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  • Results 1 to 9 of 9

    Thread: Ice Insulating Pond?

    1. #1
      malatu is offline Member
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      Ice Insulating Pond?

      First winter with the pond and every day is a learning process, which I enjoy. Each day, based on my observations and what I read, more questions arise. I'm pretty amazed at how my pond is reacting with daytime temps at 22 and evening temps at 11 degrees. Specifically no ice in front of skimmers or inside them! I shut off air to bd domes, throttled back circulatkion, placed Styrofoam sheets in pond and am heating the equipment room.

      Other than the water in front of the skimmers, there are nine small openings about 2' x 2' in the ice from the jets and winter supply.
      Question: Would it be accurate to say the ice on the pond is helping retain heat because it's preventing evaporation?

      Also, would it be accurate to say the majority of the heat loss is now happening at the nine holes in the ice?

      Just want to have a better understanding of the pond.

    2. #2
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      Evaporation is the largest component of total heat loss, followed by convection, radiation, and conduction. You are watching your soil heat reserve being drained away, those blocks of insulation on top of the water slightly slows down the evaporation process, a few pieces floating will only provide you a marginal reduction of heat transfer. If you had a large pond heater a balance would eventually be reached, but without added heat and a good winter cover the only appreciable heat keeping your pond liquid is coming from the soil underneath. Ice slows the evaporation but remember why you put ice cubes in your glass, the pond water will continue to get colder under the ice and the ice will thicken. If this cold continues your ground around the pond will progressively give up its heat and freeze downward to at least the local frost depth. Pond depth is your best friend, the soil beneath the frost line will continue to transfer its heat into the pond to be used keeping your pond liquid under the ice until that heat reserve is also depleted, than your pond will freeze to the bottom. The deeper into the earth your pond the more soil heat is available to buffered the pond from these cold snaps. Snow can provide an added insulating layer for the ground and the ice covered pond. Pray for 2 feet of snow ... Ha!

    3. #3
      BWG is online now Senior Member
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      Ice isn't all bad thing as it insulates from extreme cold, slows evaporation, slows water movement and provides protection from winter winds.

      On mud ponds you don't want heavy snow coverage. Algae still works under the ice when the sun shines and heavy snow blocks the light. When snow gets deep on my mud ponds that don't have an aerator a section is cleared off with either a snow blower or tractor.

      For us on small ponds just keeping a small hole open is sufficient.
      Last edited by BWG; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:44 PM.

    4. #4
      malatu is offline Member
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      I keep my jets on because I need to. Otherwise they will freeze and burst. As a result, I have 9 unnecessary holes in the ice.

      I was thinking how beneficial would it be to place rigid foam over those nine holes? I'm thinking it would reduce cooling from evaporation. Worth while?

      With that said, I need to ask the question, "To what ending results am I trying to achieve?" Would it raise the temperature at the 4 ft level? And if so, by how much? I guess a wireless thermometer that can be submerged and left under water is in order.
      Last edited by malatu; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:17 PM. Reason: typo

    5. #5
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      Water is densest at 39F, and that means the temperature will be nearest to the 39F range at the bottom of the pond. When the water is warmer, the warm water is on top, when the water is colder, the coldest water will be on the top. At depth, the soil temperature is pretty consistent, in the 50's, and will tend to provide heat to the bottom of the pond, if deep enough, throughout the winter, which sets up some micro currents of water warming toward 50, rising into water cooling from 32, mixing and 39F water falling back to the bottom. Once the entire pond is below 39, then the warmest water will be at the bottom and may not be 39, but a slightly lower temperature. Ice does reduce the evaporation of liquid water, lowering the heat loss significantly. A better protector than the ice is a lean-to, or dome structure covered with a plastic sheeting material, whether sheet poly, or the solar blankets for swimming pools, which provide a warm air space with near 100% humidity over the pond surface, reducing evaporation to near zero, and providing some solar gain during daylight hours.

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    6. #6
      BWG is online now Senior Member
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      When water is circulated and mixed by pumps or air bottom temps can easily go below 39. All depends on depth and the ponds thermal gain vs losses from exposed cold surfaces and equipment.

      Whenever a cold snap, like we are currently experiencing, occurs more fish are killed by kindness than mother nature. Kindness as in over circulation, cold exposure and over cooling the water by leaving all pumps and filtration running. Unless a pond is very shallow most will overwinter fine if clean going into winter, pumps are shut down and a very small hole is kept in the ice.

      Building a sealed greenhouse type structure is definately the best thing that can be done for protection against the cold but often difficult to build, maintain and store.

    7. #7
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      That is one of the reasons I have semi-raised pond. I have already put the cover over the surface and down to the ground. The cover is a clear pool cover....heavy duty bubble wrap. It keeps the wind chill off the water. Air domes are running under the cover providing a layer of warmer air.

    8. #8
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      You are one of the more fortunate.

      If you have a good solar cover and have a location several hours directly exposed to the sun it's amazing how warm the trapped air can get.
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      Last edited by BWG; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:54 AM.

    9. #9
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      I bought another sheet of 2" foam board and cut it into 6 pieces, each 24"x32". Those along with some other scraps, I covered all 9 holes in the ice created by the jets. I'm thinking it will reduce some heat loss. Just experimenting for next winter when I'll have koi in the pond.

      I really don't have a way to measure the temps at the bottom drains so I shut off both skimmers and drew all water from one bottom drain and measured the temps at the sieve. One bottomed out at 35.2 degrees and the other held 38.5. The water held those temps for a period of time and then started dropping. Guess which bottom drain is on the side of pond that has the winter intake and and supply? Yep the one that bottomed out at 35.2! **** it all makes sense! I do really need to get a wireless submersible thermometer.

      Interestingly enough, water temps in front of the skimmers are always between 33.8 and 34 degrees. Not sure if that has any significance other than it ain't 32* or less!

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