Prevent the Winter Overkill with The Best Fish Pond De icer

A fish pond de icer is the only reprieve for your fish in the depth of the winter. As a fish keeper, one of your primary concerns is keeping your finny friends healthy and happy when the harsh winter season arrives. When you begin to knit your winter-wear, start your indoor fireplace and shut the windows close, hoping to keep the chill-out. Your fish in the backyard pond are vulnerable, lacking any defense against the creeping cold. You see, your fish lack an inherent quality that we might be taking for granted all along- Homeostasis! Your fish lack the internal mechanism to keep their body temperature optimal when the external temperature is fluctuating. While you can’t find sweaters and mufflers for your fish, there are other productive ways in which you can prevent the fish keeper’s winter kill heartbreak- Fish pond de icers.

Yes, the dropping temperature is a sure cause of worry during the winter. Still, more significant concerns make the chilly seasons even more dreadful for backyard pond fish keepers- lack of oxygen in the pond water and trapped toxic gases.  A thermo pond de icer is like a chimney that allows the toxic gases out and promotes oxygenation. If you are just beginning with your outdoor pond fish keeping hobby, there are a few things that might confuse you a bit.  Questions such as what is the difference between a de icer and a heater for a fish pond? or what size pond de icer do I need? We need a bit of deliberation as each outdoor water feature is unique and has special needs. In this article, we hope to unravel the necessity behind pond de-icers, their mechanisms, types including large and small pond de-icers, as well as tips on perfect pond fish keeping.


The Heartbreak of Winterkill – The Disaster Of A Fish Pond

Winterkill is another fish keeper nightmare when the chilly winters arrive, and your fish pond’s water begins to freeze. As the ice layer on the fish pond thickens, it leaves the inside chilly cold, which might not be the most ideal for some of your tropical pond fishes. However, the temperature is surprisingly the second in line concern here. With a layer of ice on top, it acts like a cover preventing any gas exchange from the top to the bottom or vice versa. Hence, the toxic gases formed as a part of the natural ecosystem remains trapped within the water feature. The oxygen begins to deplete with no inlet for a fresh batch of oxygen to diffuse into the water. Eventually, as the oxygen concentration depletes even further, your once lively fish pond becomes an icy suffocating torture graveyard. This is where a fish pond de icer changes everything and keeps the water feature in its booming and healthy state.

How Does A Fish Pond De-icer Make A Difference for Your Outdoor Fish Keeping Experience?

The quandary of does your pond needs a pond de icer falls on your fish pond winterizing needs. If you don’t have fish or any other aquatic pond species in your pond or if you don’t reside in a region where winter doesn’t entail freezing, then the functionality of a fish pond de icer goes redundant for your scenario. However, if you have ornamental fish in your pond and you also live in a place where winter means frozen outdoor water features, a fish pond de icer is the only survival mechanism for your finny friends. In order to understand why a pond de icer becomes such a non-negotiable commodity in the winters for a fish keeper, let’s look at how the pond heater/ de icer keeps your fish alive.

Also read – Is Aquarium Salt Necessary in Freshwater Tanks?

How Does A Pond De-Icer Work?

Your fish pond de icer contains a small heating element within the outer cascade. This heating element is attached to a top part that keeps it afloat in the fish pond. Fish pond de-icers are generally circular for them to spread around to a maximum surface area where the melting needs to be done. A pond de-icer does not heat up the entirety of your fish pond. Instead, it creates a sizeable hole in the layer of ice, allowing the normal exchange of gases, thereby preventing the phenomenon that all fish keepers dread- the heartbreak of winterkill!

Here is a short video on how a fish pond de icer will keep your backyard water feature safe in the winters

Fish Pond De-Icer VS Pond Heater

Thinking of a pond de-icer the same as a heater is a prevalent misconception among beginner fish keepers. In a more general sense, you can say that a pond heater and a fish pond de-icer are the same. But upon a closer look, it is quite clear that pond heater and de-icer are not the same. Fish pond de-icer will not increase the heat in your pond. Instead, you will almost always come across pond de-icers with thermostat or temperature regulators that are activated when the temperature in your fish pond goes down to 40 to 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many fish keepers tend to search for pond heaters when you should really be searching for fish pond de icers! Confused? A pond heater is used for increasing the temperature; hence, the heat in your pond. While these units are functional, they can come at exorbitantly high prices. Not to mention, the monthly electricity consumption and the utility bills might drain your wallets faster than what you would ever imagine. We strongly believe that fish keeping does not need to be an expensive endeavor. Using a pond heater makes more sense when you have exotic tropical fish species in your pond. Other pond fishes will not necessarily do well when it comes to living in a hot water bath.  So, if you are wondering what is the difference between a de icer and a heater for a fish pond, pond de icers are exclusive to the issue of combating winterkill in your fish pond while pond heaters are not! Now, since the words pond heater and de-icer are mutually used in the fish keeping community, there are combination products that you can purchase- the pond de-icer heater.

Best Rated Pond De-Icer Reviews

#1 – Laguna Power Heat Pond De icer

The Laguna Power Heat pond de icer is another UFO-like offering for your fish pond in the winter. Energy efficiency and exorbitant electricity bills are two of the primary concern for outdoor pond fish keepers. However, that is not the case with the Laguna pond de-icer since it is a pond de-icer with a thermostat; it only operates or heats up when needed. The 500-watt variant is adequately sufficient for your 500 to 700-gallon backyard pond.

The efficiency is well reaffirmed with the best small pond de-icer reviews; however, there is a slight disparity that is worthy of being noted here. Since the cord comes out from the bottom of the unit, it might cause some tilting of the fish pond de icer. A suitable method is to use a brick or any other safely applicable weight to weigh the Laguna pond de-icer down. The 15-watt heating element present on the top of the pond heater/de-icer melts the top layer of ice and keeps your fish pond well aerated and at an optimal temperature range.

Laguna is a sister brand of Hagen, which is quite infamous in the fish keeping community as a company that offers the highest quality of equipment and tools for ideal fish keeping supplemented by its ingenious European engineered designs and technology. That fact certainly is a comfort that reaffirms the durability and the efficiency of this fish pond de icer.

Type of fish pond de icerFloating pond de-icer
Build MaterialPlastic casing
Power500 Watts


  • An intuitive LED indicator
  • Long 22 feet electrical cord
  • Dedicated element for better snow melting in the fish pond
  • Impressive detail for better outdoor fish keeping


  • A single year warranty is quite a rarity from the brand.
  • The cord coming from the bottom of the fish pond de icer might cause some instability, hence it needs to be anchored.

Our Verdict

With the laguna pond de-icer your pond is satisfyingly safe from the heartbreak of winter overkill. For better convenience, the unit also sports a LED indicator at the top of the dome as an indication of when the element is engaged. Moreover, the reputation and the meticulous structure of the laguna power heat 500w pond de-icer eliminates the guesswork when it comes to the safety of your fish pond.

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#2 – Aquascape 300-Watt Pond Heater/De-icer

Aquascape has earned quite a name in the fish keeping community by offering high-quality utilities for an ideal and convenient fish keeping experience. The hat like fish pond de icer is one of the best equipment that can save your outdoor pond from freezing over. The unit is a powerful floating de-icer despite its humble appearance. The product is designed to work as a large pond de-icer and keep your 500-gallon pond well-oxygenated and warm. Since you get de-icer with thermostat, it is guaranteed that it will not cause any discomfort to your fish by overheating the pond. 

The body of the Aquascape, 300-Watt de-icer sports a durable stainless-steel body that is resistant to corrosion and will not crack under extreme weather conditions. For added convenience, you get an in-built LED light at the very top of the unit. The LED indicates if the Aquascape 300-watt pond de icer is operating or not. The thermo pond floating de-icer will shut off automatically when you remove it from your fish pond. This auto-shutoff feature ensures that the pond de-icer is safe from damage while also enhancing its operational life expectancy.

Type of fish pond de icerFloating pond de-icer
Build MaterialStainless Steel
Power300 Watts


  • Stainless Steel body for better corrosion resistance
  • De-icer with thermostat ensure less electricity consumption
  • Long 22 feet power cord
  • Built-in LED light as an indicator of the device’s operational status
  • Exclusively built as a large pond de-icer
  • 3-year warranty period


  • Can be expensive if you are looking for a budget fish pond de icer
  • Requires a thermo cube for better energy efficiency

Our Verdict

Aquascape 300-watt pond de-icer is quite a pond equipment for fish keepers if you are ready to look over the aesthetics. It is safe to say that investing in this tool for your outdoor water feature will be satisfying in the long run. The ingenious technology for better energy control as well as the tiny bells and whistles are thoughtful integrations that will surely make your outdoor fish-keeping endeavor a bit more convenient during the winters. 

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#3 – K & H Pet Products Thermo Pond heater/de-icer

The K&H pet products pond de icer is the best fish pond equipment if you are looking for the best small pond de icer for 1000 gallons or less. The disc-shaped k&h™ thermo-pond 3.0 pond de-icer comes with a small dome on the top, making it look like a perfect semblance of a UFO. However, that is not the only unique aspect of the design. The small pond de-icer has a patented design and technology. The 12-inch disc on top is designed to absorb the heat from the incoming sunlight and pass it onto the water in your fish pond. Within the same disc lives a small heating element that constantly emits warmth into your pond to keep the ice melted in the surrounding region for better aeration.

The ingenious technology of the k&h™ thermo-pond 3.0 pond de-icer is also one of the most intuitive approaches to a fish pond de icer. The company guarantees that the unit will operate only as often as it is needed to establish a 12-inch circle in the ice. The product also has some of the most satisfying best small pond de-icer reviews. Not to mention, the MET certification reaffirms that the equipment is safe for outdoor usage. 

Type of fish pond de icerFloating pond de-icer
Build MaterialPlastic casing
Power250 Watts


  • Well-built and durable
  • Keeps the utility bills and energy consumption as low as possible
  • Operates only when needed
  • One-year warranty on the product


  • LED indicator absent
  • Plastic body
  • The fish pond de icer turns on only when the temperature falls to a freezing point, giving you absolutely no way of controlling the operation.

Our Verdict

The k&h™ thermo-pond 3.0 pond de-icer is equipment for everyday use. Although we would have appreciated a stainless steel or aluminum body and a more extended warranty period, those aren’t precisely handicapping for this fish pond de-icer. The cord quality and the body of the central unit shouts premium. Considering the best small pond de icer reviews, it is safe to say; this element will make your fish keeping experience a warm one this winter season.

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#4 – TetraPond Pond 300-Watt De-icer

If you are tired of weird looking fish pond de-icers that stick out from the pond aesthetics like a sore thumb, the tetrapond pond de-icer is just the equipment for your backyard water feature. The product works best both as a small pond de-icer as well as a large pond de-icer despite the fact that it is your standard 300-watt product. Concluding the aesthetical value of this fish pond de icer is simply stunning with perfect blending looks. Talking about the temperature control, the tetrapond pond de-icer, thermostatically controlled, 300-watts. Meaning, it ensures energy efficiency and does not fall heavy on your utility bills.

The tetrapond floating pond de-icer is strong enough to keep the ice in the pond thawed at all times, even when the temperature falls to a chilling 20-degree Fahrenheit. It is lovely to see your fish gather around in the pocket of warmth from the fish pond de icer. However, much like any other fish keeping equipment, the installation of the tetrapond pond de-icer needs to be done meticulously. Since the unit is a floating type, the depth of your pond is relatively insignificant.

Overall, the tetrapond floating pond de-icer is one of a kind outdoor fish keeping tool. Even in terms of efficiency, it is more likely to do the job without raising your utility bills to crazy units, especially when compared to a pond heater. 

Type of fish pond de icerFloating pond de-icer
Build MaterialPlastic casing
Power300 Watts


  • The rock-like design of the fish pond de icer complements the aesthetics of your water feature
  • Inbuilt thermostat and auto shut off feature helps save energy
  • Easy to use
  • Safe for outdoor fish pond
  • 22 feet power cord
  • 3 year warranty period


  • Needs to be removed from the pond when not in use as it can raise the temperature to a seething water bath in your pond
  • Might cause circuit faults if not correctly installed

Our Verdict

The tetrapond pond de icer is made for both beginner level fish keeping as well as for exotic fish species. We would appreciate an aluminum or stainless steel body better, but considering the 3-year warranty, there is a sense of confidence about the durability of this pond de-icer.  The built-in thermostat, simple and aesthetically pleasant design, auto shut off feature, and durability make the Tetrapond pond de-icer a great candidate for an ideal fish keeping experience in the chill season. 

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#5 – Farm Innovators Pond De icer

The farm innovators heated pond saucer de icer 200 watts is quite a product both in terms of durability and simple use. The green flying saucer-like fish pond de icer is purely designed for efficiency. The base of the farm innovators floating pond de icer is made up of a cast aluminum ring. The top of the equipment is plastic to keep the unit from sinking in. The power cord originates from the bottom of the pond de icer.

For enhanced protection, the fish pond de icer is coated with an anti-chew coating, which prevents chipping of the material into the pond water keeping the water chemistry at optimal levels. The internal thermostat within the element controls the operation to only function when it is needed. This not only increases efficiency but also keeps your utility bills in check.

Despite the low-profile design, the Farm innovator floating pond de icer is quite intuitive to the cause of preventing the winterkill heartbreak for fish keepers. The product comes with a 3-year warranty, which is quite generously impressive. If you are looking for a large pond de-icer, then the farm innovators floating pond de-icer 1200 watt is your best bet!

Type of fish pond de icerFloating pond de-icer
Build MaterialCast Aluminum
Power1250 Watts


  • Maintains a good-sized hole within the frozen fish pond ice
  • Works as both a small pond de-icer as well as a large pond de-icer
  • Internal thermostat for better energy efficiency
  • Versatile and durable
  • 3-year warranty period


  • Not adequately sealed
  • The power cord is relatively short, making it necessary to keep an extension handy

Our Verdict

The farm innovator floating pond de icer is a humble offering to our fish keepers worried about the winter disaster. Of course, inserting an electrical device within your pond full of water is a dangerous prospect. In terms of the safety of your pond’s inhabitants, this fish pond de icer is perfectly safe, as attested by the best small pond de icer reviews. Since the brand offers higher wattage variants, you can conveniently switch if you have a larger pond. All in all, for the durability, price point, and for being a pond de-icer with thermostat, this equipment is a sure candidate on your shopping list for a hassle-free winter fish keeping endeavor.

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Here are some more fish pond winterization tips for ideal fish keeping

How Can You Choose the Best Pond De-icer?

The fish keeping world brings in new equipment for an ideal experience every day. When you have such a bounty of choice, it is often difficult to decide which is the best product for your outdoor water feature. The fish pond de icer is no exception, with different types, function, wattages, and capacity; how do you know you are purchasing the best pond de icer in the market. We can help with that dilemma; here are some pointers that will help you decide on the best pond de-icer over an average product. 

·         Types of fish pond de icer

Within the conjecture of a fish pond de icer, there are two major types- a floating pond de-icer or a submersible pond de-icer. Choosing between a floating or submersible de-icer for a small pond is easy. A floating pond de-icer remains on the surface of the pond, which allows it to have a better reach to create and maintain a hole in the fish pond. However, since this type of fish pond de-icer remains on the surface, it can look slightly unpleasing in terms of aesthetics.

A submersible pond de icer, on the other hand, sinks down to the bottom of the pond. Meaning it will not be obtrusive to the overall aesthetics. On the downside, since the equipment is not present on the surface, it does not have a good reach and might not be able to create or maintain a hole in the fish pond as effectively as a floating pond de-icer.

Hence, in terms of efficiency and better functionality, the floating pond de icer is the best choice.

·         Wattage

The wattage of your fish pond de icer directly influences its hole maintaining abilities for better facilitation of gaseous exchange in the pond or for offering a warm little section in the pond for your fish to relax in. However, in a more realistic world, the wattage of the pond heater/di icer is intrinsically associated with energy consumption. The bills show up with quite a dreadful routine on your doorstep every month, especially when the equipment will be running 24/7 in your pond all winter.

The wattage calculation of a fish pond de-icer is quite different from the pond heater. The former only consumes enough energy to maintain a hole in one section of the pond, unlike the heater that works towards heating the entire water feature.

·         Capacity

According to the surface area of your backyard fish pond, it is crucial to purchase a fish pond de icer that works adequately. Most of the big or small pond de-icers are rated according to their gallon capacity. The capacity of the equipment becomes vital when you are using inline or submersible pond de-icers. As a good rule of thumb, the wattage is directly proportional to the capacity of your pond. This is an important consideration, especially when you are keeping temperature-sensitive fish in your pond.

·         Build

Nobody can deny that a fish pond de icer needs to be a tough buddy. The construction is very crucial to the optimal performance and durability of the unit. While a stainless steel or aluminum body comes with perks such as corrosion resistance and a better life span, a plastic body cuts away the cost of fitting the equipment within a reasonable price point. Conclusively, your fish pond de icer needs to be robust, sturdy, and durable to survive in the extreme temperature range while still doing its job.

·         Safety

A good rating on the safety parameters not only makes the operation functional but also enhances the efficiency of the product. If your fish pond de icer lacks a thermostat, the temperature within the pond might rise insignificantly when all the ice has melted as there is no indication for the equipment to shut off. On the other hand, a pond de-icer with a thermostat ensures that the heating element is engaged only when it is needed. This eliminates the risk or any malfunctioning and helps you keep the utility bills within their lower limits.

Also read – How Long Do Fish Live? An Ultimate Guide on The Average Lifespan of a Fish

How to Install A Pond De-Icer?

Installation of a fish pond de icer is a pretty straightforward endeavor, especially the floating pond de icer. You simply need to place the unit on top of the pond, plug into a power outlet, and voila, the work is done. However, within an ideal execution, thawing a section of the ice with hot water and then placing the pond de-icer is a suitable method. You can use the same method for a submersible pond de icer. It is essential to make sure that your devices are connected to outlets that are functioning with GFCI breakers. So if you ask, does my pond de-icer need to be on a gfci breaker- absolutely yes! The best way to enhance the performance of your fish pond de icer is to go through the installation guide for better awareness about the product and its requirements.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting Tips For Fish Pond De-icers

A fish pond de icer does require a bit of upkeeping for enhanced efficiency. Over time, the build-up of minerals and other debris on the heating element of the pond de-icer might lead to premature failure of the equipment. It is best to inspect the element from time to time and clean it using water or limestone remover. We recommend paying close attention to the length of your power cord and avoid using an extension cord to remain safe from voltage failures or outages. It is best to purchase a fish pond de-icer with a long power cord for better flexibility and device safety. 

If you are looking for the best spot to place your floating or submersible pond de-icer, we recommend placing it on the shallowest sections of your water feature. By doing this, you allow the heat to seep into the edges, enhancing the operation’s efficiency, thereby preventing you from walking on thin ice with fish keeping problems. See what we did there! Ok, no more puns!

Talking about placement for your fish pond de-icers, it is best to keep them away from regions with maximum wind flow, especially if you are living in regions where the ice freezes extra hard. The wind carries away all the heat, decreasing the performance rate by leaps leaving your equipment to work extra hard to keep up with the icy cold. You can also try covering the unit with a bottomless bucket to block the wind.

Fish Pond De-Icers- FAQs

What size pond de-icer do I need? The size of the fish pond de icer you use is directly related to the gallon capacity of your outdoor pond. The factoring also depends on whether you are using a supplemental device such as a pond aerator and the main element. If you have decided upon using a fish pond de icer only this winter season, here is an applicable wattage chart for the pond de icer size.

  • 250-gallon pond needs a 100 to 250-watt fish pond de icer
  • 250 to 500-gallon pond needs a 300-watt fish pond de icer
  • 500 to 1000-gallon pond needs a 750-watt pond deicer
  • 1000 to 1500-gallon pond needs a 1250-watt fish pond de icer
  • 1500 to 2000-gallon pond needs a 1500-watt pond de icer

How to clean a de-icer pond? A fish pond de icer requires very minimal maintenance, but a bit of routine up keeping can enhance the performance and the life expectancy of the unit. Cleaning your pond de icer is with water occasionally is sufficient. Since the unit collects a lot of minerals with prolonged usage, it is best to wash your equipment with limestone remover as well. 

How to choose a de-icer for your pond or stock tank? The very primal consideration for purchasing a fish pond de icer is to take into account the capacity of the water feature. Most pond heaters/de icers are rated with gallon capacity. Once you have the sizing done correctly, you can move on to considerations such as durability, type of pond de-icer, appearance, power cord, construction, and warranty. You can follow our buyers guide above to make sure you are checking off all the right parameters for a fruitful investment in a fish pond de-icer. 

Why is my pond de-icer sinking? If you are using a floating pond de-icer, they are typically made lightly to float. However, with prolonged usage, there is a build-up of minerals, including limestones. This predicament is especially true when the unit hasn’t been cleaned with water or limestone remover for a long time. In another scenario, sometimes the cord comes out from the bottom of the fish pond de icer. This causes a bit of instability in the unit. Most fish keepers weigh it down using a rope and brick or any other weight to balance the equipment better. Sometimes the string is too small, or there is a placement issue that brings the pond de-icer down into the pond. 

What is the difference between a de icer and a heater for a fish pond? In the fish keeping community, pond heaters/ de-icers are commonly used mutually entailing the same fish keeping equipment. However, ideally, a pond heater is a more extensive piece of machinery that will heat your water feature to a desirable level. Pond heaters are more often used for exotic outdoor fish species. A fish pond de icer, on the other hand, has limited action on the immediate vicinity in your pond. It will create and maintain a hole in the iced pond large enough to ensure optimal aeration and removal of toxic gases. If you are looking for a device to save your fish from the winterkill phenomenon, you should be looking for fish pond de icers instead of pond heaters. 


Preparing for the winter season is a significant consideration for outdoor fish keepers. There is really no way around the heartbreak of winterkill besides a robust fish pond de icer. Yes, you can take your pond fish indoors in fish tanks, but that does not apply universally, especially when you are keeping colossally large pond fish species. We recommend a floating pond de-icer over the submersible kind as they are more efficient and practical. All the products mentioned in this list are sure to keep your pond sufficiently aerated and warm for many winters to come. Since you are using an electrical appliance in a water feature, your safety is another non-negotiable aspect that can’t be ignored. Make sure you are using well-built power cords and outlets and with GFCI integration. Stay safe this winter, and keep your finny friends healthy.

Also read – How Often Do You Need to Feed Fish? A Meal Plan for Healthier Aquarium Fish

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