Preparing a Goldfish Pond for Winter

Winter can be hard on a goldfish pond, and it is essential to start preparing for its onset a couple of months beforehand. Use the following checklist to ensure a goldfish pond is ready for what Winter can throw at it.

  1. Change the goldfish diet to one with less protein and more carbohydrates. This will build up fat reserves in the goldfish, which will give them energy over Winter. If the water temperature drops below 10 Celsius, stop feeding them altogether.
  2. Clean the pond. Remove all the organic material from the bottom of the pond (dead plant material and goldfish droppings). If possible remove the goldfish from the pond, drain all the water, clean the bottom of the pond, and replace the goldfish in clean water.
  3. Cut away dead or dying leaves on plants. Some plants will require more severe pruning, so get appropriate advice from a good aquatic or garden centre.
  4. If a biological filter is used, put new filter medium into it to maintain water quality all through the Winter.
  5. If the goldfish pond is likely to have autumnal leaves falling into it, pin a fine mesh over the surface of the water to catch them. If they get into the water they will fall to the bottom and the decomposition will remove oxygen from the water, and thereby from the goldfish.
  6. Put a hiding place for the goldfish in the pond. Winter is tough on the animals that eat goldfish too, and they will take an easy meal if they see one. An upside-down flowerpot or overhang arrangement will work.
  7. If ice forms on the surface of the water, melt a hole in it. This allows oxygen to enter the pond, and carbon dioxide (and other toxic gases) to escape.

6 Responses to “Preparing a Goldfish Pond for Winter”

  1. Linda Wolff Says:

    This is my first year of having fish in my pond, I usually put a heater in the pond in the winter so it doesn’t ice over and all wildlife has water. Is there anything I need to do different and can I leave my pump running, or I should I turn it off.

    Linda Wolff

  2. admin Says:

    As long as your pond is deep enough not to freeze completely, there should be no need to heat the water.

    Activity in the pond will be minimal, so you may not need the pump either. As long as you melt a hole in the ice to let oxygen in, you should be ok.

  3. Candy Says:

    1st time with a pond, 1st year in new house. I have 13 small goldfish in the pond. The pond has a waterfall. Do I keep the waterfall going (which is the pump and circulates the water) during the winter? Will that keep it from freezing?

  4. Josh Says:

    I bought my current house a little over three years ago and it came with the pond in the back yard. I immediately purchased a few goldfish just to test out the waters. After 3 winters of icing over, they are still alive and have grown to a healthy size. All I did was leave my pump running so that the water would constantly circulate and pour back onto the top. This allowed for a hole to be present in the middle of the layer of ice that covered the water.
    I don’t recommend ever doing a 100% water change, this can shock the fish and some might even jump out.
    I hope that this helps!

  5. david lim Says:

    After reading your post and your article, I realized that I need to learn a lot

  6. sean long Says:

    Do I turn my waterfall off and my pump during 20- 30-40 degree winter in northerm Texas for my Koi & goldfish??

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