Garden Pond Care In Cold Weather – When it comes to your garden pond you don’t want to turn your beautiful Koi or Goldfish into icicles during cold weather. In order to keep your fish alive during chilly months, proper pond care is essential. This means everything from feeding to installing the right water garden pond liners. A very important part of garden pond care when the weather gets cold is changing the type of fish food that you give to your underwater pets. When the weather gets cold, it is difficult for fish to digest protein. When the thermometer dips below 10 degrees, start giving them a low protein alternative food. A good choice is wheat germ, which comes in pellets and is available at your local garden centre or aquatic store.
Once the temperature drops below seven degrees, you can stop feeding your garden pond fish altogether. Their metabolism will slow down as they go into a very subdued state.
Choose the right garden pond liners
The water garden pond liners that you choose are important, as they will need to withstand the cold temperatures. Invest in high quality rubber pond liners that will not be susceptible to frost damage and will remain pliable no matter how cold it gets. Attempting to save a bit of money by going for cheap, poor quality pond liners will only cause problems when the temperature dips.
Breaking the ice
Your garden pond will inevitably contain a few fallen leaves and other organic material and as this decomposes it will produce toxic gases. They can be trapped within the pond if the surface is completely covered by ice for more than a few days and can poison your fish. You must keep a small area free of ice so that the gases can escape.
Don’t break the ice by smashing it, as the shockwaves can be harmful to the fish. Instead, you can melt the ice with hot water or use a floating pond de-icer. These devices have a heating element that is programmed to turn on when the water temperature drops below freezing.
Another way to clear a hole is with an aerator which will keep the water oxygenated and ensure that there is always an opening in the ice. The aerator should be placed halfway up from the deepest spot in the pond and checked on every few days to make sure it is still working.
Of course, if you are really worried about your fish surviving a particularly cold spell, you can always bring them indoors and keep them in an aquarium for a few months. If you do this, leave your outdoor pond nearly full to counteract the pressure on the pond liner from the freezing ground.