Warm water has a low capacity for holding oxygen, so you may start to see your fish gasping for air close to the water’s surface, or especially close to a fountain or waterfall. As your fish struggle for oxygen, they’ll become increasingly stressed. And stressed fish are more likely to develop diseases … a scenario you want to avoid.
To optimize fish health during extreme heat, you’ll want to ensure your fish have the best pond environment possible. It all starts with a well-designed water feature. Depth, plant coverage, shade, and circulation should all be considered when building a pond. A minimum depth of two feet is suggested so the bottom can remain cooler.
You’ll also want to stock your pond with a lot of plants to provide shade for the fish. A good rule of thumb is to provide plant coverage of approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the pond’s surface area. Waterlily pads provide great coverage, but if your pond lacks the proper amount, you can easily add floating plants such as water lettuce until the waterlilies fill in.
During these hot days of summer, try some of these tips to keep your pond performing optimally:
- Add oxygen to your pond by placing an aerator or AquaForce® pump in your pond. You can also install a fountain with a pump if your pond doesn’t have a waterfall or stream built in.
- If you feed your fish, feed them in the morning and be careful not to overfeed. Uneaten food decays faster in warmer water and can pollute the pond.
- Be sure to remove dying leaves and flowers before they have a chance to decay in the warmer water.
- Be extra cautious when using algaecides in warmer temperatures as the sudden death of algae will consume a large amount of available oxygen.