As The Pond Turns
As the dog days of summer relent, and the cool crisp nights hint at fall’s approach, some things change are going to change in your pond. If you do a little maintenance now, spring time will be less work
You may notice your fish are suddenly so voracious, you think they would tear the flesh from your hand like piranha if you reached into the water. Don’t worry. Your fishy friends have not been possessed. They are simply feeling the pressure of the change of season.
Somehow, in some way, the fish know that winter is approaching, and this is their last chance to store food in their cells for the season of starvation. Of course, I know that you aren’t going to starve your fish, and YOU know you’re not going to starve your fish, but every little molecule in their bodies is telling them that if they don’t have some fat reserves, they won’t see the next spring.
Waaaaaaaay back in the dawn of time, when all fish had only themselves to rely on for food, the ancestors of our modern day koi lived in areas with very harsh winters. Not only did food become scarce in the winter, but they also couldn’t easily digest any food they would eat, because their metabolism slowed down. This meant that for several months, food was just not an option, so they had to eat enough before winter to hold them over until spring.
I know we are always telling you, “Don’t overfeed!!!” but right now, feed a little extra. Now, I’m not saying I want you to dump extra handfuls of food in at night when you get home from work, but if you could find some time in the coming days to feed more frequently, that will be the ticket.
Try to add a morning feeding, maybe gets the kids to feed a little at mid day, (please portion it out for them), and feed when you get home at night. Feed five or six times a day on your day off, BUT, only a little bit. This gives them a chance to store some extra meat on their bones, and helps satisfy that primal call they are feeling.
Plants are feeling that same chilly bite in the evening too. Their browning leaves, and curling stems are whispering of their coming sleep. They are not dying, they are just storing energy in their roots. DON”T THROW THEM OUT!!!!I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me they thought their plants were dead, so they threw them away. They will be back come spring. Just give them a nice trim, cutting back anything that starts to brown, and thinning anything that looks like it is trying to take over your pond before it gets too good a foothold.
This is also the time to get into your skimmer and waterfall filter, along with any other filters on your pond, and do a thorough cleaning before the water gets too cold. If you wait until December, your hands will be like blocks of ice as you pull all that media out of your waterfall and wash it down, unless you’re lucky enough to have a Helix Waterfall Filter !!!!
Get down into those filters and skimmer, and vacuum out that debris that has built up in the very bottom. Rinse all that lava rock out, and replace the bag that wasn’t replaced last year. (You should be alternating replacing the lava rock in the bags each season, so you always have an established bag that stays in the system)
If you have a pressure filter or bead filter, consider checking all of the media. If it looks clogged with gunk, pull it out and thoroughly wash the media itself out.
The algae that grows on the wall of your pond is going to change color. It will get very dark, sometimes almost black. This is normal, and is just a natural dynamic of your pond. It will green up again come spring, just like your pond plants.
Keep in mind, this is the last chance you’ll have to replace light bulbs without potentially losing digits to the icy temperatures of winter pond water, so check your lights the next chance you get.
Last, but not least, those cold winter nights may keep you inside a lot too, so try to get some quality evening time in with your pond before it’s too cold to sit by it! To alter one of my favorite quotes to fit the pond world, “There is something about the outside of a pond, that is good for the inside of a person!
Check out our cold temperature bacteria & cold temperature food for the cold season coming up!!
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