MN. Winter Pond Care

Shutting Down The Pond

Here in Minnesota Old Man Winter demands his own seasonal care article.

In the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN and surrounding area the approach of winter requires pond owners to prepare for the coming cold and snow. If your pump circulates at least 2,500 gph. or more you could try to run your waterfall, if it is run continuously. Monitor the water level for water loss due to evaporation and ice formations. Long or slow waterfalls will pose problems due to ice forming and diverting water over the liner. The pond and waterfall should be closely monitored the first season you attempt to run your waterfall through the winter. Although it can be done I have found it to be far more of a hassle than it is worth due to the constant maintenance & risk of damage.

Fish Owners; If you choose to over winter your fish in the pond, our own field tests have shown an increase of ice forming on the pond surface if the waterfall is allowed to run, even with surface agitation. This is due to the constant cold air and water being added from the falling and moving water. Our circulating pump easily kept a hole open when the waterfalls were disconnected under the same conditions. The earth was able to warm the pond water and keep it slightly above freezing as the pump agitated the surface.

If you are unable or choose not to run your waterfall through the winter you should remove the pump and place it in a bucket of water. The pump should be stored in a basement or frost free location. Storing it in water prevents the rubber gaskets and seals from becoming brittle and failing. Owners of the Aquascape Design Ecosystem should remove their pump and check valve assembly and store as described above. Remove the Biofalls® filter mats, the skimmer mats and the bagged lava. Hose off until clean and store in the garage or shed. Biofalls® is the registered trademark of Aquascape Designs Inc.

Winter Fish Care 

Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, Minnesota and surrounding area fish owners with ponds containing an area at least 24"-36” can keep their fish right in the pond. This depth should ideally be increased to 48”- 60” for Koi ponds and serious fish owners in cold climates. The theory behind a small pond not freezing solid is in the fact that the earth warms the small amount of water in a pond keeping it just warm enough to prevent it from freezing solid. If you elect to do this you must be certain to keep a hole open for critical gas exchange to take place. This can be done with a pump elevated to circulate water close to the surface. The pump should circulate about 1000gph or more of water. Place the pump in a plant basket or wire mesh to prevent clogging. Do not place the pump in the deep area of your pond. Ideally it should be elevated at least 12-15” off the bottom. The fish use the warmest water that is found in the deep area of the pond at this time of year. If it is circulated it will cool, putting stress on the fish. The constant surface agitation will keep a hole open until temperatures dip down to -5 to 10 degrees. Do Not Bang On The Ice, this can cause damage to the fish. Set a pan of hot water on the ice to reopen the pond, you may need to reheat the water depending on ice thickness.

In a climate zone like Minnesota’s where an extended cold snap is the norm, we recommend using a floating heater in combination with the circulating pump. Place the heater a short distance away from the pump. You do not want to circulate the warm water away from the heater, this will only make the heater work that much harder, costing you more to operate.

photo of winter pond aireator in MN.

A circulating pump keeps a necessary hole open in the ice for the fish being over wintered in this pond.

Over Wintering Aquatic Plants

Over wintering of hardy aquatics is very easy, simply leave them where they are!  After a frost or two has occurred remove the dead leaves and foliage from your aquatic plants. Do not cut members of the Rush family below the water line, leave 3-4” of the rush above the water line to prevent rotting. Remove all decaying plants & floating plants after a frost has occurred, this will help your skimmer do its job as the leaves begin to fall.

If your hardy lilies are planted or moved to an area deeper than 18”-24" they will do just fine. Remove the dead leaves, leaving about 2-4" at the base of the plant. If you are unable to over winter your lilies in an area 18”-24" deep they can be brought indoors for the winter. For information on how to store your hardy water lilies indoors for the winter  Click Here

Click Here  to view article on wintering fish & aquatic pond plants indoors in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN and surrounding area.

Do you reside in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul MN or surrounding area? We Offer Seasonal Maintenance Services!  Contact Us for more information.

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