January is of course one of the coldest months of the year, but your garden pond still needs attention and Dan Everton thinks it a great time to clean it out in readiness for the warmer months ahead.
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 breaking any ice can damage any wildlife inhabitants.
Even if they look hungry, remember not to 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 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
These heaters are designed to maintain a gap in the ice, meaning oxygen is still able to enter the pond water and harmful gases are able to escape, 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 safely create a gap is to place a pan of boiling water onto the ice and let it melt gently. You can then put your pond heater in place and it will keep the gap there permanently during freezing weather.
Usually at this time of year you will find that there is a lot of sludge and debris, including autumn leaves. Although the cold temperatures reduce the rate that these break down and cause water quality problems, they should be removed before the temperature starts to rise increasing the rate of decomposition.
Therefore removal of leaves and debris is neccessary to provide a better quality habitat for your aquatic plants and other pond life.
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.
Most pond vacuums work by sucking the debris or sludge with water from your pond, this will 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.
You don't have to put the water you have vacuumed back into your pond, as it contains lots of nutrients and can act as a great garden fertilizer.
January is also the perfect time of year to get your pond pump out for a service. Give it a good clean, removing and cleaning the impellor and the impellor housing. This will ensure the 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, open this up and hose it down, unblocking it and removing any debris. You should be able to get to your impeller and pump housing, which will also need a clean to prevent clogging and seizing.
Whilst you're carrying out the maintenance on your pond pump it's also wise to lift it off the bottom by placing it on a platform. 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
, where we regularly upload our own instructional videos to help customers and familiarise them with products we stock.