Winterizing Your Pond - Part 1

Ensuring adequate gas exchange is a critical element of preparing your pond for winter.  Even though your fish and plants are dormant during the winter, decaying debris and fish waste continue to create toxic gases.  These gases can kill your fish if not allowed to escape from a frozen pond.

The starting point for facilitating gas exchange is the use of a de-icer.  The de-icer will heat the surface of the pond creating a hole in the ice allowing toxic gases to escape.  If your pond is more or less equal depth, the de-icer should be anchored in the center.  For ponds with irregular depths, it is generally best to anchor the de-icer in the deepest part of the pond.  Also, make sure your de-icer is the proper wattage for your pond.  As a very rough rule of thumb, you should have 1 watt of de-icing power for each gallon of water in your pond.  Ponds over 1500 gallons may require multiple de-icers.

While de-icers are great for letting toxic gases to escape, the amount of oxygen coming back into the pond is limited.  Therefore, it is highly recommended to use an aerator in conjunction with the de-icer.  An air pump will bring surface air to the bottom of the pond where it is diffused.  This provides the oxygenation needed for an efficient gas exchange and a healthy pond.