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Shutting your pond down for winter!!

pond aerator in a half frozen pond during winter

Winter is fast approaching, right around the corner. It is important to get your pond and fish ready for those freezing temperatures. Over this spring and summer your pond has accumulated debris like leaves, tree branches, weeds and fish waste. Decaying organic debris give off toxic gas and reduce the oxygen levels. Removing all this from your pond will prevent decay and ensure oxygen levels remain as high as possible. Installing a sub-surface pond aeration kit will keep oxygen levels high and also act as a de-icer, to ventilation and circulate the water throughout the winter months.

Here are 6 steps to get your backyard pond ready for winter:

Step 1 - Prepare for winter at the end of fall:

The best time to start your fall pond maintenance is at the end of fall after all the leaves have fallen and right before the cold winter weather sets in and shut down your pond for winter.

Step 2 - Clean out your pump, filter and other pond equipment:

Next bring your pond fountain and lighting equipment in for cleaning and storage. Clean off excess debris that has built up on your pump, filter and lights, then inspect for any wear or damage on the pump and wires. When storing your pump and preparing your pond for the winter, it is recommended to place the pump in a bucket of water to prevent the seals in the pump from drying out and cracking during storage. Store the pump and other pond equipment in a location that will not freeze, like a basement. One exception to this rule is the Scott Aerator lake fountains and aerators can be left in the pond all winter. Just turn the unit off, let the pond freeze around it, and when the pond thaws, turn the unit on again.

Step 3 - Pruning your pond plants

Cutting back on all the aquatic plants around the pond. Plants go into a dormant state during winter. Using your pruning tools, cut back all dead foliage as much as possible. This will promote growth in the spring.

Step 4 - Removing organic debris

Removing all the pruned plants and debris around the pond. During spring and summer, debris builds up in the pond. Left there over the winter, these leaves, twigs and other dead aquatic plants will rot and reduce the pond oxygen levels throughout the winter putting your fish at risk. Remove leaves and debris from the bottom or your pond or lake with the help of a weed raker or lake rake with a long pole.

Step 5 - Adding a pond aeration kit or deicer

If you do not have a sub-surface pond aeration kit installed in the pond, now is the perfect time. Aeration kits also act as a deicer and this is the best way to keep a hole open in the ice during winter months. This prevents harmful gases from being trapped under the ice and allows oxygen levels to stay saturated in the pond. Install an aerator, such as Matala Pond Aeration Kits, in the area closer to the shore of your pond. If you already have an aeration kit installed, move it to the outer edges of the pond. This will give the fish a safe area to swim at the bottom of your pond during the winter.

Step 6 - Add Beneficial Bacteria and Enzymes  

Adding dry beneficial bacteria and liquid enzymes in your pond before winter. Even with a thorough cleaning some debris will remain in your pond. Cold weather bacteria, such as Diversified Waterscapes F-50 Beneficial Bacteria & F-55 BioZyme, should be used during the cold winter months. This will aid in breaking down any debris that remaining throughout the cold season and get you off to a great start in spring.

Once you have completed all these steps, your pond and aquatic life are ready for the winter.