Can Koi Carp Survive Outside in Winter?
There are a few nicer things that come to our minds during springtime other than enjoying our days in our own gardens, especially if there is a pond filled with mesmerizingly colorful koi fish out there.
These fantastic creatures really do make a difference and they easily transform any dull outdoor space into a Zen area. But what happens when sunny days are over, and winter starts approaching?
Can koi carp survive outside in the winter? Or do you have to move all of your fish indoors, even if you do not have the space? Well, luckily, koi fish are not just beautiful. They are also super-resistant and adaptable to all sorts of weather conditions. And yes, even to freezing temperatures.
All you have to do is to get your pond ready for wintertime by making just a couple of tiny adjustments both to your koi’s home as well as to their feeding plan. And your fish should be perfectly fine while waiting for spring to return.
How do Koi Survive Cold?
Koi fish have the natural ability to survive cold winter months while staying in outdoor waters, even those that freeze. How? By entering a hibernation state. This usually begins when temperatures start dropping below 50-degrees Fahrenheit.
However, there are a few basic predispositions to obtain that in a healthy way. And the considerably basic one is allowing enough depth among their home so that they can spend time towards the bottom, where the water has a constant temperature with no oscillations.
In order to achieve that, your garden pond should be at least 6 feet deep. This is the only way for them to be able to successfully surviving the long winter frost.
Keep Koi Alive in Winter
Here are some great tips on how to keep your koi alive during the winter:
– Stop Feeding
When autumn starts heading towards its colder days, you should slowly switch to appositely designed food for colder days. Also, you should not feed your fish as frequently as you did during hot summer days.
Their bodies are now getting ready to hibernate and they require less and fewer amounts food in order to achieve that. Once that temperatures start getting below 60-degrees Fahrenheit, you may completely stop feeding your koi fish.
At this stage, they are basically entering into a survival mode, so they require no energy as they will not be swimming around anymore. Also, this is essential as their bodies are not able of digesting food during hibernation periods.
– Clean the Pond
Another vitally important step in getting your koi pond ready for winter days is performing a thorough cleaning. Make sure to carefully remove all debris, waste and decomposing matter from the water, especially the bottom.
Many plants tend to lose their leaves during autumn, which can eventually find their way into the koi water and cause ammonia spikes among it. This can consequentially bring all of your fish dying out before you even get a chance to see them next spring.
Furthermore, it is highly recommended to remove all seasonal plants from the pond to prevent their decaying during winter, but also to protect the pond from leaves falling inside. A super-simple yet effective way of obtaining that is by setting up a safety net over it.
– Add Aeration
Air is extremely important for mainly two reasons: first of all, it ensures that your fish are actually able of surviving. Secondly, even the slightest source of water current can ensure that there is at least a small hole on the icy surface, allowing for air to circulate.
This is vitally necessary, but it is so easy to achieve by simply placing a classic air stone at the bottom of the pond. Or, if you wish, you may also invest in more complex aeration systems.
For even better results, combine an aeration device of your choice with a handy deicer.
– Use a De-Icer
Deicers are greatly helpful gadgets that are so easy to install, will not break your wallet, and will ultimately ensure the wellbeing of your precious pets during cold days.
When the water temperature drops down significantly, the surface will obviously tend to form an ice blanket. This can ultimately stop the air circulation between the water and the air, not allowing any fresh oxygen to enter the pond and simultaneously not allowing any carbon dioxide to get out of it.
And, as you can imagine, this can lead to catastrophic consequences for your colorful fish. Therefore, setting up a simple deicer may solve all of such problems and leave you with one thing less to worry about.
A deicer will make sure there is a hole on the water surface, even during the coldest winter days.
– Leave Surface Ice
If you have decided to leave your koi fish inside their pond during the entire winter, you should let it be as natural as possible. That includes not messing with the newly created icy surface, but rather simply ensuring there is a hole in it.
Removing the entire surface ice, or a major part of it may cause your fish to enter a state of temperature shock. Indeed, ice, as cold as it may be, still does act as a sort of insulation material. If this is left on the surface, the bottom of the pond will then have the ability to keep your koi safe under a constant temperature level.
Some people may think that, even if they can afford a nice garden pond among their homes, they should not be adopting any koi fish because they do not have the possibility of moving them indoors during wintertime.
However, these fascinating creatures are naturally designed to survive for a long time, even during the coldest winter days. Therefore, if you cannot resist their irreplaceable beauty, go ahead and add some color to your garden. You will not be sorry.
As long as you keep in mind some basic predispositions and requirements, your fish will stay perfectly healthy during winter, and you will be able of enjoying their beauty again as soon as spring arrives.