If this is your first winter with a koi pond, you may be worried about your fish. It's important to know that koi are very hearty fish. They can survive a long cold winter, even when the water has frozen. If the water freezes, koi find a quiet spot along the bottom of the pond and hibernate for the winter. However, once the weather turns warm and spring approaches, you need to act fast to get things ready for your koi. Here are four steps you need to take to get your koi ready for spring.
Install a Pond Thermometer
If you endured freezing temperatures this winter, you'll need to install a pond thermometer as soon as the weather starts to warm up. Once the water reaches about 50 degrees, your koi will begin to come out of hibernation. That's the perfect time to start the spring maintenance for your pond. The best way to monitor the temperature of your pond water is to use a thermometer that floats on the water. That way, you don't have to dip your hand into the cold water.
Get the Water Ready for Activity
When your pond maintains a temperature of at least 50 degrees this spring, you'll want to start getting the water ready for activity. Because the water sat dormant throughout the winter, it could be teeming with parasites. Unfortunately, your koi may get very sick if they become active before you can clean the water. The best thing you can do is treat the water for parasites as soon as you see your koi becoming more active this spring.
Encourage Natural Bacteria Growth
When preparing your koi pond for spring, you want to remember that your fish will need a certain amount of healthy bacteria. The right type of bacteria helps your koi recover from the long, cold winter. One way to encourage adequate bacteria growth is to add bacteria tablets to the water. You can find bacteria tablets at most aquarium supply stores.
Slowly Introduce a Healthy Diet to Your Koi
Finally, once spring arrives, and you see your koi swimming around the pond, you may be tempted to feed them right away. Unfortunately, koi don't do so well when they're fed too soon after awaking from hibernation. Instead, wait to feed your koi until you've been able to take care of all the steps described above. Once you do feed your koi, be sure to provide a food that's easily digestible and filled with all the nutrients your fish will need.
For more information, contact a pet store like Michigan Koi.