After a long hot summer in the pond section, we’re approaching the time of year when there’s bargains to be had. The water is warm, the fishes have been in stock for weeks and not only are they bigger than when they arrived, their price has gone down rather than up.


Adding new fish after high summer gives them the benefit of temperatures that encourage an efficient metabolic rate and an immune system running at peak performance. There’s still plenty of time to ensure they’re in peak condition to face the winter months and they won’t vanish into the gloom for ages as their appetite will ensure that they have a keen interest in food.

It’s worth remembering that Koi in particular will grow large, so don’t be tempted to add fish that will give rise to problems later. The same applies to filter capacity – adding a bacterial booster to help your biological filtration cope with extra loading can help prevent any spikes in pollutants after adding livestock but check your system can cope with any extra solids that might arise. Having said that, it’s been common practice for years for enthusiasts to overwinter young carp in warmer conditions before adding them to established ponds with larger fish.

Adding new fish can often expose underlying health issues that established pets have become accustomed to and another advantage of this time of year is the ease of treating any diseases that arise compared to the cooler months. Most of the pathogens that cause issues for healthy fish are parasitic and it may be wise to treat your system with a preventative dose of a good anti-protozoan medication while temperatures are high and oxygen levels increasing. Don’t forget that Orfe and Sturgeon are sensitive to certain medications if you’re adding these fishes for the first time. Ask staff what your treatment options are for these species and remember that most disease outbreaks are linked to lapses in water quality or other sources of stress that supress our pets’ immune systems.

The recent heatwave has highlighted another issue – that of bagged fish suffering from exposure to extreme heat in hot cars on the way home from the store via supermarkets or other stops. While the warm conditions continue, remember that it’s best to transport any new pets straight home and we can supply thermal bags or polystyrene boxes to make their journey as comfortable as possible.

Of course, it’s not just fish that are reduced – plants are also a bargain and apart from some tender species such as Cannas, most are hardy herbaceous perennials which will be double the size next year.

For best results, cut back tired foliage, repot them into fresh compost and larger baskets ready for next year’s rapid growth and then that’s it, sit back and enjoy the prospect of lush plants for less.  Cannas can be overwintered in a frost-free shed or greenhouse if kept moist and will leap into life next spring if kept under cover and put out when the risk of frost has passed. Watch for aphids in early spring and if your plants have any of these little green hitchhikers, plunge them into deep water for a day or so to drown them out.

Waterlilies are expensive plants thanks to the time and effort taken in their production on the nursery. The more rampant varieties grow faster and are therefore cheaper, but these tend to outgrow smaller ponds, or need more frequent dividing and repotting to keep them a manageable size. Late season reductions bring the choicer slow-growing forms down in price and it’s easier to add a dormant lily to your pond, as the consideration of floating leaves is no longer an issue. Place your bargain plant in shallow water until the leaves die back, then cut the stalks off close to the crown and repot the rootstock into fresh aquatic compost before placing the basket on the bottom of the pond. Next year’s new leaves will grow from the depths without having to take any measures to lower the plant in stages. With abundant nutrients at the roots, you can look forward to a good summer of flowering next year.