Reflections Koi Pond Blog

If you recently installed a Koi Pond and have concerns about protecting your fish during the winter months, there are a few things you should know. To begin, as long as your Koi pond is three to five feet in depth, then you should not have to worry about your pond completely icing up in the winter. This depth leaves plenty of room for your fish to swim around at the bottom of the pond.


However, if your pond and your fish are going to make it through the freezing Illinois winters, then you’ll want to provide extra care and maintenance. Let’s look at some ways that you can protect your koi pond during the cold season.


Keep Your Aerator Running

You’ll want to have an aerator running all year long – not just during the winter season. However, an aerator is essential during the winter and costs less than it does to run a heater. Aerators keep oxygen flowing through the pond, prevent ice from building up and promote the circulation of nutrients and food for the fish.


Overall, aerators improve the quality of the water, thereby making it a more comfortable environment for the fish. 


Install a De-Icer

If your pond is less than three feet deep, you may want to install a de-icer to keep part of the water from freezing up completely. The fish will need at least a partial pond if they are going to make it through the winter.


A de-icer can also keep the ice from damaging components in the pond should you choose to leave them in there during the season. Keep in mind that once you get below freezing, any items in the water can break easily due to the expansion of the ice. Therefore, you should probably remove as many items as possible, leaving only those components that are essential for the health of the pond.


Do Not Attempt to Break the Ice

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to attempt to break up the ice. Doing so can harm both the fish and any components in the pond. Rather than breaking up the ice with a hammer or other tool, we recommend using an auger to drill holes in the ice.


This allows the air to pass through the ice, releasing any harmful gasses that may have built up. Make sure your aerator is gently stirring the water so that the air bubbles eventually find the holes in the ice. In addition to venting gasses, this process keeps cold air from accumulating under the water and creating more ice.


Preparing for the Oncoming Cold Season

In addition to creating a healthier environment for the fish during the winter, there are also some things that you can do to prepare your pond for winter and for the drop in temperature and change in the climate, such as:


  • Gradually transition from summer food to winter food during the fall season.
  • Clean the pond and remove debris in and around the water.
  • Add netting over the water so that further debris cannot get in the pond.
  • Add cold water beneficial bacteria and enzymes to break down organic materials.
  • Remove the water pump, filter pads, waterfall equipment, and UV lights and store them during the winter.


Once spring comes back around, you will want to perform a thorough inspection of the pond for any damage. You will also want to clean the pond and return all the equipment that you removed.


Complete Koi Pond Design and Installation

If you are ready to build your koi pond, then Reflections can help. We offer a wide range of features and options to help you create the perfect serene pond or natural pool.


To find out more about our products and services, call us today at (815) 955-4911 for a consultation.



Larry Carnes

Owner of Reflections Water Gardens

(815) 955-4911