Saying goodbye to summer is always difficult. The kid’s head back to school, the weather begins to turn cooler, and our loved aquatic plants start to fade. Hardy water lilies usually begin showing their disdain for summer’s end before other aquatics because of their sensitivity to shorter days and cooler temperatures. Next are the marginal plants. Now’s the time to do a little cleanup work in your pond before the water temperature becomes too cool for you to want to get in there. We hope this advice helps you manage your pond throughout the fall.
Clean up That Green!
(Plant care recommendations for the Fall)
Minimizing the debris and plant material in your pond will make your spring clean out less work and is a must do to maintain a healthy fish environment. The plants in your pond will let you know when it is time to cut them back. The main objective is to eliminate any potential plant material that will otherwise decay in the water. Water lily leaves will turn yellow and dead pads can be cut off from the bottom or scooped out with a skimmer net. Tropical lilies should be taken out at the end of November before the water freezes. Water lettuce and water hyacinths float on the top of the water and should be scooped out and used as compost. Also remove any other tropical marginal plants because they will not come back. Miss your tropical in the winter? -Try bringing in your favorites they may like a sunny window in your home. Taros, bananas, and cannas can be wintered over in a dormant state in your basement. Marginal hardy plants like cat tails, rush, lizards tail can be cut off 3in above the water line after they start to show signs of dying back. In general remove all leaves and organic material before the pond seals over with ice!
The Leaves are coming!
Fall is coming and the leaves will start turning a multitude of colors. But when the colors begin to fade, your pond will become a magnet for falling leaves. One way to minimize the leaves that accumulate at the bottom of your pond is to drop a net over the top of the pond. If you do this, your life will be much easier in the spring. Another option for small ponds is a long handled skimmer net. Many clients find it relaxing to scoop leaves out every few days. Some ponds tend to get a tea colored tint this time of year especially around oak trees. This is from tanins which leach out of the decaying leaves in the pond. Tea colored water can be harmless but may be a sign of a bad water quality. It’s always best to stay leaf free. It is also recommended this time of year to add activated carbon to your Biofalls unit if you haven't done so already. Think of carbon as a neutralizer. The addition of activated carbon will reduce the ammonia level, remove contaminants, turn the water from tea colored to a crystal clear and remove any nitrates from decaying plant material.
Time for a Fish Diet!
(what to feed and when)
When the water temperature drops below 55° F degrees it’s time to either eliminate fish feeding from your daily regimen or switch to a food that is formulated for low water temperatures. This is important because your fishes’ metabolism will slow down to accommodate winter hibernation, and if they eat normal fish food they can experience health problems. Also excess and un-eaten fish food will foul the water. The idea behind cold-water food is the ingredients. Summer fish food has a high animal protein content, great for the fish but only digestible in the warm weather. Cold-water food is made with vegetable protein making it easily digested by your fish. If you feel insecure about when to feed - get a thermometer and take out the guesswork. We also suggest you do not feed before bedtime because shortly after the water temp will cool with the night air. Finally relax, the fish in your pond were designed by nature to go trough this winter cycle, and they are never as hungry as you think.
Enjoy!… Fall is a beautiful time to spend by your pond
Make sure you take time to enjoy the rest of whatever pond season remains in your neck of the woods! Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate by the pond while you kick your feet up and luxuriate in the glow of a magnificent harvest sunset. Enjoy your fish before they gravitate to the bottom of the pond to hibernate. You'll soon be longing for spring to roll around when you can re-open the pond and enjoy another pond season of fun with your fish friends.
Busy? … Let us help.
We hope you have time this fall to enjoy your pond! if you don’t have time to do the rest... let us help! Action Water Gardens offers full service fall and winter pond care. The first step is to fill out our fall/winter prep form - located on our website. Our services include but are not limited to:
-Fall plant care, this will include removal of all tropical plant material, removal of all water lily leaves, cutting back all marginal plants, and sinking some plants that need extra protection.
-Equipment care, Pump and filter medium removal, cleaning and winterizing. Installation of winterizing devices, positioning recirculating pumps, de-icers, and aerators.
-Cleaning, at the time of winterizing if the pond has debris and organic material it can be removed, and a possible water change.
-Fall netting, we can net your pond to prevent leaves from dropping in. Please feel free to call us at 860-875-2359 to ask questions, request fall pond services or come in and get armed with everything you will need for the fall season.