Why Pond Winterization Is Important

In many parts of the country pond water temperatures are dropping below the 50 degree mark.  Your fish are now in their dormant stage, with their metabolism slowing dramatically.  It is time to winterize your pond.  It is important to have this done before you notice the first signs of freeze around the edges of your pond.

Here are the top 3 reasons why pond winterization is so important:

1)  Protect The Health Of Your Fish

Even though your fish are in their dormant stage, and you are no longer feeding them, they are still releasing ammonia through respiration.  In addition, decomposing organic material is also releasing ammonia and nitrites.  Normally, the pond's nitrifying bacteria convert the toxic ammonia and nitrites to harmless nitrates and phosphorous.  But nitryifing bacteria also becomes dormant when water temperatures drop below 55 degrees.  Therefore, aeration and the addition of non-nitrifying bacteria (which becomes active below 55 degrees) becomes critical.

Also, running your waterfall all winter is not a good way to aerate your pond.  The pump is drawing colder water from the bottom of the pond, and this water is then exposed to colder air when it runs down the waterfall.  This makes your pond water much colder than it would be under natural circumstances, which is very harmful (and potentially deadly) to your fish.

2)  Protect Your Equipment

Pumps and UV clarifiers can easily be damaged by leaving them out in the winter.  You want to remove your pump and store it in a bucket of water.  Also remove your UV Clarifier and store it indoors.

Hoses, skimmer boxes, and waterfall basins also need to be completely drained.  If not, the pond water remaining will freeze and can crack these items.

3)  Healthier, Cleaner Pond In The Spring

A properly winterized pond results in a healthier and cleaner pond in the Spring.  A properly aerated winter pond will effectively remove harmful gasses all winter long.  Your fish will be active and healthy come spring.  Also, non-nitrifying, winter bacteria will not only consume ammonia and nitrites, but also continue to consume muck and sludge on the bottom of your pond.