As you can tell from This weeks unseasonable Winter blast, Winter is fast approaching here in Central Kentucky. We still have a couple of weeks before the consistent cold days set in. However, you may still be unsure what to do with your pond. Should you keep the pump running all winter or shut it down? Can you even keep a pond running all winter through freezing temperatures? What about my Fish this winter? Will they be their come Spring? While these may seem like daunting questions rest assured by performing a few couple of steps you can relax and enjoy the Winter while your pond and fish are safe and sound
Leave My Waterfalls Running?
Winter Pond Maintenance is usually the determining factor in whether or not Central Kentucky pond owners keep their pump running in the winter. The primary maintenance responsibility at this time is to make sure there is enough water for the pump(s) to operate properly all winter long. A Pond pump that provides at least 2,000 gph can be operated throughout the winter here in Central Kentucky without a problem, as long as it runs continuously. The moving water will usually keep a hole open in the ice around the waterfalls and in front of the skimmer.
There is nothing more breathtaking than a waterfall covered with ice formations and snow during the winter. You must, however, be careful with ponds that have long or slow-moving streams. In such cases, ice dams can form and divert water over the liner.
Kentucky Winter Pond Maintenance Tip:
Your pond will lose water during the Winter due to evaporation and occasional ice dams. We recommend that you keep a short water hose in your garage or basement to be used to add water to your pond if needed. There is nothing more frustrating than frozen water hoses!
If you feel that you can tackle the responsibilities of keeping your pond running during the winter, then go for it, because there's nothing quite like the breathtaking view of the winter pond in all its glory here in Kentucky!
Shut your Waterfalls Off for Winter?
Many of our Central Kentucky Pond customers choose to shut down their pond for the winter because they don't want to worry about ice dams or pay for the cost to run a larger pump. If you chose to shut down your waterfall for the winter, you'll need to replicate the effects of the waterfall by keeping the water oxygenated.
Since we do get sub freezing weather here in Kentucky, you should pull the Waterfall Pump from your skimmer & store it for the winter in a frost-free location, submerged in a bucket of water. The water around the pump housing will prevent the seals on the pump from drying and cracking. Since most submersible pumps are oil-filled, it is not suggested to let them freeze solid. To extend the life of the pump, it is a good idea to clear the impeller shaft free of any debris before winter storage.
You'll also need to add a floating heater or de-icer in order to keep a hole open in the ice. Most heaters are equipped with a thermostat that, when set at the proper temperature, switches the heater on only when needed.
Do not confuse a floating pond de-icer with a water heater. A pond de-icer won't heat the water; it will simply keep a small hole open in the ice.
A floating heater alone, however, will not oxygenate the water, so it should be used in conjunction with a Agitating pump or Pond Aerator. A bubbler pump on the shelf of the pond will agitate the surface water making sure it is broken by the aeration. The agitation from the pump will prevent freezing and provide oxygen or you can place a Pond Aerator in the pond to provide oxygen to the pond.
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What about My Fish?
And then there are your fish friends. What will become of them over the cold Kentucky winter months? Do they hibernate like a bear and wake up in the spring when you're there to greet them for a pond clean-out? Can they survive in only two feet of water? Won't they freeze solid into little precious fish-cicles?
The fact is that ornamental fish will do just fine in two feet of water here in Kentucky, as long as some form of oxygenation is provided, and a hole is kept in the ice to allow the escape of harmful gases.
Just remember that although they seem like they're sleeping down there, they still need oxygen in order to keep going and to meet you when the ice melts!
Regardless of whether you leave your waterfalls running or decide to shut them down. following these few simple steps will ensure your fish are safe and sound all Winter long.
President H2O Designs inc