When spring arrives and temperatures begin to rise, your koi will become more active. It is important that conditions in your pond are perfect for your fish and that you feed your stock correctly as they emerge from their winter fast. Here are our top tips for a heathy pond in spring.
Monitor the water temperature
A floating pond thermometer is a must-have accessory. If you don’t have one, invest in one today! Koi are cold blooded and so cannot regulate their own body temperatures. Their behaviour will be dictated by the water temperature and so it is vital that you know what that is. Your koi should start to become active when the water reaches 50–55F and it is important that you don’t do anything until the water is stable at this temperature.
Koi pond cleaning
If you have rocks at the bottom of your pond, you may need to move your Koi temporarily and clean the pond before you start treating the water and feeding your fish. Debris caught between rocks will impact the water quality and your Koi’s health. Consider removing the rocks as they result in annual disruption for your fish which isn’t beneficial for their wellbeing. The rocks could impact the health of your stock even if you clean your pond every year.
Treat your pond
After a winter of fasting, your fish will be weak and their immune systems vulnerable. It is crucial to attend to any parasitic or bacterial issues before you start feeding your stock. Treat your water with an antibacterial product such as Pond Doctor Anti Bacteria but take care to add the right amount for the volume of your pond.
Activate your filter
Whether you are using a mechanical filter (beads filter) or a biological filter, you may have stopped filtration during the winter. If you did, you need to restart the nitrogen cycle. Clean inside the filter and add beneficial bacteria to the filter or the pond.
Be patient in feeding
Feeding your koi is enjoyable and so you will probably be anxious to get on with it, but don’t rush! Your koi may not be quite ready, even when you have perfectly prepared your pond. They are emerging from a long fasting season and will be hungry but weak and so their bodies are not in a condition to eat their normal diet.
Begin by feeding soft and highly digestible food. You could soak some pellets with water and then feed these to your fish. But this could cloud your pond water, so take care. Alternatively source a digestible food formulated for the season and feed this once every few days to begin with. When the water temperature is consistently 55F or above, you can feed your regular koi food once each day.
Consult the feeding guide of your chosen food and increase the amount you feed your fish as the water temperature rises.