First year winterizing

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So this will be my first year winterizing our pond. I'm not sure what the people before me did the last three winters so it's all new. My husband thinks they just left the pump and falls running. The original owner told us to pull the pump for fear that the skimmer box or fall box cracks of it freezes over (I guess it happened to him one BSD winter and was a pricey misstep). We are 30min south of Chicago. So you recommend just an aerator? We have the Aquascape aeration 2 that we bought when the old pump went out. Do we need a heater? Or would a pond breather be OK? And do we put it in the deepest part of the pond (over 32+) or more towards 18? Sorry for all the questions.
 

addy1

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I am a bit warmer than you, just use a pond breather. I put it in my 5 foot area of the pond.

I used to use a aerator until a friend lost every fish during one cold winter. He was using a strong aerator, keeping 1/2 of the pond ice free. The fish started dying in February. Kept dying until all were dead.
 
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@Cll119 - I'm just north of the city, so we share the same chilly winters!

We keep our pond running all winter long and have never had a problem. However, we do not have a skimmer or biofalls on our pond, so our basic set up is a bit different. Can you post some pictures of your pond? The advice you get will be better suited to your situation if we can visualize your set up.

In general there shouldn't be any concern about your skimmer or biofalls cracking - and I'm not sure why the previous owner felt pulling the pump would prevent that from happening anyway. Keeping the water moving would make more sense. And both are made to withstand freezing. Lots and lots of ponds in our climate - if those components were freezing and cracking we'd be hearing about it!

The biggest issue with keeping the pond running is your waterfall construction - you need to make sure your falls won't freeze over in such a way as to divert water out of the pond. Again, a photo would help some, but your first year it may be more of a trial run where you keep careful watch on the ice formation and be prepared with an alternate if you find the ice is creating damming and forcing water out of the pond.
 
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I will put pics here of the falls. I'm not sure how or why it froze. But we were told to take out the pump. I don't mind buying a heater but then we will have the aerator and the heater going not just the falls. I want whatever will let the fish make it.
 

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Do whatever it takes to make sure your pond water has good gas exchange during periods of ice cover.

The least complicated method is a pond cover and keep your regular pumps running.
Aerators will work in milder climates.
In larger ponds or places that have severe weather, a pond breather works best.
Floating heaters don't heat the water, they only keep a small area of water open, are expensive to run and are not effective during extreme cold weather.
 
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Welcome, you are in the right place, great community with deep knowledge. I have read many places and @GBBUDD has mentioned it here to not pull the pump because it drys up the seals and to just unplug it at some point if you are not going to run it through the winter. Oh and welcome and that is a beautiful pond. Also you may want to add the depth of your pond, as I think that may play a factor in what action to take to winterize it. Something I failed to ask for in my own winterization thread.
 
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Welcome, you are in the right place, great community with deep knowledge. I have read many places and @GBBUDD has mentioned it here to not pull the pump because it drys up the seals and to just unplug it at some point if you are not going to run it through the winter. Oh and welcome and that is a beautiful pond. Also you may want to add the depth of your pond, as I think that may play a factor in what action to take to winterize it. Something I failed to ask for in my own winterization thread.
You want to make sure the pump is below the maximum thickness of ice , plugged in or not ice can cause serious damage
 

callingcolleen1

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I have left my pond run year round since the year 1991, about 29 years and never had a dead Koi fish ever.. I even have fancy goldfish with bubble eyes and they all survived rhe ice cold running water just fine. My pumps are all under water and hooked up to EZ Bio filters. I even ran my pressure filter last winter, and last winter was one of the coldest longest winters I can remember. Pressure filter should be ok as long as water moving fast enough in chamber so it does not freeze. My two oldest koi are still alive and very healthy after almost three decades of ice cold running water. I do use only one heater for all four connecring ponds (about 4500 gallons) but water is still barely above freezing but it is enough to keep holes upen in the ice with the help of ponds running water flow. Fish all very healthy and never had to worry about treating fish for sickness as ice cold running water keeps Koi healthy like ice cold water keeps trout fish healthy..
 

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