Seasonal fish pond maintenance is necessary to prepare the pond-dwellers and the water for the changes you can expect in temperature. The right steps to take depend somewhat on your location. The tips here are for those people who can leave their ponds full and uncovered throughout the winter without worrying about freezing temperatures.
Reduce the Feed
The fishes’ metabolism (and thus their need for food) starts to drop when the water temperature falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout the year, you should be cautious about over-feeding because the extra food clogs the filters and contributes to algae growth.
A good rule of thumb is to put out only enough feed that the fish can eat within five minutes. You can feed a couple of times a day in this manner. But once the temperature drops, you may only need to feed two or three times per week. There are special feeds created for cold water temperatures that are higher in carbs, needed by the fish to stay warm, and lower in protein.
Trim the Plants
Aquatic plants help to keep the water clean. Large-leafed plants provide shelter for the fish during hot weather, but the plants need a little maintenance too.
Fall is the time to trim back your aquatic plants. They are dormant throughout the winter, but they are not dead. Depending on the variety of plant, the leaves may turn yellow or brown. You want to trim these leaves before they fall to the bottom of the pond.
Add Some Beneficial Bacteria
Beneficial bacteria help to breakdown waste products and prevent sludge from accumulating on the bottom of the pond. As a result of their activity, the beneficial bacteria help to keep the water clear. Different kinds of bacteria are recommended by pond specialists for colder temperatures.
Remove Leaves and Other Debris
Depending on where you live, you might not have too many deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the fall. But if your landscape includes some of these trees, you may need to remove leaves on an almost daily basis. The leaves will clog your filters and create sludge on the bottom of your pond.
Clean the Filters
Of course you have to clean the filters on a regular basis, but fall is a good time to make sure they are clean and that your pumps are functioning properly. Taking these simple extra steps will help you enjoy your pond year-round.