Allotment Articles 2.
Ponds In Autumn
As Autumn approaches most aquatic retailers sell off their fish stocks cheaply and this is the time to make the most of their last minute bargains. You may lose a few of the smaller fish over winter, but the low price that you paid for them will more than compensate for this. Fish should not be bought for the pond at all in the winter. The reason for this is that they are not feeding outside so they have no way of regaining their strength lost in the holding tanks before purchase and no way of recovering from any minor damage, or the shock of being moved.
When the temperature starts to drop in the Autumn, with colder nights, fish like Black Moors and Fantails should be brought indoors and put in a coldwater aquarium. They are not the hardiest of fish and can develop problems with their long fins in very cold water. Also they are susceptible to stomach disorders in icy conditions. Where people have got very small Koi they often like to over-winter them indoors, or even in temporary pools in their garages. Others have fishponds in their conservatory and real enthusiasts have been known to heat their outdoor fishpond like a swimming pool.
As the temperature drops the fish outside will noticeably feed less and less. When the temperature falls below 55F you should stop feeding ordinary high protein fish food and switch to one of the many brands of Wheatgerm that comes in both sticks and pellets. The important difference between this food and the ordinary ground fish based food is that it is digestible at low temperatures, so it can safely be fed all through the Autumn and Spring and even in Winter on warmer days.
Before the first frost arrives water Hyacinths should be removed from the pond and placed somewhere warm and light in damp peat for the winter. Also Lobelia Cardinallis pots should be taken out of the pool and put in a shed, or greenhouse. II you have any of the exotic tropical lilies in your pool these should also be cut back and removed. As Autumn sets in leaves on the trees will start falling and landing in the pool. This is the time to net the pond to keep them off. Either that, or simply get into the habit of scooping the leaves off the water on a daily basis to prevent them sinking to the bottom and polluting the pond.
When the first frosts come the filter and pump should be turned off. There are 2 reasons for this: firstly, it prevents the filter from freezing and the possibility of split pipes and loss of water. Secondly it allows a warmer layer of water to form at the bottom of the pond while the top layer ices over. This warmer layer that is most important because it enables the fish to survive in water a couple of degrees higher than freezing.
If the pump is left on to prevent icing over then the water will be universally chilled and will come very close to freezing throughout which may result in fish losses. When the filter has been turned off it should be cleaned thoroughly before turning back on again in Spring. This is because the aerobic bacteria in the filter die when the water is turned off and are replaced with anaerobic bacteria. These are poisonous and so should be washed away before restarting otherwise it may result in fish losses.
If the pump has been removed from the pond it should be cleaned and dried before storing away, but if itís below the ice level in the pond it can be left in but should be disconnected.