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I have a shallow pond (18 inches at the deepest) stocked with goldfish which would freeze solid if I didn't keep it open with a Trough De-Icer, the kind used by farmers to keep water available to cattle in the field in the winter. It's economical to operate and really doesn't need to be on all the time. As long as there's a small hole in the ice, the goldfish will be fine. The de-icer allows potentially-fatal noxious gases to escape from the pond. The cost is around $50.

Speaking about ponds, I'm surprised to see so many garden articles that say water lilies must be removed from ponds that are allowed to freeze solid in the winter. Nonsense! Hardy water lilies will do just fine being left in the water. In fact, they are a permanent part of my pond. I dug an extra deep area under the pond liner so the pond liner would sink into it and I could top it up with the worst clay soil I could find. That's the stuff I planted my water lilies into. And they've been gorgeous through the years, whether the pond is heated (occasionally, depending on the winter---to save the goldfish) or not.

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