Caring for your pond during winter

Winter pond care can mean different things depending on where you live. If you're fortunate enough to reside in a mild climate, removing your pond's excess debris and adding Aquascape Activated Pond Carbon should prepare you for winter.

If you live in the north, however, you will begin to see ice formation. Most of us in North America will see this, and we'll spend the next few months longingly watching our ponds from indoors.

During these frosty months, you can keep your pond running for the winter or shut it down. To shut your pond down, unplug the pump, pull it out, and store it in a frost-free location submerged in a bucket of water to keep the seals from drying out.

Winter Pond Care and Fish

If you have fish in your pond and expect it to freeze over, you must be concerned with two things. The first one is oxygenating the water. To do this, place a small pump on the second shelf of your pond so it bubbles right at the water's surface. This will replace the oxygenation that your waterfalls provide during the pond season.

In all but frigid 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 for the escape of harmful gases that would otherwise build up under the ice. The decay of organic matter in the water causes these gases.

Suppose your geographic area experiences long periods of freezing weather. In that case, the pump won't be enough to keep a hole open in the ice, and you'll want to consider adding a floating Aquascape Pond De-icer. Controlled by a thermostat, the unit only runs when the water temperature is at or below freezing, heating the surrounding water to just above freezing and then shutting off again.

The best thing you can do if you live in frigid climates is to incorporate a combination of the pump and floating deicer. Be sure to position them far enough apart that the Aquascape Pond De-icer is not running continuously to heat the water constantly recirculated by the pump.

Beautiful Ice Sculptures

Leaving your pond up and running is an option many people prefer. The waterfall and/or stream provide the beautiful sound of running water, and 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 water oxygenation.

There are many benefits to operating your pond and waterfall year-round, but you need to watch out for a couple of things. 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 does not happen every winter, but it is something that you need to be aware of and watch out for.

You may be surprised to learn that running water can evaporate even during the winter. Although water loss in your pond is considerably less during warm months, you will still need to add water to compensate for this loss. Simply keep an eye on your pond's water level during the winter months and top off as needed.

Whether you shut down your pond or leave it running during the winter months, minor maintenance is needed to ensure that your pond will perform optimally when warmer breezes blow.

For all your winter pond maintenance, contact Zimmerman Mulch today.

For more tips on winter pond care, watch our short video on the topic: Aquascape 300-Watt Pond De-Icer.