Seasonal Pond Maintenance Checklist
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Easy Maintenance Guide

Preparations for over-wintering success Preparations for over-wintering success

Make fall/winter pond maintenance simple and efficient. Prevent pond conditions from deteriorating to the point where aggressive measures are necessary. Keep essential items and equipment on hand to ensure over-wintering success.

  • Install pond netting to maximize leaf-removing effort and to prevent leaves from falling into the pond in the first place.

  • Perform a substantial water change, up to 50%, to remove contaminants and help maintain improved water conditions throughout the winter. Best done when pond temperature is the same as source water, but no lower than 60°F to minimize stress.

  • Remove organic materials from the bottom of your pond.

  • Condition your pond with bacterial additives specifically formulated to work in cooler water temperatures.

  • Remove or bring tropical (non-hardy) plants indoors.

  • Trim hardy lilies down to about an inch or two above the crown and move them to a deeper part of the pond.

  • Trim marginal or bog plants or leave some for winter interest.
    It's extremely easy to add pond netting and it will save your pond from collecting debris.

  • Thoroughly clean your filters. When water temperature drops below 45°F, shut them down and remove filter media and main pump to prevent damage from freezing.

  • Drain and store pump per manufacturer's recommendation.

  • When water temperatures drop below 70°F, begin mixing your koi's diet with an easier-to-digest, wheat germ food. At below 60°F, switch to wheat germ food completely.

  • When the water temperature reaches 40°F, stop feeding your fish altogether.
Over-wintering success and preparing for spring Over-wintering success and preparing for spring

In regions that experience prolonged freezing winters, harmful gases trapped under the ice can accumulate to create toxic conditions for fish.

  • Provide an opening in the ice for proper gas exchange and make sure it stays open.

  • If you see fish at the surface while the pond is still frozen, ACT FAST! Add an aerator or water pump near the surface, or do a water change. Your fish can die quickly.

  • Never try to physically break the ice to create an opening. Instead, melt a hole in the ice.
    Keep a hole in the ice without putting a hole in your wallet. The Pond Breather works down to 20°F below zero and only uses 40 watts of energy!

  • Place aerators or other devices close to the water surface to prevent ice formation.

  • Prevent snow from piling too high on the frozen pond surface so you can safely find and maintain de-icing equipment. Keep them from being covered during heavy snowfall.

  • Plan for any renovations or improvements for the coming spring. Consider installing a new water fountain, additional lighting for your pond, or design a new planting scheme for your pond.
Feed easy-to-digest Wheat Germ food in the spring spring
Bringing your pond back to life

Check your pond filter and pump and prepare for summer. Once spring arrives and water temperatures are above 45°F, you will want to get your filtration system started.

  • Reassemble the filtration system and start it up. Check for leaks and proper flow rate.

  • Jump start your biological filtration with bacterial additives to replace those lost over the winter.

  • Measure water parameters and monitor the development of nitrifying bacteria in your biological filtration system with a good test kit.

  • Have a pond aerator handy to promote proper gas exchange. Unseasonably warm spring days can encourage abrupt nitrifying bacterial activity that can rapidly deplete dissolved oxygen levels in your pond.

    Combat spring green! Place barley straw in a container of moving water inside your home, 6 weeks ahead of time so it will be primed when you are ready to open your pond.
  • Get your UV clarifier system up and running to keep your water crystal clear throughout the spring and summer season.

  • Get those green thumbs wet. Early spring is the best time to repot pond plants. Add fertilizer to water lilies to give them a good start.

  • Start feeding pond fish easier-to-digest, wheat germ food when water temperature stays consistently above 50°F.
Simplify algae control Simplify algae control and enjoy your outdoor space

Keep in mind that increased sunlight, higher organic levels, and rising water temperature create ideal conditions for aggressive algae growth.

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