View Full Version : Need a small pond heater

10-11-2010, 04:13 AM
Where can I find a small solar-powered or battery-powered pond heater that doesn't need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, will withstand sub-freezing winter temperatures, and is easy to install? My small pond freezes solid in winter and because it is located so far from a source of electricity, there is no way to plug in an electric pond heater, even using an extension cord.

I have put my goldfish back into their pond, because they weren't liking my 20-gallon high aquarium. Now, I need a way to heat that pond.

Any suggestions?


10-11-2010, 04:17 AM
I need a solar-powered or battery-powered heater for a very small pond that is located too far away from any electrical outlet to accommodate a plug-in unit. Heater must be able to withstand sub-freezing winter temperatures and be easy to install.

Any ideas? Thanks -- mermaid

10-12-2010, 12:33 AM
I have never seen a solar or battery powered heater for a pond. How large is your pond?

I have toyed with the idea of over-wintering my fish in our garage/shop. It is all closed in-just has sliding glass doors.

If you wanted to winter them indoors- you could use a large Rubbermaid tote- like a 55 gallon one- or the largest you can find, add plants, some gravel etc. and keep them in there until the weather gets warmer. But, depending on where you are in terms of cold weather, you should bring them in soon so you don't shock them too much. You would have to do water changes.

10-12-2010, 12:37 AM
How do you power water movement features during the warm months?How big is the pond exactly and what is stocked in it,what part of the country are you located?

10-12-2010, 03:29 AM
The pond is really one of those large plastic tubs you buy at garden centers to use as a planter. I buried mine in the ground up to its rim, put gravel in the bottom and some larger rocks, filled it with our clean well water, and have been keeping goldfish and pond snails in it. I have artificial water lilies and lily pads floating on the surface.

I keep the water agitated by using a birdbath agitator that I got from Wild Birds Unlimited. I have a plastic bin filled with rocks, and a flat piece of cinderblock on top of the bin, and I have the birdbath agitator set on that. The sealed top of the agitator has a battery inside it, and that has to remain above the water, but the legs and agitator are in the water, and keeping it moving and oxygenated.

I don't have a filter, but I have done regular water changes in this tub, and once a month I have netted out the fish into a bucket of water, and drained the pond and thoroughly scrubbed the algae off the sides, and rinsed the gravel. Then I rinse off all the rocks, including those acting as weights inside the agitator bin, replace everything, and put the fish back into the pond. I go out and feed them every day. Snails are in the pond, too.

It's really quite small, but it's deep for what it is -- a good seventeen inches deep and about four feet long and sixteen inches wide.

It's very low-tech, but the fish are happy in it.

I had anticipated the coming of winter and had brought them indoors into a 20-gallon-high aquarium, before I finally realized that's too small. That has an undergravel filter with a Maxi-Jet and Venturi bubbler. The fish were fine for awhile, then, despite water changes and gravel vacuuming, began showing signs of stress. I finally had to put them back out into the pond when my shubunkin kept hanging at the surface of the tank trying to breathe. I checked on them today, and they're all fine and happy again, out there.

But I can't leave them out there.

So, I think I'll take the advice about getting a 55-gallon-Rubbermaid tote and bring that inside. I hadn't thought about doing that. If I keep them in the garage / tractor shed, I'll need a heater because water will freeze out there. I'll just get a heater at my LFS.

Thanks, folks. Now I know what I can do.

-- mermaidwannabe

10-12-2010, 03:30 AM
I live in the inland northwest, in the north Idaho panhandle.

Lady Hobbs
10-12-2010, 01:19 PM
This will not work in the winter months. Ponds need to be much deeper than the depth of a wading pool in the winter and actually in the summer months as well.

10-12-2010, 04:22 PM
How many goldys are in there and how big are the? Your pond dims are that of a 55 gal tank so I can say that in an unfiltered condition your max stocking is about 3 to 5 goldys no bigger then 6 inches. An outside pond or an inside tank that size is headed for a major health issue for goldfish without dedicated biological filtration.celaing the rocks and removing all water from the pond is removing all bio filtration.the pond needs a filter,water movement by itself is not enough.

10-12-2010, 09:43 PM
I would say to bring them in for the winter, with a heater, just on enough so the water won't freeze- don't keep it at like, 70 degrees or anything. You will need to run a filter (or two) on the tub. Plus water changes.

Then in the spring, before you move them, I would have an electrician or whomever come out and give you an esimate on running electricity out to the pond. It may not be very expensive, just cording run under the ground, tied to your homes electricity. Then you could have a filtration system for the whole year, as well as a heater for next winter.

10-12-2010, 11:17 PM
There are four goldfish, ranging in size from barely two inches to about five inches on the shubunkin, IF you count to the very tips of its tail, which is nearly as long as its body. There are also pond snails, and they've been breeding in the pond, as I continually see very tiny new snails that I know I haven't placed inside it.

Okay, then -- I will see if I can find a Rubbermaid 55-gallon tote, will place an undergravel filter in the bottom of it that's designed to accommodate a 55-gallon aquarium, then use my second Maxi-Jet submersible pump and Venturi bubbler to circulate the water. If I can't find a 55-gallon tote, then the largest I can find with a UGF to match the gallon capacity.

And yes, I will need to look into running electricity out to the pond, or else just keep faux fish in it from now on (some are very realistic-looking, and a little fishing line and lead weight, they can be arranged to "swim" beneath the surface at various levels, for a natural look).

Ideally, I should invest in a 55 or 60 gallon aquarium sometime next year if I want to continue to keep goldfish.

I appreciate everyone's advice and suggestions. Thanks for all your help.

10-12-2010, 11:49 PM
That sounds good. (to me anyways...) I would look into a HOB filter for the tote. Many people prefer them much more to UGF. And with goldfish it may be better. You can always move it over to a new tank when you get one.

Walmart has 55 gal tanks (kits) for a little over $175 and then stands for about $100.

10-13-2010, 12:02 AM
heck, if you have a shovel, get some PVC and run an electrical cord inside there, get a contractor grade extension cable in the length you need. then run it to a box outside, GFCI box to be exact. 8" deep is good, 12" is better but 8" will do, check local code.

I still say the pond is too shallow to do this with but its a cheap easy fix and the same thing a electrical contractor would do.

10-13-2010, 04:13 PM
It is too shallow for there geolical location but in warmer areas such as where I live that depth is fine all the way through winter.my first pond was ony 18 inches and I kept fish in there through 5 winters.If an air exchange hole can be kept open it doesn't matter how cold it gets or for how long.

10-13-2010, 05:15 PM
Then perhaps pouring hot water over the ice covering to thin it and then puncture an airhole in it might be the answer -- but, I would have to be vigilant and see to it the hole stayed open. Wouldn't be practical, as we aren't always home, and it would freeze up again within a few hours.

I know I can de-ice my cats' drinking bowl by pouring hot water into it, but I have to keep it up.

The better option is to bring the goldies indoors. I'll be looking into that tomorrow when we go to the "big town".

Thanks for all your help and advice.

Where do you live, smaug?

Goes to 11!
10-14-2010, 11:03 PM
Your pond freezes all the way across the surface? Or SOLID? [through and through - top to bottom & side to side]

[This is not really relevant because you have no power source but...] You don't need a heater, You could simply create surface flow w a powerhead to prevent the surface from freezing.

If you don't want a CL tank - A even cheaper alternative is a [or a few] giant rubbermaid tubs to put in the basement. With adequate filtration your GF will winter quite happily there.

10-14-2010, 11:33 PM
You already started a thread asking the same question why start another


10-15-2010, 04:42 PM
Sailor, sometimes it's hard to keep track of where I might have started a thread elsewhere.

As an afterthought I felt this topic was more appropriate to start in the pond or coldwater section. And I just forgot that I had also posted it here.

-- mermaidwannabe

Lady Hobbs
10-15-2010, 04:59 PM
Both of your threads are now merged together.

10-15-2010, 05:09 PM
Thank you all for your helpful advice. I now know what to do, and I'm in the process of doing it.

Since this question has been answered for me, I think we can close this thread.

-- mermaid