Topical Tips February 2019

Posted on the 29th January 2019

After a mild start to the year it seems like spring is well on the way and as an optimist it’s hard to write about snow. Oh well, just in case...


  • Brush snow from ice-covered ponds. Oxygenating plants will still function beneath ice but a layer of snow will stop photosynthesis and can lower oxygen levels. If the weather changes, be ready to safeguard your planted pond.
  • If ice persists, consider adding a pond heater to keep an area free for fish that may struggle in ponds with heavier stocking levels and fewer submersed plants.
  • Provide fresh drinking water in icy conditions for garden wildlife.
  • Cut back dead plants if you’ve any marginal plants with foliage remaining, tidy it away now before new shoots emerge.
  • Look out for spawning amphibians. Unlike the more discreet newts, frogs and toads will appear to lay their eggs and then vanish in fairly short order. Make sure that any pond netting or steep sides don’t trap tired adults as they try to leave the water.
  • Turn pumps back on. Towards the end of the month if things get milder, flow can be restored to filters. Make sure that any filters that have been overwintered are cleaned and drained before returning them to circulation as foul water can cause problems.
  • Start algae control measures if you use a holistic algae controller such as barley straw or phosphate remover, consider adding these now before your algae starts to grow. The early season lag to plant growth means that blanket weed and green water can steal a march before the competition starts in earnest.
  • Hungry fish can be fed a winter food if they show an interest in feeding.
  • Install a new pond now and things will get off to a flying start in the spring. It really is a great time to build a water feature or improve an existing one.


  • It’s easy to miss water damage to melamine cabinets that can affect their weight-bearing capacity. Inspect the edges and joints to check for swelling or buckling that could have serious implications. For long term durability nothing matches an oak tank.
  • Struggling to keep your aquarium plants? There’s a big divide between green-fingered aquarists with underwater gardens and fish keepers who find they’re constantly buying replacement plants. As there are species suitable for most conditions, try adding an aquarium plant food to replace important elements like iron that are often lacking. Healthy, well-nourished plant growth is often the key to combating the nuisance algaes that don’t need all the elements that higher plants require to thrive. Contrary to what you might think, adding plant food makes life harder for algae.
  • Check your tap water. In many areas, water parameters will vary with the seasons and factors like rainfall may change the hardness, nitrate or phosphate levels of your mains supply. A quick test will reveal what’s going on and how it might affect your aquarium.
  • Make your fish fitter! No matter how much we try to imitate nature in our little glass boxes, factors such as diet can be hard to duplicate. After some extensive observations we’ve noticed that foods that boost our pet’s immune systems are proving very effective at helping them ward off parasites. This is very useful in situations such as reef tanks or shrimp set-ups, where medications can be damaging to corals and invertebrates.
Please note that we are not able to answer questions or reply to any comments via this section - for any advice or information please call or visit your local Maidenhead Aquatics store. The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Maidenhead Aquatics and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

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