Five Easy Tips for a Clean and Healthy Pond

Your pond is a beautiful ecosystem to a host of living things and you want to ensure that the habitat is healthy for the sake of both your fish and plants. Not to mention, a healthy pond with clean water is so much prettier to look at than a murky water garden.

Most pond owners are aware of the importance that good quality water plays in a pond habitat. But not knowing how to get or keep water quality can prove challenging to some pond owners.  We’re here to break the mystery down to five basic elements so you can rest assured your pond is in good hands.

Aquascape Ecosystem Pond with Clear Water


1. The Right Pump for Your Pond

Pumps are the heart of any water feature, continually circulating water and providing aeration to create the basis for a stable ecosystem. Proper pump sizing is critical to the health and function of your water feature and you want to be sure you’ve selected the correct pump.

To provide optimal water quality, you want to circulate the entire pond’s water volume a minimum of once every hour.  If your pond contains 1,000 gallons of water, you need a pump that will push a minimum of 1,000 gallons per hour. Other variables come into play when choosing the proper pump, like the height of your waterfall and the length of pipe that runs from your pump to the waterfall.

Aquascape makes it easier to choose the right pump with our handy, online pond pump selection guide to make sure you’re using the right size pump for your pond needs.

Aquascape Waterfall with Healthy Water


2. A Balance of Filtration

A good biological filtration system, paired with a mechanical filter (such as a skimmer) to remove solids before the water enters the biological filtration unit, is the most effective way to filter water. Designing and implementing an efficient circulation and filtration system ensures that the water is oxygenated and pond debris (including leaves, floating algae, and anything else that’s blown in) will be swept from the pond’s surface and deposited into an easily emptied skimmer basket.

Aquascape healthy ponds incorporate a BioFalls® biological filter that serves as the start of the pond’s waterfall. The waterfall activity adds much-needed oxygen to the pond. Ideally, your skimmer should be placed on the opposite side of your pond. Aquascape skimmers provide room to house your pump, along with a basket that catches leaves and debris for easy clean-up.


3. Maintain a Healthy Fish Population

Pond owners love their fish and it’s easy to over-populate your pond – especially if your fish have babies!  Make sure you have no more than 10” of fish for every 100 gallons of water in your pond. You want to avoid excessive fish waste, which can cause an unhealthy imbalance in pond water. If you find yourself with an abundance of fish, consider finding a new home for some of your finned friends. Pond retailers and contractors might be willing to accept your fish. You can also contact local koi clubs.


Calculate How Much Water Is In Your Pond:  Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.48 = U.S. Gallons*

*Length, width, and depth are measured in feet 


One of the many joys of pond ownership is interacting with your fish. Many people train their koi to eat straight from their hand! However, when you feed fish more than they can eat, the uneaten food is left to decay in the pond. This can prove problematic to the quality of your pond water.  Be careful not to feed your fish more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in two to three minutes. Remove all excess, leftover food so it doesn’t deteriorate in your pond.

If you want happy and healthy pond fish, choose a high-quality fish food such as those provided by Aquascape. We offer a variety of fish foods that contain probiotics to aid in digestion and reduce fish waste.

Aquascape Koi Pond with Clear Healthy Water


4. Create a Proper Balance of Plants

Plants absorb excess nutrients in the pond and help filter the water. In addition, plants like waterlilies and water lettuce help to shade the pond and keep the water cooler during hot summer months. During the peak pond season, you want to ensure that 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond is covered or shaded by plants. On the flip side, too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process, when the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

You’ll enjoy the beauty provided by a wide range of pond plants, which fall into four basic categories.

Waterlilies are a favorite for the beautiful color they add to a pond. Hardy lilies return every year if properly over-wintered. Tropical waterlilies will die during winter months in most climates and are typically treated like annuals.  Marginal plants thrive in shallow water near the edges of the pond. They include both flowering and non-flowering options and help to soften rock edges while providing filtration benefits. Floating plants such as water lettuce and water hyacinth, float on the surface of the pond with their roots dangling in the water. Finally, oxygenators are planted at the bottom of the pond and help provide hiding places for fish.

Water Garden with Water Lilies and Koi


5. Clean Debris from Pond Before It Decays

Decaying leaves and debris, combined with fish waste and leftover fish food, can cause ammonia levels to spike in your pond. High ammonia levels can stress your fish and cause illness. Be sure to remove dying leaves and plants, and remove uneaten fish food before it has a chance to decay. During the summer months, you shouldn’t find a lot of leaves and plant debris in your pond, but be sure to trim any dying leaves from aquatic plants.  During the fall season, install Aquascape Protective Pond Netting over your water feature before leaves begin to drop from the trees, to make leaf control easier. Beneficial microbes such as Aquascape Beneficial Bacteria can also be added to your pond on a continual basis to help keep pond water healthy and clean.


Enjoy Your Best Pond Ever

Following the above guidelines helps ensure that your pond is naturally balanced, thereby requiring less maintenance. When water in a pond is murky and unattractive, it’s usually due to one (or more) of the previous tips not being followed. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to enjoy clean and clear pond water throughout the season. And less work, means more time you get to spend enjoying your beautiful water garden!

Backyard Pond with Water Lilies

The Secret to Healthy Koi and Pond Fish

You love your finned friends and can’t wait to see them swimming about after the winter thaw. While you’re dreaming of summer days by the pond, start thinking about your fish and taking measures to ensure they remain healthy throughout the year. Most fish issues can be avoided by following a few simple, preventative measures.

Backyard Koi Pond in Lancaster, PA

Backyard Koi Pond in Lancaster, PA



1. Understand Water Quality

The majority of issues with fish are caused by poor water quality. Make sure that the fish population is under control and not over-crowded. A general rule of thumb for pond sticking is to ensure you have no more than ten inches of fish (in length) for every 100 gallons of water in your pond. So if your pond is 1000 gallons, you can have a total of 100 inches of fish. You should balance your fish population with a variety of pond plants. Your plants will absorb fish waste as fertilizer and will starve algae of this fertilizer.

Beneficial bacteria should be added to your pond on a regular basis to help keep it balanced. Consider adding the Aquascape Automatic Dosing System, an electronically operated dispenser automatically releases the proper dose of water treatments for your pond.

2. Buy Your Fish from a Responsible Retailer

Never buy sick fish and if possible, quarantine new fish for a few days before adding them to your pond. Always ask how long the retailer has had the fish. If they have just received them, ask the retailer to hold the fish for a few days to make sure the fish recovers from stress related to transport and new water chemistry. You can read our 10 tips for buying fish to help you make the right choices

3. Keep a Close Eye on Your Fish

Watching your fish is one of the great pleasures in Living the Aquascape Lifestyle™! If you notice any signs of disease or unusual behavior, refer to our fish treatments page which includes a handy chart for identifying and treating the most common pond fish issues. You can always consult the store or garden center where you purchased the fish, or visit our favorite koi vet’s web page for even more information.

4. Test Your Water

Test your water if you suspect there might be a quality issue. The level of pH can affect your fish in an adverse manner. But if you’re consistently adding beneficial bacteria, have proper pond filtration, and a good balance of fish and plants for the size of your pond, you should rarely have issues. Keep in mind that outside factors like lawn chemicals can leach into your pond and cause problems. It’s best not to apply chemicals to plants or grass near your pond.

5. Feed Your Fish a High Quality Food

Feeding a high quality fish food will not affect water quality and will ensure that your fish are getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need to maintain proper health. Be careful not to overfeed your fish as uneaten fish food will decay and can cause an imbalance in pond water. Feed your fish no more than they can eat in five minutes. In the summer, you can feed them up to three times per day. In cooler temperatures, feed them only once – and stop feeding your fish altogether when pond water temperature drops below fifty degrees.

Prevention is the best cure for your finned friends! The easiest way to avoid disease problems is to maintain optimum water conditions. Feeding a quality diet and adding beneficial bacteria on a regular basis helps maintain a balanced ecosystem. Disease problems must be addressed in the early stages to be successful.  By following these simple tips you’ll enjoy seeing your pond fish swim happily and healthily throughout the pond season!

Landscape & Garden Fountains

Looking for Landscape & Garden Fountains Sales & Installations? Well Look no further. Our highly qualified crews service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

Landscape Garden Fountain | Harrisburg, PA

Landscape Garden Fountain | Harrisburg, PA


Landscape & Garden Fountains

Adding a water feature brings a whole new sensory experience to your garden. A well-placed garden fountain can transform an ordinary backyard into a relaxing outdoor retreat with the restorative sound and hypnotizing movement of trickling water. A fountainscape can also serve as a focal point in a front yard, plaza or courtyard.

Landscape Fountains (Fountainscapes)

Landscape & Garden Fountains provide homeowners in the with a unique and creative way to decorate their outdoor living space. Many homeowners desire the soothing sounds of running water, but are just not ready for a pond or simply can’t afford one. Aquascape’s handcrafted decorative line, provides the perfect solution for capitalizing on these small, entry-level water features.

Got a spot in your garden leaving you without ideas about what to put there? Maybe it’s a shady spot where grass struggles to grow. Perhaps the soil isn’t the best for nurturing healthy perennials and annuals. Or maybe you’re just interested in attracting a few more birds and butterflies to that location.
Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

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Professional Pond Repairs & Leak Detection

Looking for Professional pond repairs? Well Look no further. Our highly qualified techs service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

Professional Pond Repairs & Leak Detection in Lancaster, PA

Professional Pond Repairs & Leak Detection in Lancaster, PA


POND Repairs & Leak Detection

Finding a leak in a pond can be a daunting task for someone without a great deal of experience. Professional pond repairs and renovations in the Lancaster & Central (PA) area of Pennsylvania means…. we know how to fix your pond leak. We use a consistent trouble shooting methodology to narrow down the source of your leak as quickly as possible. We start with the most likely suspects, such as leaky plumbing connections, skimmer and filter leaks, and improperly formed waterfalls. If the leak is not found in these areas, and we’ve ruled everything else out – you’ve got a hole in your liner. Rather than wasting your valuable time and money searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack, we will replace the liner. Close to 40 years combined experience has shown that replacing the liner is less expensive and time consuming than trying to find a hole – which can take days or weeks. A liner replacement is a relatively simple operation that can usually be accomplished in a single day, depending on how your pond is built.

Pond Water Clarity Problems

Why is water clarity listed in the repair section? Because if you are not able to see a dime placed at the bottom of your pond, there is a good chance that some part of your pond ecosystem is not working properly and needs to be repaired or replaced. Do you have green pond water or black pond water in your pond? We can figure out why and repair the pond ecosystem to resolve these issues.

Pond Filter/Pump Repairs

There are many types of pond filtration systems & pumps, and we’ve worked with just about all of them. If your filter or pump worked at one time, but is no longer performing the job – we perform all types of pond filter & pump repairs that can help. If your pond filter has never worked the way it should, we can help you with that as well.

Waterfall Repairs

Customers have come to us with all kinds of waterfall problems. An improperly designed waterfall can cause a great deal of water loss, or it may just look unnatural and need a face lift. Our team has built dozens and dozens of waterfalls, and we know how to do it the right way. It really doesn’t matter what your waterfall problem is – we can fix it, and ensure you will have many years of low maintenance enjoyment of your water feature.
Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

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Professional Pond Cleaning & Maintenance Services

Looking for Professional pond cleaning and pond maintenance services? Well Look no further. Our highly qualified techs service area includes Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

Pond Cleaning in Lancaster, PA

Pond Cleaning in Lancaster, PA


Pond Cleaning & Maintenance Services

Spring is always just around the corner and before you know it you will be outside enjoying the weather and all the wonder and excitement of your beautiful pond again, which brings us to the topic of preparing your pond for Spring and the upcoming season. We recommend that your pond receive a full professional cleaning at least once, on occasion twice per year to help maintain its low maintenance and beautiful appearance. Failure to perform an annual clean out could result in increased maintenance or fish health issues.
All customers receive a custom price quote for their clean out. If we have serviced your pond in the past or if we installed your pond we can give you a cost for your cleaning once you have contacted us. If you are a new customer we will require a Pond Profile to familiarize ourselves with your pond and to give you an accurate Spring Pond Maintenance price. If you would like to hire C.E. Pontz Sons to perform your spring maintenance services. Please contact us now to ensure we can fit you into our spring schedule.


Pond Clean out Details

100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Drain, Rinse & Pond Refill
Pond Sludge Removal
Pressure wash rocks & gravel
Thin out overgrown aquatic plants
Removal of excess debris and leaves
Fish Health Check
Pond Water Quality Inspection
Lighting Check
Pump Maintenance Inspection
Pond Filters Cleaning/Inspection
Pond, Stream & Waterfall Face lift (Adjust Rocks, Add Gravel, Etc.)
Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

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Disappearing Backyard Pondless Waterfall Contractors

Looking for Disappearing Backyard Pondless Waterfall Contractors? Well Look no further. Our highly qualified crews service areas including Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

Massive Disappearing Waterfall installed in Elizabethtown, PA

Massive Disappearing Waterfall installed in Elizabethtown, PA


Disappearing Backyard Pondless Waterfalls

Disappearing waterfalls or “Pondless Waterfalls” are a great, low maintenance water garden option for your landscape ideas. If you live in Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania. We can fill your yard with the sites and sounds of waterfalls and fluttering birds that bathe in the cascading water. But unlike a pond, the water ends up in a re-circulating basin that is hidden under decorative gravel.

So What Is A Pondless Waterfall?

C.E. Pontz Sons in the Lancaster, PA area, specializes in pondless waterfall construction. And unlike other pond contractors who will only do the water feature itself, we know no pondless waterfall is complete without the proper landscaping to make it look natural and beautiful. We can help make it beautiful.. We know what plants look best around a pondless waterfall to make it look like a natural stream and not just a water feature plopped into the ground. So let us take take of everything from start to finish. No need to find multiple contractors to get your job done right the first time.

Pondless Waterfalls

Pondless Waterfalls installed by Master Certified Aquascape Contractor C.E. Pontz Sons, are simply a re-circulating Disappearing Waterfall and/or Stream without the presence of a Pond. You can enjoy the sight and sound of running water without the maintenance of a pond. If you are considering a Pondless Waterfall for your yard, you can trust in a Master Certified Aquascape Contractor to get it done right the first time.


Because there is no pool of water, an Aquascape Pondless® Waterfall is a great option if you are concerned about safety issues associated with a traditional pond.


Cost can be a big factor when considering the type of water garden you want to build. In most cases, the price of an Aquascape Pondless® Waterfall will be less than a pond, because there is less labor involved, as well as less rock and materials. Operating costs are also less. Because you are not dealing with an established ecosystem, it is not necessary to run the pump 24/7.


The small size of the Aquascape Pondless® Waterfall means you can build and enjoy a beautiful waterfall anywhere in you yard.


Taking care of your Aquascape Pondless® Waterfall is easy. Filling the reservoir every few weeks to compensate for water loss because of evaporation is all that’s required.


Perhaps the best part of the Aquascape Pondless® Waterfall is the possibility for the future. If you change your mind later, wishing you had built a pond, that is ok! If you leave enough room around the base of the waterfall, it is easy to add a pond onto an Aquascape Pondless® Waterfall.
Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

Contact us TODAY!

Pond Maintenance & Services

Looking for Professional pond maintenance and service? Well Look no further. Our highly qualified techs service area includes Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

Pond Maintenance & Services

Pond Maintenance & Services

Pond Maintenance & Services

Looking for a Pond Maintenance & Services contractor in your area? We offer top of the line quality service to Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, PA and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to providing our customers with the most comprehensive and logical pond maintenance services programs available. From Pond Cleaning, to small or large Pond Repairs, we have you covered. This dedication to all the service end of our business enables us to make educated improvements on our uses of the Aquascape product line we use, ultimately providing you with the best Pond Maintenance services that you will find in your area. Simply put we love Ponds and Waterfalls and enjoy the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with you so that you may enjoy your Water Gardening lifestyle. We recommend you research the maintenance plan any company is proposing to you and ask for references the same as you would for the initial installation

Pond Algae & Water Clarity Issues

Are you struggling keeping string algae under control in your pond? Or worse yet… cannot seem to get your pond water clear and healthy? Whether you have a large pond or small backyard fish pond…First things first… we suggest a Pond Profile as your first step. Maybe you are a very busy individual who travels often in your profession, or simply want your water feature professionally cleaned and maintained so all you have to do is relax and enjoy your Pond, Fish and waterfalls. We often compare our pond maintenance services to having your Lawn professionally maintained.

Pond Algae, “the good, bad, & the ugly “

While pond “string algae” is the sign of a healthy ecosystem, pond algae grows primarily when one or more of the pond’s natural balances is out of whack. We seek to balance the pond organically while using as few chemicals as possible. While this method of controlling algae is a solution and works well, it usually requires a bit of patience while nature does its part.
Again Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)
Contact us TODAY!

Fish & Koi Pond Design & Installation


Fish & Koi Ponds

Looking for a Fish & Koi Pond Design & Installation Contractor? Well Look no further. Our highly qualified crews service area includes Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)


Fish & Koi Pond Design & Installation in Lancaster, PA

Fish & Koi Pond Design & Installation in Lancaster, PA

So What is an Ecosystem Pond Anyway?

A pond is comprised of an ecosystem which includes both biological and mechanical filtration. Backyard ponds are truly the jewel of the water feature lifestyle. They contain all the parts of a balanced ecosystem pond–plants, fish, rocks and gravel, and a biological filtration and circulation system.
There is nothing quite like a fish or koi pond in a landscape built by a professional Pond builder or installer. The soothing sound of cascading waterfalls, the sight of graceful, colorful koi swimming in the water and aquatic plantings can give you your own piece of paradise in the Berks County, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Lancaster, & York area. Water gardens are the perfect cure for a stressful lifestyle and give you a paradise oasis right in your own yard, right here in Central (PA).

But few pond builders have a true sense of the art of construction and creation it takes to make your pond look real and function properly. C.E. Pontz Sons serving the Lancaster (PA) area, takes care to hand-pick boulders complete with moss and lichen. We know the art of rock placement to complete a natural look. And we also know how to properly filtrate your pond so it will stay clear and be low maintenance.

So just how does C.E. Pontz Sons know all these things? We are a Master Certified Aquascape Contractor, and are undergoing annual training to keep the prestigious designation. There are less than 300 CACs in the United States, and we are the only one in the Central PA area. If you are thinking about a pond, make sure you pick a contractor with a proven track record and contact us today !

We Install The Aquascape Ecosystem Pond Filtration System

Fish & Koi Pond Contractor/Builder/Designer/Installer


Pond Ecosystems Bring your Backyard Landscape to Life…

Ponds are ecosystems, in that they play host to a total interrelationship of all organisms in the environment– birds, fish, frogs, plants, and many other varieties of microscopic organisms. Thus, ponds not only create a natural ecosystem in their defined environment, but they also fit into the community or life cycle of not just one homeowner’s back yard, but of the entire ecological region. An ecosystem pond works with Mother Nature to provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife around it. It also provides you with an all-natural, low-maintenance piece of paradise.

Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)


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Our Top Five Tips for Winter Pond Keeping

It’s that time of year again, yes the dreaded time of year where you worry endlessly about your little finned friends. Well fear no more. Our good friends at Aquascape have put together some winter pond keeping tips to ensure your pond operates at optimum performance though out the winter months.



Silvery ice formations and velvety white drifts of snow create a dreamy landscape with a winter water feature as the focal point. If you’re like most people, you shut down your water feature for the winter season. While this is a perfectly viable option for most people, some of you opt to keep your water feature running. To ensure that your pond and waterfall provide all the pleasures of a winter wonderland, be sure to follow our handy winter pond keeping tips.

Pond and Waterfalls in Snow


1. Check for Ice Dams

If you keep your pond running during the frozen months of winter, you’ll enjoy the beautiful ice sculptures that form in the stream and waterfall. Although stunning, it’s possible that the ice buildup can form dams that could divert your pond water out of the pond. Check on the waterfall and stream and monitor the water level periodically throughout the winter. If you see an ice dam forming or the water level dropping at a high rate, your pond might be losing water because of the frozen sculpture and it might be time to turn off the pump for the winter. If you decide to leave the pond running until warmer weather however, your main concern is to ensure there is enough water for the pump(s) to operate properly.


Winter Water Feature with Ice Formations


2. Add Water to Your Pond

During the winter months, the usual water supply options are not available.  Outdoor water spigots and automatic water fill valves should be turned off to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking.  Therefore, pond owners who run their systems during the winter will have to find an alternate water source to replenish their pond.  Water can be supplied via a hose run from inside the house or by making multiple trips with a large bucket.  Generally speaking, it’s not uncommon to have to go out a few times a month during the winter to “top off” the pond.

Winter Pond and Waterfall


3. Check the Circulation of Water

Pump size is important when determining a waterfall’s ability to operate during the winter.  A pump that provides at least 2,000 gph can be operated throughout the winter without a problem, as long as it runs continuously. Moving water will usually keep a hole open in the ice around the waterfalls and in front of the circulation system. However, repeated days in sub-zero temperatures may lead to excessive ice build-up. You can add a pond de-icer to help keep a hole in the ice, or incorporate a submersible pond pump such as the AquaForce Pump or the Pond Powerhead. Both provide agitation at the surface of the pond to keep a hole open.

Winter Pond Keeping


4. Be Assured of Filters and Pipes

Most good filters are constructed out of rotational-molded polyethylene, and are designed to bow and bend with the freezing and thawing effects of winter. The PVC flex pipe is reinforced and will also not crack unless water is left in the pipe over the winter and allowed to freeze. If you decide to keep the pump running all winter long, there will still be a constant flow of water traveling through the pipe, and the moving water will not freeze.


Snowy Waterfall by Aquascape


5. The Bottom Line for Winter Pond Keeping

The bottom line for winter pond keeping is maintenance. Roughly 70 percent of pond owners in the colder climates decide to shut down their system because they don’t enjoy tending to their water garden during the bitter months of the winter. The aesthetic rewards of the winter pond are absolutely worthwhile, so by all means; don’t be afraid to keep the system running as long as possible. Shutting down a pond during winter is also an option. Just be sure you take precautionary measures to preserve fish, plant, and pump life.

Tips for Winter Pond Keeping

Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

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How to Avoid Winter Pond Paranoia


Winter is sometimes a hard time for pond enthusiasts. You miss the tropical paradise that your fish and waterlilies provide for you during the summer months. As you stare at the snow and ice outside, it’s easy to fall into winter pond paranoia – wondering about your fish. Avoid unnecessary worries by arming yourself with a bit of knowledge so you can relax and enjoy the upcoming holiday season.

When you live in the northern part of the country, you know that your pond will be covered by a thick layer of ice for two to three months. After a couple of days of not being able to see your fish, you can’t help but wonder what you’re finned friends are thinking and doing under that ice. You know enough to keep an open hole in the ice for gas exchange, but it doesn’t provide you with a window to see if they’re okay.


Winter Pond


Mystery Under the Ice

What’s really going on under that layer of ice, anyway? Are your fish resting comfortably? Are they right side up? Are you the only pond owner who gets freaked out by this disconnect from your fish? Short of sticking your head through the ice into the cold water, you simply want reassurance that your fish are okay.

Truth be told, what’s going on under there may be a direct result of how, or even if, you did anything to prepare your pond before the cold weather set in. A couple of different scenarios could be unfolding, depending on what actions you took.

If the pond has an abundance of debris on the bottom, it’s likely that there is a fair amount of parasite activity going on. Despite the cold water, parasites don’t sleep or become inactive. Instead, they thrive and multiply, and continue to have a party in the muck and debris on the bottom of your pond, unaffected by the low temperatures.

Eventually, the parasites will begin munching on your fish, who will be oblivious to this until the temperature begins to warm up. This is why you might see all the flashing and jumping in the spring as your fish attempt to dislodge the parasites. If the bottom of your pond is relatively clean, your fish are more than likely resting comfortably and peacefully.


Stop Feeding

Another unwanted and potentially devastating scenario can easily be avoided if you know when to stop feeding your fish. Follow our tried-and-true routine for cold weather fish care:

When the water temperature is steadily between 55- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit, feed your fish only once a day with Aquascape Premium Cold Water Fish Food Pellets (it’s low in protein and easy to digest). When the temperature drops below 55 degrees, stop feeding them altogether.

Even if it warms up for a few days, don’t start feeding them again. Any food that doesn’t get eliminated from the fish’s system before their metabolism slows down will putrefy and possibly kill them. Even if it doesn’t kill them, the dying nitrifying bacteria in the filter won’t be able to handle the waste load and will result in an ammonia spike that could be lethal to your fish. In the spring you’ll be left wondering what killed your fish because you won’t see any outward signs of illness.

It’s still early enough in the season to make preparations for the coldest months ahead. Use a pond net to skim debris and try to collect as many leaves and sticks off the bottom of the pond as possible. You can also download our free Winter Pond Care e-book for additional help and information.
Our service areas include Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, West Chester, and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania (PA)

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