The 6 Steps For The Best Winter Pond Care With Fish

This Is Our Proven Best Way To Do Winter Pond Maintenance For Our Clients In And Around Nashville, Tennessee
Frozen over pond with hole from aerator prime example of winter pond maintenance

You want to make sure your pond and pond fish are taken care of during winter, and we love that! Caring for water features is what we do and we love it when we see others do it too.

In this post, you can discover our process for setting up ponds so they survive winter. You can also find out why these steps are important, tips, how to take care of koi fish in the winter, and if you feed koi fish in the winter.

Will Our Pond And Fish Be Ok?

“Winter’s around the corner and the pond could freeze. Can koi fish survive winter? I don’t know what to do,” says James.

Amanda gives him a hug. “It’s okay, hon. If it was going to be a problem our pond contractor would have said so. Plenty of other people have backyard koi ponds. They all survive during winter, right?”

James sighs, relaxing a bit. “Yeah, you’re right, as per usual,” he chuckles. “I’m sure there’s a winter pond maintenance process we can follow. Or have our contractor do for us.”

“Now that I think about it,” -Amanda picks her phone up and unlocks it- “we did get an email from them recently. I’m pretty sure it’s about setting up ponds for winter and answers how do koi fish survive winter. You know, like the fall pond maintenance process one we got earlier.” She starts searching through her email.

“Here it is!” she says, turning the phone so James can see too.

3 Things To Consider For Winter Pond Maintenance

There are a few things to think about that can change the process:

  1. *Does your pond have the right plumbing for winter?
  2. Do you have fish?
  3. Is your koi pond deeper than 2 feet?

If your pond is at least 2 feet deep your fish have nothing to worry about. The water won’t freeze at the lower depths and your fish will be fine.

*We build our client’s ponds with the right plumbing for winter. This way they can enjoy the beautiful ice formations winter creates in water features.

How JVI Sets Our Clients Ponds Up For Winter

  1. Trim your aquatic plants
  2. Take any fall pond netting down
  3. Clean skimmers and filters
  4. Check pumps

Trim your aquatic plants. Trimming plants keeps them from running wild in your pond. This makes the spring maintenance process easier as well.

Take any fall pond netting down. Your net can break if too much snow piles on top of it. 

Clean skimmers and filters. We still want your pond to be able to take care of and clean itself. We clean the skimmers and filters so they can do just that. This provides a clean, healthy environment for your fish.

Check pumps. We want to make sure nothing is wrong with your pumps. If they malfunction during winter your pond and fish can be in jeopardy.

Winter Pond Care Tips

JVI team member getting a water feature ready for winter

Make sure there’s a hole in the ice. Your fish still release gas while in near-hibernation. This gas needs a hole to escape out of or it fills your pond with ammonia, which can make your fish sick.

Do not break a hole in the ice. This will scare your fish so bad they can go into shock and die. 

Instead, you can leave your waterfall running (if your plumbing is winter-safe).  You can also put/move an aerator to the middle depth of your pond. This allows fish gas to escape and clean oxygen to get in. Your fish will be happier and healthier.

Watch out for ice dams! While ice formations are beautiful, they can start spraying water into your yard. Nobody wants a swampy yard during or after winter.

Can Koi Fish Survive Winter In An Outdoor Pond?

Ducks walking on a frozen koi pond

Koi fish can live in a pond during winter if it’s the right kind.

The right kind of pond is 2 feet deep so they have an area to float around in. It also needs to have plumbing suitable for winter. The pond also needs to have a hole for their gas to get out and for fresh oxygen to get in.

Do You Feed Koi Fish In The Winter?

Feeding your fish when it hits 50° Fahrenheit and lower is bad.

When it gets cold, fish go into a hibernation-like state. Their metabolism slows down, which means they digest slowly. This can end up hurting your fish because the food stays in their system for far too long.

As soon as temperatures are above 50° Fahrenheit you can feed your koi fish again.

You May Also Like To Know

“So our fish and our pond will be ok,” James sighs in relief. “That’s great news! I wonder if there’s anything else we should know besides winter pond maintenance. Might as well look for it while we’re here,” suggests Amanda.