Keeping pond fish alive in winter requires a combination of both heat and aeration. Aeration is the exchange of gases with the air. This is important to aquatic life, especially for fish. Aerators move water, which gives oxygen to the water while also allowing gases to escape.
It is important to keep a hole in the ice to provide air to the water. You can create a hole using a submersible pump or a waterfall. Make sure that the hole is not too large, or the water can freeze over. If you bang on the ice, the sound waves can be harmful to your fish. Similarly, it is important to avoid breaking the ice, because this can scare your fish.
If you have a submerged heater, you will want to turn it on slowly to reduce the risk of shocking your fish. You should check your heater frequently to ensure that it is working properly. You may also want to install a floating de-icer to keep the pond from freezing over. This device is usually controlled by a thermostat and only runs when the temperature is below freezing.
Beware Toxic Organic Matter
Decaying stuff is very toxic to fish, so it is best to remove it from your pond. This includes floating water plants and tropical plants. You should also trim dead leaves, and make sure that your pond is well-maintained. You should also consider moving decorative plants to the deepest part of the pond. These plants will die if the water freezes over.
Adding a submerged water heater can help keep your pond from freezing over, and is one of the easiest ways to maintain an even water temperature. You can also use hot water to melt the ice, if necessary.
During the winter, most fish seek still water to stay warm. These fish don’t need as much room as they do during warmer seasons. They also reduce their food consumption to conserve energy. If your pond is well-stocked, you won’t have to worry about starving your fish during the cold months. However, you should refrain from feeding dormant fish. This is because their bodies are designed to go through a dormant winter cycle, and their metabolisms will slow down. If you want to feed your fish, you should make sure that you only do so when the temperatures are warm for a few days.
It is also important to ensure that the aeration in your pond is sufficient. Aerators that are installed near the bottom push the cold water down, aerating the water and giving it the oxygen it needs to survive. You may also want to install a waterfall, which will ensure that the fish get a good drink of water and stay healthy throughout the winter.
It is important to clean out your pond in the fall and winter. This is because debris can cause the pH to crash, which is bad for most forms of life. It can also contribute to the buildup of sludge, which can be deadly to your fish. You should also make sure that all of your pumps are in good working order. If you are going to be away from your pond for a few days, you should also set up a de-icer, which will keep the water at a safe temperature.