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


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

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

Dale – Paoli, PA

A: We talk about how koi and certain types of goldfish, like Sarassa and Shubunkins, can overwinter in your pond or water garden even when water temperatures dip to near-freezing levels.

But what about other common pond fishes?

Well, it depends on your USDA hardiness zone, which divides the country into zones based on how cold the temperatures get. Just as with plants, some fish species can be “hardy” in some climates and not in others. An Oranda, for instance, might do just fine overwintering in a pond in Orlando, Fla., but up in Fargo, N.D., that same fish would turn into a popsicle—even with an aeration system and de-icer.

When the temperatures begin to fall in colder zones, here’s what you do:

1. Keep a close eye on your pond’s water temperature using a thermometer, like the Pond Logic® Floating Pond Thermometer. When the mercury hits 68 degrees or so, it’s time to bring those less hardy fishes—including Plecostomus, Oranda, Telescope goldfish and Black Moors—inside.

2. Carefully scoop those snowbird fishes out of the pond with a net, like The Pond Guy® Collapsible Fish Net, and place them in a bucket pre-filled with some of your pond’s water.

3. Re-home the fishes in a properly sized indoor fish tank or aquarium outfitted with the right mechanical and biological filtration system for the job. Be sure to condition the water and pre-treat it with some beneficial bacteria to kick start the system’s biological filtration, too.

As soon as sun thaws your pond water—or at least heats it back up to room temperature—it’s safe to return those fishes to their “summer” home.

Pond Talk: What kind of overwintering setup do you have for your less hardy fishes?

 Transfer Fish Indoors With Ease - The Pond Guy® Collapsible Fish Net

 

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4 Responses

  1. You mention that Black Moors have to be brought in for the winter in northern climates. I had a Black Moor and two other fan tail gold fish that lived in my pond for several years. I never brought them in for the winter. I just kept the pump running all the time. I live in Twin Falls, Idaho and we get temperatures down in the teens and 20’s every every winter. Sometimes to zero and below. My pond is about 3 feet deep in the deepest part.

    • Thanks for sharing Sharon, the deeper pond does help. The length of time that the cold weather persists at those temperatures also plays a role as well as the amount of protection from the elements. Glad to hear your fish do not need to leave their happy home for the winter!

  2. I live in Iowa what should I do with ,y pond plants take them in or let them freeze like miniature cat tails some spiky plant and a green plant that is vat agates looks like an arrow head

    • Hi Diane – This really depends on the plant, that cattails and arrowhead that you mentioned can probably stay outside. Just trim off the vegetation once the frost begins and leave the roots planted. Here is an article regarding overwintering plants.

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