Aquatic expert Dan Everton has this advice on how to maintain your pond during November, when the days are short, frost threatens and leaves are falling from the trees.
Dan Everton helps you look after your pond during the February with some tips on the precautions you can take to avoid the water freezing over, and advice on keeping fish at this time of the year.
February is more often than not the coldest month of the year in the United Kingdom and you need to make sure you've taken measures to prevent your pond and live stock from suffering.
You should always keep an eye on the water level and if needed top up the pond to ensure that the depth of the pond is the maximum it can be. This helps prevent the pond from freezing solid, as shallow water can easily freeze completely into a block of ice causing fatalities for fish and plant life.
Keep a check on the weather forecast and if your pond is liable to freeze over, you will need to keep a small area free from ice with a pond heater. It will heat up just enough to keep a small gap open in the water allowing vital oxygen to enter and harmful gases to exit the pond.
Pond heaters are available in many sizes from a small 150 watt heater to some larger 2kw heaters, of course the one you choose will depend on the size of your pond and budget you have available.
There will be no point in running a waterfall at this time of year as it will be subject to freezing and that could cause your pond pump to burn out due to back pressure. Your best bet would be to raise the pump off the bottom of the pond if you haven't already and bypass the waterfall but leave your biological filter connected as it needs moving water to survive.
Biological filters will become mechanical filters below 4ºC because the bacteria cannot normally survive below this temperature. Mechanical filtration is better than no filtration of course and the moving water will be oxygenated, keeping the remaining bacteria alive in the pond and helping fish to survive.
At this time of the year your fish will most likely be right at the bottom of the pond in the deepest part hibernating. Leave them well alone and do not feed them as their digestive system will have shut down, any food they eat will break down inside their intestines causing harmful internal bacteria to form.
Towards the end of the month I would advise testing the water using a pond test kit as the rising temperatures will promote the break down of organic matter in the water, this can lead to water quality problems and these will only get worse if not treated early.
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