Caring for Your Pond During Winter
Caring for your pond during the winter months can mean different things depending on where you live. If you’re fortunate enough to reside in a mild climate, simply removing your pond’s excess debris and adding Aquascape Activated Pond Carbon should set you up for the winter.
If you live in the north where the snow flies, you may already notice ice formations on your pond and waterfall as early as November.
During these frosty months, you can either keep your pond running for the winter, or shut it down. To shut your pond down, first unplug the pump, pull it out of the pond, and store it in a warm place like the garage or the basement.
Pond Shutdown for the Fish
If you have fish and live in a climate cold enough to cause your pond to freeze over, you need to be aware of two things. First, is oxygenating the water. To do this, place an aerator or small pump like the AquaForce® Pond Pump on the second shelf of your pond so it bubbles right at the surface of the water. This will replace the oxygenation that your waterfalls were taking care of during the pond season.
In all but extremely low temperatures, the bubbling of the pump will also keep a hole open in the ice to allow for gas exchange. This is the second thing that you need to do for your fish. A hole in the ice allows the escape of harmful gasses created by decay of organic matter that would otherwise build up under the ice.
If your geographic area experiences long periods of exceptionally cold weather, the pump won’t be enough to keep a hole open in the ice, and you’ll want to consider adding a floating Aquascape 300-Watt Pond De-Icer. Controlled by a thermostat, the unit only runs when the water temperature is at or below freezing, heating only the surrounding water to just above freezing, and then shutting off again.
The best thing you can do if you live in extremely cold climates is to incorporate a combination of the pump and floating deicer. Be sure to position them so the two units are not near each other, otherwise the pond de-icer will run continuously in order to heat the that water that’s constantly being circulated by the pump.
Beautiful Ice Sculptures
Leaving your pond up and running is an option many people prefer. Not only does the waterfall and/or stream provide the beautiful sound of running water, but also the freezing water creates outstanding ice sculptures along the stream and waterfall area. The water movement created by running the pond during the winter also eliminates the need for additional oxygenation of the water.
There are many benefits to operating your pond and waterfall year-round, but there are also a couple things you need to watch out for. As the water in the falls or stream freezes, the possibility of water loss due to ice damming is increased. When the ice freezes, a dam that pushes the flowing water over the edge of the liner can be created. This isn’t always a problem, but it is something that you need to be aware of and watch out for.
You might be surprised to learn, that even during the winter, running water is still exposed to evaporation. Although water loss in your pond is considerably less than during warm months, you will still need to add water to make up for this loss. Simply keep an eye on your pond’s water level during the winter months and top off as needed.
Whether you choose to shut down your pond or leave it running during the winter months, a bit of minor maintenance is all that’s needed to ensure that your pond will perform optimally when warmer breezes begin to blow.