Well spring is just around the corner folks....as a matter of fact I see spring walking this way right now!
Every pond keeper and Koi keeper can't wait for spring after a hard winter, some less harsh then others some darn brutal!
Here in San Diego we don't have a real four season type year, either were hot or were cold. Very short in between weather changes, spring season and fall season. Most overall water temp is in the mid 40's to low 50's depending on what part of county you reside. To sum it up were in ideal wintering conditions and don't have a need to heat/cover our ponds.
For some of you will need to take some extra steps in wintering your Koi over. One is to cover your pond and use a heating system of some sort. You also want to keep your system online while doing this. Here again you will stop feeding at around 50 and keep the temperature around the 45-48 degree range, and maintain this for the next 6-10 week period.
If your not overstocked and have a filtering system that is properly designed, then basically just start to feed your Koi.......the rest will fall in place. When I say feed your Koi it doesn't mean to feed a high protein diet, in thinking that you help build them up quickly. Rather use a wheat germ food with a lower protein base line. Also remember the water temperature as you need to only feed above 50 1-2 times aweek, as water warms up you then can feed more often.
Here are some recommendations.
- Below 50 degrees - - - Do not feed !!
- 50 to 55 degrees - - - 1-2 times a week
- 55 to 60 degrees--- 2-4 times aweek
- 65-85 degrees - - - 2-4 times daily
- Above 85 degrees - - - Do not feed !!
If you do use a higher protein food, the Koi our only going to use what they need to start to rebuilding their systems. The filter is not all the way online either, so what happens are a lot of wasted food and a higher protein in water increasing DOC's. Now you will have water issues and a break down in water quality.
Ok so we have started to warm up and water has started to climb, what should we do other then feed our system? I would recommend that you do small water changes 5-10% per week, and to also flush out vortex or settling tanks on a more frequent basis ( daily till system is fully online) and don't forget to treat you water source.
One thing to remember if your water starts to turn green or murky. Stop feeding! Its time to check out the water for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates. You may want to also increase your water changes as well to maybe 15-20% per week.
Now through this whole process of going from winter to spring you also want to watch the Koi for signs of stress from winter( examples: red streaking of fins/ bloodshot look to the skin/cloudy eyes) these are indicators of stress and need to be addressed. I have also noticed as things warm up that the slime coat also doesn't look a cloudy and starts to go more transparent as things warm up.
By remembering these few simple practices while going from winter to spring, you will a healthier and happier bunch of Koi.