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Temperature Guide to Pond Winterization


This guide will give you tips on what pond winterizing steps should be performed at different water temperatures.  Note: In the fall water temperatures can vary greatly from air temperatures. Use your pond thermometer to determine your water temperature.


Upper 60’s ºF                        

·        Plants:  Stop fertilizing waterplants.  Move tropical plants inside, winterize or dispose.  Start cutting back dead or decaying plant material, except plants with hollow stem such as cattails and reeds (wait until spring).  If needed, divide and repot waterplants.

·        Fish: Start feeding fish autumn fish food with wheat germ and added Vitamin C.

·        Pond: Add barley straw or liquid barley extract to the pond to minimize winter string algae growth. 


Mid 60’s ºF                            

·        Pond: Remove leaves, debris and sludge from bottom of pond using a pond net, vacuum, wet/dry vacuum and/or by hand. Clean filter and skimmer pads and nets with water, do not use soap or cleaner.  Net pond and stream.  Do not remove netting until spring. Wood stakes or PVC framing help hold up pond netting, keeping it above the water.

·        Plants: Continue cutting back dead or decaying plant material.


Mid 50’s ºF                            

·        Fish: STOP feeding your fish.  If pond is less than 18” bring fish inside for the winter.

·        Plants: Continue cutting back dead or decaying plant material.

·        Pond: Begin putting cold-water sludge-eating bacteria into pond to breakdown sludge build-up during the winter.  Increase salt level to .25% to deter algae growth & as added protection for the fish.

·        Frogs: Place container filled with clay or sand in bottom of pond to allow frogs to burrow.


Mid 40’s ºF                            

·        Plants: After first frost, remove any remaining dead or decaying plant material and move plants in pots to bottom of pond.  Plants in planting pockets, buried in rocks or planted in a bog do not need to be moved, except if tropical.

·        Pond: Disconnect pump(s) and place in a bucket of water, store at room temperature, and do not allow freezing. Blow out any water remaining in pond tubing.  Connect aerator and/or pond de-icer if fish are present in your pond, this creates a hole in the ice to release toxic gases.  An aerator should be placed a minimum of 6-12” above the lowest level in the pond to prevent chilling the warmest water, which resides in the bottom of the pond in the winter.


Pond Winterization Shopping List: Pond thermometer, pond netting, pond de-icer (heater) and/or aerator, autumn fish foodpond net, wet/dry vacuum, barley straw or extract, pond salt and cold-water sludge-eating bacteria.

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