Winter in Central Pennsylvania is STILL Upon Us...
- Does this need to be done to protect the fish?
- Do I have to keep all the ice off the pond all winter?
- Is it ever safe for the pond to be iced over and if so how long?
- If my pond needs to be deiced, how can I do this?
Generally speaking, ice on a backyard koi pond for a week or so is not a problem for the fish because at this time of year, you should have already stopped feeding the koi and they have gone into hibernation. This means that their metabolism has greatly slowed down and they are producing very little waste. Plant life has died back and vegetative material has hopefully been removed from the pond so there is little to decompose. The biological processes in the pond have also slowed down significantly because of the temperature decrease and the toxins that are being formed from fish waste and plant decomposition are doing so at a very slow rate.
ACCU Weather 2016 Winter Forecast (CLICK HERE)
However, in Central Pennsylvania, we often get extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures in the months of January and February, often leading to inches of ice on ponds. Even though being produced at very low rate, toxins created from fish waste and plant decomposition can accumulate over time and stress or kill your pond fish if not handled correctly or in a timely manner. When ice freezes over the pond for multiple weeks without thawing, those toxins have no way to escape the pond (which is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT). Unfortunately, because this build-up causes stress that is hard to detect while the fish are hibernating in the deepest part of the pond under the ice, you may not notice a difference in your fish’s health until spring welcomes Pennsylvania in April. It is also important to note that gasses trapped under the ice for too long can be fatal to your fishy friends.
So what is the solution?
Now you may be asking yourself, do I really need a pond deicer? We have heard numerous stories about pond owners not having used a pond heater and not experiencing any fish loss either.
The most important reality in the watergardening world is that every pond is different based on the pond size, amount of plant life, number of fish, size of fish, amount of accumulated fish waste and dead organic matter, balance of the nutrients in the water, you name it --- all are contributing factors to the safety of your pond fish under all that ice.
For more information on pond de-icers (pond heaters), aeration for koi fish or winter care in general, please contact us directly!
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