Closing Your Pond For The Winter

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In this article we’ll be going over the basic processes of what you’ll need to do to close your Aquascape ecosystem pond for the upcoming winter season. The first thing we’ll need to do is clean the filter.

Hopefully your pond was built by using high quality products such as Aquascape. The first thing you’ll need to do is open the skimmer and if you’re lucky you’ll have the weir door that you can close to stop the flow of water coming into the skimmer. Now you’ll want to remove the skimmer basket as well as the filter pads. Make to sure to thoroughly clean the basket and the filter mat. Once the pump has emptied out the skimmer, you’ll want to turn off the pump either by using the remote or by just unplugging the pump. You can manually remove all the debris at the bottom of the skimmer box by hand or using a shop-vac to make it easier on yourself. Once all the debris has been removed from the skimmer you can remove the check valve that connect your pump to the plumbing line.

Check valves are a simple mechanism that prevents the backflow of water. The check valves we use here at Tranquilityscapes, are Aquascape Dual Union Check Valve. By Unscrewing the top union, you should be able to remove the entire check valve and pump from the skimmer box. You do not want to leave the check valve in the skimmer for the winter as it will crack and need to be replaced in the spring time. Warning! removing this check valve will release all the water from your plumbing line into the skimmer box, so make sure to stand out of the way unless you want to be soaked for the rest of your koi pond closing. 

At this point your skimmer is cleaned and has everything removed from it. This is the perfect time to look over the pump and check valve and check for any defects. Follow your pumps manufacturing for the service manual on how to service your pump. We recommending storing the pump and check valve in a bucket of water in an area that won’t freeze to protect the seals from drying out. At this time it would be good to either have an aerator, de-icer or another pump to put in the pond, we recommend the Aquascape Aquaforce Pump. The reason you would want an aerator, de-icer or a pump inside the pump is to keep a hole open in the ice during the winter when the pond freezes over for oxygen exchange for the koi fish inside the pond. Another option is to put the pond pump back into the pond and keep it running over the winter. You may have to keep a careful eye on the waterfall when the temperatures are below freezing to make sure the ice isn’t damming up the waterfall causing you to have a leak and possibly starving the pump of water and causing the pond to freeze over and killing your precious fish. 

Now onto the cleaning of the biological filter. Since you removed the check valve in the skimmer box, the Aquascape Biofalls should be empty of water by now. Since it is empty, this should be easier to clean. You’ll want to remove all the filter mats inside the biological filter. Now you’ll need to really decide whether or not you’ll be keeping this waterfall running or not. If you are keeping the waterfall ON, then you need to rinse the filter mats with the pond water not water from your hose. City water will kill the beneficial bacteria that lives in those filter mats inside the biological filter, and by killing it, you are essentially killing your ponds filtration. But if you are closing the pond for the winter, you can go ahead and use city water and rinse those filter pads clean and store them away until spring time. If you are keeping the pond running during the winter with the waterfall on and the biological filter in place, it would be a good investment and buy some cold water beneficial bacteria to increase the health of your ecosystem and maintain pristine water quality. 

At this point your done closing your pond unless you have aquatic plants that need to be trimmed or any tropical plants that need to be removed before the rot in the pond. Any deciduous aquatic plants should be pruned to prevent any of the mature parts of the plant sinking into the pond and causing water quality issues from decomposing. Lily pads should be cut down close to the crown. At this point it would be a good idea to try and remove all debris that has accumulated from the bottom of the pond to prevent any discomposing. Any sludge at the  bottom of the pond will cause for a drain and cleaning of the pond in the spring time before opening of the koi pond. Any tropicals can be taken inside during the winter to keep them safe until next spring. 

At this point your done! And as one final point, if the water is under 50 degrees fahrenheit, do not feed your fish! They will eat but they will not be able to digest the food and you’ll have some dead fish unfortunately. Also make sure to make a checklist of any repairs or maintenance needs you’ll need to do for next pond season as everything is fresh in your mind. If you have any questions about closing your pond, or want a professional to handle it for you, please contact us!