Keeping Outdoor Fish Cozy During Chilly Winter Months

The lives of outdoor fish are very different from the cozy corners of an aquarium, and no one knows that better than you! Straight from the Aquarium board, here are your top tips on giving outdoor fish a good winter home:

"You cannot leave the top surface completely frozen. To let toxins escape into the air, the ice needs to be broken constantly (cracked or with a hole) -- or you could install an aerator." --cl_carol

"On the southern end of Lake Michigan, our trick is to have at least three feet of water in the pond." --lmccoole

"I live in Florida and I don't feed my fish in the winter time. They hibernate -- just like yours will." --cyn1953

"I've had a pond with koi for years. One warming tip is putting a log or two in with them. The wood helps conserve the pond's warmth." --tray954103

"In Missouri we have very cold winters, so we use an all-weather extension cord for an electric heater (purchased at a feed and tack store). It floats on top and keeps the water just above freezing -- just the right temperature for fish." --bt73098

"Try tying a large piece of styrofoam to a brick to keep a part of the pond from freezing. The styrofoam acts as an insulator, allows the gasses to escape and you get to recycle." --shsherry

"In northwest Montana, we leave a fountain running with just a trickle of water going into the pond." --skmrh

"My father built a live spring to keep his pond from freezing." --lilfritter

"In our part of Switzerland, it freezes hard, so I use a filter that splashes the surface just enough to maintain a hole in the ice." --jsirdey

And if all else fails, "It may be a lot easier to bring them into an aquarium for the winter." --CL-carol

"I just went to a course on water gardening and the instructor said that Koi should be brought in during the cold winters we have in Iowa. Keep them in a container in a cool room like a basement, where temperatures are around 40 degrees. Because they're hibernating, you don't have to feed them -- but crack the ice for oxygenation." --lsmcmains

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