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The Autumn Pond

 17 Sep 2019  Blog

A pond makes such a beautiful addition to the garden. Providing a haven for wildlife, it creates a focal point on the landscape. While it's relaxing to sit by the water in the summer, listening to the gentle buzz of insects, or watching the fish swimming around, it's time to think about your autumn pond maintenance.

Autumn pond

© Aleksey Stemmer / Adobe Stock

Now is the time to clean out your pond, as the cooler water temperature makes the fish less stressed. It's useful to monitor the quality of water regularly using a water test kit, to ensure the pH level is satisfactory. If excess nitrates are found, perform only small water changes, over a period of several weeks, to dilute the pollutant.

After a water change, add some Starter Bacteria to the pond to regenerate beneficial bacteria into the filters. It's recommended that you don't feed pond fish for two days after cleaning, to allow the water to settle down again without any extra debris accumulating.


Prevent leaf debris

It's important not to let falling leaves land in the pond. If they settle on the pond bed, they will decompose - a process which absorbs oxygen and produces toxic gases. This negatively affects water quality, which is bad for the fishes' health.

While people often blame the cold winter for the death of their fish, a more common cause is the accumulation of sludge in the pond, caused by decomposing leaves that have been allowed to build up and cause dangerous levels of toxins in the water.

Prevent leaves from landing in the pond by arranging a net across the surface area. Pond netting serves a dual purpose, keeping your pond free from autumn debris, as well as preventing predators from stealing your fish. Durable and resistant to rotting, it is almost invisible on the water, so it won't spoil the aesthetic appearance of your pond.


Deter predators

The main predators likely to steal your fish are herons. The wading bird is associated with wetlands and preys on fish and frogs. It obtains much of its food in the autumn and winter by visiting garden ponds. Cats, foxes and crows have also been known to steal fish from ponds that aren't covered.

Don't allow the surface of your pond to freeze over, as this will prevent oxygen from entering and toxic gases from escaping. Invest in an ice preventer - a more energy-efficient solution than a pond heater. An ice preventer uses around 5 watts of electricity, compared with the 150 to 600 watts consumed by a pond heater.

Autumn is also the best time to medicate your pond, using a treatment to prevent diseases. It will prevent parasites from attacking the fish, especially when spring comes around again. When the treatment is added in the autumn, the parasites can't regenerate as quickly because the water is colder, so it works more effectively.

For every keen gardener, autumn is an odd time, as the glorious summer season fades, but there's the promise of the spring a few months ahead. Despite the days drawing in and nature winding down, it’s the perfect time to carry out the relevant maintenance work to ensure that come next spring, your water feature will shine again and become your garden's focal point.

Here at Henry Cowls, we’ve been making high quality knotted nets since 1889. We manufacture all of our products in-house, so if you require a bespoke solution to protect your pond from falling leaves and predators, please contact us for further information.

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