Backyard koi pond maintenance is a must if you want your pond to look good during the winter holidays and prevent algae problems come spring.
1. Before the trees start dropping their leaves in fall, it makes sense to put a net across your pond to prevent leaves and other debris from getting into your pond and settling to the bottom where they will decay and muck up your pond.
If you prefer not to put a net over your pond because you think it detracts from its appearance, then buy a net with a long handle and remove leaves from the pond surface at least three of four times per week, daily if you can and if your pond is located in an area where there are lots of deciduous trees.
2. As temperatures drop, fish require less food because the colder it gets, the slower their metabolisms are. One of the biggest problems of excess nutrients in the pond (which can lead to some serious string algae problems) is overfeeding koi fish.
Cut back on fish food when the water temperature approaches 60 degrees. You may also want to switch to cold weather fish food as winter approaches.
3. As the weather turns cold and the leaves on the trees start to change colors, your water plants will start to go dormant too. Prune any brown or yellowing leaves, so they don’t end up at the bottom of your pond. If you have water lilies, cut them back to the base of the plant.
4. Use bags of barley pond straw to help keep pond water clean and aerate the water throughout the winter months, making for a healthier environment for fish. Make sure the barley straw is certified organic, so you’re not accidentally putting any chemicals into your pond. When using pond straw, make sure to follow the directions for best results. The most important thing to do is to tie it in an area of the pond where there is some water movement so the hydrogen peroxide it produces as it breaks done will be distributed throughout your pond. It is the hydrogen peroxide that gently cleans and oxygenates the pond without upsetting the ecosystem or harming fish or other pond life.
5. Use beneficial bacteria that is formulated for declining temperatures. Use the water temperature as your indicator. A water temperature of 60 degrees means it’s a good time to start using it. Cleaning out the leaves, using barley straw for ponds and adding beneficial bacteria is a great way to clean up all the wastes that have accumulated during the year.
Following these steps will ensure that your fish have a healthy, clean, well-aerated habitat for their long winter sleep.