Fish care tips in winter

Caring for fish in the winter can be challenging, especially in our mid-year months when temperatures drop significantly. In South Africa, we face the added challenge of power outages. Animaltalk spoke to Kevin Till from Koi Medic about helping your fish survive the cold.

According to Kevin, tropical fish need a constant temperature and a tank heater. If the temperature drops, these fish can become ill and even die. The most crucial thing is to avoid sudden temperature changes because fish are ectothermic, which means they are cold-blooded and rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature.

Tropical fish

When it comes to tropical fish, your primary responsibility is to create and maintain the right ecosystem, with a good heater being essential for maintaining the correct temperature. Kevin suggests placing your tank close to a window that receives plenty of sunlight as a solution to power outages since this exposes the water to alternative environmental heat.

We asked him about the rumour that one should place heated plastic bags in a fish tank during loadshedding; however, Kevin expressed concern that doing so could lead to fluctuations in temperature that could stress your fish and cause health problems. He points out that this may not be practical for several reasons, including inconsistency and the inability to measure temperature fluctuations.

“It is not entirely a faulty concept since I have saved a fish from hypothermia by adding warm water at extremely gradual periods, but this is a controlled process in an emergency situation,” says Kevin.

Keeping your filters and tank clean is important, as is doing 10% water changes every other week. Feed only the highest quality food for your particular type of fish, and never overfeed. Fish should consume the food quantity given within a few minutes. It is better to feed less at more frequent intervals than to overfeed.

Would you like to read the rest of this interesting article? Get the July/August 2023 edition of Animaltalk now from retailers, or order a digital or printed copy now from



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