Hole in the Ice

Discussion in 'Winterizing Your Pond' started by Kaniff, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Kaniff

    Kaniff

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    I know the rule is to NEVER let the ice freeze over. This will be my first winter (-20 C) with a pond and I plan to take every precaution to keep a hole open in the ice, but, what if (god forbid) we are away for the weekend in mid winter and the power goes out. Would my fish be doomed? How long can koi realistically survive once the hole freezes over in a 2,500 gallon pond? Couple minutes, hours, days?
     
    Kaniff, Nov 1, 2015
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  2. Kaniff

    sissy sissy

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    I have seen people put a ball in there pond to help keep an opening in the ice .Not sure how long it lasts but saw it on you tube
     
    sissy, Nov 1, 2015
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  3. Kaniff

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    I have no idea but would think they'd be OK for a couple of days. I've also heard about putting a ball in the water [or a few, depending on how much surface area you have], or a ring made from a pool noodle. Then, if you needed to open a hole, pour some hot water on the ice. We have a lot of Canadians on GPF who I'm sure would have good "emergency" advice.

    What are you planning to do to keep a hole open? There is something called a "Pond Breather" [I think] that a lot of folks were using and experimenting with this past winter, and it sounds like the opinions were pretty good.

    @callingcolleen1 Can you comment on the original question?
     
    Mmathis, Nov 1, 2015
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  4. Kaniff

    morewater President, Raccoon Haters International

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    Solution. Windmill-driven aerator............ Problem. $$$

    Such is chance.
     
    morewater, Nov 1, 2015
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  5. Kaniff

    MitchM

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    It's hard to say without knowing how much organic matter you have that is going to decay, how many and what size fish you have, ect.
    A simple open hole may not be enough either.
    I use a pond breather to keep my pond well aerated during the winter. I have 2 breathers running in case one fails because my ice gets about 2 feet thick and I have 6 months of ice cover.
    Pond beathers are low power and very efficient.

    http://www.amazon.ca/Watt-Pond-Breather-Heated-Aerator/dp/B000HHM9U0


    .
     
    MitchM, Nov 1, 2015
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  6. Kaniff

    MitchM

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    Holy smokes, I just saw the price listed for that breather this year!:woot:

    Shop around! I got one of mine a couple of years ago for $79.

    .
     
    MitchM, Nov 1, 2015
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  7. Kaniff

    MitchM

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    MitchM, Nov 1, 2015
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  8. Kaniff

    HARO Pondcrastinator

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    What Mitch said...! Each pond is different, and there is no simple answer. I let my pond ice over for four days to a week before plugging the de-icer in again, with no problems. The pond is reasonably clean, but some residue from waterlillies, etc, remains in the pond over winter. Just get as much organic matter out before freeze-up as you can.
    John
    P,s. May I ask WHERE in Canada?
    Never mind, just read your other post. Toronto!
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
    HARO, Nov 1, 2015
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  9. Kaniff

    Mike in Vermont

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    Mike in Vermont, Nov 1, 2015
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  10. Kaniff

    MitchM

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    I think there is only 1 pond breather made.
     
    MitchM, Nov 1, 2015
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  11. Kaniff

    Mike in Vermont

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    It goes to show how much I know about pond breathers. lol
     
    Mike in Vermont, Nov 1, 2015
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  12. Kaniff

    Lisak1

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    We don't worry about an actual hole in the pond, as our waterfall runs all winter. The constant flow of water keeps the pond healthy. If you looked at our pond in the winter, you would think it was just one solid sheet of ice, generally covered by a lot of snow!
     
    Lisak1, Nov 1, 2015
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  13. Kaniff

    Dave 54

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    Kaniff might be an idea to talk to @callingcolleen1, I know she lives in Canada and manages to keep her water from freezing by way of a cattl heater I believ.
    Its not hard to keep a hole in the ice unless you have constant -20c then unless you are going to commit to a cattle heater or an inline heater you wont be able too.
    I have a Canadian frind who gets -24c with a windchill of -54c who at my suggestion now brings her koi into her hubbies workshiop for the duration of winter and brings her filters in also so that the holding tanks are running with good mture pond water .
    She maintains a constent temperature of 11c throughout .

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
    Dave 54, Nov 2, 2015
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  14. Kaniff

    mgmine

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    Because of the heavy snow last year my air stone couldn't keep a hole in the ice. I can't say how long the pond was covered in snow but I'm sure it was well over a month. When I got home there was at lest 18" of snow on it and when I shoveled some off I found that the water was mush and still slightly frozen under the snow. The fish survived with out any problem. I only have four fish. When I had two I didn't bother doing anything and they all survived.
     
    mgmine, Nov 2, 2015
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  15. Kaniff

    morewater President, Raccoon Haters International

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    Winter survivability is dependent on many factors, such as fish load, pond size and pond depth.

    Think about it, for example you've got a pond that's 2.5' deep, the water freezes 1.5' thick, leaving approximately 1' of liquid water under the ice. What is the BOD (biological oxygen demand) when there's rotting vegetation, leaves, etc. on the bottom of the pond?

    When there's a problem with any of the above (ie, too many fish, too small a volume, to shallow a depth), the first to succumb are the larger fish. The larger fish are generally the most expensive fish.

    I've seen too many times the results of poor planning and construction. It's what keeps us in business. Rebuilds are more expensive than initial installs.
     
    morewater, Nov 2, 2015
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  16. Kaniff

    Kaniff

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    Thanks, im going to order one now.
     
    Kaniff, Nov 3, 2015
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  17. Kaniff

    Smaug God makes perfect. I just dug the hole

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    Last year my pump failed and I had a frozen surface for at least 3 days. No problem. In the past I have had over 50% of my surface open even in minus 20f for over a week. I always ran my skimmer pump all winter in the past but with things getting colder I'm going to go to just a strong air pump.
     
    Smaug, Nov 4, 2015
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  18. Kaniff

    adavisus

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    If you can melt a hole in the ice every couple of days that will vent toxic gases effectively. A saucepan of boiling water can melt its way through a few inches

    Keeping a hole in the ice going continuous may not be practical long term, especially when a slow winter storm is hanging about, putting an over turned bucket over the usual place where you keep a hole will keep freezing temps off it longer

    One of the best home made contraptions over the years was Bickals de icer design, basically an electric bulb in a weather proof enclosure which gives off enough warmth to keep a small area melted, its only vulnerability is the electrical supply. At least, if the bulb goes you can spot it after dark and go replace it the next day

    Another effective design is any cold frame design which when the sun is on it, will melt ice within. Making it resilient to stormy conditions would be a good idea...

    Regards, andy
     
    adavisus, Nov 4, 2015
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  19. Kaniff

    MitchM

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    I would not recommend a setup such as this.
    Besides the electrical safety issue, in a strong winter storm, this device could become overwhelmed and fail, only to be frozen in place until the ice melted.
    You would not want a splash of water to break the bulb, dropping broken glass into your pond.
    A simple hole in the ice will only provide passive gas exchange, while for the same power consumption and greater saftey and more reliable performance during a storm, you could have active water aeration using a pond breather. Active aeration provides many thousand times more aeration than a simple hole in the ice.

    In the event of a power outage, a pond breather has a heating strip that will thaw out it's breathing tube and get the unit working again, safely.

    .
     
    MitchM, Nov 4, 2015
    #19
  20. Kaniff

    callingcolleen1 mad hatter

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    A lot depends on how big the pond is, how big the koi are, and how thick the ice is. Minus 20 Celsius overnight not a big deal if ground is not Frozen deep and ice is thin sheet. However if the ground is frozen like 5 feet deep THEN minus 20 Celsius is much worse, as frozen ground freezes the pond even harder dispite a warm day.

    Where are you located? How cold do you expect to get this winter?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
    callingcolleen1, Nov 5, 2015
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