How to Care for Your Pond Fish in Winter

chunk of ice on frozen water

During those cold winter months, your fish’s welfare can become a concern. With temperatures plummeting into the minus degrees and pond surfaces freezing over, people often worry about what happens to your pondlife beneath the ice.

It’s in this time that your fish will enter a state of semi-hibernation, resulting in their activity levels decreasing and their metabolism reducing, this means that generally, you won’t need to feed your fish during winter, but it doesn’t mean that they need less care. Our expert team here at Pond Planet have compiled some important information on how to care for your pond during winter.

Do you need to prevent your pond’s surface from freezing over?

In short, no! So long as the ice is ventilated your pond and its inhabitants will be fine, in fact, surface ice can even help your pond. A layer of ice can prevent the pond succumbing to lower temperatures and can also create a protective barrier for your fish against hungry wildlife such as herons, foxes and cats.

Something as simple as leaving a hole in the surface of the ice will allow harmful gases such as methane to escape the pond and be expelled into the atmosphere. Such gases are created by plantlife, rotting vegetation and excretion from the pond’s fish and frogs.

Many people ask, “should I keep my pond pump running in winter?” The simple answer to this is, yes! The easiest way to ensure your pond is well oxygenated is to employ a pond pump and pond filter, both of which can be kept running throughout colder months to ease off surface ice.

Should I Purchase a Pond Heater?

Contrary to popular belief, a pond heater doesn’t actually alter the temperature of the water in your pond. Rather, it prevents ice from forming over an area of the pond’s surface, allowing an opening for gases to escape as aforementioned, as well as amphibian life to both exit and enter the pond.

This is a simple and worry-free means of ensuring your pond’s animals and plants have a sufficient supply of oxygen throughout winter. Here at Pond Planet, you’ll find a fantastic range of affordable pond heaters, with products from major manufacturers including Cloverleaf, Hozelock and Oase.

Feeding Pond Fish in Winter

As we’ve already touched upon, it is not usually necessary to feed your pond’s fish life during the winter months when the colder temperatures result in the fish’s metabolism slowing. However, you can still feed them should you prefer to and give yourself that extra peace of mind.

Should this be the case, we would advise staying away from standard pond foods. Instead, your fish should be fed with an easily digestible winter fish food, such as wheatgerm. At Pond Planet we stock a range of high-quality wheatgerm fish food, with the likes of Aqua Source, JBL and NT Labs providing products of proven quality.   

Is There Anything Else I Can Use for Winter Pond Care?

Though the above should see that your pond is kept in prime condition during the colder weather, there are additional products that you can employ to further protect your pond’s inhabitants.

We would recommend using a pond cover net over a standard plastic pond cover, as a cover can block out essential light needed by the pond’s plants for photosynthesis. A net such as our Hozelock pond cover nets and Blagdon pond cover nets will stop debris falling into the pond from strong winds, which in turn results in decomposition of materials and a lower quality of water.

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