Question for those of you that cover your pond for the cold winter months


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I recall some of you using pool solar covers and other methods to cover your ponds for the cold winter months. I assume it helps keep the pond temperature a little bit higher.
I live in the northeastern area of Pennsylvania which has significant low temperatures during the winter months. Zine 6b to be exact.
My 10 year old 1500+ gallon pond gets a good amount of ice. I use a deicer, two air stones and a small fountain to keep good gas exchange and oxygenation.
Every year I erect a PVC frame for my leaf net and leave it up until the Spring. The PVC is erected so it bows up, (not flat) to keep the leaves from collecting.
So, here's the question...
Would it be beneficial to get a roll of clear plastic sheeting and drape it over my PVC frame? I would use ty-wraps to secure it.
Would there be any reason this would be bad for my fish? I hate to deviate from my normal procedure for fear of any risk to the fish.
Would the fish get enough light?
 
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I cover our pond with a pool solar cover. I originally did it as kind of an experiment and was pleased with the results. My pond is 1700 gallons with 4 adult koi. The water remains open, there is less evaporation and the fish are slightly more active.

What kind of fish do you have? If I had smaller goldfish I don't think I would cover it. I take these extra steps to keep the water well oxygenated and prevent big temperature swings since my fish are large.
 

JBtheExplorer

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Keep in mind, depending on how warm the water gets, if you have frogs, the warmer water temp will affect their hibernation and could lead to their death.
 
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We are in northern Virginia, same zone as you are. We put up a greenhouse structure for winter and cover with one layer of 6 ml plastic and a layer of solar cover over that.

The water never freezes even with single digit temperatures outside and we keep everything running all year round. We are very pleased with the results of doing this. The plastic layers are held down with concrete blocks around the edges and that works very well for us. I would not recommend putting on ty-wraps if that involved putting holes in the plastic. I would think those would tear the plastic when the wind picks up. If the plastic is pretty taught, and held down with a lot of blocks, it won't have any problem with the wind.

I'll try to put up some pictures of ours. These were taken the same day.
 

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We are in northern Virginia, same zone as you are. We put up a greenhouse structure for winter and cover with one layer of 6 ml plastic and a layer of solar cover over that.

The water never freezes even with single digit temperatures outside and we keep everything running all year round. We are very pleased with the results of doing this. The plastic layers are held down with concrete blocks around the edges and that works very well for us. I would not recommend putting on ty-wraps if that involved putting holes in the plastic. I would think those would tear the plastic when the wind picks up. If the plastic is pretty taught, and held down with a lot of blocks, it won't have any problem with the wind.

I'll try to put up some pictures of ours. These were taken the same day.
Wow! That's some structure you have built!
It's amazing how the water doesn't freeze.
Your critters must be thankful of that.
 
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Yeah, they are pretty lucky goldfish, I think! Especially the ones from the feeder fish tank at the pet store.

We were very surprised at how well it worked when we went through the first winter. There is no heat whatsoever in there, just the cover to hold in heat from the water and the ground. And it keeps the wind off so that doesn't cool the water with evaporation. It works much better than we thought it would.

My husband tends to go overboard on projects, but I can't complain about that.

We used to take it all down in summer, but have started leaving the framing up all the time. We still remove the framing at the ends and over the waterfall, though. And the plastic gets folded up on top of the whole thing so it's easy to pull down when cold weather sets it.

If you Google winter pond covers and click on "images" you will find lots of good ideas.
 
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Yeah, they are pretty lucky goldfish, I think! Especially the ones from the feeder fish tank at the pet store.

We were very surprised at how well it worked when we went through the first winter. There is no heat whatsoever in there, just the cover to hold in heat from the water and the ground. And it keeps the wind off so that doesn't cool the water with evaporation. It works much better than we thought it would.

My husband tends to go overboard on projects, but I can't complain about that.

We used to take it all down in summer, but have started leaving the framing up all the time. We still remove the framing at the ends and over the waterfall, though. And the plastic gets folded up on top of the whole thing so it's easy to pull down when cold weather sets it.

If you Google winter pond covers and click on "images" you will find lots of good ideas.
Thanks!
 
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So I'm assuming no adverse effects to covering with clear plastic sheeting, except for the mention of possible frog hibernation.
I think I'll go for it.
I'll get a roll of plastic and secure it to the ground with large rocks.
It's still quite amusing that the water won't freeze. Even with our harsh PA weather.
If this works out, next year I'll keep the waterfall going.
 
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Just make sure your frame is sturdy enough to hold the snow load. Most of it will slide off if you have a good pitch on the frame, but too much snow can bring the whole thing down if the structure isn't strong enough.

Good luck with your project. As far as we are concerned there is no down side to it. It's nice to be able to go out there and spend some time with the fish, no matter what the weather. Can't imagine having it any other way now.
 
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I agree about the snow load. Our cover is a simple "lean to " with the solar cover over 16 foot rub of slanted boards. It works quite well, but I"d love to have what @WaterGardener has !! :)
 
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sissy

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My neighbor got one of those put together garage things and put it over her pond last year and it worked great .She got it at harbor freight onsale .It is pretty sturdy also .I am thinking of getting one for an outside workshop for behind the one shed .No saw dust mess to clean up .I just put up a metal pipe one .I pound pieces of metal pipe in the ground and bend the pipe and shove it inside the pipe in the ground and use those connects with the screw parts in them .I use those screw in elbows for a table and looked at them and thought they would work and they did .But last year did not get it put up ,snow snuck up on me
 

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