Q: Should I add a de-icer to the aerator in my water garden?
John – Ivoryton, CT
A: Before we broach this hot topic, let’s “break the ice” with a quick look at the differences between a de-icer and an aerator.
De-Icer: A de-icer’s simple purpose is to melt a hole in the ice that has formed on a container of water, whether a koi pond, water garden or livestock trough. Unlike a heater that actually warms the water, a de-icer melts through the ice sheet, thereby allowing harmful below-surface gases to escape and life-sustaining oxygen in.
Aerator: An aerator circulates the water below the sheet of ice that forms on a pond. In areas with relatively mild winters, that subsurface water movement will keep a hole in the ice that allows harmful gases out and oxygen in—but when temps really dip, an aerator may not be enough to maintain a vent hole.
Both a de-icer and an aerator help improve oxygen levels in your pond and, therefore, keep your fish healthy and happy.
If One is Good, are Both Better?
To answer your question: Yes, your aerated pond may appreciate some help from a de-icer, particularly if you live in a region with hard freezes.
Ponds that are already outfitted with an aerator, like one of the Airmax® PondAir™ Aeration Kits, benefit from its water circulation—but in areas with frigid winters, those systems may need a little help keeping a hole open in the inches-thick ice. So a de-icer paired with a nearby air stone will ensure the vent hole will remain open.
The opposite is also true. If you have a de-icer in place to keep a hole open in the ice, like the K&H™ Thermo-Pond 3.0 or K&H™ Perfect Climate Pond De-Icer, it’s a great idea to couple that with aeration system. The circulating action will help to encourage the gases forming under the ice at the bottom of the pond to reach the ventilation hole and escape.
If you’re in the market for a de-icer or aeration system, consider investing in a combo unit, such as the Airmax® PondAir™ and Thermo-Pond 3.0 De-Icer Combo. It’s the one-two punch your pond needs to keep breathing all winter long!
Pond Talk: With the recent arctic temperatures that have plagued folks in the Midwest and northern states, how have you kept a ventilation hole in your pond or water garden?