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Pond Heaters and Heating Koi Ponds In Winter

  • Pond heaters are unlike other pieces of pond equipment, such as pumps, filters, air pumps and possibly UV's in that they are an optional extra.
  • Many koi keepers believe that koi should be given a typical winter period, while others believe that heating a pond is essential to maintain koi in the best of health throughout the year.
  • The threat from disease during winter is minimal with the cooler water not only slowing down the metabolism of koi, but reducing the multiplication and infection rates of pathogenic bacteria and parasites.
  • As koi are poikilothermic (i.e. they take their body temperature from that of the surrounding environment), their metabolism has no option but to follow the trend set by the water temperature.
  • The formation of ice across the entire surface should be avoided at all cost as it prevents the exchange of gases between the water and air, leading to a build up of CO2 and other noxious gases.
  • Electricity is a relatively expensive means of heating water, making it quite a prohibitive exercise.
  • The most compact electric heaters that are easiest to install comprise of a simple L-shape design, where the pond water is pumped in one end of the L and out of the other, back into the pond or filter.
  • Direct Systems: These involve pond water being circulated to the boiler where an integral heat exchanger heats the pond water as it passes through.
  • Care must be taken to ensure that the heat exchanger is not copper (as is often the case in these built-for-swimming pool units), as chronic metal toxicity problems will arise over time.

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