Winter is Coming

Discussion in 'Newbies to Garden Ponds' started by Larry Haley, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. Larry Haley

    Larry Haley

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    Nothing I find really pertains to me for preparations for winter. My little pond definitely needs some kind of heater. Can I get some feedback on what people here would do for a small pond like mine? I plan to run the filter and air all winter long. Is there a certain temperature I should be shooting for? Keep in mind my area usually isn't terrible maybe a week or two at 0 degrees.
     
    Larry Haley, Sep 3, 2017
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  2. Larry Haley

    Jhn

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    Your not putting a heater in to keep temp of water up. Heaters are used to keep hole in ice for gas exchange. I live in Maryland and just leave water running w/o any floating heaters and everything does fine. Waterfall keeps a hole in the ice.
     
    Jhn, Sep 3, 2017
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  3. Larry Haley

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Heaters aren't intended to "warm" a pond, and they won't prevent freezing. Your goal is to keep a small portion of the water open (IOW, a hole in the ice) -- assuming your pond freezes -- so that there can be gas exchange from the water to outside air. One product that has proven quite effective and popular is something called a Pond Breather. Some people with koi ponds build frames or just lay a sheet of plastic (or other material) over the pond for insulation. BTW, from what I understand, "heating" a pond isn't cost effective due to the energy demands of the heater, but like the Pond Breather, some of them are still an option for keeping an open hole.

    Remind us, how deep is your pond and what kind of winters do you have there in MD? Do you freeze much? Depth is something to consider because a deeper pond probably won't freeze to the bottom and this gives the fish a place to hang out.....as long as there is a hole in the ice. And then, some people take their fish inside for the winter, by having an indoor, temp pond set up in a garage or basement. We have lots of folks here who "winterize" their ponds, so you should get some good tips. Me......I live in Louisiana......we might have a week of winter each year.

    This is a Pond Breather. Google that name -- lots of places sell them.
    IMG_0148.jpg
     
    Mmathis, Sep 3, 2017
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  4. Larry Haley

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    I never saw one of these pond heaters. I am going to have to check it out online. Thanks.
     
    MoonShadows, Sep 3, 2017
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  5. Larry Haley

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    what TM said. You need to know how deep your ice typically freezes and make sure you have enough depth below that, if you want to successfully overwinter your fish (along with keeping a hole open). And if your pond has any depth ABOVE ground, you have to take this into consideration. Usually, the deeper ponds are easier to overwinter. Mine is 44" and ice rarely exceeds 15". I am one of those that went to a pond breather simply because it is easy and effective. In the beginning, I used an aerator for the hole (worked the first two years, no problem) until one winter the line got pinched and I lost its functionality.

    I don't run my pumps/waterfall in the winter for fear of ice dams and diverted water. I don't want problems then as accessibility and working conditions are a pita. All that said, if you have few fish, have a good amount of surface area, good amount of water volume, have minimal detritus/decaying organic matter in your pond, and keep the ice shoveled to allow light to penetrate, you don't even need the hole (but I'd do it anyhow, just in case). My winters can be as low as -10 but typically stay in the teens during the coldest months.

    Btw, you're not using the aerator to insure sufficient oxygen for your fish (cold/winter water holds more than warm/summer + your fishes' needs go way down in winter), you're doing it to allow gas buildup from below to escape through the opening. That's why if you have little decaying organic matter, you're ahead of the game.
     
    brokensword, Sep 3, 2017
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  6. Larry Haley

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    MoonS; it's not really a heater though one is part of the apparatus. There's a small pump also attached that sends a warmed stream through a smaller tube and back down inside the 'opening' tube that keeps the accumulated snow from closing down your hole. Search for Mitch's threads re pondbreather and you'll see how it's used at the extreme end of ponding.

    Also, since your pond is above ground, you're going to have to take that into consideration as the freezing temps now surround your pond instead of the warmer earth (of below ground ponds) helping to keep the ice at bay and above the frost line.
     
    brokensword, Sep 3, 2017
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  7. Larry Haley

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    That is a concern of mine this first winter season with my pond. Since my pond is above ground, about six feet across and 30 inches deep, I keep going back and forth over whether I should run the two aerators with a pond heater or put a stock tank in my basement, move the fish in there, and just shut the pond down since I have no idea how much will freeze.
     
    MoonShadows, Sep 3, 2017
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  8. Larry Haley

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    you could also plan on using bales of hay and insulate the perimeter of your pond. This would help with heat loss and provide a pseudo substrate. You could also insulate over top with aluminum/metal conduit frame and heavy clear plastic sheeting. This by itself would go a long way to keeping the ice thickness down. As an emergency device, I have a cattle trough heater for those moments when either the aerator or pondbreather fails, so I can melt a hole.

    Too, making a stock tank inside would be easy enough if your fish load isn't high. For me, too many fish to provide for and that's why I went deep and underground. Meyer may be able to tell you how much you'll be battling 'above ground freezing effects'.
     
    brokensword, Sep 3, 2017
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  9. Larry Haley

    sissy sissy

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    Nope winter has to stay away .Not welcome here ;)
     
    sissy, Sep 3, 2017
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  10. Larry Haley

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    I heard Virginia was extending a special invitation to Mssrs. Frost & Cold of Xtreme WINter Vacations travel agency...something about how the toboggan industry is looking for a new satellite site...
     
    brokensword, Sep 3, 2017
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  11. Larry Haley

    sissy sissy

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    will sue them
     
    sissy, Sep 3, 2017
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  12. Larry Haley

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I am Maryland also, my ponds have gone from being no ice, little ice, to solid ice during various winters. My deck ponds have frozen into a solid block of ice. The deepest the big pond has frozen has been around 15 inches. One year thick enough for the deer to walk on it. My zone is 6b.

    I turn off the pumps, just turn on the pond breather mentioned above and leave the ponds alone until spring.
    I do put one very small pump in the shallow end of the big pond to keep a open area of water for the birds. I have it in a home depot bucket with the water bubbling out right below the water level.
     
    addy1, Sep 3, 2017
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  13. Larry Haley

    bettasngoldfish Maria

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    I have a small pond and stock tank and live in Northeast Ohio. I use pond de-icers and air pumps in both over the winter. The pond has never been completely frozen over and the stock tank never even had ice on the top.

    For the stock tank I put bales of hay or straw around for insulation and then cover most of the top with a piece of plywood (not very pretty but it works) the water in the stock tank was around 45 degrees give or take a degree or two for the entire winter (even during the coldest part of the season)

    This year I upgraded the tank to a larger one and we are in the process of insulating it and building a wooden box around it. No more hay bales for me.
     
    bettasngoldfish, Sep 4, 2017
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  14. Larry Haley

    sissy sissy

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    Instea f plywood try those clear plastic roof panels .It lets the sun in to help warm the tank .I use them
     
    sissy, Sep 4, 2017
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  15. Larry Haley

    Lisak1

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    I think the most important question has been missed - how small is small? How deep is your pond and how many gallons? What's your filter set up? Where's the pump? Do you have a waterfall? These are all important considerations before you decide that you can leave everything running for the winter in an area where freezing is a possibility.
     
    Lisak1, Sep 4, 2017
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  16. Larry Haley

    bettasngoldfish Maria

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    Thanks sissy, We were looking at that for the new tank. I would like them to get more light also.
     
    bettasngoldfish, Sep 4, 2017
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  17. Larry Haley

    Lisak1

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    OK - I looked at your other postings. It looks like your pond is around 160 gallons. I don't know that I would try to keep a pond that small running for the winter. That volume of water could easily freeze solid if the winter gets cold enough. And it can't be more than 18 inches deep, correct? Just guessing here...
     
    Lisak1, Sep 4, 2017
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  18. Larry Haley

    sissy sissy

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    I double them up and because my panels had a tiny damaged spot from the factory they were only 3 dollar for a 2 foot by 8 foot panel .They come in 4 x8 panels also 101_1809.JPG
     
    sissy, Sep 4, 2017
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  19. Larry Haley

    IPA

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    @MoonShadows , Pond Breather works up to 15" of ice. Your 6a so I'd guess if you can keep external lines and filters from freezing up, keep the water circulating, and use the breather...
    when you say 0 degrees, do you mean Fahrenheit?
     
    IPA, Sep 4, 2017
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  20. Larry Haley

    Jhn

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    @IPA, yes he means Fahrenheit, he lives in the same state as addy and I do. Although, the temp. in Maryland varies if you live in western MD in the mountains as opposed to the eastern portion.

    Lisa, makes an excellent point if his pond is only around 160 gallons easiest thing to do is bring the fish inside for the winter.
     
    Jhn, Sep 4, 2017
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