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Overwintering fish outdoors

Posted by Shapiro 5a Ontario (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 7, 04 at 22:25

We garden just outside Ottawa, where the winters can be pretty bitter. Our goldfish pond is no more than 18 to 20 inches deep. Our goldfish happily spend the winter there each year, no problem. How do we do it? We place a cattle trough de-icer in the pond, then cover the whole thing with 2 inch thick rigid insulating foam held down by a few rocks to prevent foam blowing away. The cattle trough de-icer can be purchased from any feed store.

The only time that this system ever failed us was a few years back when the power to the de-icer failed (the circuit blew) and we had no way of knowing it. Now there is a light near the circuit board which will alert us if the circuit for the pond blows.

Each April, we uncover our pond and find all our goldfish (plus a few frogs) swimming around. No, they don't need feeding over the winter. With the water quite cold, they are in a type of hibernation.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Overwintering fish outdoors

  • Posted by Jroot 5A Ont. Canada (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 8, 04 at 9:33

Good idea, Shapiro.

How much does a cattle trough de-icer cost? Does it take much power? I was thinking along those lines this year, but have not yet done my financial research. You could help.

I was also thinking about the use of a bubbler in the water. Do you think that would keep it open?

RE: Overwintering fish outdoors

How big is your pond? I have around 1800 gallon pond and to winter my Koi in the pond I think would be spendy so we winter the Koi in a 100 gal. stock tank in the garage with a birdbath heater set at about 45, which keeps them inactive (no-feeding). This year we have 7 Koi, instead of 3, so we are thinking of wintering in two tanks and move them to the basement and chill the water instead. We feel we then would have better control (temperature wise) in the Spring on when we put them back into the pond. However, keeping them in the pond would be great if it wouldn't cost an arm and a leg in electricity. The birdbath heater is not even noticable on the electric bill and I guess the chiller (expensive to set-up)won't be anymore than running the pond pump, bio-filer, and fountain. If you could share cost estimates for keeping the pond open with the cattle trough de-icer, it would be appreciated.

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