How can I make a hole in my pond’s ice?

Your fish friends may be dormant during the winter, but they still need to breathe. That means you need to make sure the carbon dioxide produced by their waste and other debris has an escape hatch for exiting your iced-over pond in the winter.

What’s the best way to make a hole in your ice? Here’s what we DO NOT recommend: blunt force trauma via axe, sledge hammer, baseball bat, 2-by-4, large rock or oversized garden gnome.

Pounding on the ice sends strong vibrations and shockwaves through the water. This can damage an organ in your fish called the lateral line, which acts as their central navigation system. They use it to sense movement, vibration, depth, water pressure and orientation. Damage to the lateral line can sometime be permanent, injuring or even killing your fish.

Here are a few better ways to open a hole in the ice:

  1. Place a pot of hot water on the ice and watch it slowly melt through. You may need to do this a couple times depending on the thickness of the ice.
  2. Use a deicer. Our 300 watt deicers typically melt through about 1 inch of ice per hour. (Your ice might end up 2 to 6 inches thick in extreme cold.)
  3. Use a rough-toothed saw to cut a hole.