How to care for your pond and pond pumps in autumn to prepare for UK winters

Autumn is on its way in the United Kingdom and it’s time to start changing the way we’re looking after our ponds, fish and pond pumps in order to prepare for the winter ahead. Here are our top tips for caring for your pond, whether it’s a small fish pond in the city or a large pond out on a country estate:

  • Clear dead foliage. Dead plants, branches and falling leaves are all part of the autumn month’s clearing ritual. Now’s the best time to remove debris from your pond – including the sludge at the bottom – in order to keep your ecosystem healthy and your pond pump functioning smoothly. This clearing out of vegetation isn’t just about keeping a clean pond; it’s also an essential ritual for ensuring that you get the best growth come spring. During the winter, don’t let debris build up on the pond surface, as they will clog the pond and could become trapped in ice.
  • Don’t overfeed the fish. If you have fish, it’s important to start reducing the amount of food they get as the weather gets colder. Their metabolism slows down during these months and they aren’t able to digest the food as quickly. The best food for them during the autumn months is wheat germ foods, as they are easiest to digest, but all feeding should stop if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Uneaten food will just dirty the pond and create a sludgy, toxic environment.
  • Take care of your pond pump and filters. Many people choose to remove pumps and filters in the winter months although this isn’t necessary. If you do this, simply wash them thoroughly and store them in a dry space. If you chose to leave them running in the pond, you need to ensure that the pump is deep enough underwater that it will stay unfrozen and unaffected by frost.

  • Don’t let your pond freeze over. A frozen pond can result in fish suffocating, as there is no way that gas exchange between the carbon dioxide in the water and the oxygen in the air can occur in these conditions. The best way to prevent this is to leave the pond pump running. Alternatively, rather than smashing the ice, which can stress or kill the fish, simply place a pan of hot water on the ice until it melts through and keep this spot clear. There are also useful products on the market that can ensure that your pond stays unfrozen, including de-icers and floats. Never salt your frozen pond, add fresh water without using a dechlorinator or let people play on its surface.

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