Topical Tips January 2019

Posted on the 15th January 2019

Welcome to a New Year, traditionally a time of resolutions and change. After a wet and mild winter so far, January has yet to bare its teeth.


  • In a mild winter, fish will feed throughout. Make sure you’re using a low-temperature food to avoid problems in the spring
  • Ensure that the deepest layers of the pond remain undisturbed. These warmer zones are where the fish will shelter during the coldest weather and shouldn’t be disturbed by filtration during the winter. Make sure your pump is raised if needed, to avoid excessive chilling.
  • A pond heater can be a good way to avoid problems in the cold weather. Unlike an aquarium heater, pond heaters aren’t designed to raise the temperature of the entire pond but to provide an area of ice-free surface water allowing the pond to breathe
  • Plants can photosynthesise under a layer of ice but snow blacks everything out. In the event of snowy weather, brush it from an ice-bound pond to keep conditions healthy
  • Remember the birds and animals that rely on your pond and provide drinking/bathing water if sub-zero weather brings ice


  • Resolve to be a better fishkeeper. No offence but it’s easy to fall into bad habits around areas such as testing and water changes. See what happens when you increase the frequency of changes and you’ll often be surprised – after all, many of your fish come from breeders who perform daily changes
  • If you were lucky enough to get a new aquarium for Christmas then this could be a frustrating month as your new set-up matures. Using a bacterial starter and testing for ammonia and nitrite can see this process progress smoothly. Use the time researching some fish options so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises when you add livestock. Alternatively, a Hydra filter can take the risk out of New Tank Syndrome by removing the pollutants directly. In either case, patience is a vital commodity which I wish could be sold by the bottle.
  • Fitness resolutions aren’t just for fish keepers. Many aquaria benefit from increased water movement and this is especially important for marine species or freshwater fishes from fast moving, high oxygen environments. A wide selection of wave surge pumps and other solutions are available and these can even be run on timers to give your pets a regularly scheduled work out.
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