Our Pond

We have had a small pond for many years.  It is 8 feet wide and 10 feet long with a depth of only 24 inches.  It is visible from our bedroom window.  Each spring we would buy some goldfish, usually feeder goldfish, and enjoy those until the pond froze over in late fall.  The following spring I would scoop out the lifeless goldfish as soon as the ice cleared.  They were just fish, right?  But it still bothered me.

One year I tried a stock watering tank heater to keep a hole in the ice for aeration.  It worked too well and presented us with quite the increase in our electric bill after the first month.  No ice formed what so ever while it was in the pond.  I decommissioned it after one month.

Another year I tried the fish tank aerator idea.  The tube leading to the stone on the bottom of the pond promptly froze up.  No more air and the fish perished that winter.

Yet another winter I tried a floating pond de-icer that was supposed to keep a small area free of ice for gas exchange.  It quickly was overtaken by the ice, no gas exchange here.

Last fall I googled the issue of keeping the fish alive over the winter and found a device called an Allied Precision Pond Breather.  It uses 40 watts to pump a small amount of water to an aeration dome, above the ice, allowing toxic gasses to escape.  The aerated water then returns to the pond below the ice.  It was an expensive toy costing as much as 10 years of feeder gold fish.  We reasoned that we would have bigger fish if we could keep them alive over the winter.  Imagine how cool it would be to have large gold fish in the spring instead of “minnow” size feeder fish.  Large goldfish are quite expensive.


I bought and installed the unit through 1 ½ inches of ice late in November.  It was soon doing its job through ever increasing ice thickness.  Then the snow came and I would clear the snow away from around the unit so that it wouldn’t get buried.  Every morning I would look out the window for the tiny trickle of water inside the aerator.  Every morning it would be trickling.

As winter became long I had worries that the aeration principle would allow a small amount of water to escape as water vapor.  What if enough water vapor escaped to cause the pond to become dry under the ice?  After all, the pond is not very big. 







One day my fears were realized when the trickle wasn’t visible from the window.   I got a pair of binoculars to see closer.  What a sight I must have been, in my morning hair looking out my window with binoculars.  Finally the trickle became visible.  But I continued to worry about dehydrated goldfish.












On Wednesday morning, March 19, 2014, the pond’s ice had a 6 inch rim of water surrounding the remaining ice.  While I was looking at it a large goldfish slid from under the ice into view in the ice-free area.  Then the gold/white one appeared moving slowly, but moving.  The pond breather had worked.  Last year’s fish are still with us. 

I went out to try to get a picture.  The two goldfish had moved back under the ice to join several more.  So I did my best to get a picture of the group under the ice.  If you look close you can make out several orange shapes.

In Pond


Love the pond

Love the pond, shame it got frozen - Bob Builder

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