Goldfish Readied for Winter Outside

by Kari
(Calgary alberta camada)

What all needs to be done to winterize my goldfish pond and keep my two full grown, 12"+ comet goldfish safe until spring?

Also, do you recommend covering the pond completely with boards and a layer of compost for insulation?

And lastly, what should I do if top of pond completely froze over?? Thanks for any help,!!

I live South of Calgary Alberta. Temp can drop to -30 + or more.

Grant's Reply

Hi Kari

You certainly have extreme weather in Alberta, and if your Comets are to be kept outside during winter, a few precautions need to be taken.

Often Goldfish will survive winter, but then die in early spring.

At 12"+ (I assume total length not body length), they are big enough to hibernate for the winter months and live off their fat.

This fat is produced in autumn when Goldfish feed heavily, so extra feeding with high quality food, preferably some live, is required during this period.

At temperatures below 50oF (10oC) most Goldfish show little interest in food, but it depends on what their usual average temperature is.

Your pond should be deep enough so that it doesn't completely freeze, as this will kill your fish. It would need to be about 3 feet deep at least.

At -30+, the water surface will freeze over. The ice must have a hole kept clear of ice to allow oxygen exchange in the water below. For this reason I wouldn't suggest covering the pond with boards and compost.

At these low temperatures Goldfish go into hibernation, so they shouldn't be disturbed until temperatures start to rise.

It is a good idea to clean out your pond in late autumn to remove mulm and other dead debris that will rot in early spring which can cause ammonia pockets.

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Aug 23, 2020
Fish Surviving Spring
by: Grant

Goldfish put on fat during Autumn.

This fat has two purposes, provide an energy source during winter when the fish aren't active and food is scarce, and the second is to provide extra energy for getting into breeding condition.

If the fish doesn't have enough fat to get into breeding condition, it is probably nature's way to work out that either there wasn't enough food during autumn for the fish population, or the fish is weak.

Either way, nature will ensure the strongest fish survive, and the weakest will succumb to some disease because their immune systems are weaker.

Aug 23, 2020
Fish surviving spring
by: Kari

Thank you for the advice!! Would you please explain further what you mean about fish surviving the winter but often dying in early spring... is this because of the temperature fluctuating? I look forward to hearing more regarding this! Thanks!!

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