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If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it?

Q: If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it?

Syd – Jackson, WY

A: Ice skating, hockey, curling, broomball, ice fishing—part of the joy of having your own pond or lake is all the wintertime sports that can be played on the ice. These frosty, fun activities are the main reason why folks shut down their aerator for the winter, as keeping one running will create a hole in the ice and make the ice sheet unstable.

If you plan to turn your lake into an ice rink this year, turn off, pull out and store your aerator before the ice begins to form. Why? Because if ice that forms on the water surface has been moving for even a short time, it can be porous and not suitable for skating. Even movement on one end of the lake and not the other can make the ice at the edges unsafe.

Here’s the shutdown process we recommend:

  1. Unplug and shut your aeration system down completely. It’s critical to do this before the ice starts to build on your pond’s or lake’s surface for the safety of those who will skate on the pond.
  2. Stow the cabinet and compressor away. Your airline and plate may stay in the pond, but the system’s cabinet and compressor should be stored indoors to keep dry and prevent condensation and rusting.
  3. Cover flex tube and airlines ends. Doing so will prevent debris from entering and plugging up the airlines.
  4. Have an emergency plan, just in case. While you’re prepping your lake for ice skating fun, now’s a good time to make sure you have water safety items available, too, like a Taylor Made Life Ring. If the ice breaks, a safety preserver like this can save someone’s life.

If you’re not using your pond for winter activities, keep your Airmax® Aeration System operating all season long so your fish will survive a winter fish kill caused by lack of oxygen. Don’t forget to move your diffuser plates out of the deepest water. This will give your finned friends a safe zone and prevent the super-cooling effect that happens in the chilled winter water.

Pond Talk: What are your favorite wintertime sports?

Be Prepared for any Pond Scenario - Taylor Made Life Rings

4 Responses

  1. I have a 3.8 acre pond in Iowa. It is about 1200 feet long and around 200 feet wide at the dam. The shallow end is only 50 foot wide and that is where I run one diffuser during the winter to keep a hole open in the ice. This hole is about 800 to 1000 feet from the dam. Would be safe to ice fish near the dam with this much distance from the air hole

    • Hi Mary – There are so many factors involved it would be difficult to say and I would not recommend venturing onto the ice without checking for ice thickness and density.

  2. When do I stop feeding our cats and bluegills?

    Usually they feed frantically , but last evening …nothing! Temps have been down in 30’s at night and 40’s in day for last week or so.

    Also, the bass don’t seem to eat the dry pellet food. What should I feed them?

    We have a worm farm and we feed em’ worms in the summer evenings…..wow! they go crazy over them!.

    Anything else I can feed them for faster growth?


    • Hi Ralph – Typically, all feeding should stop when your water temperatures drop below 50°F. At this point, they begin to become dormant. If they are hungry, they will feed on algae in the water. Bass are hard to pellet train. As you know, they like live things, like worms, minnows, insects. I would just make sure you have plenty of prey fish for them to feed off of. This will keep your pond in balance and grow your bass.

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