The Four Seasons of a KOI POND

English: Fish pond in winter
Fish pond in winter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fish ponds, including koi ponds, come awake in the spring after a winter of semi-dormancy. As soon as the temperature rises above 10C (50F), your fish become more lively and your plants will begin growing again. This means that it is a great opportunity to do some upkeep - a spring clean - because you will not shock or stress your dormant fish. If you attempt it any earlier, you will upset your fish in their slumber and any later and you may disturb breeding.

You ought to take out any leaves that have fallen into the pond and dredge for some of the algae. Then clean your pond filter and turn your filtration system back on, if you turned it off for the winter. Test the water for any chemical discrepancies and treat any issues.

You should also add a broad spectrum medication for common fish ailments. Depending on the medication you use, you may have to replicate this procedure a week later or when the temperature rises above a certain degree.

This is when your pond is in full swing. Your aquatic plants will be flourishing as will the algae. You must keep the algae under control, which means dredging, netting and scraping. You will have to clean your pond filter more often as well. Check it daily and keep it working at full power. The cleaner you can keep your koi pond now, the less work you will have to do afterward.

Oxygenation of the water is a major concern in the summer because warm water is able to hold less oxygen than cold water. Therefore, you will need to keep your fountain working and your bubbler bubbling, if you have one.

If you do not have one, think about getting one. You fish and the blooming algae will be competing for the oxygen in the pond water. You can tell if the water is short of oxygen because the fish will be gulping air at the surface.

The warm water will not only stimulate your fish and your plants, but it will also bring parasites to life, so keep a keen eye on your fish' health and treat anything dubious immediately. Be on the lookout for fish rubbing against the sides or each other - scratching themselves, in other words.

Feed frequently. Your fish will have eaten very little in the winter and now they have to replenish their fat for breeding and next winter.

Autumn is variable, but the first half may be like the summer and the second half more like winter. Continue to feed well. As the trees start to lose their leaves, you must eliminate them from your pond water.

Drag the leaves off at least once a day or sling a net over the pond and skim for leaves weekly. If you have any pond plants that will not survive the winter, either take them indoors or throw them away; you do not want them rotting in your pond.

Life in your pond will slow down as winter progresses. You ought to feed less often, maybe only once a day until it gets to 10C (50F) and then discontinue feeding - your fish will be in semi-hibernation at this point. Remove your filtration pumps and your fountain and switch all electrical equipment off.

Put a pond heater in the water. This is a floating apparatus that keeps a small surface area from freezing. If you allow all your pond to freeze over gases will build up, oxygen will disappear and your fish will die.

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