So, it’s the time of year when nature shrugs off her summer splendour to take on the glorious glowing tints of autumn. For less romantically inclined water gardeners it’s the time when leaves start to get everywhere!

Outdoors

  • Prepare for those autumn leaves with pond cover nets and long-handled nets for removing those that make it through. If you can, start providing drinking water for wildlife that may be excluded from a netted pond.
  • Cut back leaves and stems of pond plants as they die back above and below the water. Oxygenating plants can also be thinned out and tender plants such as Cannas should be prepared for winter by storing them damp in a frost-free shed or outhouse.
  • Bargain pond plants added this year will give much greater impact next year - just think of them as perennial garden plants with very wet feet.
  • Forget spring cleaning, this is the best time of year to give your pond an overhaul. It’s not too cold yet and the life cycles of fish and wildlife are at a point where serious disturbance can be avoided. If you don’t fancy playing in the mud, a pond vacuum will help with sludge removal while keeping you clean and dry.
  • Switch to a winter diet to enable digestion at the lower temperatures the next few months will bring. This way fish can be fed whenever they are hungry without fear of any side-effects
  • For peace of mind, treat your pond with a broad-spectrum medication to prevent parasitic or bacterial issues becoming a problem in cold weather.
  • Bring any seasonal pond fish indoors. If you have fancy goldfish or temperate species such as Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis) or Whiteclouds (Tanichthys albonubes) in vats or feature ponds outside, bring them back indoors before the night temperatures start to dip too low.

Indoors

  • If your aquarium water level drops do you top it up with tap water? As only pure H2O evaporates this serves to distil the hardness and pollutants and is how the Dead Sea formed. Make sure that you top up with RO water or better still, carry out a water change and top up then.
  • Consider a filter upgrade. If your filter is struggling to control detritus, clarity or most crucial of all, water quality, it may be time to give your tank a bit more poke! As a new filter will need some maturation before being able to support your aquarium, run the two side by side before removing your old unit. Alternatively, you could opt for a Hydra unit, these innovative filters remove ammonia without bacterial action and prevent new tank syndrome, as well as preventing the build-up of nitrate.
  • Check your heating – after what have been the warmest months of the year, aquarium heaters haven’t had to work too hard. Check your aquarium is up to temperature and replace your heater if it’s struggling. Like any electrical device, they have a finite lifespan and their failure can be massively problematic.
  • Look out for seasonal rarities as the peak season for fish collectors begins. Receding waters in tropical regions are now making a host of species available in the weeks ahead. As they can be less forgiving of aquarium conditions, check your aquarium water quality before adding any wild fish – just because you’re born in a swamp it doesn’t mean you can tolerate high nitrates!
  • Is your aquarium big enough? Have you bought fish that are waiting for you to upgrade to a larger tank? If so, think about when this is likely to happen and try to avoid doing it again, fishes grow much faster than glass aquaria.
  • Nag someone about goldfish. Too many people still keep their goldfish in tanks that are too small. As you’re reading this I’m guessing it’s probably not you but it could be someone you know. We think goldfish deserve better so spread the word.