Your Go-To Winter Koi Pond Guide

There is limited time left this season to introduce Koi to your pond. With water temperature dropping daily, it will be very stressful and difficult for the koi fish to acclimatise to these temperatures. Koi carp thrive in water temps of 18-25°c. The absolute minimum temperature of water to initially put them in is between 12- 15° c.  This is only after they have been allowed to float in their bag, to acclimatise, for 30 minutes to lessen the shock of temperature change.

If you already have koi, do not worry, they will be just fine over the winter if you make sure they are taken care of properly. They will spend their time during this season at the bottom of the pond where the pond water is warmer.

Feeding Koi in Cold Water

In the autumn days leading up to winter, feed your koi wheat germ based food to get their metabolism used to the slowing down that will occur in winter. The rate at which fish digest their food depends on the temperature of the water they are in. When water reaches 10°c the fish’s digestive systems essentially shut off and will not digest food – So stop feeding at this temperature. Undigested food in their bodies can end up being fatal.

If your koi are not hibernating to the bottom of your pond quite yet, despite the cold water temperatures, they may appear to be looking for food. Though, due to their inability to digest the food at this point, please resist the urge to feed them!

Preparing the Pond for Winter

Hopefully, you have done (or are planning to do) a big autumn pond clean. But again, before your pond water reaches 15°c, get rid of all the leaves and waste in and around the pond. This is a good time to do a big water change (30-50%).

Have a plan for preventing ice forming over your pond. Some people choose to invest in a pond heater, while others use a less expensive method, air stones and de-icer. Using air stones are also positive because they aid in getting rid of toxic gases.

TIP: If ice does form, do not break it by force! This will send sound waves through the water that can actually harm the fish. Instead, boil a kettle and put the boiling water in a pot. Hold the pot over the ice until a hole melts.

This is also a good time to drain and put away your pond equipment such as water pipes, filters, pumps and UV sterilizers. Cold weather can freeze and damage these products. Though, many people continue to run their filters as another way to prevent ice.

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