As summer draws to a close, pond feature enthusiasts need to start thinking about properly closing this environment for the fall and winter. Taking the time to learn about seasonal pond cleaning will help ensure that your pond environment stays in good condition during its off months. The pond team at Big Al’s Pets has prepared this simple checklist to help you get ready for this important process.
Keep Track of Water Temperature to Time Fish Care
As you probably know, water temperature is likely to be your first indication that seasonal shifts are impacting your pond environment. A good thermometer should be considered an essential piece of pond care equipment. If you do not have a thermometer, we stock several that will suit your needs.
Begin to watch the temperature readings on your pond thermometer starting in early fall. September is usually the month when pond keepers see their water getting cool, though some parts of the US will see temperatures falling as early as mid-August.
If you have fish in your pond, the water temperature will tell you when to switch them to a cold-weather diet. Preparing them for this seasonal shift is important; they will stay healthier with the help of the right food given at the right time.
Clean Before the Weather Gets Too Cold
Before water temperatures dip below 50 degrees F you will need to clean the pond. Cleaning requires a few special tools, including:
- A fine mesh net for scooping floating debris
- A hose and nozzle to spray off stuck debris from shelves
- A pond vacuum to remove quantities of material
- Water conditioning products to counter chlorine and other contaminants from water added back to the pond after cleaning
- A pond net to protect the surface from falling leaves and other blowing debris
Start by scooping out leaves, twigs, and other similar debris with the mesh net. If leaves have become stuck to shallow periphery areas of the pond, remove some of the water to expose these shelves. Pond vacuums and nets can be used to collect this debris, though stuck material may need to be sprayed off with the help of a hose. Water conditioning products should be used once fresh water has been added to the pond after the cleaning is complete.
Pond nets should be suspended around 18 inches above the surface of the water. This will prevent blowing debris like leaves from accumulating too quickly. If you do not have trees surrounding your pond this might not be a necessary step, but if your property accumulates many blowing leaves in the fall this can be a valuable addition to your pond.
Taking Care of Plants and Fish
Aquatic plants are affected by changing temperatures and other aspects of seasonal climate; the growth cycle of these plants is likely complete by early fall; gently prune any dying parts. Certain plants, especially tropical varieties, will need to be removed from the pond altogether. Place these in water containers and bring them inside until it is time to set up the pond again in spring.
Several fish species can be safely kept in their pond environment throughout the winter, although a little research might be required to learn how ponds will be affected by weather local to you. In many places in the US, pond fish survive because warm water sinks to the bottom of the environment. Ponds with minimal water circulation can remain relatively temperate, though different species may have different winter care requirements.
Taking care of plants, fish, and the pond environment is just the first part of closing your pond for the winter. Remember that the pump system and other equipment will also need cleaned and stored before the weather gets too cold.