Winter Koi Pond Cover a Success!

by Drs. Foster and Smith on April 13, 2011

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Dome covering the pond.

Dome covering the pond.

**Guest post from Heath S.**

It’s now early April and spring fever is beginning to set in. Our pond had a successful winter with no Koi casualties. In a previous post, I explained the process and design of a simple dome structure we used to cover the pond during winter months.

The protective dome held up against a lot of snow this winter. It was the third time we covered the pond through the winter and surprisingly, this year we did not use a heater at all. Prior to this year, I always heated the air in the dome because I thought it was necessary to keep the surface completely clear of ice. This year we had a large addition to the pond to cover and did have a couple issues that gave us a scare, but came through without fail.

There are some things we will be doing different next year to improve our present design.

  • Because of the width of the pond, we had to use two pieces of the green house plastic to get a complete cover. I intended on splicing the two pieces but as we began to complete the cover, I was worried about the splice failing with the weight of a large snowfall. Instead, I ran the second section of plastic under the first covering about 6 feet of one side of the dome.
    .
    The pond was covered in October and condensation inside the dome was heavy without any freezing weather. What we didn’t realize was the condensation was running down the inside of the first sheet of plastic and pooling on top of the second piece near the edge of the pond. Before I could do anything about it, a 4-foot section of the dome collapsed and rested on the surface of the pond. The next couple of days were bitterly cold and the pooled condensation froze. Hoping it would be ok, we left it and just kept a close eye on it. The weight of the ice from the condensation and a couple heavy snowfalls made this section of the dome collapse even more causing me to enter the dome and cut away the section that had collapsed in order for the pvc ribs to regain their original placement and keep the rest of the structure from failing.
    .
    Next winter we will be ordering a wider roll of plastic and/or splicing two sheets together to prevent this mishap from repeating itself.
February and lots of snow!

February and lots of snow!

  • Placement of the aerator was also an issue this year. I had placed the aerator inside the dome about 2 feet away from the edge of the dome walls. As snowfall after snowfall came and went, the amount of snow that piled against the walls of the dome eventually pushed in enough to cover the aerator causing it to burn out.
    .
    Next year the aerator will be placed inside a Weatherproof Cabinet as well as further placement from the wall of the dome.
  • Structurally, the support ribs had been placed every four feet. Next year we will reduce this by one foot for added stability against the wind and snow. 

The sand bags worked great and we will use this method again next year for securing the cover. The cover will be removed this weekend to open the pond for spring, details to follow!

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Winter Koi Pond Cover a Success! | www.DFS-Pet-Blog.com | How To Make A Koi Pond
April 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer May 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Hi Heath,

Glad to hear your koi made it through the winter. Congratulations! I wrote last December when you posted your dome plans. At the time I was anxious about my koi and how they’d fare over the winter.

I had dug an addition that was 6 feet deep (to get below the frost line) and the koi naturally migrated to the deepest water in the winter without any coaxing or “herding” by me. I had 3 aerator bars going all winter.

As the pond slowly iced over – despite the aerators bubbling away and keeping water moving near the surface – I started to get more worried but at least I could still hear the aerator bars bubbling away under the ice. Soon, over a foot of snow blanketed the ice muffling all sounds. I could hear that the aerator pumps were still running but had no idea what was going on under the ice.

By late March a small hole opened in the ice on the pond. I convinced my boyfriend to take his fish camera out and put it down to see if there were fish moving down around 6 feet down. We saw 2 – a good sign – but with 9 fish in total not a total guarantee.

I am happy to join you in saying my fish have all survived the winter and are happily doing the congo line back and forth in the pond!

Heath S. May 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

Hi Jennifer,

Great to hear your koi wintered safetly, we removed the dome back in the middle of March in hopes of an early spring. The weather has not played in our favor for plant growth but all is well, we did have an early algae bloom, thanks to a couple weekly doses of AlgaeFix and regular use of Microbelift Spring/Summer the ponds are crystal clear and healthy. Enjoy the pond season!!

connieheerq April 4, 2014 at 7:25 am

Pond getting covered with snow is mess and becomes really headache if we don’t take proper precautions’ tried many solutions but failed many times .Thanks to your blog as it gave me cool ideas to implement and keep the pool safe during the winter.

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