This is my guide to maintaining your pond during January, the first and one of the coldest months of the year. Believe it or not, this is a great time to clean your pond out.
January is the best time of year to give your pond some tender loving care or even a major overhaul if you think it's needed. Just as long as it's not frozen over as this can make it extremely difficult and breaking the ice can also cause damage to your wildlife which I will talk about below.
Pond Ice Problems During January
If you are having a problem with the pond freezing over, and worried about your fish not getting enough oxygen, I would advise that you use a pond heater
A heater is designed to keep a gap in the ice, meaning oxygen is still able to enter the pond water and harmful gases are able to escape too, keeping your fish safe and water quality good.
When possible do not break the ice by force, the shockwaves can distress and even kill your fish. The best way to create a gap in the ice safely is to place a pan of boiling water onto the ice and let it melt, this is gentle and will not cause shockwaves, after this you can put your pond heater in place and it will keep the gap there permanently.
Usually at this time of year you will find that there is a lot of sludge and debris, including leaves from the Autumn. Although the cold temperatures reduce the rate at which these can break down and cause water quality problems you should remove them now because once the temperature starts to rise so does the rate of decomposition.
Therefore removal of this is neccessary to provide a better quality habitat for your aquatic plants and other life in the pond such as fish or wildlife.
Pond Vacuums for Cleaning
The best way to carry out this kind of maintenance is using a pond vacuum
. They are designed to work in a similar way to your household vacuum, so they're not complicated to use at all, the only difference is that they do not keep the waste which is sucked up inside their chamber.
Most pond vacuums work by sucking the debris or sludge with water from your pond, this will then go into the chamber of the vacuum and then out of a outlet hose where you would have a netted bag. This netted bag will collect the waste but allow water to run back into your pond.
Although you can, you don't have to put the water you have vacuumed out back into your pond, you can use this water and sludge to fertilise and water your garden plants if you want to, it works really well because of the amount of nutrients so your plants are going to thrive.
January Pond Pump Maintenance
January is also the perfect time of year to get your pond pump out, and carry out a service, by giving it a good clean, removing and cleaning the impellor and the impellor housing. This will ensure longevity and efficiency of your pond pump, meaning that you won't need to go to the expense of buying a new one too soon.
Most pond pumps will have a strainer cage, you would be best to open this up and hose it down, unblocking it and removing any debris, as you've done this you should be able to get to your impeller, which will need a clean and so will the pump housing too. This will prevent any future problems with it being clogged and seizing, which can mean you would have to purchase a new pump if that happens.
Whilst you're carrying out the maintenance on your pump it's also wise to lift it off the bottom of the pond slightly if you can by placing it on a platform. Doing this will prevent the pump sending the warmer water at the bottom of the pond up to the surface causing problems for your fish.
For further information and instruction on pond pump maintenance visit the GardenSite YouTube channel
, we regularly upload our own instructional videos to help customers and familiarise them with products we stock.
Don't Feed Fish
Even if they look hungry, don't feed your fish. Doing so could mean that the food is not digested, it will rot down inside them and cause internal bacteria problems which could lead to fatalities further into the year.
If you're interested in carrying out some maintenance on your pond then visit our winter pond shop