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Fall Pond Maintenance

  1. Protecting the Pond from Debris: The first step in Fall Pond Maintenance is netting ponds that are exposed to falling leaves. Adding a pond net will help reduce maintenance and decomposing matter in the pond. It is important to install the netting before leaves begin falling and to empty the net as it becomes full. Pond netting is stronger than garden netting and can be exposed to moisture without breaking down. We custom cut netting using pond dimensions. Remove the netting after a skim coat of snow so the leaves do not blow back into your pond. The net should be removed for winter as the leaves on the net may trap gases and cause fish loss. The net can be used in the spring as necessary to catch remaining leaves.
  2. Fish Care: When water temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit, begin feeding high carbohydrate food. Low-protein food is easier for fish to digest and helps them store fat for winter consumption. Keep a thermometer in your pond to determine when to stop/start feeding the fish. Stop feeding the fish once the pond temperature drops below 50 degrees.
  3. Cleaning the Pond: Begin by testing the water to determine if you will need to perform more than a 25% water change. Drain and clean the pond if there is more than 2-3" of sludge on the bottom. During the cleaning, toxins will be stirred up so adding fresh water will dilute any present in the pond. After draining your pond, use the Pond Shark net to remove any decomposing leaves and debris. As leaves and debris decompose precious oxygen is drawn from the water. Robbing oxygen from the fish and other aquatic life. Decaying organic matter is also a prime ground for harmful bacteria and parasites to spend the winter. During a warm spell or early in the spring, parasites and bacteria can quickly attack your fish before their immune systems are re-established.
    • Refill the pond and add a de-chlorinator. (PRS Water Conditioner)
    • Add fall bacteria. (PRS All Season Pond Bacteria)
    • Check salt level (Salt Pen) and add pond salt as needed.
    • Add a flocculent (PRS Water Clarifier) to settle the suspended particles in the water.
  4. Plant Care: Pull your plants and trim back the leaves from the hardy plants (marginals, lilies, and lotus) to within 1-2 inches from the soil surface. This is a good time to divide your plants as needed. For the winter place hardy plants on the bottom of the pond in the deepest area. Bring tropical plants inside for the winter and treat them as houseplants. Discard onto a compost pile the remainder of the plants like oxygenators or floating plants.
  5. Caring for Pumps and Filters: Remove the pump and filter. Clean your pump and store it in a dry place. This is a good time of year to examine and ready them for spring. Filters need to be taken apart and/or flushed out, and ultra-violet lights drained, cleaned, and stored; remember to change the bulb if needed.
  6. Exchanging of Gases:  Severe winters ice over the surface of the pond, to ensure the survival of your fish, add a pond de-icer and aerator. De-Icers and aerators create a hole in the ice so gases can escape and oxygen will be available for the fish. Do not pound a hole in the ice, the resulting shock waves can seriously injure and even kill your fish by disrupting their swim bladder. A de-icer placed on a timer can be regulated to turn on 2-3 hours in the morning and afternoon. Using a timer reduces your energy bill, allows ample time for the exchange of gases, and extends the life of your de-icer. It may be necessary to increase the number of hours the heater is on if the temperatures drop for an extended period. The aerator should be placed on a plant shelf as to not take the warmest water from the bottom of the pond. The open water will also create a water source for other wildlife, including birds. Do not run your pump all winter because it can create an ice dam in the stream or waterfall. This would prevent the continuous flow of water into the pond and reduce the overall ambient temperature of the water which can cause fish stress.

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