25 below in WI - do I attempt a rescue


Joined
Jan 24, 2019
Messages
32
Reaction score
25
Country
United States
Greetings, hope its ok to post here first rather than the intro since Im having a bit of an SOS .... I have a 600 gal pond (actually it might be 800 I cant remember) that's been functioning pretty well for last 7 yrs or so . All this time Ive brought my fishies in for the winter but this year I thought.... why not leave them out. After all, that's why I made my pond 42 inches deep. .... and the winters have been so mild lately. So then what happens - record arctic temps last week with worse to come next week. Last night it was minus 23 and before that, a week or so of minus 10 at night and barely above zero during the day. Next week will be 2 or 3 days in a row of minus 25 at night (minus 55 if you want to count wind chill).

So if I want to attempt to open up the ice and bring them in .... tomorrow and Monday prob about my only chance.

I guess this is a "what would you do" question.

I got a thermometer down to the bottom yesterday, and assuming its correct (not entirely sure - its very slow to measure change) its only a couple degrees above freezing. Given that the water is already pretty cold, and given continued cold weather, and given that I have an aerator that is pulling cold air into the water (I think that may have been a mistake), I think theres a good chance they would not survive next week. Im not even sure theyre still alive after last night....

I have a 1500 watt deicer + Tetra aerator with two air stones that seem to be putting out a lot of bubbles. I have them on a plant shelf that is about 8 inches from the surface so hole was quite large even this a.m. after minus 23. Any thoughts on the placement of these things?

And / or is it too late to get one of those pond breathers - seems like a lot of people use them here and they really work? I actually bought one earlier this year, but couldn't make head or tails out of how to work it so I returned it. Sigh.....

thx for any and all input
Catja in WI
 

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
35,005
Reaction score
19,903
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
Welcome to our forum!

I don't live where it is as cold as it is for you.

But my pond bottom temperature has reached 33f on a few of our cold winters. It sounds like your fish still have liquid water, they will be fine. The main thing is to keep a small hole open for air exchange, so any rotting plant debris gases gets out of the pond.

I would be careful about your aerators, I had a friend lose all his fish using too much air, best guess super chilled the water. Sounds like you have two air stones next to the heater if the aerator is separate I would turn it off. If you have a nice hole staying open your fish should be ok. Good thing to have it shallow, that way the bottom pond water stays less disturbed.

The pond breather works great, it uses a lot less electricity.
 
Ad

Advertisements

mrsclem

mrsclem
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
2,967
Reaction score
2,606
Location
st. mary's county, md.
Hardiness Zone
7A
Country
United States
Agree with Addy. Moving the fish now would do more harm. Move your airstones up close to the surface and keep using your heater to keep a hole open in the ice. Goldfish are tough!
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
7,765
Reaction score
8,638
Location
Northern IL
I don't know how close you are to me, but I'm living through the same weather conditions as you here in north suburban Chicago, and there's no way I would attempt to do anything pond related right now. If your pond is 42 inches deep, it's deep enough to over winter your fish. We have at least a foot of snow on the ground right now and another 8-10 inches expected tonight and tomorrow. Do you have snow on the pond?

A big factor might be the number and size of the fish in your pond. At 6-800 gallons, I assume we're talking about goldfish which are known to be extremely cold hardy. But an overstocked pond can be trouble for any fish in the winter. But honestly at this point I think you just need to wait and hope for the best.
 

sissy

sissy
Joined
Jan 17, 2011
Messages
31,804
Reaction score
14,744
Location
Axton virginia
Hardiness Zone
7A
Country
United States
The worst weather for a pond is high heat or extreme cold .I always say dig a pond below the frost level for footings for a deck .I know here the frost level for footings is 24 inch's but all builders here go 36 inch's .I hope for the best for you and your fish .You may have to think of building a hoop house over your pond like colleen did .It holds the heat in .I have even seen on you tube where they use ABS black pipe to use the sun to help heat the pond in the winter .They even use those systems in hot houses to grow veggies all winter .That and plenty of mulch around the outside of the green house .I have even seen where they pump warm air into a pond .IU guess when you get this kind of cold weather you have to think outside the box
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2019
Messages
32
Reaction score
25
Country
United States
Thx so much for replies/ reality check - that exactly is the dilema, would I do more harm than good. I could pump cold pond water down to the basement tank as I have in past years but the whole physical act of getting them out would be challenging... for many reasons. Usually when Ive brought them in water temps have been in the 40s, not 30s, which means a lot less differential between outdoor water temp and basement temp (about 50 degrees). I know it would be a problem if their body temps raise too fast.

Yes these are all plain old red comet goldfish - but still beloved pets. I would just feel awful if I lost any of them esp. one old guy thats 20 yrs old. Needless to say Im kicking myself for having not at least brought him and a pal in, as I was thinking of doing.

Maybe go get a pond breather? Theres some in stock at Farm and Fleet - was reading the instructions but whats not clear to me is where the water goes once it is brought up to the surface? I could unplug the other things but leave them frozen in place, in case I change my mind..... How deep does the tube extend into the water? Does there need to be a certain amt of distance between the tube and the pond bottom? Where I have in mind its only about 2 ft.... the fish would be nearby in the 42 inch area.

Lisa Im just north of you - near Madison WI. We had that ridiculously warm December so I just wasnt thinking it would get like this.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2019
Messages
32
Reaction score
25
Country
United States
I just remembered I have some 4 ft wide bubble wrap, a heavier type made for greenhouses - may be enough to make a small tent over at least part of the pond....arghhhhh
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
4,190
Reaction score
3,291
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio
Hardiness Zone
6 A
Country
United States
A 20 year old fishy, that's pretty special so I can see why you're concerned.

Here's what I would do if I were you.

I'd buy a Pond Breather, familiarize yourself with how it works, testing it in your kitchen sink to make sure no tubes are pinched. Then I'd stick it in your pond, at 42 inches, it's deep enough...try to avoid lowering it into mulm / debris.

I'd buy a cattle panel at Tractor Supply and cover the pond with a durable plastic.


I have large 13-14 year old koi, so to what I recommend above, I also run a small aerator, with 4 stones suspended about 10 inches into the water.
 

JBtheExplorer

Native Gardener
Joined
Apr 2, 2013
Messages
3,874
Reaction score
6,497
Location
Wisconsin
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
Hi @Big Red Comet.

I also live in Wisconsin, and my pond has the exact same depth as yours. I only use a pond breather, and it's worked well since I started using it. To be honest, I'm pretty nervous about this week, though. I'm hoping it can keep up in weather that cold. My pond has not seen anything as cold as expected on Wednesday, and I don't think I have, either.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
7,046
Reaction score
7,195
Location
Water Valley, Alberta
Hardiness Zone
2a
Country
Canada
Great to hear the pond breathers are working well for people.
I still have 2 used ones sitting in the barn and 2 new ones still in their boxes.
I see Dr. Fosters and Smith are closing down. Too bad.
 
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
488
Reaction score
374
Country
United States
Great to hear the pond breathers are working well for people.
I still have 2 used ones sitting in the barn and 2 new ones still in their boxes.
I see Dr. Fosters and Smith are closing down. Too bad.
Fosters & Smith will be missed. Wow, so many years they were tops. I will especially miss the 'live aquaria' which was fantastic.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
576
Reaction score
480
Location
Chicago (W suburbs)
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
I got a thermometer down to the bottom yesterday, and assuming its correct (not entirely sure - its very slow to measure change) its only a couple degrees above freezing. Given that the water is already pretty cold, and given continued cold weather, and given that I have an aerator that is pulling cold air into the water (I think that may have been a mistake), I think theres a good chance they would not survive next week. Im not even sure theyre still alive after last night....
Three things to keep in mind. First, at 42" deep you've got heat coming out of the ground warming the bottom of the pond. Second, even though your water temp may be in the low 30s, it takes more than 80 times as much energy to freeze a gallon of water as it does to cool it down two degrees. Lastly, ice and snow are good insulators. The thicker that ice gets the more of the heat it will keep in the pond.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
576
Reaction score
480
Location
Chicago (W suburbs)
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
Great to hear the pond breathers are working well for people.
I still have 2 used ones sitting in the barn and 2 new ones still in their boxes.
I see Dr. Fosters and Smith are closing down. Too bad.
What's your source for this? I don't see anything like that on their website or in my e-mail. Is it possible they are just stopping shipping to Canada?
 

sissy

sissy
Joined
Jan 17, 2011
Messages
31,804
Reaction score
14,744
Location
Axton virginia
Hardiness Zone
7A
Country
United States
I just ordered from them and they said nothing except for they were closing a store .I ordered over the phone
 

mrsclem

mrsclem
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
2,967
Reaction score
2,606
Location
st. mary's county, md.
Hardiness Zone
7A
Country
United States
From the article I read it's one large store in Wisconsin as well as their pharmacy department. All other stores remain open.
 
Ad

Advertisements


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top