Taking care of a pond means maintaining a natural environment for the plants as well as the fish in it. This is easy to do in a tropical place where the temperature stays pretty much the same all year round. But if you live in a place that faces extreme seasonal changes, then this can be a problem. Fortunately, you can still maintain the natural temperature of your pond using pond heaters.
Using a pond heater is important especially when it comes to raising koi. Although koi can survive in both warm and cool temperatures, they are still sensitive to sudden changes. In particular, forty to 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the most dangerous range for koi. Within this temperature range, they are more susceptible to the parasites and bacteria in the water.
Installing a pond heater can help you protect your koi during these sudden changes in temperature. Notably, keeping the temperature higher than 50 degrees in the spring, autumn, and winter is best for the koi. It is also a wise idea to choose an energy-efficient heater, so that you can lower your operating costs.
Two Types of Pond Heaters
Basically, there are two major types of pond heaters: the submersible heater and the floating heater. Before you choose which type of heater to use, let us learn more about their different functions and features:
As the name suggests, you place a submersible heater on the bottom of the pond. It heats a general area of the water, making it a warm and allowing the fish to swim freely. A thermostat connected to a GFCI-protected outlet controls the submersible heater.
Most submersible heaters feature a probe that can signal when you need to switch the heater on or off. Some heaters also have floats that can help you watch how high or how low the level of water is. This is important in deciding whether you need to reduce or increase the temperature.
In winter, the surface of most ponds freeze over. When this happens, oxygen cannot enter the water while toxic gases are trapped inside — making the pond an unhealthy habitat for the fish. In this case, you can use a floating heater, which automatically switches on when the temperature lowers to a certain degree.
Some parts of the pond may still freeze when you use the floating heater. However, the heated portion enables oxygen to come in, making the pond a safer place for your fish.
Tips for Using Submersible Heaters
Here are some tips for making the most out of your submersible heater:
- The general rule for selecting a submersible heater is this: over a period of 24 hours, one watt for every gallon of water means a ten degree rise in temperature. Let’s say, for example, that your pond can hold 20 gallons of water and you have a 1000-watt submersible heater. If the water temperature is 50 degrees, this will increase to 70 degrees for the next 24 hours.
- Cover a portion of the water with a piece of plywood to help keep the pond warm. This technique can help make the submersible heater more efficient during the winter. Take note that you mustn’t cover the entire surface of the water because some gases need to be released.
- If your pond has a fountain or a waterfall running, remember to switch them off before the cold weather comes. If you keep them running, they will contradict the warming function of the submersible heater — causing water temperature to stay low.
- Protect the thermostat controller of your submersible heater with a plastic or rubber container. Otherwise, it will be easily damaged when exposed to the elements.
Tips for Using Floating Heaters
Meanwhile, here are some tips for making the most out of your floating heater:
- Put the floating heater in the shallow end of the pond. This position places it near the liner, which can reflect the warmth back into the pond water.
- If the capacity of your pond is 600 gallons or less, one floating heater is enough. However, if the capacity is greater than 600 gallons, you need to install two floating heaters.
- Put a piece of plywood over part of the pond to help protect the floating heater from strong winds. When a strong breeze hits your heater, it can affect its heating ability.
- Instead of using an extension cord, connect your heater to a GFCI-protected outlet that is installed near your garden pond. Using an extension cord can decrease the heating ability of your heater. The longer the cord, the greater it will affect your floating heater.
Benefits of Using Pond Heaters
Now that you have learned about the two different types of pond heaters, let us talk more about the benefits of using them. Perhaps the most important benefit of using a heater is that it can help keep your fish and plants healthy even during the cold season.
Secondly, maintaining the pond temperature can help prolong the use of your filter. If you are able to run your heater throughout the year, you can save on the time and cost it takes to clean a dirty pond. Besides, a thorough cleaning would only “shock” your fish, as it would take time for them to adjust to the new environment.
Another benefit of using pond heaters is that they allow you to enjoy your pond all year round. Regardless of the season, you can feed your fish regularly and make sure that are alive and well. After all, you wouldn’t want to keep your pond running only during spring and summer. It is possible to maintain it in autumn and winter, too!
Choosing the Best Heater
Each pond is different, depending on its size, location, and the type of fish in it. All of these factors should be considered before you choose the best heater for your pond. Buying the right kind of heater can help you maintain and enjoy your pond for a long time!