How to Winterize Your Fish Pond [Video]

Winterizing Your Pond Is Easier Than You Think

Are you planning to leave your fish outside this winter? Leaving your fish outside is more simple than you think. It's certainly easier than bringing them inside. With a few helpful pond winterizing supplies, your fish pond can run all winter and be ready in spring. Just follow our Pond Expert Joe's advice...

NOTE: In order to keep your fish in your pond through the winter, your pond should be at least 2 to 2.5 ft deep. See Pond Winterizing FAQs for more details.

Winterizing Your Pond Quick Review

  1. Clean your pond. Get extra debris from the summer and fall out of your pond for the winter. This keeps build-up of toxic gases in your pond down for the winter, so it will be healthier in the spring.
  2. Keep a small hole open in your ice. A floating de-icer is thermostatically controlled, so it draws little power. Use a pond de-icer as opposed to a stock de-icer: they draw less power and are better for fish health.
  3. Get a small pump or air pump for water circulation. This speeds the exchange of gases, leaving less toxins in your pond. They are simple to set up. Just remember: Never place your pump directly on the bottom of your pond as your fish need 1-1.5 feet of undisturbed water at the bottom of the pond for proper hibernation. 

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Video Transcript

We’re getting into the season where it’s getting cold and you’re going to start thinking about winterizing your pond. Particularly if you’re going to be leaving your fish outside, there are a couple of things you’re going to need to do.

The one you always want to do is a quick clean of your pond so there isn’t a lot of debris holding over from the fall (leaves and that kind of thing). Before it ices up do a quick clean to get the extra debris out and that helps out a lot in the spring, and it also keeps [prevents] the build up of gases underneath the pond during the winter if it happens to freeze over.

The other thing is that in order to keep your fish alive, you need to keep a hole open on the ice. One of the best ways is to use a floating de-icer. They range from anywhere from 300-500 Watts, so they draw some power, but they are thermostatically controlled so they just keep enough to keep a little hole so gas can exchange out of the water so you don’t get a build up of toxic gas underneath and you get oxygen within the water so the fish can breathe.

There are other options. Some people do use stock pond heaters that you can pick up at farm supply stores. The downside of those is that they use way more power. They are generally 1500 Watts or more, so they are drawing more power. They're not thermostatically controlled, so they end up keeping your whole pond open which isn’t necessarily better because then your fish don’t hibernate naturally as well and if you get a warm spell and heats it up well beyond were it should be and you can have issues there so the pond de-icers are designed to let most of the pond ice up except for a hole your fish sleep at the bottom and hibernate all threw the year so you never have to worry about feeding them or any of that.

The other thing that you can add which can kind of be a secondary thing to work with the de-icer is just either a small water pump that you set to circulate the water or a small air pump which again just moves air which speeds up and makes it a little more efficient with the exchange of gases in the pond which again is a very simple thing to setup. The key you do want to know when you’re putting those in you never want to suck directly from the bottom so your water pump you never set directly on the bottom you want a foot to a foot and a half from the bottom of your pond where your fish can sit without any of the water being disturbed there so either your air stone or your air pump system or your circulating pump system should never be set directly on the bottom of your pond cause that can cause icing up right to the bottom which can kill your fish.

Other than that it’s a fairly easy setup so you can leave your fish out you worry about them in spring when it rolls around when the ice comes off. But you get yourself a de-icer or a little circulation pump and or air pump and away you go you’re ready for winter and in the long run it’s an easy simple way easier then bringing your fish in.