Depending where you live, winters can be quite severe, so you need the right fall pond care products to make sure your koi and goldfish survive during this time. If you have long winters like we do, you need to be very well prepared if you want to make sure your pond stays in tip top shape through the winter. There are a few basic categories of fall pond care products you need to get your pond ready this fall.
Pond De-Icers are used to keep a hole open in the ice during the winter. Keeping an opening in the ice is necessary to allow oxygen into the pond, as well as allowing toxic gases to escape. Most pond de-icers are energy efficient, typically 100-watts to 300-watts, and are thermostatically controlled. Other heaters, such as cattle trough heaters, usually range from 1200-watts to 1500-watts, making them very costly to operate.
Pond Aerators are also very effective at keeping a hole open in the ice in winter. The biggest benefit of using an aerator is that it can be used year round. Use aerators in the summer to provide higher oxygen levels and increased circulation, and in the winter to maintain an opening in the ice.
As the name implies, Cold Water Fish Food is designed to be fed to koi and goldfish when the water temperatures are cool, typically between 9 – 18 Celsius / 48 – 64 Fahrenheit. But what makes cold water food different? The main ingredient in a quality cold water food is wheat germ. Wheat germ is highly digestible, so the fish are able to absorb more nutrients from the food in cool water, when their metabolisms are slow and their digestive systems aren’t fully functional. Because wheat germ food is so digestible, it also reduces the risk of bloat.
Most regular summer koi foods typically have rich proteins like fish meal as the main ingredient. These are great for warmer weather, but in cooler water, koi don’t digest these proteins very well. Feeding a summer food in the fall can lead to 2 problems. First, the fish don’t get all the nutritional value from the food, so they have less ‘food reserves’ available to them during the winter. Second, this undigested food causes more waste in the pond and can lead to poor water quality.
Cold water beneficial bacteria does the same as job as your usual pond bacteria, except it works best in cold water. Although it may seems like there isn’t much going on in the pond once it freezes, biological processes still continue, just at a slower rate. Cold water bacteria are able to work faster and more efficiently in cold water, than regular bacteria, so they can continue to break down decaying organic matter such as leaves and dead algae. They also maintain optimum water quality by completing the nitrogen cycle, converting toxic ammonia into less harmful nitrates.