The Best 7 Step Winter Pond Maintenance Process For Clients

The only Master Aquascape Certified Contractors in Iowa

The Best 7 Step Winter Pond Maintenance Process For Clients

This Is How We Do Winter Pond Care For Our Clients In And Around Des Moines

Knowing what happens for winter pond maintenance is a good idea! It’ll make sense why it’s important and how come you’ll want to hire a professional to do it for you.

In this post, you can discover our process for winter koi pond maintenance. You can also find out what happens during these steps and why they’re important. You’ll also find the answers to a couple of common winter pond questions. Finally, you can see what it looks like when we leave water features running.

We Need To Protect Our Pond!

“What, exactly, do we need to protect it from?” asks Adam.

Angela looks worriedly out over their koi pond. “From freezing and being too cold, Adam. Our Des Moines winter months are cold and snowy and water freezes. What’s going to happen to our pond? And our koi fish?? Do we need a pond heater or something?”

Adam puts an arm around her shoulders. “Don’t worry, hon. We’re not the first people here to have a koi pond in winter. There’s sure to be a winter pond maintenance process, just like there was a fall pond maintenance process. I’ll bet we can even find it online!”

Angela smiles. “Then let’s go ahead and look it up! I’ll be less stressed and worried that way,” she says, bringing out her phone. She starts typing her question into Google.

Here’s what the couple finds out:

The Best 7 Steps For Winter Pond Maintenance

  1. Start feeding your fish cold water food between 60 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Below that, don’t feed them
  2. Take out leaves and debris
  3. Trim plants back
  4. Add cold water bacteria
  5. Clean and remove the pump, filter, and skimmers
  6. Install an aerator or recirculating pump
  7. Add a floating de-icer
We’ll also need to take down any pond netting you may have put up for fall. We don’t want snow piling up on it and causing it to break.

Why These Winter Pond Care Steps Are Important

Feeding your fish during winter. It starts with learning how to care for pond fish during winter. When water temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, fish start hibernating. Their digestive cycles slow to a crawl. If they eat anything besides cold water food it can get stuck in their gut. This can make them sick or cause them to die.

Take out leaves and debris. It’s best to clean out the leaves and debris. If your pond freezes with a lot of organic matter on the bottom it can be bad. Leaves and such will break down and release gases into the water. They’ll also pile up as sludge, which makes the spring pond maintenance process harder. This isn’t good for your fish.

Trim plants back. Trimming aquatic plants helps keep their growth in check. Your pond will keep looking good too. The cold water bacteria help balance your pond water, keeping it clean, clear, and high-quality.

Add cold water bacteria. Coldwater bacteria survive the temperatures while cleaning your pond water. It makes your pond better for your fish. It also makes spring pond cleaning easier.

Clean and remove the pump, filter, and skimmers. If you choose to leave your pond running, this does the same thing as beneficial bacteria. Keep your pond clean and your fish happy.

Install an aerator or recirculating pump. Aerators and recirculating pumps add oxygen to the water too. You’ll want to move it further up or turn it off for winter. In the wrong place, it can move colder water to where your fish are and this can hurt them.

Add a floating de-icer. De-icers create a hole in the ice. This allows the gases to escape and oxygen to come in. Your fish will love the cleaner water and fresh air. Don’t break holes in the ice! Imagine being half asleep and a giant sledgehammer crashes through your roof. That’s what it would be like for your fish. It can injure or kill them.

Will My Fish Freeze With My Pond?

If your pond is at least 2 feet deep you don’t have to worry. Your fish won’t freeze into fish-cicles. Fish hang out at the bottom of the pond. Water at lower depths like that won’t freeze. Your fish will be in a hibernating state so they won’t mind not having a lot of room.

Can I Leave My Pond Running Over Winter?

You can either shut down your pond or leave it running. Shutting it down involves turning off the water along with removing and cleaning pumps, filters, and skimmers. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your water feature if you leave it running over winter. Nobody wants ice dams spraying water into their yard all winter.

You May Also Like To Know

“I feel so much better now. All that anxiety just melted away,” sighs Angela. Adam smiles and nods. “Well, while we’re here, let’s see what else we need to know. Then we won’t stress ourselves out as much in the future.”

Who We Are

Just Add Water is a locally-owned company that serves the state of Iowa for over 17 years. Our team is very enthusiastic about upgrading the yards and properties for all of our fellow Iowans, and we have the experienced crew to do so!

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I’ve worked with Just Add Water for two water features. They have always been good listeners and eager to get the work up to my specs. The Just Add Water Team is very creative and loves what they do! They take on any challenge, find a solution and get it done!

If you are looking for a professional approach to beautify your yard, I highly recommend Chris, Will, and their team for the project!

John Olsen


The crew & office staff at Just Add Water make the perfect team to create a water feature that enhances your life. If you are just looking for advice, or if you need repairs to an existing water feature, or if you want something totally new for your landscape… Just Add Water is the place to go.

They removed our old pond and invented a beautiful fresh look with a pondless system of 3 waterfalls. We’re very pleased and truly impressed with their artistry and sincere demeanor. Give them a chance. You’ll be glad you did!

John Gray


We hired Just Add Water to create a waterfall feature in our backyard. What we didn’t expect was the overwhelming beauty that happened when they were finished! Chris came to our house on a Sunday, no less, to plan our design, and his crew worked on a Saturday after a long week to do our project.

Amazing, stunning, and much more than we ever dreamed! Professional, and over-the-top design, you won’t be disappointed!!

Joan Campbell