There is much debate as to whether koi hibernate in the winter. There are those that would have you believe that this is a natural state and quite healthy for your fish, while others would say that this causes undo stress.
Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, there are some important facts to consider:
When koi ponds ice over, harmful gasses from decaying plants, algae and fish waste cannot dissipate.
Heating a koi pond helps greatly reduce stress on your stock.
Providing heat will assist your koi’s immune system.
Your biological filtration will continue and avoid a start-up in the spring.
You can continue the feeding of your koi to maintain good nutrition.
You can protect your investment, by minimizing loss.
Winter can be very long and harsh for our koi. An increasing number of koi keepers are heating their ponds for the following reasons:
Very low temperatures are avoided, causing less stress and associated health problems.
Temperature fluctuations are avoided – once again causing less stress to your koi.
Koi emerge from the long winter into spring considerably stronger, reducing mortality rates.
Your koi’s immune system is not suppressed.
Biological filter systems remain active throughout the winter months, avoiding the long start-up process in the spring.
Last, but not least, heating your pond allows the Koi keeper to enjoy their hobby throughout the winter months.
Why heat you koi pond?
Well for starters, you will be able to feed your koi for the whole twelve months of the year, so that they will get the full nourishment they require to keep them in good condition. The risk of losing koi will be dramatically reduced because you will be able to maintain a temperature acceptable to them.
With the cost of our koi increasing, it would only take the loss of just a single good koi to far outweigh the cost of heating the pond. In fact, in many cases, it would be considerably less to heat your pond rather than to suffer continued losses of good koi through the winter months due to the severe cold temperatures of the water.
And with you being able to continue feeding your koi, you will still have mature biological filtration – you won’t have to go through the process of “Starting Up” your system at the beginning of each season.
With these points in mind, now comes the task of choosing the method of heating that best suits your needs.