*Here are the most important "Life Supports" that you should have in place to not only keep your water garden looking good, but also to ensure your fish are safe and healthy over Fall and Winter so they are smiling at you come Spring 2017. Keep in mind that your ecosystem is still active under all that ice - everything you do or do NOT do now will affect your waterfeature in some way over the next 6 months and may surprise you when you open it in the Spring.
*Please note that some of these bullet points do not apply to Pondless® Waterfall systems.
Top 10 Life Support Items:
2. Fall Fish Food/Cold Weather Bacteria – We recommend switching to a fall fish food (low in protein) around late September or when water temperatures in your pond drop below 65 degrees. Cold weather food contains a wheat germ that helps with fish digestion. Beneficial Bacteria should still be applied to your waterfeature so as to continue breaking down any dead organic matter in the pond. Some beneficial bacteria are ineffective when water temperatures drop below 50—double check the one you have on hand. Cold Weather Beneficial Bacteria by Aquascape can be used in the Fall when water temperatures drop below 50 degrees and until the water begins to freeze for the year. It can also be used again in the Spring when water temperature is between 40 and 60 degrees.
3. Keep the Leaves Out – Cover your pond with a net to keep harmful leaves out of your pond that produce toxic gasses when decomposing. This will go a long way towards keeping your fish safe this winter. Please note: Leaves will need to be continually removed from the top of the net, so as to not weigh the net down into the pond. A leaf blower is great at removing leaves from the top of net in an efficient manner. You may also consider using a tenting structure that is constructed with PVC pipe and prevents the net from sagging into the water due to the weight of the leaves. Dreamscapes offers this type of tenting service from October through November every year. Please click here for additional information on Fall Shutdown Services.
4. Clean Your Pond – If your pond is filthy – Clean It! Fish have a harder time surviving the winter in a dirty pond.
5. Cut Back Plants – Foliage from waterlilies, marginal and stream plants should be cut back to keep dead foliage out of your pond/pondless. Cutting back the hardy plants also helps ensure that they will grow again in the Spring. Plants that are not properly cut back in the Fall may not grow again when the temperatures rise. Make sure to discard any annual floating plants like water lettuce and water hyacinth. Decomposing plants contribute to poor water quality which can lead to fish health complications.
7. Keep a Hole in The Ice Don’ts – NEVER BANG ON THE ICE- it could send your fish into shock and they will die. If a dome of ice is created over your aerator bubbles, use “pond salt” to melt it by sprinkling it over where you want the hole to be.
8. Stop Feeding – When water temperatures are below 50 degrees, stop feeding the fish. Period. Fish are unable to digest foods at temperatures lower than 50 degrees and it could be fatal for fish who consume food past that point.
9. Protect Your Electric Source –Check your GFCI periodically throughout the winter, as many pond owners lose power when snow reaches their electric source. It is important to make sure that your electrical outlets are covered and protected—this can be achieved by use of a “faux rock cover” which are designed to withstand all seasonal conditions.
10. Aeration Needed – Koi fish 8” or bigger or a pond heavily stocked with goldfish need supplemental aeration in the winter. The bigger the fish or the more fish there are in a pond, the more oxygen that needs to be present for them to survive. We recommend an aerator or a small bubbler pump.
Please feel free to contact Dreamscapes Watergardens if you have any questions about how to properly shutdown your waterfeature for the season or if you would like the Dreamscapes team to shut it down for you OR Fill out the contact form below!
The Dreamscapes crew preforms over 100 Fall Waterfeature Shutdowns all over the Central Pennsylvania area to include Lebanon County, Dauphin County, Schuylkill County, Berks County, Lancaster County, York County, Adams County, Cumberland County, Perry County. Ask us for more information!
Dreamscapes is located at 2155 State Route 343, Lebanon Pa, 17046; 717-272-6555