TOP TIP - Looking after your Pond in cold weather.
With the cold blast we are all experiencing at the moment and plenty of snow and ice across the Country, you might be wondering how best to care for your aquarium and fish.
The aquarium itself is built for the outside temperatures. It is the fish rather than the structure that we need to be mindful of, the fish will naturally go to the bottom of the pond to hibernate during the winter colder months. As it gets colder, the fish will naturally go to deeper water. As the depth increases, temperatures stabilize and it's easier for them to do their version of light hibernation which allows them to survive the winter months.
1. Don’t let the surface water Ice over!
The main thing to consider is that the pond does not ice over as this lowers the oxygen in the pond and stops the nitrates from being released. To allow for gas exchange, keeping a hole open in the ice is a great idea. Breaking a hole in the ice can sadly stress fish, so quietly melting a hole in the ice with some warm water is the most effective way – do not use a hammer!
You can also add a small ball to the pond, the momentum of the ball in the water will prevent all the surface water from freezing over, this should leave a hole in the ice to leave oxygen in and allow the nitrates to leave the pond.
2. Clear any snow from the top of the pond.
If there is any snow on top of the ice, try and clear the snow away. This will also allow light into the pond to make sure aquatic plants can do their jobs, creating oxygen to keep the ecosystem running.
3. Leave your filter and pump running.
The filter in your pond contains beneficial bacteria that help break down toxic chemicals in the water to help improve water quality and keep your fish healthy. Whilst this bacterium may become dormant in colder temperatures, supplying it with a constant supply of oxygen from the pond water is enough to keep it alive until temperatures rise again in the Spring. By completely shutting down the pump and filter over winter, you’re effectively stopping this process. We advise leaving your pond pump and filter running year round!
4. Invest in a Pond De-Icer.
If you are in an area that has particularly low temperatures, you may want to invest in a low powered pond heater. We stock the Oase IceFree Thermo 330 Auto Pond Heater, which activates at freezing point level and circulates the warmer water from the bottom of the pond to prevent the surface water from icing over.