Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy Fish Ponding in 2007

Hi All and a Happy New Year to all my readers!

I hope 2007 will provide you with many hours enjoyment looking after your fish ponds and cultivating your natural habitat for healthy fish.

At this time of year, with our typical unpredictable British weather you can't quite be sure when is the best time to do some preperation for your pond. We may still yet get a freeze over!

Winter, to very early spring, is the time to consider dismantling and thoroughly cleaning your bio-filter setup while the natural bacteria is dead/dormant due to the low temperatures. If you have left your pump and filter running over winter, it may be best to leave it alone or do a more gentle cleanout so as not to kill off any remaining bacteria, however if water and oxygen has not been flowing through the filter because you turned the pump off, then you need to clean and prepare it for the new season.

A useful rule of thumb so as not to disturb the life within your pond, is to carry out any maintenance when the water temperature is cooler than 10C.

Early spring is also a good time to consider adding some pond salt as a general tonic to the water. Salt helps kill off parasites which could attack the delicate skin of your fish (they get in under the scales), and it also helps build up the mucous coating on the fishes body, helping their immune system. You can learn more in the following post: First Aid for Fish and info about Salt

Consider getting some Anti-Parasite and Anti-Fungal/Ulcer remedies from your aquatic store. This way you will be ready to deal with any problems if you notice fish becoming ill, which is something that can happen at the start of the year when the water is too cold for their immune system to work properly, but warm enough for parasites to become active.

The three factors you need to keep a lookout for are:
  1. Changes in behaviour in any of your fish
  2. Hidden sores or ulcers and other tissue damage
  3. Deterioration in water quality as a result of new filter syndrome.

With a cautious attitude to pond keeping over the first month or so of fish activity, you should be able to wean your fish and pond of their winter habits, introducing them to the joys and prospects of the new year.

You may find the following resource at Pond Doctor useful as a checklist for preparing your pond for spring:
Preparing the Water garden Fish Pond for Spring

Happy Ponding in 2007!