One advantage pond owners in South Africa have over pretty much anywhere else (except maybe Australia!) is that we don’t have to worry about how to keep our ponds from freezing solid during the winter! Thankfully, we don’t have prolonged cold spells, and even if the temperatures do drop below freezing every night for a while (common in Gauteng and the Free State), things have warmed up enough by midday the following day to melt any thin layer of ice that may have formed.
If you have Koi or goldfish, you may be concerned that they might still be uncomfortable in water that gets cold enough to ice over, even thinly. But remember that Koi originate from Japan, and they are built to withstand very cold water. They are actually extremely clever and go into a kind of hibernation during winter, slowing their metabolic rate right down and remaining virtually motionless in the deeper water of your pond. They use hardly any energy at all in this state, so remember to dial right back on your feeding routine! Many Koi experts say you shouldn’t feed your fish at all in the winter.
If you are worried about the temperature of your Koi pond during winter, you can put a cover over it (while still making sure oxygen can get in), which will help to conserve heat in the air directly above the pond during winter. Although they don’t mind cold water, your Koi will love you for heating their pond up a little in this way! You can also take advantage of our bountiful winter sunshine and install a solar heating system for your pond.
Even though your fish don’t mind cold water, and don’t need much, if any, feeding, during winter, you do still need to do a bit of pond maintenance and just keep an eye on things. You can make your winter pond care easier by doing a little pre-season clean up, clearing out any debris and making sure the water quality is where it should be long before the really cold weather hits. It’s important to ensure your bio-filter is clean, as the last thing you need in a dormant winter pond is a high population of potentially harmful bacteria living with your Koi!
At Pool, Spa and Filtration supplies, we have a extensive range of pond accessories, such as biofilters, vacuums, water treatment kits and much more. We’d be happy to chat to you about how you can ensure your pond is winter-ready, so why not pop in and see us, or call +27 11 7931381/2/3 or +27 11 793 6722.