should i cover my pond in winter

Should I cover my pond in winter? If you have fish in your pond, you may wonder if you should cover it in winter.

This is because keeping your pond clean and tidy may be challenging, especially during the winter. Also, you won’t know whether it is suitable for the fish or not.

In this blog article, we’ll discuss whether or not you should cover your pond over the winter and how to do so. 

Keep reading!

Yes, covering your pond is a good idea. A pond cover not only keeps your pond clean and ice-free, but it also protects your fish from predators.

Winter Pond Covering

Your fish will grow slower and duller when the temperatures drop in the winter. This is due to the slower rate of metabolism in fish during the winter.

They will not seek refuge as energetically as normal, making them more vulnerable to assault by herons and other fish predators.

Furthermore, since there is little to no vegetation throughout the winter, your fish are more vulnerable to the environment.

how pond covers work

How Pond Covers Work

To prevent the pond from freezing over during the winter, a cover is placed over it.

A pond cover may reduce the time spent cleaning the pond by preventing leaves and other debris from falling in. 

In addition to protecting your fish from predators, a pond cover may prevent ice buildup in the winter and keep the pond at an ideal temperature all year round.

Nonetheless, depending on your preference, there are various pond covers available for use during the colder months.

Note: Not only does pond cover help keep warm in the winter, but it also helps to prevent it from excess heat throughout the summer, and shields the pond from the cold wind that would otherwise evaporate surface water. 

Should I Cover My Pond in Winter?

cover pond winter

It’s tempting to cover the whole pond with a sheet or cover to protect it from falling trees and heavy amounts of ice that may result from a winter storm.

However, if the pond is tiny or the cover is firm, this desire might backfire and destroy the pond and its inhabitants.

Other types of more permeable cover that allow water and air to pass through in both directions are beneficial and, in some instances, needed.

Below we shall learn what kind of cover you should and should not place on a pond during the winter, especially if there are fish and plants in the water.

1. Solid Covers for Snow and Ice

Many new pond owners are astonished that covering a pond with a thick tarp or cover in the winter is so rare.

However, even in winter, this holds gases that ordinarily evaporate from the water’s surface. 

frozen pond

A tarp or thick cover that prevents air from passing through is exactly as harmful as a solid coating of ice covering the water.

Any fish or plants below the surface will suffer and finally die due to the gas buildup. 

Solid coverings may be utilized for short periods or if they are suspended above the surface enough to allow air to flow underneath the material. 

Note: Remember the weight of accumulated snow and rainwater on the cover's surface when anchoring the cover to the pond's borders. 

2. Permeable Covers and Nets

Should I cover my koi pond in winter?

Permeable coverings like nets and open weave tarps, on the other hand, may be effective for winter protection.

net permeable cover

They’re often advised for predator control in areas where fish are likely to be eaten throughout the winter.

The important thing is that the cover be open enough to enable rain and snow to fall into the pond and air to rise off the surface.

Suspending this kind of cover over the surface of a big pond is difficult, but it is worthwhile for a fishpond.

Note: Winter coverings may differ between a robust spring fish population and an almost empty pond. 

3. Ice Cover

Ice is one cover that is especially harmful to fish yet suitable for other types of ponds.

A full layer of ice on a pond with no fish is permissible because there is no harm to the liner or banks from gas buildup.

Fish will dislike being stuck behind a solid layer of ice since it makes it difficult for them to receive adequate oxygen.

De-icing, which involves leaving holes in the ice, is suggested for fish ponds but is unneeded for most other kinds of ponds. 

4. Metal Covers

mesh type cover

Metal pond covers are another popular pond cover choice. They look like a cage constructed over the pond.

Metal coverings are long-lasting and dependable. When you no longer wish to cover your pond, you may remove them.

Example of metal covers include:

Mesh

A rigid mesh may be added to your pond to keep rubbish out of the water and make it safe for children.

Fish may still come to the surface, and children can stroll directly on top of the mesh.

Chicken wire is another choice for covering your pond, but not if you have children since it isn’t sturdy enough to withstand a child’s weight.

Note: If the pond was built properly, a cover shouldn't be utilized permanently; it should only be used to keep snow and rain out when the pond is closed.

5. Building A Greenhouse

build greenhouse cover

Temporary greenhouse buildings are one kind of ideal winter pond cover.

You may build your pond in the same way that you would a greenhouse for your plants.

A greenhouse-style pond cover keeps the temperature in your pond stable, providing optimal growth conditions for your fish and pond flora.

The temperature within the makeshift greenhouse does not drop as low as the outside temperature.

As a consequence, the fish remain healthy and active, while the majority of temperature-sensitive flora survives, and in some cases flourishes.

Note: The ideal types of pond coverings for winter are nets and permeable covers. 

They maintain the pond free of trash and fallen leaves, as well as protecting the fish from predators. They also allow for the free flow of gases.

How to Cover Pond for Winter

covering pond winter

There are several alternatives for preparing your pond for the winter months. The type of cover you pick will determine how you will cover the pond for the winter.

Here is the step-by-step procedure for covering your pond in the winter:

1. Installing A Net Pond Cover

It is fairly simple to install a net pond cover over your Koi fish pond. All you’ll need are anchors and ropes to act as attachment points for the pond cover.

The anchors are firmly anchored into the earth surrounding the pond. The pond cover has ropes for attachments along its circumference.

Attach the cover to the anchors using these ropes.

2. Constructing a Greenhouse-style Pond cover or a Winter Pond Cover

building greenhouse

You’ll Need the Following Materials:

  • 1-1/4′′ PVC electrical conduit – 10′ lengths for the arches
  • 3/4″ PVC electrical conduit in 10′ lengths for the “spine” at the top of the arches
  • Arches made from galvanized electrical conduit measuring 3/4″ in diameter and 10 feet in length.
  • 6 mil polyethylene (heavy-duty tarps have proven effective for certain clients)
  • 2 pieces of 3′ to 4′ long rebar
  • the duct tape

Step #1: Creating the Arches

Number of Arches

The length of your pond will help you figure out how many arches you need. The distance between arches should be 3 to 3-1/2 feet.

Arch Height

The width of the pond determines how high the arch is. As a rule of thumb, the height of an arch should be at least 60% of its width.

For instance, an arch that crosses a pond that is 12 feet wide should be at least 7.2 feet tall.

Step #2: Instructions for Assembly

assembling greenhouse

Cut a 10′ Length of Galvanized Pipe in Half: 

Take each of the five-foot stakes you made and drive it into the ground about two to two-and-a-half feet deep, angling it toward the pond.

These will hold up the arches with a diameter of 1-1/4 inches. Just slide the arches over the stakes.

The stakes should be at least three to three-and-a-half feet apart (depending on the snowfall in your area)

Start Putting Your Arches in Place:

Start in the middle of the pond and build the tallest arch possible. For medium and large ponds, you will need more than one piece of conduit.

The ends of the conduit are male and female so that you can slip them together. 

Cut the conduit to the right length. Make each arch a little bit shorter than the one before it.

This will give the “spine” a gradual curve and the structure an overall dome shape.

Step #3. Final Touches

Once all the arches are in place, use duct tape and cable ties to attach the 3/4-inch spine to the top of each arch.

It can be hard to connect the arches to the spine on bigger ponds securely, but it is important.

greenhouse pond cover

At each end of the pond, drive the rebar into the ground and slip the spine over each piece to secure it.

For the Plastic:

Wait until it’s quiet, and then pull the plastic over the frame.

Once the plastic is in place, don’t cut off too much of the extra plastic from the edges. Instead, roll up the extra plastic and use it as a base for your weights.

It is very important to put a lot of weight on the plastic to keep it in place! Use rocks, concrete blocks, sandbags, or anything else.

Put more weight on the side where the wind is coming from the most.

Note: If you reside in a snowy environment, you must shovel the snow from around the dome's base. 

If snow is allowed to accumulate around the base, the extra weight might put too much strain on the plastic, causing it to crack or the frame to distort or bow.

Read Next: What is a Comfortable Humidity Level Outside? Complete Guide

Final Verdict

Should I cover my pond in winter?

Yes, covering your pond is a good idea. A pond cover not only keeps your pond clean and ice-free, but it also protects your fish from predators. 

There are several pond covers available for use in covering your pond. As earlier stated, each style of pond cover has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

You may choose any of them based on your preferences. Thanks for reading!

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