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Fall Preparation for Your Pond and Fish
October 03, 2009


Welcome from the Koi Pond Guide to the 57 new subscribers.
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The days are growing shorter and the nights are getting colder. Winter is on its way, and you will see that your pond life is slowing down in preparation.

Remove as much organic debris as possible (such as leaves and mulm) before the winter begins. You should try and keep you water as clear as possible to reduce pollution problems. Your plants will stop blooming and set seeds. Pinch the dead blossoms off your plants to keep them blooming longer (dead-handing). Water lily flowers will drop below the surface after they finish blooming, and now they are maturing their seeds. Cut back your oxygenating plants (Curly waterweed or Water soldier) and repot them to avoid them dying during the winter. Tropical plants (including the tropical water lily)should be brought in if you plan to keep them for next season. Water hyacinth will not survive outdoors except in the Deep South, but you can try to keep it indoors. You will have to be very persistent to keep it going indoors, because it needs a lot of light. Iris pots can be sunk into the ground and well mulched. They should not stay in the pond where the rhizome can freeze. Your plants will start to shed leaves quite dramatically as the temperature falls. Be vigilant about removing any decaying leaf matter before it becomes detached and sinks to the pond bottom.

Equipment

You will need to clean your mechanical filter media but be careful that you do not wash away your beneficial bacteria. Perform regular maintenance on your UV sterilizers as recommended by the manufacturer and make sure that pumps are free from silt and other organic build-up. Pump flows can be reduced in late fall. Come winter you should turn you pump off. I know some of you may be saying "but doesn't that keep the pond from freezing over?" and yes that it is true but it is not a good idea and hears why. In the winter, the water at the bottom will be warmer then the water at the surface. The bottom is insulated and the surface water is cooled by the cold air. Your fish will naturally seek the warm layer for their winter nap. If you leave your pump running the temperature of the water will be more stable making the bottom of the water colder. This is really hard on your fish. This means you should also turn off your fountains and waterfalls. They can have a dramatic effect on the water temperature and should therefore be avoided.


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Autumn Fish

As the water grows colder, your fish will start to slow down. You should now start feeding your Koi a high protein diet until the first cold spell and then switching to the wheat-germ-based diet, stop feeding them when the water temperature reaches 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).

You should check your Koi for health problems and correct them. The Koi immune systems will slow down as the pond cools. Fall often has a sporadic warm day, but do not be tempted to feed the fish on these days. It will probably be cold in a day or too and you will load them down with food that can putrefy and make them sick.

Fall is not a good time to add new fish to your pond because the new fish will not have enough time to acclimate to your pond before the winter sets in. If you pond and quarantine tank is heated than your newcomer will likely be fine.

Remember, your Koi will now need new places to hide since the plants have died back. You can use pieces of PVC pipe or large flower pots turned on their side will work.



We here at the Koi Pond Guide hope you are enjoying your newsletter and Feel free to pass this newsletter on to your friends or family!

Also, your comments and questions are welcomed and appreciated!

Happy Ponding!
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