Preparing Your Backyard Pond for Winter
When you have a backyard pond and live in Michigan, there are general steps you will need to take in order to winterize your pond.
First, you will need to clean the pond by removing dead plants and flowers, algae, fallen leaves, and other debris like sticks or twigs. When you leave dying foliage in your pond, gas is produced that can be very dangerous (and even fatal) to your pond fish. While you’re removing the dead plants, make sure not to remove and discard anything that will grow again in the spring.
Next, you will need to move or remove living plants. For more robust plants, you should move them to water that is at least 18 inches in order to keep them from freezing during the winter. If it’s particularly cold, and your backyard pond completely freezes, you should remove them and bring them inside until spring. If you have tropical plants, you should remove them from your pond and put them somewhere where they will not freeze. At this time, you should also remove less hardy plants from the backyard, as well. Storing them properly, so that they will survive until the spring.
Once the plants are removed, you should vacuum the pond to get rid of excess plants and debris that will cause toxic cases that are dangerous to your fish.
Next, you should clean your pond filter. Depending on your wants / needs, you can move the pond filter so that it’s closer to the surface of the water (preventing it from completely freezing), or you can remove and store it inside for the winter.
You should feed your fish less in the winter for temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it’s below 50, you should not feed them as they produce too much waste and will survive as they are in hibernation.
Lastly, you will need to cover your backyard pond with a screen in order to keep debris out.