21st Nov 2019
Although we in the UK have been lucky enough to have enjoyed a fairly mild winter this year, the recent cold snap that arrived with a vengeance has shown us that's it's never too late to take precautions, and ensure our treasured pond fish stay happy and healthy through the icy period. Ice is of course a danger to your fish. In normal circumstances ponds will emit noxious gasses such as methane, CO² and others. These gasses are caused by fish waste, decaying plant life etc. This is not usually a problem as these gasses will escape and dissipate on contact with the air at the pond surface. In particularly cold conditions where your pond freezes over however this is prevented. If your pond is in a frozen condition for a number of days the build up of noxious gases can become a real problem, causing your fish to become ill and possibly even to die!
Well there's a simple solution you say - 'I'll simply smash the ice with a shovel, hammer or other suitably heavy object.' However that course of action would be particularly inadvisable as this will cause a shock wave to course through the water distressing your already stressed fish and making them ill.
One possible solution is to simply heat a pan of water and place it on the surface of the pond at the beginning of the day. But of course with our busy lives, that can become problematic (not to mention the potential health and safety implications of hobbling about in icy gardens carrying pans of hot or boiling water.
By far the simplest, safest and most cost effective option is a pond heater. A pond heater will keep an area of your pond ice free allowing any build up of noxious gasses to escape. They come in a variety of types and forms - from floats to vents and even to thermostatically controlled devices.