Pond Winterizing

Pond Winterizing To-Do Suggestions

Before winter approaches, you want to make sure your pond system is clean and operating at 100% efficiency. You also want to ensure good water quality before you shut down your pond for the winter.  The following maintenance tips are designed to make your pond healthy and winter-hardy.

 Test the water and O2 level - Regular testing provides crucial information regarding the health of your pond. Before you winterize your pond, perform a comprehensive water test, including oxygen level, to determine current conditions. Monitor any parameters that are awry and take steps to rectify the factors that contribute to them.

Clean the pond bottom - Fallen leaves from nearby trees and bushes, as well as leaves from your pond plants, can quickly accumulate on the bottom of your pond. The decaying vegetation can compromise water quality so it is important to remove as much material from the bottom of your pond as possible. Also, prune your marginal pond plants and remove floating plant material before the decay. Your skimming and vacuuming or dip netting efforts will take care of the rest.

Clean skimmers, filters, and pumps - A dirty filtration system is inefficient. It works harder and accomplishes less.  Eventually, it may clog and not work at all. Take this opportunity to perform comprehensive seasonal maintenance. Clean and replace filter media as needed to make sure your pond filtration system is in top condition. In a few weeks, you will be looking to minimize the amount of time you spend dipping into frigid waters.

Do a water change - Remember, when the leaves begin to change, it's also time to change your water. By summer's end, the water can be dirty and in need of a refresh. Perform a substantial water change, up to 50%, to remove built-up contaminants and help maintain improved water conditions throughout the winter. This is best done when pond temperature is the same as source water, but no lower than 60°F to minimize fish stress.  

Install Netting - Now that your pond is clean and winter ready, keep it clean. A pond net draped over your pond will prevent the majority of leaves and twigs from getting into the water. Simply unfasten the pond netting and remove

Switch fish foods and gradually reduce feeding - As temperatures drop below 70°F, reduce protein content in your fishes' diet by mixing a high-quality, low-protein wheat germ food. When water temperatures drop below 60°F, feed exclusively a wheat-germ-based food in smaller quantities. Below 40°F, you should stop feeding altogether.

Move plants before the first freeze - When the average daily temperature is below 50°F or before the firs hard freeze, place hardy water lilies deep in your pond. If your pond is shallow, bring the plants indoors along with any subtropical or tropical pond plants you want to keep.

Aerate - An aeration kit will maintain proper oxygen levels and help keep the pond surface open when freezing temperatures arrive. If you plan to use your aerator throughout the winter months, you need to set it up correctly so it does not harm your pond inhabitants. Avoid forcing cold air into the water by housing the aerator indoors. Do not place the diffuser (airstone) on the bottom of the pond to prevent warmer pond water from mixing with the cooler water near the surface. If you live in a northern climate, invest in a de-icer and install it once daily temperatures drop below freezing.

Koi Fish Fact Sheet


Cold Blooded (poikilothermic), omnivore, domesticated as an ornamental aquatic pet


Peaceful, compatible with other peaceful freshwater fish. Do not put semi-aggressive or aggressive fish in the pond with Koi fish


Young Koi 3” to 8”
Mature Koi: 14” to 24”; some jumbo Koi end up 32” to 36” long

Living Conditions:

Koi live in freshwater ponds, both indoors and outdoors. The pond needs a filter system to remove the fish waste and ammonia from the water. They live in a wide temperature range, the minimum is 40 degrees F. The optimal range is 60 to 75 degrees F.


Summer: Feed a quality high protein Koi food. Koi fish need a high protein food to bulk up and grow during the summer months.
Spring and Fall: A quality wheat germ based Koi food. Wheat germ based foods are easy for Koi to digest. Do not feed Koi if the water temperature drops below 52 degrees F, their metabolism slows down and some food can sit undigested inside them.

Life Expectancy:

The average lifespan of a Koi fish is 15 to 20 years. Some can live to be 30 years old or more.

Health Issues:

The most common health problem is ulcers. If a Koi get hurt and the injury gets infected, an ulcer will appear. Ulcers are treated with an antibiotic dip. Other maladies that affect Koi are finrot, parasites, viruses and malnutrition. New Koi should always be quarantined before combining them with the rest of your collection to prevent any disease outbreak in your pond.


The male fish will ram the females to encourage them to expunge their eggs. The female Koi expel their eggs on vegetation or special breeding mats. The fertilized eggs then hatch after one or two weeks, depending on the water temperature.


Koi fish were bred by rice farmers in Japan, who wanted to see if they could bring out the spots of color that would sometimes appear on their food carp.

3rd Annual Spring Koi Sale


5  May 2018

This year we have a good selection of Japanese Imports, Kohaku, Sanke and Showa ranging in size from 5 inches to 20 inches. Prices on these will be $50.00 for one, $ 120.00 for three, and $170.00 for five.

We will also have a good variety of Domestic and Rescue koi ranging in size from 10 inches to 20 inches that are looking for good homes. Because of the wide variety and sizes of these Koi they will be priced at the time of sale.

This sale is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday.

The sale will be held at 38029 49th Ave. S., Auburn, WA. See the Events page for directions.

6 April 2018 Wake-up Your Pond

Eight Steps for Springing Your Pond to Life

From The Water Garden

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After a long cold winter there are a few things that you should do before putting your pond back into service.

1.    Inspect The Pond
Take a careful look around your pond. Make sure there has been no winter damage to the pond or any of the components. Repair or replace as necessary.

2.    Clean The Pond 
No matter how much preparation you have done, winter has likely left the pond in less than perfect condition. Even with leaf netting, you probably have had a few leaves settle to the pond bottom. Any plants that were not completely cut back will usually leave a settlement of organics in the pond bottom. Manually scoop out as much of this as possible or use a pond vacuum if you have one. You can also use our Natural Bacteria & Enzyme products such as Microbe Lift Sludge Away, or Pond-Zyme with Barley. Use these products on a regular schedule throughout the year for a healthier pond.

3.    Start Pump 
If your pump has been off for the winter, spring is the time to start it back up. Most people do this when the water temperature increases to around 50 degrees. Do not start the pump and then leave. Start the pump back up when you will be spending time around the house for several hours. This way you can keep an eye on everything and make sure that all the water is still going where you want it to go (back in the pond).

4.    Start Filter
If the pump and filter system has not been running for awhile, you will want to give your filter media a thorough cleaning prior to starting the system backup. Next, or if your pump has run all winter, it is time to give the bacterial colonies a boost. There are many products that accomplish this like Microbe Lift PL, or NiteOut.

5.    Test Water 
Begin testing the pond water again. Of particular importance are ammonia and nitrite levels. Both of these should be zero. Perform partial water changes if either test gives a reading other than zero.

6.    Condition Fish
Spring is the time of year when fish are most susceptible to developing health problems. There are a few things that can be done to help protect the fish. Gram-negative bacteria can cause severe infections. These infections can be prevented by use of KoiZyme but are very hard to eliminate after the fish has become infected. For general protection, pond salt can be an easy way to help the fish ward off disease and pathogens. MelaFix or PimaFix is a safe natural treatment that will help to make sure your fish get a healthy start on spring especially if there has been any physical damage during the winter.

7.    Feeding
Warm weather means your fish are now or soon will be ready to start eating again. Until the water temperature is consistently above 50 degrees, continue to not feed the fish. Once the water temperature is into the 50s you will want to feed a food designed for spring and fall like Microbe Lift Cold Weather or Pond Care Spring and Autumn food. As the water temperature reaches into the 60s it will be time to feed your regular summertime fish food.

8.    Plants 
Also as the water temperature reaches into the 50s it will be time to get the hardy plants that survived the winter ready for a great year ahead. This is the time we begin fertilizing the plants. Also, for maximum performance, it may be necessary to divide some of these plants. If the plants are too crowded in their pots, they will suffer and their growth and flowering potential limited. Simply thinning these out will provide you with more from your plants.

20 October 2017

By: Mike Gannon | Posted On: December 30th, 2009 | No Comments on POND SAFETY AWARENESS | In: KOI PONDS, NATURAL PONDS, POND DESIGN, WATER GARDENS
Pond safety is a pretty tough topic to be able to come to any one solution as to what would be definite guidelines for safety. The difficulty in defining this matter comes from the fact that there are so many types of ponds, waterfalls, koi ponds, fountains, water features, and streams.

18 March 2017

Tony Roocroft
Water fish ponds, air pumps & oxygen

The following comments are really aimed at koi fish keepers rather than the casual garden water ponds enthusiast.  Nevertheless the points made are just as valid for small water ponds as well as
large water ponds. Based upon my experience few small water ponds actually use air pumps, neither do these water ponds need them.  The reason is that the demands for oxygen by both the fish and biofilter bacteria are less urgent.