Should I Heat My Pond During the Winter?

Talk to any experienced pond owner and they will tell you that koi fish live much better in warmer water, free from long term subjection to under 10 degree Celsius (50°F) conditions. We have all seen how much more energetic koi are in warmer temperatures and how their appetite raise to fit their movements. We have also noticed how, in unheated ponds as winter draws near and the water temperature goes down, koi get more passive and their appetite reduces until below about 10°C when they have very little appetite at all.

As the temperature drops even more, they spend less time moving around and spend more time near to the bottom of the pond until finally at around 4°C (39°F) they are often to be found crowded together, pretty much motionless sitting on the pond floor, preserving their energy until it gets warmer again.

Except if you’re fortunate enough to live in a climate that doesn’t get cold, you’re going to want some type of piece of equipment to keep a hole open in the pond during the winter season. When a pond gets a covered in ice, a pond heater is widely used to melt a small hole in the ice enabling toxic gases to get out and oxygen to get into the pond. This can be easily achieved by simply using a deicer.

Heating with Electricity
While not the cheapest to run, the in line electric heater is the least expensive to buy and perhaps the easiest kind of heating to set up. A decent heater can be purchased for less than $100. They are usually quite small, and are easily placed into an already present set up.

Inline Electric Water Heater
With an inline electric water heater, water is circulated to the heating unit where it gets heated up by an electrical heating component. As the water moves through the heater before returned to the pond, the heating component warms the water a little, successfully reaching the wanted temperature. These inline types tend to cost more and the selection is rather poor.

Pond DeicersK_and_H-heater-215W
Pond deicers are the lowest costing water heating option for a pond and these are readily available on every store that sells pond accessories. Since the heater normally floats on the surface or is set in the pond in an exact spot, the water is not distributed through the heater, resulting in a relatively uneven temperature across the pond. However, if your main goal is only to have an area of the pond ice-free so that gas exchange can take place (this being the most important factor for keeping your fish alive and healthy)between the water and the air, then a deicer will work just fine!

How Powerful Heater Do I Need?
Pond heaters can range anywhere from 100 watts to a couple of thousand watts. A 500 watt heater should suffice for a pond of up to 500-600 gallons. Larger ponds may require two heaters, just to even the temperature out across the pond.

To summarize, using a fish pond heater is a great way to manage the pond ecosystem through the colder period of the year.