Winter is fast approaching, and it’s time to prepare your pond for the cooler months. A crucial aspect of this preparation involves ensuring your pond is properly sealed. Why is this important? Simple – a well-sealed pond prevents water loss through leakage, maintains the health of fish and plant life, and reduces the risk of costly repairs come springtime. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to seal a pond, how to prevent a pond from leaking, and how to fix a leaking pond.
Understanding the Basics
Before we dive into the process, it’s essential to understand the basics of pond sealing. This involves recognizing the different types of pond seals and their benefits and drawbacks.
There are three main categories of pond seals: synthetic and rubber pond liners, enhanced soil pond liners, and natural clay pond liners. Synthetic and rubber liners are popular for small garden ponds due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of installation. However, they have a shorter lifespan compared to their counterparts and can be vulnerable to damage by sharp objects or claws.
Enhanced soil pond liners and natural clay liners, on the other hand, are more durable and long-lasting. They work well for larger ponds and lakes, offering a natural-looking and functioning pond habitat. They help maintain water quality and significantly reduce the cost of pond construction. However, they require a skilled applicator for a quality seal.
Preparing Your Pond
The best time to start winterizing your pond is in the fall, before the leaves begin to fall, and the water temperature starts to drop. This timing may vary depending on your region, so it’s advisable to consult with local pond or fish professionals to ensure you get the timing right.
Begin by removing all the fall netting materials you had installed to catch leaves and debris. You’ll also need to remove your pond’s pump and filter for cleaning and storage. For ponds with skimmers: be certain that you remove the check valve and filter material, make sure everything is cleaned and store properly. If you have a BioFalls filter, remove the filter material, clean it, and store it as well.
Lowering the Pond’s Water Level
After disconnecting your filtration system and pump, use a submersible pump and drain hose to lower the water level below the skimmer’s opening. For ponds without skimmers, it’s not necessary to lower the water level. However, for those with skimmers, you’ll want to ensure the water is drained from your plumbing and waterfall.
Cleaning Filters, Media, and Pump
Cleaning your filter media and pump is an essential step in preparing your pond for winter. If any of the media appears worn or torn, make a note to replace these during the spring start-up.
For your pump, clean off any excess debris and inspect for any wear and tear or damage. When storing, it’s recommended to place it in a bucket of water to prevent the seals from drying and cracking.
Trimming Back Aquatic Plants
As winter approaches, your aquatic plants will naturally fall into a dormant state. To prepare them for this, use pruning tools to trim off dead foliage just above the soil. If your plants are potted, move them to the pond’s bottom to protect their roots from freezing temperatures.
Removing Excess Debris
It’s essential to clear your pond of any rotting leaves, twigs, or dead aquatic plants as these can put stress on your pond’s oxygen levels during winter. You can remove these using a hand net, and for any hard-to-reach debris, a vacuum such as the ClearVac is recommended.
Installing Aeration & De-Icer
To ensure your fish remain safe during winter, install some form of aeration to provide oxygen. You can use a bubbler pump or an aeration system. In addition to this, installing a floating de-icer is recommended to keep a hole open in the ice for proper gas exchange.
Protecting Your Fish
When water temperatures start to drop, fish require a specialized diet that is easier to digest in cooler temperatures. Switch to a wheatgerm-based diet when temperatures get around 50-60F/10-15C and stop feeding them altogether once you reach 45-50F/7-10C as they will become dormant.
Waterproofing and Protecting Your Pond
Waterproofing your pond is crucial to prevent damage and maintain its structural integrity. For this, we highly recommend Liquid Rubber NeoPond Sealant. It’s not only easy to use and affordable, but it’s also VOC-free and nontoxic, making it safe for your fish and plant life. Whether your pond is made of concrete, wood, or has EPDM liners, PVC, or HDPE liners, Liquid Rubber NeoPond Sealant provides the best modern-day solution for sealing your pond.
Running Your Pond Over Winter
You may choose to keep your pond running over winter or shut it down. If you decide to keep it running, you’ll need to keep an eye out for ice formations that may cause water to spill over the edges and maintain a hole in the ice using an aerator or in-pond pump. You might also need to top up the water from time to time to compensate for evaporation.
If you choose to shut it down, remove the pump from your pond and store it in a warm place. You’ll also need to drain the water from your pond’s plumbing to avoid any freezing damage and aerate the water to increase oxygen levels for your fish.
Once spring rolls back in, you’ll want to check your pond for any damage and make any necessary repairs. You can also start feeding your fish again once water temperatures rise above 45-50F/7-10C.
In conclusion, knowing how to seal a pond properly is crucial for maintaining its health and longevity. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional, following these steps will help you prepare your pond for the winter months and ensure it remains a beautiful and thriving habitat all year round.