Results 1 to 30 of 30

Thread: Raised pond wintering

  1. #1
    DIYFK member Kimchi24's Avatar


    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    10
    Post Thanks / Like

    Raised pond wintering

    I am planning on building a RAISED pond in my new backyard where there is plenty of shade (roughly 3-4 hours of exposed sunlight a day). I'm planning on building it before the winter and having it set up for early summer. A long time from now but this question has always concerned me. Is it fully possible to keep a raised pond insulated enough to have it not freeze over in the winter? I was thinking a pond liner with foam insulation under it with plywood with more foam insulation and another plywood on top of that.


    Can this do ANYTHING??? or should i just bring in my livestock every winter?

  2. #2
    DIYFK member Timmsy's Avatar


    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Eastbourne, UK
    Posts
    226
    Post Thanks / Like
    From what i understand so long as you have an air pump pumping in air through an air stone then the chances of it actually icing over are slim.

    You could always use a heater for the winter i guess.

    Although that's all based on UK temps only getting down to around -10 or -15c so im pretty sure over there its colder

  3. #3
    DIYFK member sincere01's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    369
    Post Thanks / Like
    I think stable ground temps will be much different than just insulating the pond. Temps below the frost line are pretty stable year round. Insulation will slow the transfer of heat, but something insulated yet unheated that is exposed to ambient temps will eventually equalize in temperature.

    I would think if you have a heater to keep the pond warm it might work and the insulation would definitely be needed. Pumps, air pumps, etc all create friction and add heat to the system. Just not sure how much.

    I don't have a pond though and don't live in as cold of a climate as you. Hopefully someone with a raised pond, or a pond of any sort will chime in. Maybe Graham will. If I remember correctly he has a BEAUTIFUL inground pond and a shed with an indoor pond for his fish during the winter.
    10 Gallon Glass with K1 Bottle Filter- 5 neon Tetras, Betta, Albino Bristlenose

    90 Gallon Glass with wet/dry sump- 32 Mbuna, L083 Sailfin

  4. #4
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    3,014
    Post Thanks / Like
    Get a pond or livestock heater, I highly doubt anything above ground will not risk a freeze over (deadly to fish) or a solid freeze in a Toronto winter... Insulation doesn't create heat it only hinders the exchange of heat, so you need to put heat in or else it will normalize with the ambient temp even if insulated it will just take longer...

    With a lid on the pond (leave some ventilation space if it's stocked and/or better yet use an air pump) and a floating pond heater you should have no problem keeping it liquid... I have a roughly 300 gallon livestock tank, and with a pond heater in there and a piece of scrap 2" foam sheet on top I can keep it liquid all winter in Northern Illinois, and that is not insulated on the sides at all just the metal tank sides... In extreme cold the ice will start to creep in from the walls but the center still stays liquid and as soon as it warms back up to normal winter temps in the area it goes full liquid again...
    Last edited by Meep; 08-14-2014 at 06:25 PM.

  5. #5
    DIYFK member Kimchi24's Avatar


    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    10
    Post Thanks / Like
    is the floating pond heater the same as a de-icer?

  6. #6
    DIYFK member icydeath's Avatar


    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Folsom, CA
    Posts
    10
    Post Thanks / Like
    Well Kimchi raises a good point. The heater will keep the temperature up, but a de-icer will keep the pond from freezing over. Will it raise the temperature? Yes. But no where near as much as a heater. On the flip side, a heater is more expensive to run in winter.

    A heater is much better to use in extreme cold climates and in above ground ponds as they are more effected by the temperature than inground ponds so I also recommend you get a heater and some air pumps like was said earlier.

  7. #7
    Banned Graham 83's Avatar


    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Brookside Nova Scoria
    Posts
    679
    Post Thanks / Like
    As mentioned a hole needs to be kept open in the ice for gas exchange. It would cost a fortune to keep the surface completely ice free. Most ponders that I know, with raised ponds in colder climates, such as Toronto construct small green houses over their ponds. This is easy to do with some 2 x 4 and heavy mil plastic. Above ground ponds get much colder than in grounds even with a some insulation around them. The smaller the pond the bigger of a problem this is. Koi can take temp in the high 30* but once that temp gets down around 34*>35*F they usually end up in trouble. Ideally you would build a winter holding tank for them in the basement or garage.

  8. #8
    DIYFK member Stryf's Avatar


    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,704
    Post Thanks / Like
    I had an above ground pond at my old house. I built the walls like a house wall. I framed them out with 2x4. I lined the inside of the walls with cabinet grade 3/4 inch birch ply, I lined the ply with 1/4 inch foam insulation, and covered that with a pond liner. I insulated the wall with regular house insulation. I covered the outside of the walls with an exterior sheeting. I never had any issues with the pond freezing. I did use a dicer in the winter to keep a hole for oxygen exchange.
    2300 Gal pond: 7 Koi, 2 Goldfish, 2 Catfish
    125 Gal: 1 Reticulated Stingray, 2 Bala Shark, 3 Neon Tetra, 1 Glo Fish, and several guppies.

  9. #9
    DIYFK member Kimchi24's Avatar


    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    10
    Post Thanks / Like
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Stryf Click here to enlarge
    I had an above ground pond at my old house. I built the walls like a house wall. I framed them out with 2x4. I lined the inside of the walls with cabinet grade 3/4 inch birch ply, I lined the ply with 1/4 inch foam insulation, and covered that with a pond liner. I insulated the wall with regular house insulation. I covered the outside of the walls with an exterior sheeting. I never had any issues with the pond freezing. I did use a dicer in the winter to keep a hole for oxygen exchange.
    and this never froze over huh? Wow, I might give this a shot. How big was your pond (dimentions and gallonage?)? I was hoping to have mine 5x3x3 or 6x3x3, giving me 330 gallons aprox or 405 gallons approx. I'm assuming size matters :P

  10. #10
    Banned Graham 83's Avatar


    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Brookside Nova Scoria
    Posts
    679
    Post Thanks / Like
    Size really matters! A 330 galon pond will pretty much turn into an ice cube with koicicles. I have beside the main pond a 440 gallon in ground and it all but freezes solid in our winters

  11. #11
    DIYFK member VEAL MARSALA's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Marco Island
    Posts
    39
    Post Thanks / Like
    Had an above ground pond when I lived in New Jesrsey.
    5 x 3 x3 but was actually 1' below grownd 2 above get a de icer....I had no problems without one for 5 years...
    then 1 winter had Koi-cicles!
    IT'S NOT A HOBBY, IT'S A WAY OF LIFE!

  12. #12
    Moderator megaphoenix's Avatar


    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    7,260
    Post Thanks / Like
    Just throwing my 2 cents in for what it's worth, your area gets way too cold for any viable options other than rehoming in the house during the winter months. A pond needs to be at least 8-10 feet in the ground to maintain a healthy fish when the freezing weather hits, less if you live in a warmer climate like me who still needs at least 5-7 foot of depth.

    A large heater may help but a deicer is really only going to put a small hole in the ice for some gas exchange, and that is about it.
    DIYFishkeepers.com, bringing the world together one tank at a time.

  13. #13
    Banned Graham 83's Avatar


    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Brookside Nova Scoria
    Posts
    679
    Post Thanks / Like
    Meg thats a little over kill....a pond of at least 3'deep and 6'x 6' would not have a problem over wintering fish in our climate with a hole kept open in the ice. My main pond is 25' x 15' x 3' and housed my pond grade koi for many years.....once I got into show grade fish thats when they started coming inside. My neighbors pond is also 3' deep and 7' x 12' and they house thier fish outside year round.

    As a general rule a koi pond shoukd be at least 1000 gallons and 3' deep, stocking rates of 1 fish per 250 gals....anything smaller should be a goldfish pond

  14. #14
    Moderator megaphoenix's Avatar


    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    7,260
    Post Thanks / Like
    I don't think so, but then I am also going on the assumption (Yeah I know) that he is keeping koi or goldfish who can survive as long as they freeze and an above ground pond can freeze up if the temps get down as low as I think they do. I live down here so I am not familiar with the winters up there except that I get a little jealous of the snow amounts I see on the news. Remember too this is not only about freezing but in how warm one can get in summer conditions.
    DIYFishkeepers.com, bringing the world together one tank at a time.

  15. #15
    Banned Graham 83's Avatar


    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Brookside Nova Scoria
    Posts
    679
    Post Thanks / Like
    I know dozens of koi hobbyists from all over the US and Can, from all types of climates and while its nice to have the depths that you're talking about its not needed for freezing problems. Aquascapes Inc out of Mi. sells hundreds of their over priced ponds every season and their maximum depth is 24". Koi and GF can survive if all conditions are right down to about 34* after that they are in trouble

  16. #16
    DIYFK member kjohnsonjazz's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like
    I completely agree with mega. IF you get the tank to be at or slightly below the frost line the bottom can't freeze. the heat transfer from the ground would ensure that. At this point you just need enough heat to keep the surface from freezing over. If you were in southern Missouri or something like that I would say frame it up, insulate it, and put a couple of heaters in it. Canada is much colder and it stays that way. Now I am not saying that you could not put enough heat in there to keep it working but it would be expensive to maintain. The deeper underground you could get the more inexpensive and safe the pound would be for any fish you ever decide to put in it. I think that Mega is focusing on cost to heat in the winter and cost it would take to keep it cool in the summer. The ground fixes both of these problems since it maintains a fairly constant temperature year round. The deeper you get underground the more consistent those temperatures get.

    I would love to see an above ground tank work that far north but I don't seeing it work without great expense. If expense isn't a problem get a big cooler and a few big heaters and go for it. Don't forget post pictures if you decide to. We will love seeing them!

  17. #17
    DIYFK member kjohnsonjazz's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like
    I was thinking about it too. You may be able to build an underground sump...... it would need a way to breathe but you could in theory help heat and cool your tank with a sump below the frost line. You would just need a pump that can handle the 10 foot head height.


    1. Throughout most of the U.S., the temperature of the ground below the frost line (about 3 to 5 feet below the surface) remains at a nearly constant temperature, generally in the 45 -50 F range in northern latitudes, and in the 50 -70 F range in the south.

    2. Ground Source Heat Exchange

      geoexchange.sustainablesources.com/

      It would basically be a heat pump like a lot of houses and large buildings use in the US. I don't know how the numbers compare in Canada but a frost line is a frost line. you would at least be able to maintain 45 F in the winter which would get you a long way. Set up mechanical filtration above ground and you rare good to go



      Does anyone else think that this idea would work? It makes sense to me but I might be missing something.



  18. #18
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    3,014
    Post Thanks / Like
    Toronto is hardly that brutal in the winter, no worse than where I live in Chicago really... It's not hard to keep the water liquid with a heater and it's not overly costly either as it's only for a few months and you are only boosting the temp a few degrees above the average outside temps... The reality is that the few hundred watts it will cost to keep the water above say 35 for a few months is really not that much of a cost in the big picture, and it's not going to be on all the time just for a few months and only to cycle the water above freezing... With a lid on the pond this is honestly pretty easy to accomplish...

    As for geothermal, by the time you factor in the cost of the plumbing and running the pump it's probably not going to be cost effect...

    When I consider what is actually involved with building say a few hundred maybe 1000 gallon buried sump 10 feet below the surface, I would gladly just toss in a heater...

  19. #19
    DIYFK member kjohnsonjazz's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like
    Well if it is that mild there you might be fine. I am just basing it off of a colder version of Iowa. I wouldn't try it here. This last winter it only broke freezing 2 or 3 times in 3 months. That is a lot of heat in a tank like that. My heat bill for my house confirms that.

  20. #20
    DIYFK member Kimchi24's Avatar


    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    10
    Post Thanks / Like
    Ah, this feels too intimidating to try. As a person who has never had a pond before.... I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and buy a 55 gallon to home my fish and plants for the winter. Unfortunately, I don't have the option to dig a hole anywhere. I have to make it above ground Click here to enlarge

  21. #21
    DIYFK member kjohnsonjazz's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like
    Haha well that is the easiest option. Might not be the most fun but it is the easiest! : p Honestly that is what I would do too. This way you can enjoy them all year round.

  22. #22
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    3,014
    Post Thanks / Like
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by kjohnsonjazz Click here to enlarge
    That is a lot of heat in a tank like that. My heat bill for my house confirms that.
    You really can't compare heating the huge volume of air in the house to say 70 vs heating a small volume of water to 35...

    Consider this if you have an aquarium in your house, and your house is at 70 for the winter and you want your aquarium at 80 it's going to requires a 10 boost over ambient... Now consider what that same 10 boost over outside temps will do on most winter days... Per gallon it's going to cost more to heat your average inside aquarium for 12 months vs heating a pond during the 2-3 winter months...

  23. #23
    DIYFK member kjohnsonjazz's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like
    What I am getting at is that in ground pounds will always be more efficient when including some depth to water then an above ground tank. The ground will help maintain temperature. That is all. What I as getting at with the heat bill comment was that it was freaking cold out. My biggest worry with all of this would be an overnight heater failure. It would be just my luck it would be a super cold night and I would wake up to frozen fish.

  24. #24
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    3,014
    Post Thanks / Like
    The OP has said that digging is not an option... There are always "what ifs" when you have an outdoor pond or even an aquarium... Yep, heaters fail inside or outside, it's a risk you take, so on the same token you can do the same thing many do for indoor aquariums that is run two heaters so you have redundancy, it doesn't cost anymore over the initial heater cost...

    I can say with 100% experience with my small outdoor pond (and even my moms huge pond we dug) that we have lost more fish to predators and summer heat then we have ever lost to winter cold...

  25. #25
    DIYFK member kjohnsonjazz's Avatar


    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    319
    Post Thanks / Like
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by kjohnsonjazz Click here to enlarge
    Haha well that is the easiest option. Might not be the most fun but it is the easiest! : p Honestly that is what I would do too. This way you can enjoy them all year round.
    Got it. nice chatting with you.

  26. #26
    Banned Graham 83's Avatar


    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Brookside Nova Scoria
    Posts
    679
    Post Thanks / Like
    When you start trying to maintain several thousand gallons of water at 35* outside even with thermal help it costs. I know this from experience and the experience s of others. Even my 2500 holding tank which is located in a greenhouse where I use an 1800watt imerison heater costs an average $100 a month to maintain it at 55*. A lot of top end ponds in the Northeast US use natural gas heaters with greenhouses built over them.

    Building winter holding tanks of any size is easy and cheap and the fish are safe.

  27. #27
    DIYFK member Billl's Avatar


    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Mazatlan, Mexico
    Posts
    42
    Post Thanks / Like
    Think of ice or frozen water as just visible frost.

    The temp will determine how fast but the wind is the chief factor in determining how deep the frost will go. Don't believe me, measure the frost in a stand of trees vs an open field. Or try a big hole vs small hole on open ice. So, whereas a heater can assist to keep the water from freezing the wind blowing across the surface even if already frozen will cause you to need considerable more heat. Circulation works well in creating a thinner layer than still water just like in a lake that has thinner iced spots than others.

    OK, that said, In addition to a heater and circulation you need to keep the wind off the surface as much as possible. Put a 50 mil clear or frosted plastic tarp making sure that it is completely suspend over the top of the water and sealed from the wind on the sides ( I used snaps, like the ones on you trousers).

    Basically any tarp material will do but polypropylene seems to work best. It will allow the sun and uv to enter at the same time prohibit the wind from contacting the water. Thus allowing your heater to work more proficiently in conjunction with any circulation.

    During the early 70's, I worked on a trout farm in central Minnesota. We were unable to keep the poly off the surface because of the size of the ponds. By increasing the circulation dramatically we were able to keep the ponds ice free except on really really windy days, but then the ice thickness was minimal.
    I find it more enjoyable to live life with doubt then to live life with answers that may be wrong.

  28. #28
    DIYFK member Stryf's Avatar


    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    US
    Posts
    1,704
    Post Thanks / Like
    the pond I built was roughly 12 feet long by 4 feet wide, and 4 feet deep (waterline at 3 and a half feet). I never had more than an inch or two of ice on the top. the deicer kept a nice hole for air exchange.
    2300 Gal pond: 7 Koi, 2 Goldfish, 2 Catfish
    125 Gal: 1 Reticulated Stingray, 2 Bala Shark, 3 Neon Tetra, 1 Glo Fish, and several guppies.

  29. #29
    DIYFK member Antics's Avatar


    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    44
    Post Thanks / Like
    Here I am sitting in Florida and wondering what winter and ice is. Click here to enlarge

  30. #30
    DIYFK member Brandy's Avatar


    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / Like
    I have a 300 gallon stock tank outside with couple of koi inside waiting for transfer to main pond- I use an aerator to keep it from freezing over. I also have bails of straw going around the outside of the stocktank for protection and fish have made it every year. I have had to do this more than once because it seems I end up with some new fish being dropped off and I dont want them in with my other fish due to parasites. The temp were I live in winter has gotten down 0 to -5 in winter time several days at a time

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •