond before the leaves begin to fall, and using a leaf blower to remove the leaves once they do fall, is instrumental in avoiding “sludge” or “muck” in the spring. The leaves that make their way to the bottom of the pond will decompose and turn into a sludge that will need to be removed.
If you have fish, it is recommended to use a pond aerator to keep the oxygen level safe during the colder months. Temperature fluctuations when the seasons change is known for causing oxygen levels to drop, so aeration is very important for the safety and well-being of your fish.
Northeast Ohio winters can be very unpredictable. When you have a pond with fish, you need to take special care to “winterize” it before freezing begins. Below is a list of items that you should have to properly prepare your pond for winter:
- De-icer ring
If you decide to turn off your pump (recommended when temperatures drop below freezing), we recommend that you pull the pump from your water feature and place it in a bucket of pond water. This will keep the seals and gaskets wet throughout the winter. It is important to store your pump in a place where the water will not risk freezing.
If you have fish, you will need to keep a de-icer ring in the pond as temperatures drop below 32 degrees. Having a working de-icer ring (sometimes referred to a pond heater) in your pond will allow for toxic gasses to escape so that your fish are more likely to survive the long winter.
As mentioned in the fall prep section, an aerator is especially important in keeping oxygen levels safe for your fish. When temperatures drop, so does the oxygen level.
As we come out of winter, and temperatures start to climb your pond is ready to “wake up”. The amount of prep and winterization done at the end of the previous year will dictate what needs done in the spring.
A full cleanout is recommended. This entails removing 100% of the water and pressure washing your rocks and waterfall. To achieve this, you will need to have a place to put your fish until the job is complete. Using a “tote” of sorts is usually sufficient, unless you have very large fish. We recommend using your existing pond water to hold the fish until the cleanout is complete.
Once your pond and skimmer box is cleaned out, you can begin re-filling your pond. Replace your filter media and place the pump in the skimmer box. When your water is at an acceptable level, you can plug your pump in and start re-circulating the water. (Note: If you use city water, it is imperative that you remove the chlorine and chloamine from your water before adding your fish back in. Using Mock Detoxifying Formula will do this for you.)
Slowly begin adding the new pond water to the holding tank for your fish to acclimate them to the temperature and fresh water. Once they have adjusted, you can go ahead and gently move them into the pond.
You will need to treat your pond weekly with Mock Cold Water Formula until the water temperatures rise to above 65 degrees, then switch over to the Mock 4 in 1 Formula. This Beneficial bacteria will keep your eco system in balance and allow the water to stay clear longer. We also recommend that you use Mock Sludge Digester every day for 5-7 days immediately following a cleanout, and then move to a once per week dose for the rest of the season (until you “close” your pond in the late fall/winter).
During the summer months, your pond’s vegetation will grow into lush water coverage. Your plants will serve two very important purposes. First, plants add oxygen to the water. This keeps algae at bay, and helps keep your fish healthy. Second, strategically placed plants will provide shade for your pond and keep the water temperatures from getting too hot, as well as provide your fish with hiding places to avoid predators.
You will want to make sure you are fertilizing your lily plants once per month, at a minimum. We recommend you fertilize every two weeks, or use a once per season fertilizer stick. This will maximize the blooms on the flowers and boost leaf growth. Head to Mock Pond and Landscape Supply to buy your pond lily fertilizer tablets or once per year fertilizer sticks!
Keep an eye out for algae blooms, clean your filtration regularly, and make sure you are consistently treating your pond with bacteria, such as Mock 4 in 1 Formula. Also, promptly remove any decaying plant matter to avoid excess sludge debris.
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Mogadore, Ohio 44260
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