Garden water fountains and ponds require maintenance throughout the year to keep them beautiful and healthy. When winter approaches, and the first freeze is on the horizon, you will find that there are steps you will need to take in order to keep your pond or fountain healthy. These simple steps will protect fish and plants, alleviate the risk of a cracked fountain, and ensure that the winter does not have a negative effect on your water feature.
Before the first freeze, it is important to remove any debris from your ponds or garden fountains. This is especially true if you have fish or other creatures living in your water feature, as sticks, leaves, and other organic matter gives off toxic gases during decomposition, which presents a health risk to living creatures. As a layer of ice forms over the top of your fountain, these gases will escape much slower and removing as much unnecessary organic matter as possible is crucial. By taking the time to do this, however, you can help keep your plants and fish safe throughout the winter.
If you have a garden water fountain, you will certainly want to turn the pump off throughout the winter. The water is likely to freeze, which will quickly destroy your fountain. For ponds, however, the pump can continue running to circulate the water. Keep your flow adjuster set to the lowest setting possible and keep the pump level with the end of the tubing, or a couple of inches below the surface. Keeping the pump elevated prevents it from warming only the surface water, which would leave the bottom of the pond too cold for your fish to survive. You can check with any online retailer for a pond heater and thermometer in order to keep your fish and plants healthy through out the winter months.
You will certainly want to take steps to ensure that your pond never freezes completely. This can be accomplished by simply pouring boiling water at the edge of the pond to make a place for the pond to release gases. Breaking the ice will harm fish and possible even the fountain, so the boiling water method is always the best choice. Once the temperature in your pond or garden fountain reaches forty-five degrees, you will also want to stop feeding the fish, as their metabolisms will slow down.
These steps are designed for people in areas where freezes are likely. For people in milder areas, many plants can remain in the pond. Tropicals must always be removed, but many other plants will survive simply by being placed in the deepest part of the pond as long as there are six inches of ice or less. Maintaining your fountain through winter can seem like a great deal of work, but the benefits are certainly greatly worthwhile.