What To Do With Pond Fish In Winter
Keep Your Fish Safe And Happy During Our Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia Winters
Your fish are like grizzly bears- they hibernate during the winter. Cool, right? Like bears, fish slow down a great amount during the winter, even their metabolisms slow to a crawl. This means you can’t treat them the same is in warmer months. If your pond freezes over, you’ll want to know what to do to take proper care of your fish. To know more about how to care for pond fish in winter, keep reading!
Do You Need A De-Icer
You may have heard the term “pond de-icer” before. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a device keeping a hole in the ice so all the fish gas can escape. It also aerates the water, allowing your fish to keep breathing well. You may need one if you have a larger pond. Not many ponds need a de-icer, such as ponds with waterfalls, but fish don’t normally hibernate near them because they allow in a lot of cold water. The water near the bottom is warmer so fish swim closer to the bottom. If you get one, place it near where the fish will be, which isn’t necessarily the center of your pond.
Winter Fish Facts
- Don’t feed the fish! Below about 50°F their digestive system basically shuts off, so anything they eat can become stuck in their stomach and cause serious issues.
- Fish aren’t the only gas producers in your pond. Organic matter (leaves, plants, etc) decompose and release gasses which, if trapped in the water, can be harmful to your fish. Installing pond netting during fall pond maintenance can prevent this.
- DO NOT BREAK THE ICE! Sure icebreakers are fun, but they can injure or kill your fish.
If you take your fish out during the winter and place them inside you’ll need to know how to reintroduce them. Improper introduction to the pond water can hurt them.
Proper Winter Maintenance
Pond fish in winter mostly take care of themselves. As long as there is a hole in the ice, you’re basically set on caring for your fish. This is one of the many great aspects of having a low-maintenance pond! Of course, you may want to look at some winter maintenance so you can keep your pond in the best shape possible.