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Are other fish like my plecostomus as hardy over the winter as my koi? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


Are other fish like my plecostomus as hardy over the winter as my koi?

Are other fish like my plecostomus as hardy over the winter as my koi?
Chris – Cedar Rapids, IA

With all of our talk about koi and goldfish in our pond blogs you may feel that your fish are not being properly represented. That being said, we will speak less in generalities today and focus on some other, more specific, types of fish that need a little more wintertime TLC.

It has been mentioned in past blogs that your koi and goldfish fare surprisingly well over the winter. With a little help from wheat-germ based fish food like Pond Logic® Spring and Fall and an Aeration System or De-Icer, your fish will have a successful and trouble free winter rest and be ready for action come springtime. Common goldfish like Sarassa and Shubunkins are types of winter hardy fish that can be left outside with your koi.

Other types of fish like Plecostomus, Oranda, Telescope Goldfish and Black Moors do not fare as well and will most likely benefit from being over-wintered indoors. Refer to our past Blog on how to bring your water garden inside for the winter, and for pointers on indoor ponding and relocating your pond hardware.

Depending on the layout of your pond and the average winter temperatures where you live, you may have to bring all of your fish in, or you may be spared from having to relocate them at all. Your pond should ideally be around 24” deep to protect your fish from exposure to the elements outside of their pond environment in cases of both extreme heat and cold. If you experience extremely cold winters in your area there is still a chance of the pond freezing through or the remaining water being too cold. Always keep a Pond Themometer on hand and keep track of water temperatures when deciding to switch fish foods or to verify if it is time to bring your fish indoors. If you live in a warmer climate you may never experience ice on your pond or even frost and therefore have no need to worry about your fish becoming potential ice cubes.

Pond Talk: Do you keep fish in your pond that need special attention during the winter months?

Manage your pond's water temperature easlily

8 Responses

  1. fishy fishy fishy

  2. I live where temperatures drop below freezing for most of the winter, and often, below 0. Without help, thepond would freeze over completely. The deepest area of my pond is about 32 inches. I keep a strong fountain running all year round, and in the coldest days and nights I supplement with a surface heater to keep an area open, when the running water isn’t enough.
    My fish have no interest in food during the winter.
    I haven’t lost a fish to winter in the seven years I’ve had the pond. All are shebunkin and one other variety, whose name I can’t recall at the moment. Sorry.

  3. It depends hpw cold it gets. I do not feed our fish from sometime in November until the beginning of April. Feeding them when the water is too cold will kill the fish, as the bacteria required to keep amonia down are at low levels. It is like poisoning the fish when it is too cold. Also, the metabolism of the fish slows down so much and they don’t have stomachs for digestion.

    • Yes, every location will be slightly different and some pond owners may be able to feed their fish longer than others.

  4. From some of what I have been reading i have bought that spring fall food but quit feeding when its too cold and do not feed them the whole winter.
    or are we souposed to feed them in winter?

  5. Plecostomus are great additions to a pond – especially when they start getting past 12 inches in size. They will probably die if the water is below 50 for an extended length of time. Problem is, IF you can find them in your pond, is relocating them to a big enough indoor tank. We have recently hooked up a Solar heating system to keep our water warm. Its is still early in the Winter season – but it seems to be working well. Hopefully this year we will not be replacing any fish.

    • Bob, I’d like to hear more about your solar heating system. Does it work day and night? I have small fiberglass ponds (90 gallons and the other is around 150 gallons). Last year, I aerated the water and put a surface ring heater in each pond to keep a hole open when the ponds freeze over. I also left the lights in the ponds since they give off a little heat and I covered them over with tarps to keep the debris out and as much heat in as I could. Most of my fish survived (some just vanished so I assume they died). Living in NJ, we do have a couple of rough months (January and February). November, December, and March also has sporadic freezing temperatures. I’d really like to find some equipment that will keep the water warmer in the winter months. Sue P.

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