How and When do I start winterizing my S.W. Michigan pond?

Deborah Harvey
13 years ago


I am wondering what I need to do to get my pond ready for winter in southwestern Michigan? Any and all advice is greatly appreciated :-)

My pond is preformed (about 100 gallons) with a small waterfall pond (25 gallons) above that aireates it. We put a pump and bioball filter in the main pond with a hose that moves the water up to the heavily planted waterfall pond.

When we moved in we found 6 goldfish ranging in size from 1.5 to 6 inches long. In May I added 2 small catfsh to the main pond and 2 calico feeder goldies to the waterfall pond (on the advice from PetSmart, to eat the algae they told me)...BIG mistake!! The original fish have more than doubled in size & so have the calicoes and at last count, there were at least 18 babies! HELP...Far too many fish for this little pond. Yesterday I moved the 2 calicoes down to the main pond and found 2 more babies up there!

How many fish should be in a pond this size and what do I do to control them? Needless to say, I will not be asking PetSmart for advice again.

There are also 2 cute little green frogs that magically appeared last month.

Not having lived through winter here myself I don't really know what to expect as far as the first freeze, how cold it will get...I do know that when we moved here March 1st and it was snow covered and the waterfall pond was frozen solid until the end of April! The old owners left a small pump plugged in all winter-I guess that's why the main pond didn't freeze.

When should I stop feeding the fish? Do I need to do some type of winterizing to the pond itself?

I float a barley straw planter to keep the algae down as the catfish don't really do much of anything but swim around.

The water lily I inherited didn't bloom at looks healthy though...The plants I added are doing very well...the water hyacinth has bloomed in both ponds and the papyrus is beautiful. Should I remove all the plants before the frost? What about falling leaves? We are surounded by huge oak & pine trees, should I put a net or something over the pond?

I have gotten advice from a couple of you on how to overwinter some of the plants but it's the fish I am really concerned with. I pulled 3 very dead frogs out of the main pond after the snow melted ...ugh...I really don't want a repeat next spring.

I was told that the big fish will eat the little ones over the winter, that it's natures way of balancing out but...

As I said any and all advice is greatly appreciated,


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