Koi, Shubunkins, and goldfish are beautiful additions to any backyard pond, but can they live through the winter outdoors? While some breeds of goldfish should be brought inside during the winter, most can tough out the winter in your pond with some special care. Here are some tips to keep your fish alive and well, even when the weather is chilly:
Make Sure Your Pond Is Deep Enough
If you plan on having fish in your pond, it is important to do some planning during the construction phase. During the winter, fish remain relatively inactive on the bottom of the pond, but they do still require liquid water. In order to leave your fish in your pond during the winter, the pond needs to be deep enough that the water doesn't freeze all the way through. If you live in an extremely cold area, you should plan on digging your pond at least 30 inches deep. For most regions, though, 18 inches should be a sufficient depth.
Deice the Pond
During the winter, organic matter in your pond decomposes, and it releases gases as it does. When the pond is covered in a layer of ice, these gases become trapped and build up, becoming toxic. To keep your fish safe, a small portion of your pond should remain ice free using a floating pond deicer. This device has a thermostat and a heating element, and it leaves a hole in the ice big enough to let the toxic gases vent out. Do not cut corners and break the ice yourself; the waves you create could shock and kill your fish. It can also cause the warm water at the top of the pond to mix with the cooler water below, which is also bad for the fish.
Cut Back on Feeding
As the water temperature falls, fish metabolisms begin to slow down, and they don't need to be fed the one to three times a day they require in the summer months. After the temperature drops below about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your fish only need to be fed a couple of times a week. When it falls below 50 degrees, you should stop feeding your fish altogether until spring.
Protect From Predators
Since your fish are in hibernation mode, they are more likely to fall prey to animals like raccoons. Use a leaf net to protect your fish from these scavengers. It also has the added bonus of keeping falling foliage out of your pond.
You may also want to consider a pond liner. For more information, contact Billboard Tarps or a similar company.Share
5 November 2015
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