Electric deicer for my pond?

foodfiend_gardener(6a)October 6, 2012

We have a 1200 gallon pond with rubber liner, depth varies from 12" to 20". We have had goldfish and green frogs for the last several years, and they live in it year round (as do a corkscrew rush and water lilies).

I had previously kept the pond clean by cleaning accumulation in the spring, then with regular scooping and partial water changes throughout the summer. In the winter, I've tried to keep a hole open with a pot of hot water.

This past spring I bought a Lifegard Aquatics All-In-One and was very pleased with the results. The water is clean, and we enjoy the fountain feature (it's a bio and mechanical filter, uv filter and fountain). The pond has never looked so good.

I am now phasing out (decreasing the usage hours of) the filter and fountain to prepare for taking it out for the winter. I think that I should now buy an electric deicer so that I can keep a nice hole in the ice (we put in a new electrical outlet for the pond pump, so now can plug one in instead of my lugging hot pots of water out to the pond! Yay!).

Does anyone have any brand/ model recommendations?

Also, I'm allowing some maple leaves to sink to the bottom of the pond in the deepest area so the frogs can have a place to hibernate. That never was a problem in previous years, but the pond bottom has been so clean all year that I feel I should do something. Any suggestions or other ideas?

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Mike56(7a)

Hi, It sounds like your pond is about the same size as mine. I am in the NE zone 7.

Leaves: I always use a net in the fall to remove them so they don't rot on the bottom or make it toxic where my fish hang out for winter. I don't know if this is the best approach or not but I too like a clean pond. The problem with no leaves is its hard for the frogs to find cover for winter. I do lose 2-3 every year. I would like to find something I could put into the pond for the frogs like the filter material at the bottom of my skimmer for them to get under but won't make a mess.

Hole in the ice: I don't use a heater because mu pond installer said it draws the frogs to the warmth and they die when temps get colder. Basically it screws with their natural timing for hibernation. I also never liked the idea of adding very hot water to melt ice for fear of harming the fish. I use a fountain pump with a 3/4 inch outlet placed at about 12" deep. This is often referred to as a bubbler pump. You want it to point straight up and disturb the water to about 1-2" above the normal water level. If need be you can add a short length of hose to accomplish the correct affect. In extreme cold it may start to dome over. I break the ice dome when needed to keep it from closing over. This has worked for me and about 15 KOI since 2004.

If anyone has ideas on how to protect frogs in a fish pond I would like to hear them.

Mike

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:19AM
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foodfiend_gardener(6a)

Nice pond, Mike! I like the pebble bottom-- do you keep it this clean just with a filter and scooping leaves?

I don't pour water on the ice to melt, I sit the pot (filled w/ boiling water) on top of the ice until it melts a hole.

Do you keep your bubbler running all day long in the winter? And I worry that keeping something aerating all winter will keep the water colder than if the water was still. Any ideas?

I appreciate the info about frogs and an electric deicer. I really like our green frogs and don't want to do anything that may hurt them. :) I think I'll start another post with the question of how to provide an underwater winter habitat for them.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:08PM
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Mike56(7a)

Thanks for the pond complement. The pebbles give surface area for the good bacteria to grow on so they can do their job. The leaves are only a problem in the fall so I just net them out. I also run a skimmer and bio-falls until it starts to ice up. The bubbler runs 24/7 once I shut down the falls. It may cool the water some but it seams to get the job done. Without it the hole would close up very fast when the temp is below 25F.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:55AM
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mbhoneybee63(5)

Our pond is about 1600 gallons and 3 ft at it's deepest. For the last 3 yrs we have left our waterfall running with our submersible pump. The first year we bought 2 de-icers from TSH that are used to keep water troughs from freezing. One was submersible and one floated. They both have guards on them to not only protect your fish, but also the liner of the pond. I placed the floating one in just as soon as the pond started freezing over and did not realize until the following month how very expensive it was to keep that thing running. It cost us over 75.00 to keep our pond from freezing that month. Although it was and exceptionally cold winter that year, we decided to just continue keeping our waterfall going. If you are ever in the Springfield, Oh area let me know...I would gladly give you one.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:26PM
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foodfiend_gardener(6a)

mbhoneybee, wow. I didn't realize it was so expensive to run one of those! You sealed my "no deicer" decision! I'm going to try and figure out if I could use my filter/ fountain with no fountain-head instead of buying a bubbler. Hopefully I have a few weeks before the surface ices over... *sigh*

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:02PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

You can make a lightbulb deicer cheaply and it works very well. I just don't know if you need a deicer in zone 6. A bubbler, yes. I run the skippy all winter long too.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:55PM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

just to add in my experience with my 900g pond. I keep the main filter/pump and a small bubbler running all winter. This works for a good portion of the winter. The bubbler keeps it from freezing all most as much as the pump.

What i did last year (just once since it was a mild winter) was once the ice froze solid, including making the ice domes over the pump outlet and bubbler is to take a cordless drill with a paddle bit and drill a large circle of holes around the bubbler area. Then you can just lift a big circle of ice out. This was much quicker and cheaper then melting a hole down to the water with the deicer or pot of hot water. The fish are 3 feet down, and didn't seem to mind the noise.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:34AM
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