• Archives

  • Categories

  • Pages

  • Follow me on Twitter

Do I need to watch the water levels in my pond during the winter? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Do I need to watch the water levels in my pond during the winter?

Q: Do I need to watch the water levels in my pond during the winter?

Paul – Wixom, MI

A: Even when winter’s chilly grip takes hold, your pond’s water level will still fluctuate. It likely won’t be as dramatic as summertime’s evaporation rates, but you should definitely keep an eye on the amount of liquid stuff in your pond throughout the cold months.

Causes of Winter Water Loss

During the summer, the sun’s warming rays heat the water in your pond and cause it to evaporate—and sometimes very quickly, depending on how warm the air and water temperatures get. But during the wintertime, water loss can be caused by:

  • Dry air: Low humidity—which is when the air contains little water vapor—can increase evaporation rates as the dry air will absorb the moisture from your pond.
  • Winds: Windy conditions can also escalate evaporation in your pond. A 5-mile-per-hour wind at your pond’s surface, for instance, results in roughly three times the rate of evaporation on a still day.
  • Ice expansion, formation: The liquid water will appear to dissipate in your pond as ice forms and expands.

A small amount of water level fluctuation is OK—but a few inches of water loss could leave your fish in ice, particularly if your pond isn’t that deep to begin with!

Keep It Topped Off

To keep water levels steady (and your fish thawed and happy), you don’t need to warm the water. Instead, you should plan to top off the pond when it dips more than an inch or two, just as you would during the spring and summer.

When you add water to your water garden, make sure it actually goes into the pond—not just on top of the ice. Feed the water through a hole in the ice using a garden hose or a thermostatically controlled hose such as the K&H™ PVC ThermoHose™, which prevents ice from forming in your faucet or hose. The unit’s built-in heating elements turn on automatically when temperatures dip below freezing so you’ll have liquid water coming out of your hose.

If you need to put a hole in the ice that’s on your pond, remember to never bust through it with a drill, hammer or other blunt object as the subsurface vibrations could harm your fish. Fill a bucket with hot water and pour it on one area of the pond to melt open a hole, preferably near the edge.

Pond Talk: How often do you need to top off the water in your pond or water garden during the winter?

Keep Your Hose From Freezing - K&H™ PVC ThermoHose™

9 Responses

  1. I have the same problem, although our pond is 5/8 acre and 13′ deep and averages about 6-7′ .
    Our pond dropped to -36″ over the summer.
    As I write this it is now -1″ from overflow.
    Rain, rain, rain, filled it in 3 weeks.
    But……I’m still considering drilling a well to keep it topped of.
    If it went 2-3 ft.- low again, I wouldn’t consider trying to top it off.
    Would take to long …I think??
    I would run it if it dropped 2″. Wonder how much water come out of a1 1/4″ waterline from a well????????????
    Does anyone think this is a good idea , or not?
    We moved here to have a pond, and fish and enjoy.
    For a 3-4 hundred dollars a season to pump water is OK with me.
    We do have a wet WX spring that feeds it.
    Help with some suggestions please.

    • Hi Ralph – The amount of water pushed from a well into your pond is going to depend on the size of the pump and how far it has to pump. Typically for 1-1/4″ tubing, we recommend not pumping more than 2500 GPH but depending on the well depth, that might be significantly less. Because you have a wet spring, your pump could be off during the rainy season and saving you money on energy costs. What would be the purpose of topping off the pond? Is it for aesthetics? Do you know how the water table is in your area?

      • thanks for writing,
        Typical wells here are 25 gal. per minute.
        Our house well is that.
        Our pond well would be at least 200+ ft from our house well.
        We have 30amp 220V down at the pond.
        The well would be for fish health, anti-stagnation, and aesthetics.
        It looked awful 36″ low.Now…we did have a dry summer.
        The rain we had was a lighter soakin’ rain.
        But, when it came it filled it up pretty quick.
        Basically a summer time thing, to replace evaporation and also to cool down the water a bit.
        I would shoot for a 20 gal/ min well and pray for an ARTISIAN !…lol lol

      • Hi Ralph – Some people use the dry season to clean up the edges of the pond (killing/removing weeds). Do you have an aerator in the pond? Using a well does cool the water down a bit but an aerator will keep a uniform temperature throughout the entire pond. Well water typically has very low levels of dissolved oxygen, so it would not be adding oxygen to your pond.

      • it would be interesting to see if anyone else has drilled a well for a farm pond and there comments and experiences.

  2. We have a three-acre pond, and it is about a foot or so low at the end of the season — it’s typically ten feet deep at its deepest, but now maybe only 8 and one-half feet. We’ve see low depths (lower than previous years) over the past couple of years or so. Do we need to put in a deep well to feed it (now it’s fed with springs and rain)?

    • I would suggest waiting to see what the colder months bring us in terms of precipitation. Every pond has cycles of high and low points. Adding a well is not only costly to dig but also to run throughout the dry season.

  3. I have a pond that is about 10 x 12 and 18 to 20 ” deep. There are about 25 gold fish in it. The pond gets just a thin layer of ice on it now but doesn’t freeze the whole way across. I removed the circulation pump and I have 4 air eaters running. Is that too much oxygen?


    • It is not too much oxygen. You may want to raise some of aerators up from the bottom of your pond. This leaves some warmer water at the bottom while still keeping a hole open in the ice.

Leave a Reply to mplotkowski Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: