Another measure is using an aeration system. It can be an extension of a
centralized system running a fish room like Ray is setting up or use a
regular air pump (I use a big brown Tetra Luft Pump) to run an airstone.
Or you can use a small recirculating pump sitting on a raised platform
or suspended near the surface. The key to an effective de-icing system
is getting a small amount of aggitation to maintain an opening in the
ice without freezing the pond the whole way down. That can happen if the
pump or airstone is placed on the bottom at the deepest part of the
The most economical approach is to use an airstone. To set up you will
need the following:
A high volume air pump.
Several feet of airline tubing.
Large rubber band or peice of twist tie.
A small plastic soda pop bottle (for float)
And very important a shelter to protect the pump from moisture. Mine is
very simple - the pump is elevated on a paver and covered with an
inverted tote tub. Some people build special pump huts or base the pump
indoors and run tubing outside.
Set up the system like you would to privide aeration in a tank. Then use
rubber band or twist tie to attach empty soda bottle to the airline.
This will keep the airstone suspended in the top three to six inches of
the water column. Plug it in and test it to make sure it works before
the freeze comes. If you are too late or a sudden change in the weather
takes you by surprise, you can create an opening to drop your stone in
by sitting a pot of boiling water on the ice and letting it melt down
through. Chopping and pounding a hole is not recommended because the
shock waves could be harmful to the fish. Another good idea is to have a
backup system on standby in the event the pump breaks down. At least you
should keep spare tubing, stones and a float on hand - airline freezeups
and power outages do happen. It is a simple matter to open another hole
and change over to a fresh set of tubing - the old tubing if it can be
extricated from the ice can be brought inside and after a few hours
should be good to go once the ice inside it has melted and evaporated.
One final note regarding electrical safety - electrical appliances are
potential health hazzards. Ground fault interrupters and three-way plugs
are reccommended for running any pond equipment.
Jeff from Mt Pleasant PA.
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