Q: I was out at my pond today and it is still partially covered with ice. I have a de-icer and aeration – isn’t that enough to keep the ice off my pond?
Mark – Buffalo, NY
A: During these frigid months of the year, a hole in the ice means the difference between life and death for your pond fish. That opening allows oxygen to flow into the liquid water while it dissipates harmful gases caused by decaying debris and fish waste into the air.
Bubblers and de-icers both keep a hole open in the ice, but they go about it differently.
- Bubblers, like the ones found in Airmax® PondAir™ Aeration Kits, are designed to gently and quietly move the water surface, and that action keeps a hole open in the ice. The aerator also delivers oxygen to the lower levels in your pond while bringing harmful gases to the surface to be released.
- De-icers, such as the Thermo-Pond De-icer, melt surface-forming ice and create a gas exchange vent in the ice. While effective, during cold windy nights they may not be be enough to keep a hole open on their own.
- Bubbler-De-icer Combos, like Airmax® PondAir™/Thermo-Pond De-icer Combo, is an energy-efficient option. Because the aerator will bring harmful gases to the surface and your de-icer helps to keep the hole melted, you’ll be sure to keep the ice vent open.
The bubblers, de-icers and combos are not designed to warm the water or keep the entire pond surface ice free. They’re meant to keep an opening for gas exchange, which is all that’s needed for the fish in your pond.
As long as the equipment you have in the pond is sized correctly (see your manual for details on what yours can effectively handle), you won’t need a larger hole. Your fish are less active, not eating and producing less waste, and so they won’t have the gas exchange requirements they do in the warmer months.
If your vent does freeze over during extra cold temperatures, simply pour hot water on the ice where the hole once was. It’ll melt the hole back open – and your fish can breathe a sigh of relief!
Pond Talk: How do you keep a hole in the ice in your water garden?
Filed under: Water Gardens & Features, Aeration - WG, Seasonal Care, WG-Winterizing, Deicer | Tagged: Aeration, de-icer, de-icers, frozen pond, gas exchange, harmful gases, hole in ice, ice, KoiAir, pond air, pondair, winter, winterize | 6 Comments »