The Q&A Archives: Water Garden

Question: I know to cut back my plants, but I have ten fish in my 8x12 pond with a 3 foot water fall coming down to it. I have stopped my fountain, but should I stop the waterfall?

Answer: Some gardeners use either the fountain or the waterfall all year long to help aerate the pond and to keep an opening in the ice (on the theory that moving water won't freeze). A waterfall can be very pretty in the winter. Keep in mind though that a waterfall will cause extra evaporation and uses quite a bit of electricity as well as causes substantial turbulence, so you might do better running a simple air bubbler instead. To some extent the decision will depend on what type of fish you have so you may want to consult with pondowners in your area who have the same kind of fish as you have. Goldfish are less fussy than koi, for starters. Do make sure however that there is always an opening in the ice to allow for air exchange and avoid the buildup of harmful gases. You should also do what you can this fall to keep the pond clean of plant debris including falling/blowing leaves -- also to limit the gases created when they decay underwater.

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