In theory, the plan was quite simple... heating a pond would just mean buying a heater thingy, connect it, done, right ?
Why did I want to heat my pond ? Long story, but after much reading & studying it makes perfect sense. You can keep your filter system running all year, no spring startup problems, fish can continue to eat instead of sulking at the bottom of the pond, you can avoid temperature swings, good enough for me.
So I started with buying the heater (easy part) and then started thinking about what I head to do.
First item to tackle: preventing the filter from freezing over. My installation looked like this:
No problem in summer, but even flowing water can freeze solid, and the last
thing you need on a cold winter day is find solid frozen fish in an empty
pond. So I needed to build a house around this.
Not easy, because I had the installation tucked away between 3 large trees and
Out comes my super DIY alter ego (yeah right) and a start was made:
Even though it was only October (zone 7 here), temperatures had started to drop rapidly, and so did the water temp:
So I needed to get this finished with ASAP, was doing 17 things at the same time (no patience me), messing around with the heater trying to connect it, didn't work, got fed up... bam, connection to the vortex torn off with the use of excessive force :-(
Long story short: using polyester is not easy and not fun, but it worked in the end, and I managed to repair stuff:
Sealed it from the inside, as I no longer needed the "swirl entry" because I'm using the Answer for mechanical filtration now (see the pics of this here )
In the mean time, work on the filter housing started to get somewhere:
A lick of paint, some more, and we had something looking half Japanese, Wide-O stylee ;-)
Next thing to do was sort out all the plumbing, creating my own Chernobyl ! ;)
The heater is kinda el-cheapo, producing 2 KW per hour, which will prove quite costly in the end. There are much better and pro ways to do this, but I just didn't have the money/time/layout to get a serious heat exchanger system.
My aim only was to keep the water at least 8°C, and I didn't really have that much hope that a 2KW heater would be enough for 18.000 liters of water, but I was already glad everything turned out waterproof, and I could always get another heater if this thing didn't work properly. It was a go, and the heater was put on line.
In theory, a 2 KW heater can raise the temperature of 2000 litres of water with 1°C in one hour time.
That night we suddenly had serious frost (-5°C), so when I went out to check the meter, I didn't expect much. I did however cover the waterfall, because that's where you lose most heat BTW:
Big surprise when I saw this :
Great ! It works !
Fish seemed happy enough as well, "Ta, boss" ;-)
Sooo... now I only needed to do another 1000 things to really get ready for winter.
As nice as the rocks look around the pond, they had to go. The fish were often loosing scales because when they are scared of something, they often hurt themselves on these rocks. Further more, if you want to heat a pond and you aren't covering it, you are wasting money as almost all the heat will escape into thin air.
So I needed a cover, but I first needed to build a hardwood border around the whole pond.
First day I started doing this, I got some rather unusual weather:
Still, nothing can stop the Wide-O, so after a bit of work (well, OK, took me 5 days in total...) it looked like this:
Kewl or what !
And another few days, the cover was done. Not really how I wanted it, but I really really got fed up with my DIY frenzy, so it's just functional, not pretty. Will try harder next year.
That it ! :-)
Oh, and the one night I had removed my netting and before the cover was on, nice Mr. Heron managed to get one of my fish, Salvatore (a nice Chagoi with a moustache) as a snack. RIP :-(