BRINGING KOI AND GOLDFISH
INDOORS FOR THE WINTER
In northern locations with
extreme winters, some people opt to bring their fish indoors for the winter.
Although koi and goldfish can survive harsh winter conditions, if you have
relatively few koi, or if you have a large tank inside to house your fish, you
might want to consider brining your fish inside. Here are a few pointers, tips
Bringing Fish Indoors:
Fish are protected from
extreme cold and temperature fluctuations
You can closely monitor
water quality and fish health
You get a chance to
inspect the fish closely while catching them from the pond
The fish will continue
to grow during the winter
You get to enjoy your
fish year round
Indoor tanks require a
good deal of maintenance ie. feeding, water changes, filter cleaning etc
The fish are stress and
could be injured from being caught – twice (fall and spring)
Usually requires extra
equipment, pump, filter etc
Water quality problems
are common, especially during the first month which often lead to illness or
Koi are jumpers - you
must make sure you tub is covered very well particularly for the first few
The fish will continue
to grow over the winter which isn’t good if you have limited space
You will most likely
need to drain pond completely to catch fish
If you have weighed out the
benefits and drawbacks of moving your fish indoors and want to go ahead with it,
here a few pointers to follow to help make the transition a success.
Steps To Follow:
possible, set up your tank or aquarium filter in the pond and let it run
for 1 month prior to bringing your fish inside. Then set it up inside when you
bring your fish in. This will help to ‘cycle’ the filter and seed it with
beneficial bacteria, reducing water quality problems.
up the tank, install the filter etc & fill it with water from pond. Check all
connections, tubing etc for leaks.
easiest and least stressful way to catch your fish is to drain the pond leaving
just enough water for the fish to swim. Catch the fish, gently place them in
bags or containers and bring them into the house. If you have just filled
the tub with pond water, there is no need to float the bag to acclimatize the
fish, just gently release them. If the tub has been set up and running for a few
days float the fish in the bags to let the temperatures equilibrate.
all the fish are in the new tub, make sure it is covered very well. Koi are very
good jumpers and will jump, especially for the first few weeks.
beneficial bacteria such as Microbe Lift to help seed filters and improve water
sparingly for the first few weeks, this will help to reduce ammonia and nitrite
spikes in the water.
WATER QUALITY! . I can’t stress this point enough. At the very least test for
pH, ammonia, nitrite. Most fish illness and deaths occur in the first month, and
it is almost always as a result of poor water. Filters take time to become fully
active or ‘cycled’ with the beneficial bacteria. Until the filter is cycled,
high levels of toxic ammonia and nitrite are to be expected, and these are very
dangerous to fish.
sure to perform partial water changes regularly. This does not mean ‘filling the
tank’ when the water level drops from evaporation. You must drain 10% -20% of
the water and replace it every 1 to 2 weeks (remember to add dechlorinator).
You may need to increase the frequency and the volume during the first month, or
if you have a high fish load.
Returning The Fish To The
Returning the fish to the
pond is usually much easier. Just follow the steps above, but apply them to the
pond. There are just a few things to consider when moving them back outside.
Steps To Follow:
the pond, remove any sludge and debris that has accumulated over the winter,
perform a partial water change and install pumps, filters etc.
sure your pond is running at least a week before putting your fish back in
move them outside too early. Make sure the pond has warmed up and is less 10°F
cooler than the inside tank. Too sudden a drop in temperature can lead to
the fish are in the pond, monitor them for signs of stress and check water
the fish a proper diet according to the water temperature.