Caring for Koi in Spring
With the bizarre weather which increasingly seems to afflict the UK, it can be hard to know when spring has sprung! Just when you think that the winter is behind you, another wave of snow blankets the landscape in white and temperatures plunge. But eventually spring will arrive and your koi will begin feeding again.
The Stresses of Spring
With water temperatures going up and down like the proverbial yoyo, your koi may be feeling a little stressed! When water temperatures reach 40°F - 50°F your fish's immune system will still be on idle but harmful bacteria could be active. Keep a close eye on your stock and check for signs of distress. Any issues are best tackled as soon as possible. Check your water levels before your fish start to eat and make the necessary adjustments. A clean pond is also essential.
Clean Your Pump and Clear Your Pond
As the water temperature rises, clean your pump because when the fish start to eat, it will be crucial that your filtration system is working effectively. Leaf matter and debris may have accumulated in your pond during the winter months so pull out your pond vacuum and clear this to ensure that your pump doesn't become blocked. If you have an ultraviolet clarifier system you will need to turn it on when spring arrives. Make sure you clean your sleeve and replace the bulb!
Check Ammonia and Nitrite
It is also important to check your pond's ammonia and nitrite levels during your spring maintenance routine. As your koi's metabolisms speed up and the fish start to feed, there can be a rapid increase in toxins, a problem exacerbated by that plant matter that may have built up over the winter months.
Koi pond filters take time to establish after the winter and so are initially less effective at dealing with increased biological activity. If you detect unsuitable ammonia or nitrite levels, carry out a partial water change. Remember to add a dechlorinator to your water. Ensure that dissolved oxygen levels are suitable and when the water temperature is constantly above 50°F, begin feeding your fish.
Feeding Your Koi
If you are unsure if your koi are ready for food, wait until they show signs of activity. If they are begging for food at the surface of the water, they are probably hungry and have decided for themselves that it is time to start eating!
Spring can be a difficult time for your fish, particularly when the weather is doing strange things, but with good pond maintenance and careful monitoring, you are able to help smooth the transition into the warmer months.