We frequently get asked about winter care for our water features and, more importantly, the water feature inhabitants! With cooler weather looming on our horizon, we thought we’d talk a little about cold temperatures and the effect winter has on fish.
As cold-blooded creatures, the metabolism of a koi fish is dependent on the temperature of its surroundings. In warmer months, the water heats up and fish are moving and active. However, when the temps start to dip, the water cools off and the fish move to the warmest pocket of water they can find, which is at the bottom of the pond.
While the fish aren’t exactly hibernating, they are in a state of torpor – reduced body temperature and metabolism, slower reaction time, and a reduced breathing rate. Due to this slower metabolism, feeding fish isn’t recommended once temperatures drop below 55 degrees. Also, while in torpor, it’s recommended to keep things as calm and quiet as possible near the pond. Using a floating de-icer or aerator will keep ice from forming on your pond, which will eliminate the need to use an axe or other device to crack through the ice. It will also allow noxious gases to escape, keeping your fish happy and healthy until the warmer weather returns and they’re back to swimming around like, well, like little fish!
Questions or concerns about your fish? JVI Secret Gardens is always here to help. Winter can be harsh on everyone but with a few precautions, we can all make it through til spring.