What To Do With A Koi Winter Pond
Cleanliness, diet and water-circulation are three of the basic details for you to focus on while preparing for your koi winter pond.
Hopefully by the time fall rolls around you have your game plan figured out for getting your koi and pond ready for the winter.
In autumn there is a slow decomposition of the accumulated fish waste, leaves, algae and insects that accumulate over the summer months. Organic matter breaks down due to the presence oxygen. Decomposition results in the release of toxins.
If you have a regular pond cleaning program in place during the summer it makes your “fall cleaning” much easier. The more debris you remove periodically throughout the summer, the less you will have to remove to get your pond ready for winter.
Your fall cleaning should involve thoroughly cleaning your pond, removing all the dead leaves and other debris from the bottom. You can use a net to fish out the larger particles and a vacuum to remove the finer waste.
When you are done cleaning, cover your pond to make sure that no more leaves can fall in.
It’s also not a bad idea to perform a partial water change as part of your winterizing routine.
The metabolism of koi is directly related to the water temperature. They reflect the falling water temperature with a relative decrease in metabolism. This means that they need less food, and specifically, less protein.
When water temperatures drop below 50 degrees fahrenheit you should no longer feed your koi. They cannot digest the food.
In fact, when the temperatures are in the low 50′s to mid 60′s you should be feeding a low protein, wheat germ based diet in addition to feeding less frequently than in the summer.
In winter your koi, providing your pond is deep enough will hang out at the bottom where the water is warmer and “sleep”. The deeper the pond, the more warm water space they will have at the bottom to wait out the cold weather.
If your pond is less than three feet deep it is advisable to bring your koi in for the winter, especially if the water may freeze over. There won’t be enough of a warm water layer at the bottom to keep your fish from freezing.
If you live in harsher winter conditions have to assess the size of their koi pond. If yours is a deep pond, ideally 3 to 5 feet in depth, your koi will be able to survive the winter with a minimum of help and care from you.
Make sure that you use a pond heater or de-icer to keep an opening at the surface of your pond to allow for gas exchange. You want the water to stay oxygenated and also to allow for toxic gases to be able to escape the pond.
If you live in an area where the winters are mild with an occasional light snowfall it will be much easier and take far fewer steps to make the seasonal transition .
However, if you live in an area where the winters are intense and long, then there are a few additional details you will have to consider for your koi winter pond.