Nature Perfect

Crafting Beautiful Landscapes Throughout
The South Puget Sound Since 2000.

2905 Black Lake Blvd SW, Tumwater WA 98512

Current Hours
Landscape Design & Installation (360) 280-5116
Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00
Saturday and Sunday - Closed

POND Supply Store (360) 412-0309
Monday - Friday 8:00-4:00 | Saturday 10:00-4:00

Fall Pond Tips

Fall Pond Tips

Pond Maintenance & Care 🕔October 31, 2019 0 comments

written by Kerri Bailey, Nature Perfect Pond Supply Store.

During fall when the weather starts to turn cold, our pond’s biology changes from a highly active period to a slower, almost “dormant” state. As biological activity slows down, the rate that sludge and debris are broken down by bacteria also decreases. At this time we then switch to using cold season bacteria formulas that also contain enzymes to help eliminate wastes from falling leaves and fish waste. Our fish are also slowing down requiring less energy and lower protein content in their food, that is why we switch to fall/spring or wheat-based diets starting in late summer or early fall. For more information about feeding fish,  refer to our fish feeding blog.

Products for useful for Fall:

  • Cold Water Bacteria & Sludge Reducer- use weekly if high debris level or every other week or so for a maintenance dose. These products help to reduce pond waste from leaves, dead algae, sludge, uneaten fish food and fish waste.
  • Algae Control- Barley & Peat Extracts, Granular Algaecide like Quick Fix Oxy Pond Cleaners or Liquid algaecides like Cleanmax. Apply these products as needed.
  • Pond Salt (optional)
  • Cold Season Fish Food
  • Sinking Thermometer (floating thermometers can freeze- best used in the spring & summer)
  • Pond Netting- to protect from leaf drop and predator control (refer to our blogs on predator controls)

Fall Maintenance- Keep your Pond / Water Feature Tidy

  • Remove organic matter- leaves, twigs, branches, etc inside the pond, waterfall and stream areas.
  • Last Time for Water Changes or Vacuuming the pond bottom – if you have fish.   If you need to add water in the cooler months do it slowly as to not shock the fish.
    If you have a skimmer, check it daily during heavy leaf drop so your pump is not obstructed.
  • Protecting your pond with netting can capture large amounts of leaves saving you some clean up time.
  • Add Beneficial Bacteria or Sludge Remover treatments to reduce fish waste, uneaten fish food and decomposing 

Plants – Keep them tidy and Protect or Dispose of tropical plants

  • Remove plant debris, annual floaters (Water Hyacinths & Water Lettuce) and dead plant matter. Winterize tropical water plants like Taro, inside or treat as annuals.
  • Cut back hardy plants that have gone dormant, mulch exposed roots with gravel to protect from winter freezing (Iris, Lobelia, Cattails etc.).
  • Cut back dead foliage from evergreen plants and grasses (Acorus/Sweet Flag, Rushes) , mulch roots with gravel if needed.
  • Remove dead leaves from waterlilies that are on the surface, cut stems from 2-3″ form the base, keep indicator leaves intact (leaves that are growing close to the root).

Fish – Feeding, Salt, Disease Monitoring

  • Feed a wheat germ / cold water/ spring & fall diet from late summer until fall when the water temperatures are around 50-55 deg. F Reduce your feedings as fish gradually go dormant. Do not feed fish in the winter, fish can develop diseases (dropsy) and possible die. We stop feeding around the end of October- early November weather depending. Stopping temperature is generally 50deg F & below.
  • Add salt which is optional (rock salt with no additives or pond salt) to your pond when plants go dormant at a rate of 1lb per 100 gallons or about 1 cup per 100 gallons. This will give you a .1% salt concentration.
  • Monitor your fish for signs of stress (unusual or erratic behavior, clamped fins, lethargy), diseases (wounds, fuzzy patches, ulcers) or parasites (flashing or scraping on the bottom). Check your water quality, treat if needed. Limit water changes or pond cleaning while fish are dormant, it is usually best to wait until spring.

If you need additional advice or need a pond consultation we can help! If you are local, stop in our store or we can have our pond maintenance supervisor schedule an appointment. Not local to the Olympia, WA area? We can do online- email consultations for a small feee. Send us your images and we can help you email us at: or try me at

About the Author: Kerri Bailey is a water garden specialist with over 20 years experience in the pond and horticulture industry. Kerri is also an instructor, author and owned a pond store and maintenance business for about 10 years. She now works in our Pond Supply Store and writes Blogs and other informational materials for Nature Perfect Landscaping.

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