How to Manage Your Garden Pond and Pond Fish in Autumn
Posted on September 22 2023,
Autumn is a season of stunning colour and transformation, as the leaves turn from greens to vivid reds, oranges, and yellows. It's also a season of transition and preparation, especially for garden pond owners in Britain. As temperatures dip, there's a lot that needs doing to ensure the well-being of your pond fish and to maintain the overall health of your garden pond. Here are some tips to get you started.
Keep the Leaves at Bay
One of the main issues you'll face in autumn is falling leaves. While they look lovely on trees, they're not quite as charming when they're decaying at the bottom of your pond. Here's what you can do to keep leaves out:
- Pond Netting: This is the simplest and most effective method. Stretch a net over your pond to catch falling leaves before they hit the water.
- Regular Skimming: If a net isn't an option for you, then you should commit to regular skimming. A long-handled net will make short work of this task.
- Consider Your Planting: If leaves are a recurring problem, consider the layout of your garden. Could a small rearrangement help direct leaves away from your pond?
Water Quality and Temperature
- Test the Water: Before you go into winter, it’s essential to make sure your water quality is at its best. Check the pH levels and ensure there are no harmful chemicals.
- Temperature Checks: Pond fish like koi or goldfish slow down their metabolic rates as temperatures fall. A pond thermometer can help you monitor water temperature, guiding your feeding schedule.
Fish Food Transitions
- Swap to Wheatgerm-Based Food: This type of fish food is easier to digest, which is important as your pond fish’s metabolism slows down in cooler temperatures.
- Decrease Feeding: Fish need less food as the temperature drops. Overfeeding can result in uneaten food decaying in the pond, which is something you don't want.
Preparing the Pond for Winter
- Turn off Fountains and Waterfalls: They can cool the water down too much and can be harmful to your fish.
- Bring Sensitive Plants Inside: Some plants can't survive the cold, even underwater. Do some research on your specific plants to see if they should be brought indoors.
- Insulate the Pond: This may sound a bit extreme, but some pond owners use bubble wrap or special pond insulation materials to give their pond a bit of extra protection during the coldest months.
Autumn pond care is about foresight and preparation. We don't have the harshest winters, but even a mild one can cause a host of problems if you're not prepared. The fish are the jewels in your watery crown, and a bit of effort now can ensure they swim happily into spring.