Allowing pond water features to freeze solid during the winter is a danger to every aspect of a pond. How so? A dam – surface layer (the water will freeze horizontally rather than vertically) of ice blocks water flow, allowing the surface of the pond to become still and eventually freeze over. If not cared for, this can cause fish to die from a lack of oxygen or from the dropping temperatures. It also poses a danger to other pond accessories, like pumps and filters. Fortunately, there are some great options for winter-proofing pond water features.
Shut Down Backyard Water Features for the Winter
It may not be the easiest option, but nothing is more effective at presenting – preventing? winter damage than shutting down your entire pond. Start by moving plants and animals to an indoor aquarium for the season. Then, completely drain the pond. Finally, detach all pumps and filters, clean them, and store them indoors for the winter. This completely removes any chance of pond damage caused by freezing water. – pumps need to be stored in water
The downside of this option is, of course, the amount of effort involved. Also, the transition may be difficult for fish and plants, and they may not all survive the move.
Be Alert for Ice Build-Up Around Pond Accessories
In mild climates, fully shutting down your backyard pond is probably not necessary. Instead, you can leave your water pump running, allowing the pond water features to circulate water all winter. The movement of the water is often enough to keep the pond from freezing over. – this is not what we would recommend. If the pond is at freezing temperatures, they should remove their pump a store indoors (in a bucket of water). It is better to have the majority of the surface of the pond freeze over except for a small hole that can be created with an aerator or deicer. This will keep temperatures at the bottom of the pond as warm as possible allow for toxins to be emitted. However, if this is what you choose to do, keep a daily routine of pond maintenance which includes checking for any ice build-up. Have a floating thermometer in your pond so that you can keep an eye on dropping temperatures and take quick action to prevent freezing. Some pond owners also choose to use a heater or floating de-icer to help prevent frozen water features.
Water features for ponds are a wonderful addition to your water garden landscape. It takes a little more effort, especially in fall and winter, to keep them working their best, but the beauty they bring is well worth the work. – if this is supposed to be about water features, we should talk about spitters and waterfalls more than the general pond. We actually did not mention any specific care about the water features.
If you have more questions about winterizing your pond, check out the “All About Winter” section of our FAQ page.