After a very mild Festive Season, the big freeze has arrived and all of the UK is in the grips of cold weather with snow and ice covering much of the country. Our attention suddenly switches to announcements about the many travel disruptions, school closures and the excitement at the prospect of going sledging or snowman building. For those with garden ponds, they can’t be forgotten for fear the water freezes over causing stress and harm to fish as well as other resident wildlife. If action is not taken, you could lose fish.
Fish are cold blooded creatures so their bodies adjust to the environment. The concern, therefore is not about keeping them warm, it is about ensuring they have enough oxygen to breathe. If the pond freezes over completely while you are tucked up warm inside, your fish will suffer. Ice prevention measures will help to keep at least a portion of the surface of the pond free from freezing over completely. Toxins and harmful gases will also be trapped in a pond that is frozen over completely. These could also be cause fish fatalities or result in them suffering disease.
Some pond owners keep their fountain pond pumps in operation throughout winter period. This will keep an area of ponds surface free from freezing over, but for prolonged periods of cold this may still not be sufficient. A pond heater or placing a plastic ball in the pond both work to keep an area free to allow toxins to escape and oxygen to enter the water.
An important tip is not to crack the ice by hitting it with a heavy object as the noise and vibration will stress the fish. Filling a pot with hot water and placing it on the iced surface until it defrosts works well in the absence of a pond heater.
Keep warm and safe while attending to the needs of your pond :0)