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  1. #1

    Polytunnel vs polycarbonate for winter

    This is my first post on here so apologies if this is the wrong place. I know its only just summer but I am starting to think about winter to get ahead as its my first time with a pond.
    I have just built a 2000 gallon raised pond and was wondering if it would be better to use a polytunnel for winter or just cover with polycarbonate sheets. I'm not sure yet if I am going to heat the pond but will be insulating the pond further either way if I do. Just looking for opinions as I'm new to ponds and have only had aquariums before.
    Thanks



  2. #2
    Welcome.

    Not sure really but I've been wondering about a poly tunnel of late.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rank = Hassai Spongebob's Avatar
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    I think a polytunnel is perfect for winter, but too hot in summer, so a removable polytunnel would seem the optimum! Koi keeping should be a 365 day hobby ideally, so if you have that option, that's the way I would go.
    9000 ltr, FG, BD, Nexus 220, Draco drop in, Remora i9 ASHP, Econbead 50, Roto Innovations shower

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  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Spongebob View Post
    I think a polytunnel is perfect for winter, but too hot in summer, so a removable polytunnel would seem the optimum! Koi keeping should be a 365 day hobby ideally, so if you have that option, that's the way I would go.
    Thanks for the advice. I was looking at a removable tunnel so that I could store it during the warm months and set up during autumn/winter. The pond is currently open and was planning on being until the temperature started to drop, I'm just trying to get ahead with it all being new

  6. #5
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai davethefish1's Avatar
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    my thoughts are, if not heating a poly tunnel will offer you more in solar heat gain than polycarbonate.
    if heating polycarbonate 35mm thick will offer better heat retention.

    but a poly tunnel allows more enjoyment year round especially if its big enough for you and the pond
    i'd seriously love to enclose my pond and pergola to the house in winter.. i could heat it just by blowing warm air in from the house by extract fan

    or both....a poly tunnel first, then add polycarbonate in the depths of winter if you heat?

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  8. #6
    I didn't think about polycarbonate offering better retention. I might look into putting a poly tunnel on in autumn and seeing how the temperatures go and add some polycarbonate later.
    Do you think I should still use 35mm polycarbonate if it is in a tunnel or does the thinner stuff not work

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  10. #7
    I used a polytunnel for the first two years when I built my pond, and then I switched to 35mm polycarbonate. The tunnel seemed fine at first, opening the doors and viewing the entire pond surface is a definite plus, but erecting and dismantling each year was a chore, and it soon became very tatty. Switching to polycarbonate was so much easier. 4.5m x 3m pond, 5 panels and frame can be fitted by one person in a couple of hours, and 9 years later the panels are still like new. Unlike the polytunnel, the polycarb is also easily stored behind the shed when not needed.
    The biggest difference though is the insulation factor. A polytunnel will keep the wind chill off the water surface, but offers no insulation at all. I even tried fitting bubble wrap over the top, but it didn’t make much difference. Heating to 13C during winter, the heatpump would be on and off several times throughout the night, but polycarb, and water at 15, I have had the heatpump fail during a night of -7. The pond lost less than half a degree in twelve hours. If you are planning on heating to any extent then polycarbonate is a must. Polytunnels are probably great at keeping the frost off your sprouts, but a poor substitute for a proper pond cover.
    Mark
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  12. #8
    Senior Member Rank = Jussai davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howeller View Post
    I didn't think about polycarbonate offering better retention. I might look into putting a poly tunnel on in autumn and seeing how the temperatures go and add some polycarbonate later.
    Do you think I should still use 35mm polycarbonate if it is in a tunnel or does the thinner stuff not work
    thinner stuff like 25mm or lower has a U value of about 1.6 -1.8 W/m2K where 35mm is about 1.2 and not much difference in price...
    but the 35mm is much more ridgid and doesn't flex as much or need as much support over the pond....
    Last edited by davethefish1; 10-06-2021 at 10:22 PM.

  13. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by balder View Post
    I used a polytunnel for the first two years when I built my pond, and then I switched to 35mm polycarbonate. The tunnel seemed fine at first, opening the doors and viewing the entire pond surface is a definite plus, but erecting and dismantling each year was a chore, and it soon became very tatty. Switching to polycarbonate was so much easier. 4.5m x 3m pond, 5 panels and frame can be fitted by one person in a couple of hours, and 9 years later the panels are still like new. Unlike the polytunnel, the polycarb is also easily stored behind the shed when not needed.
    The biggest difference though is the insulation factor. A polytunnel will keep the wind chill off the water surface, but offers no insulation at all. I even tried fitting bubble wrap over the top, but it didnt make much difference. Heating to 13C during winter, the heatpump would be on and off several times throughout the night, but polycarb, and water at 15, I have had the heatpump fail during a night of -7. The pond lost less than half a degree in twelve hours. If you are planning on heating to any extent then polycarbonate is a must. Polytunnels are probably great at keeping the frost off your sprouts, but a poor substitute for a proper pond cover.
    Mark
    Thanks for a great response. Looks like I'll be going down the polycarbonate route if it is that much better at holding heat. Thanks for the help

 

 

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