Hamilton pond builders

Pond Winter care, 9 common questions Quickly answered.

In this blog we cover common pond winter care questions. how to care for your pond in the winter should not be hard, it should be fun!

can ponds survive winter

Absolutely, armed with the appropriate knowledge and wisdom a pond can not only survive the winter it can be a source of enjoyment! In order to have this happen you need to learn what plants and fish are able to accommodate the cold seasons of the north.  Once you know your pond winter care wont be very difficult. And in fact, winterizing your pond will become something you enjoy!

Will my pond freeze in the winter?

Frozen pond
Look at the koi below the ice!

Yes ponds will freeze in the winter, however depending on how deep they are they wont freeze all the way down. Typically from climate zones 4-8 your pond should be 3 feet through 5 feet deep to prevent freezing. Pond winter care begins with a properly constructed pond!

The deeper the pond the more warmth it will pull for the earth. So if it has appropriate depth for your climate it won’t freeze at the bottom, just like lakes the fish will move down to where it’s warm and hibernate. You will want to put a bubbler in the water to keep the whole thing from freezing over. This allows for gas exchange essential for fish to survive. 

If you have any questions about pond winter care please contact us! Advice is free, we want to help you keep your pond alive!

pond winter care

What to do with my pond pumps and plumbing as part of pond winter care?

Ponds and pumps need to be winterized as part of your pond winter care. If they are at a depth where the water will not freeze they can be left down there. You do not want to leave pumps anywhere where they will freeze. This could cause severe damage.

When you pull them out to store them somewhere safe it’s a good idea to keep them in a bucket of water. Often seals will dry out if they are left in open air, They are designed to stay in water.

Plumbing needs to be drained so that there is no water in the lines as part of your pond winter care as well. Any plumbing below the frost line will be safe. Keep in mind though, plumbing is okay to freeze if there is water inside the line and outside the line.

As the water freezes the pressure pushes in both directions equalising it so pipes won’t burst. But to keep things straight forward its a safe bet to empty all the pipes that are above the frost line.

can pond fish survive winter?

Yes absolutely, there are some fish that can survive over the winter. For northern climates koi, goldfish, and fathead minnows are some examples of fish that will live under the ice. Your pond winter care will include the necessary to do’s to let this happen. Their key to their survival comes in keeping a hole open in the ice and making sure there is enough oxygen for them to breath in the water. They do not need food because they live off their fat storages. 

how to overwinter pond plants as part of pond winter care. And can pond plants survive winter?

Like the fish we mentioned, if you have plants native to winter climates they too will survive. Your pond winter care will involve a few plant preparation techniques. In the fall cut back the dead material and keep it free from the pond. Any plants that are not native to the north you will want to pull from the water, they will die and rot, this leads to excess Co2 build up and can hurt your fish.

Some plants will need to be kept below the ice as part of you pond winter care. You can wrap them in garden cloth and place a rock in there to let them sink to the bottom. Remember to catalog where you placed them so you know what they are when it comes time in the spring to put them where they belong!

Bonus Tip! Pond additives will help your pond winter care. Purchase a cold water Bactria for ponds, this bacteria is simple to add, Aquascape has a great product. It will continue to help your pond get ready for the winter and also through the winter. Another additive to the water is pond salt, salt decreases parasites and helps the fish with their protective coating. even though we separate pond fresh water and salt water all water should have salt in it.

Its a naturally occurring mineral. Its fresh water that brings salt to the oceans. Pond clay is also great for some ponds, koi fish need the minerals found in pond clay for their heath. as they eat food in nature they are taking in the clays found on the bottom on their environment and digesting them. These clays will improve their health and their color! .

how to overwinter pond fish?

We believe that this topic is so important we wrote an in-depth educational blog on pond winter care for fish. Both ponds and fish are linked, the blog will do more than answer questions, it will teach how to as well.

how to overwinter pond lettuce and other topical pond plants?

Some tropical plants like water hyacinth and water lettuce, they can either be composted or you can bring them in for the winter and keep them alive indoors as part of your pond winter care. You can place a few in an aquarium with a small pump and they will survive really well.  If you have fish indoors they will appreciate the extra air they add to the tank. Keep in mind though some of these plants are larger so lids may be hard to close. 

They are typically not very expensive so it could be more of a hassle to keep them alive then to just replace them annually. 

If you have any questions about pond winter care please contact us! Advice is free, we want to help you keep your pond alive!

what pond plants survive winter

THere are plenty of plants that can survive the winter. We couldn’t possibly list them all where but here are a few of the popular ones. 

Some plants should be wrapped as part of pond winter care, you can use garden cloth and rock placed in them so they can sink to the bottom of the pond. 

  • Lilies
  • Irises
  • Arrowhead
  • Chinese water celery
  • Cattails ( do not plant wild ones they will put holes in your liner)
  • Variegated Ribbon grass
  • Water forget-me-nots
  • Willow Moss
  • Rock mosses.
  • Creeping Charlie
  • Frogbit
  • Horsetail
  • Water soldier (must be allowed to sink to the bottom below the ice)

what pond fish can survive winter

Keep in mind mixing fish species can cause problems. Some fish eat other fish! If you want to keep a balance make sure you investigate what fish work well together! Coldwater fish come in all shapes and colors!

  • Koi
  • Goldfish
  • Pumkinseed 
  • Rosy red minnows
  • Flathead minnows.

If you have any questions about pond winter care please contact us! Advice is free, we want to help you keep your pond alive!

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