Winter waterfall question.

donaldb(5B Worcester, MA)December 15, 2010

Please settle this debate my wife and I are having about

leaving a waterfall on all winter here in Massachusetts.

The pond is about 650 gallons and her thoughts were

that by leaving the waterfall on the pond would be more

aerated, thereby giving the hibernating frogs a better

chance at survival. We always loose the frogs every

winter even though we have an electric pond deicer that

leaves a hole for any gasses to escape. Needless to say

all answers will be welcome with open minds.

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I don't have frogs (too many chemicals on near-by lawns and too many squirrels) but I would think survival would depend on whether or not they have material to cover them. Deep pots of loose organic material or duff would be good. Best would be loose garden soil outside of the pond.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 12:59PM
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lisa11310(z5 MI)

Im in Michigan and have a 600 gal preform pond. I sink "frog pots" flower pots with loose batting in them. I use a fish tank bubbler to aerate the water and keep an open spot in the ice. I dont dare leave the falls on (though I would like to for all the wildlife out here) because ice can form and divert the water from the pond leaving it nearly empty with no way for me to fill it back up (frozen hoses)that would kill all my fish and frogs. I have never found a dead frog in the 600 gal pond. I do find them in the small 50 gal ponds that create the falls. I now search these two little ponds just before we are supposed to freeze. I did find one that I put in the bigger pond. Wouldn't you know...the next day it was warm and the frogs were out, it froze that night and wont thaw out till March. I hope he did not go back to the little pond cause he's a goner if he did.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 5:04PM
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She is right but the pump must run 24 hours otherwise some pumps will get damaged in extreme colds while turned off. You could also us an air pump as is used in most winter applications to allow gasses and the such to escape in conjunction with a de-icer its a great way to keep your pond healthy during those cold months.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pond Air Pumps

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 7:19PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Curious as to what kind of frogs.?? If some type of natives why would you have to do anything at all??
What are the wild ones doing??? lol Would assume that in cold climates most die off or hibernate and have short life spans?? If not what are they doing??
Forgive my ignorance but frogs have been around a LOT longer than people so what did they do before you started helping?? lol gary

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 4:26AM
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donaldb(5B Worcester, MA)

Thanks for your comments. To garyfla, the frogs are green frogs. They are purchased as tadpoles at our local pond store and grow up during the summer needless to say in the pond. They have plenty of places at the bottom of the pond to hibernate, its just they can't seem to survive the winter. I do know, Gary, about nature and it's ways but we also know other people here in Massachusetts whose frogs survive the winter just fine. Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 9:22AM
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ccoombs1(7B SC)

I think I'd leave the waterfall off. It will aerate the pond, but since cold water holds oxygen better and hibernating frogs don't really need much oxygen anyway, it serves no purpose. What it will do is cool the water temperature as the cold air hits the sheet of water on the falls. Just leave the vent hole open in the ice and turn the waterfall off.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 10:20AM
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Ccoombs1 is right. Cold water has a lot of O2 in it so O2 isn't usually the problem. The problem is the other gases that can be produced in a pond. These include CO2 and HS both of which are poisonous. Then there can also be a build up of ammonia. The ammonia usually won't be a problem with the build up of CO2 the PH will drop and the ammonia won't be toxic. With the waterfall running the CO2 will be released into the air and the PH will not drop. The HS will be released into the air and won't be a problem. The bacteria on the pond walls maybe able to take the ammonia out of the water with the circulation. The problem with the waterfall running on a 600 gallon pond it will drop the water temperature but the frogs will be in any debri in the pond. This debri will produce heat as it decays and will keep the frogs a little warmer. In that small amount of water there is no way to know what the final out come will be. I have an outside pond at my shop that is 800 gallons. It is 18" deep above ground that is totally exposed to the weather. Last winter I used a pond breather for the fish and frogs in it. One frog did not make it but at least 15 did make it. A pond breather is a small pump that pumps water up an inner tube where it flows out down an outer tube above the water in the pond. There is a smaller heater to warm the water back up as it flows back into the pond through this outer tube. There are holes in this tube to exchange gases. It uses 40 watts of power. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 10:16PM
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donaldb(5B Worcester, MA)

Thank you everyone for the advise and have a Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 10:43AM
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lisa11310(z5 MI)

So what did you decide to do?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 4:43PM
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what is the best the best way to thaw out out my PM 5500 waterfall pump without removing it.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 9:51AM
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I live in PA and have had a pond for 8 years now. We leave the pump on at the water fall and turn on the heater just went it gets to freezing temp. We have never worried about the frogs and every year when spring comes we have more frogs and they are bigger then the last year, never found a dead frog.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 8:32PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

We are in the second week of sub-freezing temps after the January melt. Our water fall is still working. Admittedly it is running through an ice "pipe" from the outlet, two feet down to the surface of the pond which has elsewhere formed several inches of ice. The bottom of the "pipe" is over a foot wide. There is a large hole where the bubbler is working, as well. I doubt the waterfall would still function if the flow rate was less.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 3:47PM
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