Questions about running pump all year in 6a/b zone

mrsclem

mrsclem
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I keep my pumps and filters running until I get 50% ice coverage. Then everything gets shut down and drained. Bog was shut down last month after several hard freezes.
 
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Left it running all year so far. Only thing I've been doing is occasionally knocking off ice build up at the water return outlets, and using a shovel to break up ice to keep surface water from freezing too close to water outlets. Ice build up IN the 55 gallon drum has been limited to a doughnut ring; water flows through it and spray bar water flow has been OK and not freezing up. 55 gallon drum is a food grade commercial drum. They can tolerate 550+ pounds and UV, etc.. Not breaking anytime soon, though cheap stuff from hardware stores can't say the same.

So no heaters, pump running 24/7, pump depth about 5' or possibly 6'. Temps as cold as -2 with single digits and teens more common, low 20's at night. Extended period.

Heavy snowfall caused a lot of slush on the ice. Was between 12" and 18":
20220117_101156.jpg


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Extended freezing, ice is thick. Broken some sections to keep water flowing, and stuck on surface to see thickness:
20220131_192329.jpg


Outlets before being cleared of build up:
20220131_192126.jpg


Minnows in there somewhere!
20220117_101358.jpg
 
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Looks like you have a handle on things.

Just be careful with the chopping or banging. If you bang too hard on the ice, the shock waves can harm the fish.

Have you thought about extending those two outlet pipes a foot or more down into the water? Their ends would be submerged below the freeze point.
 
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Hadn't thought about the shockwaves being harmful, but am aware they can react to sudden jolts, even stomping on the shore can cause them the get jolted. Have some greenfrog tadpoles overwintering so probably not the greatest for them either. Only working on the thinner edges of the exposed areas, so parts getting broken do have exposed water next to it, so hopefully sound waves get disrupted vs. banging on a completely frozen surface where the shockwaves stay 100% under frozen water.

If the pipes go down and into the water, the water would definitely freeze up the entire pond, solid. Allowing them to trickle out keeps it moving and allows those exposed areas to at least resist freezing. Also, it might create some back pressure at the filter, if the water can't flow out as fast as possible. Dunno though.

Big thing was I wanted to run the pump + filter all winter, and wasn't sure how everything would behave, exactly, once extended below freezing events occurred. Safe to say, it IS possible to run a filter + pump if set up is similar.
 
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Exactly. Little chipping of ice near open water is probably fine.

I keep an opening with a 300 watt floating pond deicer.
Some use a pond breather which only uses 40 watts.
My air stones help to a point, but if it's single digits for a week or so, even they will freeze over. I keep the air stones raised up to a foot below the surface for the winter.

I also have a small 550 GPH pump in a bucket covered with lava rock sitting on the bottom of the pond. A 3/4" PVC pipe is screwed into the pump's output which goes up and ends just below the surface, creating a fountain. The fountain keeps the water open for the most part, but when it gets really cold, an ice dome will form over the fountain.

I'm in zone 6b.

Yeah, running the filter in the winter is a little scary.
I run my bog all winter. That was scary the first time.
 
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If all goes well this year, will build a bog directly next to, and slightly above the pond, and let that overflow as a water fall. Would also like to get a baby version of the current pump, and do something unfiltered like your fountain, but it keep it under the surface and horizontal to add more current and compliment a future water fall.

300w 24/7 is a lot these days. If you bypassed your fountain (maybe a "T" with a ball valve) during the winter; press-fit 3/4" on T ball valve outlet for easy removal, and run 3/4" extension vertically above the water's surface then down (maybe two 45 degree angled downward, think of a utility sink faucet) it'd be similar to my 55 gallon's outlets. So no electric other than pump. Summer time, just pull apart the 3/4" above water extension off the ball valve while leaving ball valve on T, in off position so fountain works. Would want T and ball valve wooden mallet tapped tight (or plumber's pipe glue it), but 3/4" off ball valve hand forced or lightly tapped, or just use a union. Would probably allow you to forgo a heater altogether, or at least run a smaller one.

Winter can definitely be tricky!
 
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I know you're probably halving the operation time due to energy considerations but be aware that most pumps are designed for continuous use. Starting and stopping, esp starting, is harder on motors than if left always on. Just an FYI.
Thank you for the advice. The pumps I use are designed to be used in this way and all are of the higher end of the retail market. I have confirmed with the supplier that the pumps I use can be used on timer in the Winter. My oldest pump is currently17 years old and has not yet failed.
 
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Thank you for the advice. The pumps I use are designed to be used in this way and all are of the higher end of the retail market. I have confirmed with the supplier that the pumps I use can be used on timer in the Winter. My oldest pump is currently17 years old and has not yet failed.

Keep track of how long you get out of them; I have one that's now 11 years old; ya gotta at least get to that number then! ;)
 
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Thank you for the advice. The pumps I use are designed to be used in this way and all are of the higher end of the retail market. I have confirmed with the supplier that the pumps I use can be used on timer in the Winter. My oldest pump is currently17 years old and has not yet failed.
share who made this pump that has run for 17 years please
 
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share who made this pump that has run for 17 years please
Superfish PondECO Plus... https://www.amazon.co.uk/SuperFish-Pond-Remote-Control-15000/dp/B01K4D6790/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2UGZ6C19T4HUY&keywords=superfish+pond+eco+plus&qid=1644745930&sprefix=sperfish+pondeco+plus,aps,47&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyRDI5MjdGQUxTNzFKJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzQ4MTA4WElQM1gwNVcyR1RZJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAzNDU3ODkyTzNHUktEOE45VThVJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ== I have three of them in my Pond currently and the oldest was purchased in 2004. It has yet to fail. (Probably Jinxed it now). These pumps absolutely wipe the floor with anything I have used previously. In the YouTube Link
you can see one pump that is nearest to me that runs continually and then the other two are top right. One feeds the filtration unit and one exits directly into the pond. The pond dimensions are approximately 20 feet x 14 feet.
 
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Thought I'd update. Pump is run 24/7/365. In December 2022 when everyone was getting hammered with the cold, personal outdoor thermometer was around -10. Went out and snapped a pic. Was ready to break ice but it wasn't needed. Both outlets were flowing, though only one still had exposed water, other side was flowing under the ice.

20221224_193423.jpg


Have hundreds of fathead minnows in there. Did make a modification to inlet that's helped a lot. Took chicken wire, wrapped in a 15" dia. tube shape, put a top and bottom on it with more wire, then fitted a pipe though top. Wrapped the entire thing in fiberglass window screen. So far, this seems to be working great for an inlet pre-filter that doesn't need constant cleaning, and due to the size, doesn't affect flow for pump inlet if screen is dirty, and keeps minnows from entering the wire. Size being as it is, less chance of pulling minnows or frogs against the screen as there's so much available surface area. Also, noticed what I believe is a redtailed hawk, built a nest about 40' from the pond lol in my 40 year old pin oak. Guessing all the mice drinking at the pond are enticing lol.
 
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Thought I'd update. Pump is run 24/7/365. In December 2022 when everyone was getting hammered with the cold, personal outdoor thermometer was around -10. Went out and snapped a pic. Was ready to break ice but it wasn't needed. Both outlets were flowing, though only one still had exposed water, other side was flowing under the ice.

View attachment 155754

Have hundreds of fathead minnows in there. Did make a modification to inlet that's helped a lot. Took chicken wire, wrapped in a 15" dia. tube shape, put a top and bottom on it with more wire, then fitted a pipe though top. Wrapped the entire thing in fiberglass window screen. So far, this seems to be working great for an inlet pre-filter that doesn't need constant cleaning, and due to the size, doesn't affect flow for pump inlet if screen is dirty, and keeps minnows from entering the wire. Size being as it is, less chance of pulling minnows or frogs against the screen as there's so much available surface area. Also, noticed what I believe is a redtailed hawk, built a nest about 40' from the pond lol in my 40 year old pin oak. Guessing all the mice drinking at the pond are enticing lol.
You mention breaking the ice. I don't know if this was discussed or if you are aware, but don't bang on the ice. The shock waves can be harmful to the fish. A little chipping, maybe, but no banging.
 

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