Our Winter Pond Story

How we do winter at our pond...

The pond in the photo above (can you see it) was installed in 2009. Many people reading this will have seen it in person since we open it to the public during our biannual pond tour. From the beginning, we have always left the pond running in the winter -- until this winter. This year we made the choice to not run it.

Here is the pond from basically the same perspective in summer to get a better idea. This photo was early in it's existence.

This gives you an idea of what you are looking at under the snow and ice. It's about 30' x 15' and we have about 40 koi that range from 8" to 24".  We LOVE our pond and have loved watching it in the winter. We are avid birders and have been able to draw in so many different types of birds because of the water, waterfalls, and creeks.

So why not run it this winter? Our only reason is that we just aren't home much and we wanted the pond to be safe when we weren't there. Ok so now you might be thinking how can it be safe when it's frozen over? Right? It's not frozen over completely -- we have an aerator running on the far side. See the red circle in the photo below.

A robin has been enjoying the opening in the water for the past couple of mornings. The temperature was around 20 degrees. It is going to be in the single digits in the coming days and the ice will probably dome over and there will be no opening in the water at all.

Is that ok for the fish? Our fish will be just fine. While there won't be an opening, we will still be forcing fresh air into the pond through the aerator. We wouldn't want this situation for weeks at a time, but for a few days there's nothing to worry about.

We don't use a deicer either. The aerator is just fine to keep the fish healthy all winter long. If we were to run the pumps -- there are 3 on this pond, then we would have to be concerned about the water level. With a pump in a skimmer the water level is critical to the function of the pump. Being away from home so much, that was just a concern we weren't willing to have this year. As a matter of fact, there are no pumps running in our displays at Cool Ponds this year also. And there are no deicers in any of those pond either -- just aerators set to the appropriate level.

While there is a trade off -- we don't get to see the beauty of the waterfall in winter and the critters it attracts. We also don't have to do anything for the pond in the winter. Just make sure the aerator is running.

So this is our winter story with our pond. Don't be afraid of a small hole in the ice or a hole that domes over if you have an aerator. Relax, bundle up, and count the days until spring!

Now that's what I'm talking about!


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