Last week our blog highlighted the need for putting netting over your pond before foliage begins to fall from the trees. Early fall is also a good time to begin fattening up your beautiful pond fish before the cold weather sets in.
Feeding Koi in Fall/Monitoring Pond Water
1. At 59 degrees: In order to survive their winter hibernation, it is key to plump up your darlings once the pond water gets below 59 degrees. It is recommended that you feed them fish food made for cold water — and gradually increase how much you feed them.
2. At 55 degrees: Then, as the water temperature continues to drop, gradually reduce the amount you feed them. Experts say, once temperatures go below 55 degrees, the metabolisms of pond fish slow way down.
3. At 50 degrees: And, finally, when pond water gets down to 50 degrees, do not feed the fish any more. Their systems shut down in the colder water, and food sits inside them and rots. They get very sick and diseased from this.
So even though there is nothing cuter than your koi coming to you for more food, once the water gets to 50 degrees, experts say stop feeding them entirely.
Pond Fish Will Be Fine As Temperatures Drop
“Many believe you can’t leave your pond fish outside once the cold sets in,” says Dave Stockwell. “But, actually, they do just fine even during winter.”
That said, Dave does caution pond owners to be alert. When ice covers the pond, the fish might not be getting enough oxygen.
This can be remedied as long as you give them:
- two feet of water to swim in,
- oxygenate the water
- and keep a hole in the ice with a heater, bubbler and an aerator.
Pond Chemical Treatments
Note: This is also the perfect time to treat your pond ahead of the cold weather. The fact is, even if you netted your pond, some debris will make it into the water no matter how careful you are.
Cold water bacteria treatment, which has concentrated strains of beneficial bacteria, works well below 50 degrees (F). It is wise to add it routinely to help maintain water clarity and quality.
Do a little pond maintenance (see last week’s blog) and care for your pond fish, and when spring arrives, you’ll be glad you did. Your pond will require much less work to begin your new season of pond-side outdoor living. This Deck and Patio pond (and the one captured in our feature photo at top of page) are good examples of healthy koi and well-maintained water features.
If you have any questions or would like assistance with preparing your pond or caring for your fish, contact our office at 631-549-8100.