Keeping your pond healthy throughout each season is the key to a thriving water garden. A pond’s water temperature is one of the most important aspects of a pond. Water temperature is the key factor in figuring out seasonal preparation and feeding schedules for your fish or koi. It also has a major effect on water quality. Learn about Water Temperature and the effects it has on your pond, here.
As the air temperature begins to increase, your pond will start to warm up. Water temperatures in Spring are typically between 55-65°F. Spring pond maintenance entails bringing your equipment out of storage (if you shut down your pond in the winter) and reawakening your pond for the season ahead. Here are our suggestions on what to do with your pond in spring:
- Start by inspecting the condition of your water feature, including the area around it. Check for cracks or clogs in your equipment as well.
- Gently clean the pump and filter, if you have one, as debris and organic waste can build up. Routine maintenance will keep your equipment working at peak performance. Disassembly is quick and easy. Watch our helpful videos here.
- If you used an aerator during Winter, leave it in the pond to continue oxygenating the water all pond season.
- It’s time for spring cleaning. After a long winter, your feature can accumulate leaves, branches, and other debris. For a proper cleaning, it helps to pump the water into a large tub or kiddie pool. Then use a wet-dry vacuum to remove any sludge. Be careful not to remove the velvety slime coat on the liner, that’s beneficial bacteria.
- At a water temperature of 40°F, test your pond for high ammonia and nitrites. If you notice higher levels, perform a partial water change (approximately 10-20%) to help correct it. When re-filling the pond with tap water, consider using Chlorine Remover Plus to remove any harsh chemicals. Begin adding other necessary water treatments, like Barley Extract (aka Barkley Pond Clarifier) or Pond Maintenance Tablets (aka Pond Cleaner Tablets), for a beneficial bacteria boost. Place the pump back in your pond and run it for a few hours while intermittently checking its performance, ensuring there aren’t any leaks.
- At a water temperature of 60°F, you can begin adding non-invasive aquatic plants to your pond. If necessary, perform a partial water change (10-20% is recommended). Always use a chlorine remover when introducing tap water to your pond, especially if you have plants or fish.
- Keep in mind, the transition from Winter to Spring is a dangerous time for fish as they, and bacteria, are coming out of a dormant state. The fish’s immune systems are weak until about 65°F where they are stronger and more active and able to survive the bacteria. Learn more about keeping your fish happy and healthy this pond season.
Summer water temperatures can range drastically from 68-85°F, depending on your climate zone. Taking care of your pond in summer is easy when you focus on water quality. Here is our top list of to-dos to prepare your pond for summer:
- At a water temperature of 72°F, begin fertilizing your plants. Inspect and re-establish plants. Plants sitting on the bottom of the pond can now be pruned and placed throughout the pond.
- During higher water temperatures (typically above 85°F) water can hold less dissolved oxygen, which is dangerous because fish are more active, and plants require more oxygen to survive. This is why aeration is super important during the Summer. Aerators, fountain nozzles, spitters, and waterfalls help oxygenate the water and decrease the growth of algae!
- Overfeeding your fish can cause excess waste, which leads to high ammonia levels in the water. The combination of depleted oxygen and high ammonia will lead to extreme algae blooms. To avoid, feed your fish once a day what they can eat in 3-5 minutes.
- Dead organic materials sitting in your pond are super food for algae to grow and accumulate. Getting rid of dead leaves, fish waste, or plants will help to reduce the ammonia and keep the water clear.
- Temperature affects oxygen levels in water. That’s why it’s important to maximize your aeration during the summer. Make sure you have plenty of aeration running 24/7. Aeration can be supplemented by using a pond aerator, waterfall, fountain nozzle, or spitter. For maximum efficiency, clean your filter twice a year as a clogged filter makes the pump run even hotter.
- Make your yard less desirable to mosquitoes by taking away everything that attracts them and helps their survival. Mosquitoes prefer standing, non-flowing water, and circulating water helps prevent egg laying and hatching. So, keep your water moving at all times.
Across the US, water temperatures dip to about 70°F at the beginning of Fall. The temperature gradually cools to about 55°F by the end of the season. The steadily changing temperature will allow the aquatic life to adjust properly to the changing seasons and prepare for the upcoming cold months. Here are our suggested tips for fall maintenance:
- In the fall, aeration provides a stabilizing effect on the water temperatures, and it will continue to aid in oxygenation and water flow as the weather cools.
- At a water temperature of 72°F, clear out as much debris as possible, divide and repot plants.
- Before the water temperature goes below 60°F, replace 10-20% of the water in your pond and use Chlorine Remover Plus to remove harmful toxins from the tap water.
- At a water temperature of 60°F, dispose of or bring in tropical plants, and install pond netting.
- Before the water temperature goes below 50°F, clean your pond and its equipment. Late fall means winter is around the corner and we recommend starting the winterization process in fall, so you’re prepared. Read all the steps you should take in preparing your pond for the upcoming winter here.
- Fish are less active in cooler water, which means they need less food than they do in the warmer seasons. Fish will generally slow their eating when water temperatures are at or below 60°F. Brush up on your fish care knowledge to keep your scaly friends healthy in cold weather.
Across the U.S. winter temperatures can vary. If the water temperatures near you are more moderate (lucky duck), you can skip this section and continue enjoying your pond! If the water temperatures near you are colder, we recommend shutting your pond down to prevent hyper-cooling. Here are our top tips for what to do with your pond in winter:
- At a water temperature of 50°F, trim and move hardy lilies to deeper water.
- If you have fish, make sure that your pond is deep enough. As the temperature decreases, your fish will retreat to the deeper areas of the pond, where the water is warmer. Read our winter fish guide to keep your little friends healthy this season.
- Once the water temperature drops below 40°F, it’s time to turn off and remove or reposition your equipment for the wintry weather. It is helpful to install an aerator and/or deicer in your pond at this point.
- Once your pond is shut down for the winter and the surface freezes, it is important to keep an eye on your pond. Make sure a section of the ice is open, move away any debris, and watch your fish for any signs of illness. Learn more about what to do if your pond freezes over here.
Follow these guidelines to keep your pond healthy and strong, so you can enjoy it year-round!