Frozen over? Yikes!!

Marcus1017January 26, 2014

I'm sure this has been asked and is a hot topic. It's Jan 26th and in NJ. The polar vortex is kicking my ponds butt. Pond is 5000 gallons, at its deepest 3 feet. Past winters have not been as rough as this one. Deicer isn't holding it own.. As the weather has prevented it from working as it should. Have a air pump with 6 stones. I bunched them is two groups to form two holes. It was holding up until yesterday. Pond completely froze over. Where the bubbles are, has now turned into two frozen cones. I could still see space between the ice and the water. Question is: should I let it be, as the pond is still receiving oxygen, or should I attempt to melt a hole?

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I am also in NJ and having the same problem this year. I have been melting a hole in the ice two to three times a day by placing a pot of hot tap water on the ice. This should be done to let the water outgas.

Caution; the ice may not hold your weight so you should try to do it from the edge of the pond. I still have scares on my shin from 4 years ago when I went through the ice. The bubblers will keep the ice thin. You should also rig the pot so you can retrieve it when it falls into the hole it made. A pipe and duck tape handle extension is best but I am using a rope. Its best not let it go all the way though at all because it is hard to get it back out once it does.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Mine looks totally iced over too despite a really large bubbler and a heater. I hope I don't have dead fish in the Spring. I am hoping that somewhere, there is some gas escaping.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:00PM
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I am in Georgia and have had to punch out the ice in the bubbler cone with a stick 2 times. So far the bubbler has kept it from freezing real thick inside the cone. We are not use to all this cold. I have already lost one of my fish and keep checking to make sure no more are floating under the ice. My ponds are both about 30 inches deep so I see some of the fish swimming slowly around near the bottom. Come on Spring!!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Hey guys, I'm in Pa. on the NY border. I am totally iced over. I am really worried about my fish. I've read articles saying that gases naturally escape because the ice on the pond is not a complete seal. However, My garden pond is only two feet deep, Luckily I see the submergible pump still running. However air stones, heater and pump is domed over. I'm really hope I don't lose them all. Last fall I built my dream pond and I felt it was too late to move them. I'm really wishing I did now. GL Ponders!!!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 5:37PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

As long as the air stones are working there shouldn't be a problem. The bubbles are carrying oxygen and moving water. A three foot depth would be better but so long as the water is moving the fish should survive.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:13PM
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I have also heard that, no matter how thick the ice, there is still gas escaping around the edges of the pond - especially where you have rocks and plants. Our pond iced over completely last year for probably 3 weeks - we had shut down the waterfall and had no circulation whatsoever. Come spring the fish were all fine. Hopefully the same will hold true this year. We kept the pond running this year, but the snow has completely covered the pond so it's impossible to tell if there's any hole left open or not. Fingers crossed, since we are back under the Polar Vortex for another few days... temps well below zero again. Yikes!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:42PM
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How long your fish can survive with the pond totally frozen over is a function of how many fish you have and your pond volume. I had my thermopond heater die two winters ago in February. The hole closed up and my fish were fine when the ice went. So last winter I did not use a heater to keep a hole open. When the ice went out I was pulling out dead fish. Everyone died.

Yes, there is probably some gas escaping from the edges of the pond but if you have a liner or concrete pond like most of us, there is too little escaping.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:18AM
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johnkr(z5 PA)

I've tried all kinds of methods of keeping a hole in the ice over the years. An aquarium bubbler is the best solution because the bubbles help carry gasses to the top.
The bubbler will not sustain a hole when the temperatures get really cold and a backup plan is needed.
I've used a 1500-Watt Sinking Tank Heater for years and it did a good job of keeping a hole open and increasing my electric bill.
Several years ago I purchased an ice auger. They are used by fisherman to drill holes in the ice during the winter. I have a hand operated one. It takes a little bit of physical work, but it opens a hole very quickly. Since it is a drill, there is no pounding that could harm the fish. I can stand at the edge of the pond and drill a hole in a few minutes.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:41PM
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We have had a normal winter here but my air pump went out during one of our heavy freezes is December. I ran a garden hose from the kitchen sink out to the pond and let it run hot water on the ice till I had holes and fixed the air pump. Ice was about 4"-6" thick.

Initially I tried a small blow torch but the hot water worked much better,

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 6:51PM
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sandyl(Zone 6B -7)

The trick is to cover the entire pond up with a heavy duty tarp. I use 2 x4's and make a frame, the frame doesn't have to be but about 6 or 8" inches high above the water surface, once the frame is placed over the pond put a piece or two of ply board on top of the frame and over the entire thing with a heavy duty canvus tarp and pull the tarp taut to the ponds edges and place large rocks on the pulled tight tarp. Its the wind that freezes the ponds. My garden pond is an above ground pond and I covered it with a 10 x16 ft brown heavey duty tarp and we have been down the to wind chills blow zero within the last two weeks with highs during the day in the low teens and I have a 100 gal stock tank on above the pond with a 3600 GPM pump that run 24/7 and there hasn't been any ice to deveople on the pond at all, I run the pump 24/7 year round and have for 13 years this years. With just a little engieering a modernly sized ponds can be covererd up. Snow on top of the ply board and tarp will also help insulate the pond.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Sandy, that is a great idea and if I had a smaller pond I have thought I would build a frame from pvc and cover it with clear plastic sheeting. It would work like a green house and keep the pond from freezing. But with a 21' x 17' pond, it is not really an option.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:56PM
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