Fall pond preparation and clean-up is as important as getting ready for the spring. Falling leaves and blowing debris can have ill-effects on fish and your pond. To ensure your pond is protected, follow this Fall Prep Checklist:
The Importance of Water Testing
- Reduce the number of leaves falling into the pond with netting or remove them with a net
- Clean the pond by removing all debris that has accumulated in the bottom
- Cut back dead or dying aquatic plant foliage during the fall
- Purchase a wheat-germ based pond food developed especially for a fall diet
- Disconnect the pump, filter and UV clarifier before water freezes (make sure that no water is left inside the device. Ice can damage the equipment.)
- Store UV clarifier indoors for protection
- Store filters indoors (if manufacturer's directions suggest)
- Sink a few clay pots or weighted-down, clean buckets into the pond to provide refuge (in place of the protective plant cover that will disappear). Frogs who have taken up residence in your garden will also benefit from a place to hibernate.
- Some breeds of fish are especially sensitive to the cold, like fancy goldfish. Bring them indoors.
- Purchase or have the pond de-icer ready for installation
Wondering if your pond equipment is working properly? Not sure why your fish look listless? Did you just do a water change?
Test the water
Use an easy-to-use test strip. Some all-in-one strips test for general hardness (GH), nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3), pH and alkalinity (KH). Testing your water makes it easier and faster to monitor the health of your pond and protect your fish. Additionally, testing your water once a month helps you to make necessary water adjustments before your fish are in danger.