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Outdoor Water Solutions

Can I Prevent a Winter Fish Kill?

  • February 22, 2023

A mild winter can bring gorgeous weather. However, the reality with every winter is that those freezing and frigid temperatures begin to arrive sooner or later. Depending on where you live, you may only experience freezing temps for a few days or even months. Whatever the situation, you want to prepare your pond to protect your fish from winter fish kill.

What is Winter Fish Kill?

Winter fish kill is when temperatures reach the freezing point, which then affects the pond water. It affects it so that it can completely freeze the surface. This causes a depletion in dissolved oxygen levels. In a sense, your fish become trapped beneath the ice without sufficient oxygen to survive. Although winter fish kill usually occurs in shallow ponds, it can also happen in deeper ponds.

What You Can Do

Winter fish kill can happen in ponds, lakes, and other water features where fish live. The first step to prevent a winter fish kill is maintaining an open hole in the ice where trapped gases can escape. This also allows a flow of oxygen within the waters. An Ice-Away De-Icer can keep a small hole open throughout the winter. Make sure that you also keep an aeration system going in the winter. You can move your diffusers to the shallow end of the pond so the fish can have a warm spot to ride out the cold weather.

Keeping the Bottom Layer Warm

Even though the top layer of the pond runs the risk of freezing over, the bottom part tends to run at warmer temperatures. You want to ensure your water is circulating to keep the temperature consistent. Remember that fish can be sensitive to sudden changes in temperatures. Air bubblers or fountain pumps are ideal for the fall and winter months. If you’re planning on using a deicer, keep it at the top.

Keeping the Pond Clean

Of course, you also want to keep your pond clean. You can keep a collection of aquatic plants in the winter. This can help boost good bacteria to help clear out any potential pond muck that could build. However, because plants go through the natural decomposition cycle, you want to balance plant life during the winter. Too much plant life can have adverse effects on a pond. The key here is balance. Keep an eye out for dirty pond muck that could form in the winter. Thick sludge that forms deep in the pond can quickly get out of hand and suffocate your fish in freezing temps. As winter hits throughout the country, pond enthusiasts should utilize surface aeration methods to keep their ponds from freezing, which will help prevent a winter fish kill.

At Outdoor Water Solutions, we offer a variety of pond aerators & solar pond aerators providing you with the options needed to pick the perfect pond aerator for your pond. We always enjoy working with clients on ways to improve the quality of their ponds’ health & solutions for pond maintenance so, if you have any questions or would like more information on our solar pond aerators, contact us at 866.471.1614 today!

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