Winter Fish Health
Here are a few tips to keep fish happy during the winter months
- Check the amount of debris in the pond skimmer and filter falls. Remove excess debris if there is more than 1-2" of sludge on the bottom. Removing substantial amounts of leaves and sludge from the pond before the water becomes cold and fish start to hibernate on the bottom, will keep fish healthy for the spring. Hibernating, and sitting in a bed of sludge that can harbor parasites, contribute to poor water quality or lower oxygen levels through winter months is not good for them.
- Water treatments- Ultra Clear Pond Sludge Remover Muck digester or Pond-Zyme with Barley clean and clarify pond water. They contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes to consume sludge and clean ponds. Use a fall clean up dose for acute sludge build up. Muck digester tablets are easily added with no measure or mess. Treat monthly and will work in cold water. Oxy pond clean will oxidize algae on the spot and wash the debris into the filter for clean out
- Pumps left on the surface of the pond like in a skimmer may be kept running while it is only circulating top water. Pumps in the bottom of the pond should be turned off and filter and pipes drained. Glass from the UVC need to be removed and brought inside.
- Do not feed fish once the temperature is below 50 degrees and resume feed when the temperature returns to 50 degrees. Fish are dormant during the cold temperature and do not metabolize the food readily. Old food in their system can cause harm and stress. Old food and waste in the pond can stress the water quality when bacteria and plants are not growing to maintain the balance.
- Maintain a hole in the frozen pond to allow harmful gasses to escape. Fish do not require as much oxygen during cold months since they are dormant. Cold water is easier to absorb oxygen. Gas from organics can cause harm if trapped under ice for a duration. Maintaining a hole can be done with an electric deicer A floating Ice Guard. Keeps the hole open without electricity! A pond aerator works well to keep a hole open in the ice and can be used for back up if the pump goes out
- Netting over the pond or providing under water shelters will protect fish from Herons looking for opportunity for easy pray