De-Icers For Ponds And How They Can Save Your Fish

De-Icers For Ponds And How They Can Save Your Fish

Find Out Why De-Icers Are So Important For Winters In Maryland, DC, And Northern Virginia

If you’re looking to protect your water feature from icy winters, then a de-icer for ponds is the perfect tool!

This guide can teach you about pond de-icers and help you better ready your pond for freezing over. Now, this awesome tool is only necessary if your pond has fish in it because to your fish a de-icer is like a chimney- it lets the toxic air escape.

Here’s a video explaining de-icers and their importance:

Does Your Pond Need A De-Icer?

Breaking the ice with an object for your fish is like putting them in front of a huge sound system- bad. The shockwaves can stress, injure, and otherwise hurt your fish. So if you have pond fish it’s highly likely you’ll need a de-icer. If your pond meets any of these requirements or has one of these add-ons, it may not need a de-icer:

  • Waterfall
  • No fish
  • Aerator

Waterfalls keep a hole in the ice because running waterfalls and moving water don’t freeze over easily. Your fish won’t go near it when hibernating because the water around it is colder than in the rest of the pond. Aerators can help keep a hole in the ice if you move it closer to the surface, as seen in the diagram picture below:

a garden pond with rocks and water features.

Sizing De-Icers For Your Pond

Which is Best: Submersible or Floating De-Icers?

Floating pond de-icers will keep a hole in the ice, but it can put a small hole in your wallet too. Of course, it does help your fish stay healthy by letting toxic gases escape, so the expense can be worth it. The submersible de-icers are good for heating a small part of the pond (place it about 10″ below the surface), which is nice for your hibernating fish, but there’s no guarantee it’ll keep a hole in the ice. The best course of action is to combine a pond de-icer with an aerator.
a metal object with a cord attached to it.

Placing A Pond De-Icer

Like us, fish like to be warm when it’s cold outside, so the best place for a de-icer for ponds is near the edge where it’s shallower. The worst place for it is in the deeper area or by a waterfall where the water is snow-cone cold. For floating ones, anywhere besides near running water or deep areas is good, and be sure to cover it (like with a bucket where the bottom’s cut out) so the wind doesn’t negate the effects. For submerged ones, place it close to the surface of the pond, 10″ or so is ideal, so it can melt the ice.

a snow covered pond surrounded by trees and snow.

Maintenance & Troubleshooting

  • A clean pond de-icer works best! Lime deposits can form on it, keeping the heat from spreading out. You can clean it with vinegar or lime-away and a scrubber.
  • Using an extension cord? Doing so lowers the effectiveness, especially the longer it is. If there are no outlets close to the pond, you can use a power control center instead.
  • Still not working? Take the pond de-icer, put it in a plastic bag and place it in your freezer for about an hour. Then remove it and plug it in to see if it starts to heat up. If it doesn’t then you may need to get a new one.

Do not plug the pond de-icer in when out of the water except for during this test as it may damage the unit

Pond De-Icer vs Pond Heater

Pond heaters basically turn ponds into hot tubs because all they do is heat up the water. It’s only really put to use if your pond has tropical fish. For koi, goldfish, and other pond fish a heater may not be best as it can interfere with their seasonal cycles and immune system. These fish hibernate during winter and are fine floating at the bottom of the pond, as long as it’s at least 18″ deep. A de-icer for ponds doesn’t heat the water, it just melts the ice.

De-Ice Your Pond, Protect The Fish!

Your fish will love you for getting a pond de-icer because they know you have their health in mind. It may be one more thing to maintain, but the benefit of peace of mind and healthy fish can be worth it. A de-icer for ponds isn’t the only part of winterizing your pond though. There’s more to it and more to caring for your fish during winter.

You can read about what do do with pond fish in winter here >>