Friday, September 01, 2006

End of Summer?

It's September already and for most koi keepers the best summer months have now gone and thoughts are turning to winter. I know this is a bit of a generalization and many countries are currently baking in record temperatures and some of you aren't blessed with changing seasons, but here in the UK a definite change is in the air. For some it may be hard to contemplate the end of summer just yet but thinking ahead can help to avoid potential problems.

The UK weather can be an unpredictable and changeable at the best of times with September being especially so. Sometimes it can feel like the middle of July or August, and then a cold snap hits bringing frosts which can come as quite a shock to the system. On average it's a gradual decline in temperatures which allows the enjoyment of our koi to continue as they remain active. This is one reason to build your koi pond as large and deep as you can to reduce any temperature swings that can cause problems.

I have switched feeding my koi silk worm pupae and high protein growth food to a more regular staple pellet food now temperatures are a little lower to maintain water quality even though they are as hungry as ever. With many ponds water temperatures still fairly high this is a time to continue feeding your koi to build enough reserves to carry them through winter. This highlights the differences between conditions koi live in around the world as Japan remains very hot with their koi growing at an incredible rate. This has lead many lucky enough to afford it to heat their ponds to extend the growing season and reduce the winter cold spells.

Your koi should be in peak condition now and there are a few shows this month but generally we should try to reduce their stress and concentrate on easing them into winter. Their immune systems should be at full strength and the filters at optimum performance but some problems can occur so they should be dealt with immediately and regular checks and maintenance continued. There is nothing worse than fixing leaking plumbing or getting your hands wet when it's freezing cold and koi health problems respond much better in warmer waters. Now is the time to prepare but also hopefully to enjoy the last few months with you koi in the garden before they disappear for another year.


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