Getting a Koi Pond Ready for Spring Season
More Top Pond Keeping Tips: Click image right for UK pond products. If you are installing a new pond and arranging for a supply of electricity to it then do add any extra power point for possible future use. It's very important to use a pump with at least 10 metres of cable attached. In South Africa it is illegal to use a pump in a pond with less than 10 metres of 3 core cable. It is possible to joint approved outdoor cable using specially designed waterproof (resin) connectors. Such connections can be safely immersed in water. All power equipment should be connected to an earth leakage system.
Koi pond: new activity
Just as we get our swimming pools ready for summer (or at least in South Africa), so too should we prepare our koi and goldfish ponds for the new season. Fish hibernate in winter and you won't have been feeding the fish. Plant life will have died back and there will have been little activity in or around your pond – particularly if you live in a region that experiences true winters, rather than a tropical country with relatively little seasonal change.
As spring approaches, and the first signs of new life are evident, it is time for you to take stock of your pond and assess whether you need to lend a helping hand to the pond and its myriad of creatures working together to sustain life.
The onset of spring
While it may seem that the seasons are distinct, it doesn't always happen that systematically. After all, how often have you seen buds on deciduous trees, and then suddenly it seems to be winter again? By the same token, in the long run the temperature of your pond water will increase gradually as spring approaches. It will usually continue to increase and then peak in mid-summer.
When it comes to koi, there are some critical temperature levels that you need to note:
- 4 degrees C.
- 6 degrees C.
- 10 degrees C.
In the long run the most expensive part of fish pond keeping is the cost of food. It pays to buy the best yet most economical. Bradshaws Koi Food (and winter Wheatgerm) is fantastic value for money in modern sensible koi food packaging.
The natural solution to green water and blanketweed. Viresco is specially made in the UK Viresco sold worldwide is A natural algae solution.
Keep that fish pond bottom clean with reliable Pond Vacuum from Bradshaws
25 year guarantee pond liner
Testing pond water can in itself become an intriguing and interesting hobby. Get a reliable test kit however.
Four degrees is a magical temperature in many ways. At the onset of winter, when the water falls below this temperature level, koi will move downwards to the bottom of the pool. The main reason for this is that 4 degrees C tallies with the maximum density of the water. So as the water gets even colder, it will become less dense and will rise. By moving to the base of the pond, the fish remain in the warmest environment possible.
With the onset of spring, the opposite happens. At the same time, bacteria in a biological filter will also become active, slowly multiplying.
The fish will begin to be considerably more active when the temperature reaches 6 degrees. But it is only when it gets to above 8 to 10 degrees that koi will start looking for food. Since they won't have been eating for a while, start off feeding them low protein food.
Check the equipment for your pond
Serious koi keepers will have a range of equipment to keep their ponds in ship shape. Those who only stock their ponds with smaller, less attractive (though still wonderfully appealing) goldfish aren't as likely to use ultra violet clarifiers (UVcs) or even filters. In this event a pump would only be used to move water... for a waterfall or fountain. Otherwise they won't have a pump either.
Here are some of the possible items of equipment you might need to check:
- air pumps and diffusers
- a pool cover or net
- water test kits
If you removed the pump for winter, now is the time to put it back in the water. If not, bring it to the surface and give it a good clean. Also check that it is still working.
If you have maintained some water flow through the filter during winter, getting back into the swing of spring and summer will be easier. Otherwise you're going to have to wait longer for bacteria in the filter to colonise, just as you would if the pond was new.
A UVc must also be thoroughly cleaned. Check O-rings and the UV bulb.
If you closed down the pond system completely for winter, it is inevitable that some debris will have accumulated in the pipes. For this reason it is imperative to vacuum the pond very gently so that muck isn't thrust into the pond by the sheer pressure of the water. In fact it's a good idea to allow the first hundred or so litres of water to flow out into the garden, rather than into the pond.
You ought to have thoroughly cleaned air pumps and diffusers before the onset of winter. Check them and replace any parts that are worn, the diaphragm for example.
If you have a pool cover or net, one of the first things you will do at the onset of spring is to remove it. Make sure it is clean and dry before storing it for the summer months. If you are going to continue to use a net, to guard against predators, then simply clean it and make sure it doesn't need repairs.
Make sure your test kits are still within their "use by" date and that all reagents are intact. Replace whatever you need to before running the full gamut of tests that will ensure you have a beautifully clear koi pond full of healthy fish and bacteria-free water.