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The minimum depth of ponds for fish in the winter

Updated June 13, 2017

Fish ponds add a beautiful dimension to landscaping on any scale. Whether the pond is large or small, it must have adequate depth for fish to survive the cold winter months.

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The Small Pond

The area a pond covers depends largely upon the size of the yard or garden. Whether a backyard fish pond is 3 feet or 8 feet across, the recommended depth for the survival of the fish is between 30 and 48 inches.

Koi Pond

The ideal depth of a pond that supports a population of koi is 48 to 60 inches, although koi can survive with a minimum depth of 36 inches. That depth offers the koi protection from wading birds and also allows for a more uniform water temperature.

Cold Water Ponds

Ponds of 1/2 acre or more can support more fish and aquatic plants, but require greater depth. Cold water ponds that are spring-fed need to be between 8 and 10 feet deep, while ponds that are not spring-fed should have a depth of 16 feet.

Warm Water Ponds

The water supply for large warm water ponds comes from surface run-off. The Monroe County (New York) Soil and Water Conservation District recommends a minimum depth of 8 to 10 feet for such ponds.

Other Considerations

In addition to providing a proper depth, a pond owner should make certain to keep some of the pond's surface area clear of ice. This is necessary for a proper exchange of gases, allowing toxic gases to escape while allowing oxygen to enter.

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About the Author

Teressa Rose Ezell has been writing professionally since 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and English from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a Master of Fine Arts in writing candidate at Lindenwood University. Current projects include a short-story series and a collection of creative nonfiction essays.

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