What Should I Do If My Pond Freezes?

Depending on where you are in the nation, you could currently be facing the harsh cold weather of the winter season. And, if you have a koi pond or a pond with fish in it, the winter weather could end up being a big threat. When the winter comes and the water in the pond freezes, it is essential for pond and water garden owners to take the necessary steps to keep a hole in the ice to allow for a constant gas exchange during these colder months. Many pond owners will utilize aerators or de-icers to keep a hole in the iced water surface, but in certain conditions, the cold can cause these holes to potentially close and stop the exchange of gases. In addition, pond equipment like an aerator or deicer can malfunction, especially in freezing temperatures. Gas exchange is essential for getting oxygen into the water and removing the carbon dioxide out of it. Plus, gas exchange disperses the pollutants that build up in the pond’s water. With an insufficient amount of gas exchange, pond fish can undergo stress and can even die. Gas exchange is essential for the health of your pond as well as the fish and plants within it.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY POND FREEZES?

If you find that your pond freezes over, whatever you do, do not hit the ice to attempt to make a hole. Maybe pond owners come to find their ponds frozen and immediately worry about the health of their pond and fish. To quickly resolve the issue of insufficient gas exchange, they will try making a hole themselves. However, this can cause more damage than most people think. Banging on the frozen surface can be hazardous to the health of the fish within.

HOW DO I PREVENT MY POND FROM FREEZING?

If you are using an aerator and a deicer to maintain the hole in the ice, you shouldn’t have to worry much. Having both pieces of pond equipment should be able to manage the hole in the ice during the winter season. Of course, you will want to check the aerator periodically to ensure that there is no snow covering the hole in the ice. As long as the hole in the pond’s ice is free from snow or is not frozen over and the aerator is still operating properly, you can rest assured that the gases are being exchanged properly and that your fish are healthy. As the winter weather dwindles, the aerator and deicer will eventually create another hole in the ice as the temperatures rise.

Castle Aquatics Tip: If you are only using an aerator in your pond, try adding a deicer as a backup, which will add to the pond fish’s well-being.

If you are using a deicer without an aerator, maintaining the howl may be a bit more difficult for you. To start, you will want to make sure that the area of the pond near the deicer is free from ice, snow, and debris and ensure that the deicer itself is working properly. The best way to make sure a deicer is functioning properly is by looking for the light that indicates the device is on and receiving power. If you don’t notice the light or suspect the deicer is working improperly, you’ll want to first inspect your electrical sources. If you notice that the power source is on but do not think it is working, it is likely that you need a deicer replacement.

ADDITIONAL METHODS TO TRY

If there are no holes in the ice and you suspect that the deicer is not working properly, you will have to act fast and create a hole in the ice to ensure that gases are properly exchanged. Remember, you should never bang, hit, or step on the ice to try to create a hole. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, consider trying these two methods:

METHOD #1: USE HOT WATER

If you find you pond frozen over, you’ll need to create a hole. An easy way to do this is to bring hot water to a boil and slowly pour it into an area of the pond. Depending on how thick the ice is in your pond you may have to do this a couple times. Once you create a new hole in the ice, place your new deicer or aerator in the thawed area to continue the deicing process.

METHOD #2: CONSIDER A DIFFERENT TYPE OF DEICER

If your pond seems to be no match for deicers, there are other options available. You can now find deicers that can be placed on top of your frozen pond. Once turned on, the device will melt a hole in the ice’s surface and continue to deice the pond once it is submerged. Not all deicers can do this, so be sure to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

The two methods above will need to be used if you deicer or aerator ever stops working and your pond freezes over. It is best to consistently check the hole in the ice at least once a week to ensure there isn’t any snow covering it. By following these steps, you should be able to prevent any major pond problems from occurring this winter season.

When you need pond care products and equipment, like deicers and aerators from PondMAX, be sure to shop at Castle Aquatics! Castle Aquatics carries a wide selection of pond equipment and products, from pond pumps to pond lighting. To find great Castle Aquatics products near you, locate the nearest Castle Aquatics dealer!

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Common Winter Pond Maintenance Mistakes

For pond owners, pond maintenance is always on their minds, especially during the warm summer months, when ponds are enjoyed the most. Many water garden and pond owners have the misunderstanding that once the temperatures drop, pond care is no longer necessary. The truth is, to maintain a beautiful and appealing pond, maintenance and care is required throughout the year, especially during the winter for those pond owners who reside in colder climates with harsh winters.

If you are a pond owner, is essential to maintain the health of your pond, especially during the winter. However, pond maintenance during the winter season must be done properly. To help ensure that owners care for their ponds the correct way, and avoid pond maintenance mistakes, we put together a list of mistakes pond owners should never make when performing pond maintenance.

MISTAKE #1: BANGING ON THE ICE

In the winter months, ponds are much more likely to freeze, especially in the colder regions of the nation. If you find your pond frozen and are unsure of which steps to take, be sure to check out our previous blog, What Should I Do If My Pond Freezes to guide you in the right direction. When ponds freeze, many pond owners know the importance of creating a hole in the ice to allow for proper gas exchange. However, what most pond owners do not know is that you should never hit or kick the ice in an attempt to create a hole. Banging on the ice of a pond can create sound waves that can be harmful to pond fish. Instead of trying to break the ice open, pond owners should use a de-icer to create a hole in the ice’s surface. If a person does not own a deicer, they can be found at almost any pond supply store, or instead of a de-icer, pond owners can create a hole in the ice by simply pouring boiling water on an area of the ice’s surface.

MISTAKE #2: FORGETTING POND WATER TREATMENTS

Pond water treatment is something that should be done during each season, not just the summertime. Just as pond maintenance is important year-round, a pond’s quality of water is just as important, if not more important in the winter than it is in the summer. Applying a quality bacteria blend to your pond at least once a month will help with preventing debris that normally collects in pond water during the colder seasons, leaving your pond fish happier and healthier.

MISTAKE #3: USING A CHEAP OR INEFFICIENT DE-ICER

As you now know, deicers can be extremely helpful in winter pond maintenance. Because de-icers play such an important role, it is important to ensure that pond owners are using a good quality, effective deicer with at least 1200 watts of power. Cheap deicers commonly fail or are not effective in ponds of larger sizes. However, purchasing a quality de-icer, pond owners can ensure that there will always be a  hole in the ice’s surface to allow for gas exchange, keeping your pond in good shape and providing pond inhabitants with a healthy environment.

MISTAKE #4: LEAVING A DEICER ON CONTINUOUSLY

Many pond owners have the misunderstanding that deicers need to be left running. The truth is, this actually is a bad idea. In the winter, deicers can consume a lot of energy. Pond owners who reside in colder climates may be tempted to leave their de-icer on to ensure their pond does not freeze over, but it is not really necessary. When using deicers, pond owners should periodically check on the hole. If the hole seems to be closing up, simply switch the de-icer on for a day or two to solve the problem and then shut it back down.

MISTAKE #5: FORGETTING TO TURN ON THE DE-ICER BEFORE GOING AWAY

Just as pond owners forget to turn off their deicers, many forget to turn them on. As mentioned above, it isn’t good for your de-icer to continuously be running, however there is an exception. If pond owners are going to be away from their pond, perhaps taking a trip to a much warmer area, for a week or more during the cold winter months, their pond’s de-icer should be left on. Forgetting to turn on your deicer before leaving for a while could leave you with a frozen and unfortunate situation upon your return. It is essential your pond has everything it needs, including a de-icer, before leaving. Ideally, if pond owners are going to be away from their pond, they should have a friend, family member, or neighbor care for their pond while they are gone. This way, a de-icer won’t have to run continuously and pond owners can save money on their energy bills.

MISTAKE #6: NOT SHUTTING DOWN WATER FEATURES

There’s nothing that adds beauty to a pond like an appealing, relaxing water feature, like a waterfall. However, for pond owners to ensure that their water features continue to run properly, they must first take the necessary steps to shut it down properly for the winter season. When shutting down a water feature, pond owners should:

  1. Remove the pump.
  2. Store the pump in a bucket of water
  3. Blow out the pipe and cap each end using a cleanout plug.

By following this shutdown process, pond owners can prevent pipes from bursting if the remaining water inside the pipes freezes.

MISTAKE #7: FEEDING FISH

Growing up, if your first pet was a fish, you were probably reminded to feed it over and over again. While it may seem counterintuitive to avoid feeding your fish, it is important to keep in mind that pond fish will naturally slow down their systems when the temperatures begin to drop. When this happens, fish are unable to digest food properly. While it may be tempting to feed fish during these cold months, giving them food can be harmful, it could even kill them.

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Guide To Winter Pond Keeping

Just because the chilly weather is here (depending on where you live) does not mean that you have to close your pond or water garden. In fact, there are a handful of benefits to keeping your pond running during the winter months, like the formation of gorgeous ice sculptures that collect on a waterfall or stream, turning your backyard into a winter wonderland. Although ponds and  water gardens can be breathtaking in the winter it is possible that the buildup of ice can act as dams, diverting water out of the pond. And, if you live in the North and Midwest regions, you have to be cautious of ice buildup as it is much more common in these areas.  

It is best practice to check on the water features and the water level of a pond or water garden during the winter. If ice starts to build up and you notice the water level decreasing, it may be time to turn off the pump until the spring. However, if you decide that you want to experience the beauty of winter ponds, and don’t mind the extra care and maintenance, your biggest concern is ensuring that there is enough water for the pumps to operate.

Keeping your pond or water garden running during the winter is possible, but it does have its challenges. If you’re a pond owner who is considering keeping your pond open throughout the winter, we put together a brief guide that will answer common questions when it comes to ponds, water gardens and the cold winter months.


Can Ponds Even Run Through The Winter?

This is a question we are often asked and there are two answers, yes and no. During the winter season, the usual water supply options are not available due to inefficiency. Automatic water fill valves and outdoor water spigots should be turned off. Leaving them run throughout the course of the winter season will increase the risk of the pipes  freezing and cracking. Without the use of these valves and spigots, water garden and pond owners who choose to keep their pond running will have to find an alternate source of water to help replenish their pond. Using a hose is a quick and simple way to supply water to your pond. That said, it is normal for pond owners to periodically add water to their pond during the winter season.


Will Waterfalls And Other Water Features Freeze?

The size of the pump plays a pretty important role in a water features ability to operate effectively during the colder months. For example, if your water garden or pond has a pump that kicks out at least 2,000 GPH it can easily be used throughout the winter as long as it is continuously running. Because the pump is continuously moving water, it will help keep a hole in the ice that is near water features and in front of the circulation system.

However, if you live in a climate that has repeated freezing temperatures it could lead to excessive ice build up. Having too much ice can cause the entire water feature to operate improperly. If you notice that the flow of water into the circulation system is inefficient at keeping up with the pump due to ice, it may be time to shut the system down. Once the ice breaks down and melts, restoring the normal water flow, the system can be turned back on.


Will Pipes and Filters Crack During The Winter?

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to keeping a pond open during the winter is if the cold will cause the pipes and filters to crack. Most open type pond filters are made out of polyethylene and are constructed to bend and bow along with the freezing and thawing that winter brings.  Pressure filters should be winterized and drained if full freezing takes place in your area.  The pipes also will not crack if you choose to keep the pump running throughout the winter as there will still be a flow of water moving through the pipe. And, moving water does not freeze. Pipes will only crack in the winter if stationary water is left in the pipe and allowed to freeze. 


Most ponds and water garden owners choose to shut down their system in the bitter winter months to avoid the maintenance and care it requires. However, keeping them open in the winter brings worthy aesthetics to your yard. We encourage pond owners not be afraid to keep their system running as long as possible, getting the most out of them!

When you need supplies to keep your pond running during the chilly winter months, from aeration kits to pond solutions and treatments, be sure to shop the wide selection of pond and water garden supplies at Castle Aquatics! Our professionals can answer your questions about pond care and maintenance, and are ready to help you find the products your pond needs to stay healthy and running properly. For more information, contact Castle Aquatics or find the nearest dealer.

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A Guide To Ideal Seasonal Pond Temperatures

One common goal that many pond owners have is maintaining a healthy and beautiful pond all year-round. One of the main tricks to keep your pond looking great through the summer, fall, winter, and spring, is to maintain ideal seasonal temperatures. For most pond life, but especially fish, maintaining the right temperatures each season plays a huge role in their survival. Throughout each season, it is essential for pond owners to keep an eye on the temperature of the water. Compared to the air, water temperature takes a long time to heat up or cool down, so having a thermometer is vital to figure out the correct temperature for the health and safety of your pond.

In addition, the deepness or shallowness of your pond or water garden will play a role in the water temperature. When a pond is deeper, light is decreased significantly. That being said, when a pond is shallower, light from the sun is able to heat the water faster.  It is for this reason that when the air is cold, the lower layers of water may still have warmth — all of which is essential to the survival of pond life during the various seasons.

Maintaining ideal seasonal temperatures can be a challenge for some pond and water garden orders. To help, we put together a seasonal guide for ideal water temperature for your pond or water garden.

Winter

Since we are currently in the winter season, we are going to start here! It is recommended that pond owners try to maintain a 40-degree water temperature in their ponds and water gardens in the winter season. Of course, depending on what climate you reside in, this may be more difficult for some owners than others. On the water temperature drops down below 40 degrees, it is important to shut off and running water features, like waterfalls or fountains. You will want to make sure that your pond is deep enough so that when the temperature falls, the fish will be able to go to the deeper, warmer parts of the pond. If you live in a colder climate where water often freezes, consider reading one of our upcoming blogs, ‘ What Should I Do If My Pond Freezes?’.

Spring

After winter, when the temperature starts to increase, your pond will start to warm up.  During this time of year, pond water should be between 55 and 65 degrees, Fahrenheit. Spring is a stressful time for fish as they are coming out of a dormant state. This causes them to have weakened immune systems, but when the water temperature is around 65 degrees, Fahrenheit they will become stronger and cause the fish to be more active and have a better chance of survival.

Summer

The ideal temperature for pond water in the fall is around 68 to 74 degrees, Fahrenheit. When the water is around 85 degrees, Fahrenheit and above, the pond water loses most of its ability to contain dissolved oxygen. In addition, high temperatures can cause pond fish to be more active, using up a lot of oxygen. When all the oxygen is used up and no more remains, it can cause the fish to die.

Fall

Across the nation, most pond water temperatures will start falling around September and October. Around this time, the water should be around 70 degrees, Fahrenheit. As the temperatures start to get cooler in the fall, it should be a goal to have your ponds water temperature to drop to around the mid-fifties. Maintaining this temperature through the seasons will allow for pond life to properly adjust to the shifting seasons.

By following these guidelines, pond owners will be able to keep their ponds throughout each season of the year. In addition to maintaining the ideal seasonal water temperatures, part of keeping your pond healthy is having the necessary equipment and pond care products. When you are in need of pond supplies, there is no better place to get pond products online than Castle Aquatics! We carry a wide selection of some of the biggest brand names in pond care products. Whether you are looking for pond filtration products or submersible pumps, pond lighting, or pond UV clarifiers, you will be sure to find it at Castle Aquatics!

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Aeration for Cooler Weather

For many new pond owners, pond aeration sounds too technical, but we are here to make it simple!

So first: What is aeration and what will it benefit your water garden and fish?

We should point out, you don’t “need” to aerate your pond, BUT a well designed and installed aeration system with proper air pumps will greatly enhance the oxygen levels and water circulation in your pond – which helps make sure your pond has less muck and less maintenance, which is a win-win situation.

Pond aeration simply means that you add an air pump to your pond to help oxygen levels in your pond achieve sufficient amounts. A pond air pump such as the PondMAX Complete Air Pump Kit will benefit your pond and aeration system in many different ways, especially for these summer days.

And for winter days, a pond air pump such as the Teton Aeration Kit is a must. This aeration kit provides a stabilizing effect for your pond by allowing oxygen to flow and regulate the pond’s natural behaviors. This kit will move the air stone up to a shallow edge in ponds a foot deep and creates bubbles that will help to keep a small section of ice open in your pond. The circulation and bubbles created by Teton pump and air stone will also help with gas exchange since the majority of your pond may be covered in ice. The amount of oxygen and circulation from this process can really help retain the quality of your pond hence make it prepared for when Spring and Summer comes back around.


Improving the oxygen levels and water movement to your pond is extremely important during hot summer days or if your pond has a large population of fishes.


Let’s dive into the list of benefits for using an aeration system:

  1. Most air pumps and aeration kits come equipped with pond air stones, which creates small bubbles and as those bubbles rise to the surface they create water lift and circulation. This circulation will bring the bottom, low dissolved oxygen water up to the water surface where there is have more oxygen to mix with. This way, you are able to double the oxygen levels of your pond, which in turn helps fish.
  2. Fish require a well-oxygenated environment and with the use of an air pump, you can fix stagnation-related problems like algae bloom, excess debris, surface runoff and noxious gases formation.
  3. If your main pond pump fails, an air pumps will save the day as a emergency backup to keep your fish alive for days and weeks while you work on getting a new pump.
  4. Useful during winter months if you turn off your main waterfall pump due to harsh winter climates, by helping to keep a small section of ice open in your pond which aids in gas exchange between the air and water if the majority of your pond is covered in ice.

Pond Aeration is the Secret to a Healthy Pond Environment


While not all ponds need aeration, having air pumps or aeration kits in the water will greatly benefit the pond environment. Increased water movement and contact with air can help turn a stagnant body of water into a thriving, healthy and well-oxygenated ecosystem.

 

Check out these Aeration Kits to get you started!

PA8

PondMAX Complete Air Pump Kit

PondMax aeration kits offer the perfect solution for a quick fix to your lack of oxygen or need for an ice deterrent. They are well suited to the elements of winter and can reduce the ice build up in ponds in cold areas as well.

Teton Aeration Kits

The Teton Aeration system is a very cost effective way to add oxygen to your pond. The kits come with an air pump, air tubing and air stones.  The air pump supplies air to the air stone below the water surface.

 

In need of some pond supplies? Check our PondMAX and Teton product lines, and when you’re read to order, visit our Dealer Locator to find a store near you: castleaquatics.com/dealer

Want to become an Authorized Dealer with Castle Aquatics? Click here to learn more!

 

 

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