Winterizing Your Pond Landscape
When you feel the first chill of fall, it is time to begin winterizing your pond landscape so that it can survive the cold months and bring you joy all next season. There are several facets of pond winterizing that need to be examined.
The quality of your pond water gravely affects the survival of those creatures living in the pond. As soon as autumn leaves begin to fall, remove the consequent detritus from the pond as decaying organic material raises the level of ammonia, harming fish and causing the pond to reek. If ammonia level does rise, change one quarter of the existing water with fresh water, but use a de-chlorinating product. It is a smart idea to give your filter one final cleaning after changing the water in your artificial pond landscape.
Zeolite is a natural mineral that absorbs ammonia and keeps your pond fresh year round. Oxygen is also extremely important to maintain a healthy pond ecosystem so ensure that there is an opening (hole sized rather than cracked) in the ice during winter months for the landscape to breathe. Landscape suppliers that specialize in pond equipment sell aeration pumps that aptly handle oxygen cycling in winter.
Be sure to trim back your pond landscape plants for winter, remove algae and scum from pond pots and move then into a deeper section of the pond below ice formation (as many as eight inches).
Many pond landscapes are loaded with koi and goldfish, particularly since they are fish that survive in cold water and thus winter well as long as you take a few precautions. Fish add the by-products of ammonia and carbon monoxide into your pond and can turn the environment toxic if oxygen is not circulated properly. As the water in the winter becomes increasingly cold, fish begin to hibernate and consequently require a decreasing amount of food (at 50 degrees they should not be fed at all as at full hibernation food in their digestive tract becomes toxic).