Not long after our first snow of the year air temperatures dropped sufficiently at Genus HQ for the pond to freeze over. A thriving home for wildlife including toads, newts, and dragonflies it also has goldfish which are our main concern at this time of year. With decomposing waterlillies and other submerged vegetation oxygen levels can drop quite low.
The fish do adjust their metabolic rate and compensate for this to some extent but there can be a point at which they start to struggle. We know that smashing the ice can send out shock waves which can harm the fish so we turned to the The Royal Horticultural Society for some advice. They say ‘If the pond is stocked with fish and it does freeze over, melt the ice by placing a hot pan on the surface, or install a pond heater or water feature to prevent freezing occurring. Floating a ball on the water in cold weather can also delay freezing’.
A front of mild weather soon came our way and the ice melted, but if we succumb to a longer spell in future we may need to resort to one or two of those suggestions to keep our scaled friends happy.