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During the summer, I run my aeration system all the time. Can I just run it part-time during the winter so the pond will freeze for skating? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

During the summer, I run my aeration system all the time. Can I just run it part-time during the winter so the pond will freeze for skating?During the summer, I run my aeration system all the time. Can I just run it part-time during the winter so the pond will freeze for skating?

Klaus – Columbia, MO

If you’re the least inclined to use your pond for ice skating during the winter months, there’s only one way to go – and it doesn’t involve aeration.

Lots of pond owners choose to keep their aerators up and running during the winter months. It’s a logical choice – particularly when the pond is inhabited year ‘round by fish – because the aerator prevents the pond from freezing fully, allowing potentially gases produced by organic matter decomposition to escape. But for people who put a premium on ice skating, any aeration is a no-no.

Why? Because aerators keep water moving. And when water is moving, ice has a tough time forming. When it does form on an aerated pond, the ice is extremely porous, and nowhere near as strong as the solid ice that forms on still water. As a result, an aerated pond is never safe for skating – even if the aeration is sporadic. That’s the primary reason we recommend the ready availability of our Taylor Made 20” Life Rings to provide an added measure of safety for anyone who ventures onto the weakened ice.

So, if you choose to skate, it’s wise to shut down your aeration system completely. You can leave your airline and plate in the pond, but the cabinet and compressor should be stored indoors to prevent condensation and rusting.

If you love to skate, skate safely. And enjoy your pond with confidence all year long.

Pond Talk: Do you use your pond for skating in the winter?

Taylor Made 20 Inch Life Rings

5 Responses

  1. We have a ~1/4 acre pond in central WI that is stocked with fish and it is also used for recreational activities year-round. We have been aerating it continuously until the weather stays well below freezing. This holds the pond open during the transient weather of late fall. In about the last week of November when the weather looks like it will be calm for a couple days we shut down the aerator for the winter. At that point the pond freezes very quickly and we can usually build a smooth dense ice thickness in 7-10 days that is safe to use. In the early spring when the weather makes the ice unsalvageable we put the aerator back in service with the standard start process and the pond opens up completely in a relatively short periord of time.

  2. wow, I would never have thought you could skate on a Koi pond. Interesting information.

    • This article was actually posted in Farm Ponds & Lakes. While you COULD potentially skate on a koi pond if it were large enough, it usually isn’t as spacious and rewarding as having a 1/4 acre + pond to ice fish, skate and play hockey on. Furthermore, I would not advise taking sharp ice-skates anywhere near a pond that is contained by an exposed liner that could be torn or cut…not a good sight.

  3. Whoever writes these short articles has a real gift for writing. I learn alot and enjoy reading your responses to the questions. Thank you!

    • You are very welcome Sister Lucia Ellender. The Pond Guy staff tries their absolute best to answer questions that are interesting and relevant to our blog readers. We are glad you enjoy them.

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