While the warm spring and summer may seem like the obvious seasons to focus on aeration but fall and winter are just as important. Ideally, you can keep your pond moving all year round, even in the coldest parts of winter. The fall season is all about getting your pond ready for winter shutdown. During this time, you want to keep your pond moving so it has plenty of oxygen and good bacteria to help break down any debris that makes its way into the pond. The cleaner your pond is during the fall, the easier your winter transition will be. Learn more about the importance of aeration in the fall.
Fall maintenance refresher
During the fall season, you want to keep your pond as clean as possible. Fall maintenance is all about minimizing debris, breaking up sludge, and switching to a cold water fish feeding schedule. Once the water drops below 70°F, you'll want to start feeding less as their metabolisms begin to slow down. Any uneaten food will sink to the bottom of the pond and begin to decay.
Even if you try your best to scoop out leaves and lawn clippings from the pond's surface, debris always seems to find its way into the pond. Sludge Remover is a go-to treatment for the fall. It uses beneficial bacteria to naturally break down the layer of sludge and debris at the bottom of the pond.
Putting extra effort into fall maintenance makes your transition into winter smoother. As the water temperature lowers, everything in your pond begins to slow. Since fish are cold-blooded, they need heat from their environment to power their metabolisms. During the late fall and winter, they're more vulnerable to sickness. The beneficial bacteria also slow down in the colder water, working less efficiently to break down any waste.
Aeration in the fall
Water features like fountains and waterfalls aren't just for decoration. Ponds need to have circulating water to release all of the gases created by the bacteria in the water from breaking down organic debris. The beneficial pond bacteria need oxygen to survive, too. When the pond water is still, only the surface water can oxygenate from wind and other natural movements. The middle and bottom water slowly have less and less oxygen, creating an environment that is toxic to the fish and other pond life.
During the fall, you want to make sure the deepest part of your pond is circulating and aerating so that good bacteria can colonize and break down any debris. How much aeration you need depends on how deep your pond is. If you have a shallow pond, a single fountain like a spitter may be enough. Deeper ponds may need multiple water features like a fountain and a waterfall. You can upgrade your fountain using the Nozzle Kit to add extra aeration.
You can keep your water features running in your pond until the water temperature consistently drops below 50°F. Fish won't need to be fed. Their bodies aren't able to digest anymore. You'll want to remove the water features at this temperature to prevent overcooling. This happens when the surface water in the pond becomes very cold, and the water feature mixes the warmer water from the bottom of the pond. The overall temperature of the pond quickly drops, shocking fish and plants.
Fall is an important transitional season for pond owners. While you may not immediately consider aeration a vital part of your fall maintenance, it can help keep your pond clear for the winter. Having water features that aerate and keep the water circulating maintains oxygen levels. The beneficial bacteria that break down debris need oxygen to work and colonize. You want to have as many of these good bacteria in your pond to break down debris at the bottom of the pond before the water gets too cold in the winter.