Does my pond need a heater?


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Hello everyone! In April, I set up a sugar kettle pond and I put in 12 inexpensive feeder goldfish. Here we are 8 months later and they are all alive and thriving! But, the weather is turning colder. (I live in SE Louisiana.) My son also put in some of his fish from his tank, and they died recently during a cold snap. There were four tiny catfish and a pleco. He is very upset with me for not putting a heater in the pond. I have asked the "fish guy" at our local pet store, and he seemed "on the fence" as to whether or not I even need a heater. My SIL has a similar set up, and she said her goldfish do fine during the winter months. I'm pretty attached to my little fish and certainly don't want them to freeze their tails off. But, I'm sure it's not easy to heat a 450 gallon pond, either. I would love input from this group! Thanks in advance!
 
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Heating 450 gallons will be expensive. Goldfish will do fine - they are hardy fish - but it sounds like your son make the mistake of trying to put tropicals in the pond. I don't think you'd want to heat a pond to 70 degrees all winter long even in Louisiana!
 
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Question for you - are you sure your pond is 450 gallons? That would be a big container. What material is it made of? Did you have to coat it with anything to protect it from rusting?
 

sissy

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More cold weather headed your way by what the weather report says .I saw it was going all the way down to Florida but will your pond freeze ,I don't think so .You can buy a swimming pool thermometer to see what the temperature your water is .Your ground temperature is probably high also .You should really have an aerator and a water test kit those are more important than a heater .Heat will kill fish if water gets to hot and plants in the pond give off oxygen during the day but plants use that oxygen up at night
 

Mmathis

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@CBloom I want to laugh at your question, but not in a bad way. I joined here in 2011. After being around a while, everyone had me CONVINCED that I would have to go through the whole get-the-pond-ready-for-winter thing for my first winter. Problem is.....I live in Shreveport, NW LA (I laugh about that every winter!) No, you absolutely do not need a heater! But you may want to take the pleco and the catfish inside for the winter, and keep them in a heated tank. They are tropical fish and won’t tolerate low temps. The goldfish, however, are cold water fish.

And welcome to our group!

And for everyone else, here is a bit of Louisiana history: https://www.sugarkettles.com/
 
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Welcome! I think you have enough fish in the kettle. Hummm, sounds like a song! Anyway, I vote for no heat too. Just concentrate on water quality and you will be successful. A sugar kettle pond is interesting. How about posting a picture?
 

sissy

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i SEE SUGAR KETTLES AROUND HERE ALL THE TIME AND LOVE THEM BUT GEEZE THEY ARE EXPENSIVE darn key lock keeps coming on ,I just got a new keyboard so it is not that .
 
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sissy

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My keyboard is several years old and it keeps misspelling words! Guess they just don't make 'em like they used to.
nothing is made to last anymore and it has been getting harder and harder to find American made things since China deal destroyed that .Gosh I bought 2x4's the other day and they were 6 dollars a piece ,I used to pay 1.88
 
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Welcome! I think you have enough fish in the kettle. Hummm, sounds like a song! Anyway, I vote for no heat too. Just concentrate on water quality and you will be successful. A sugar kettle pond is interesting. How about posting a picture?
Great idea - I will post a picture tomorrow!
 
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i SEE SUGAR KETTLES AROUND HERE ALL THE TIME AND LOVE THEM BUT GEEZE THEY ARE EXPENSIVE darn key lock keeps coming on ,I just got a new keyboard so it is not that .
We got so lucky! We found someone who had one sitting in their yard for 90 YEARS and they were anxious to get rid of it. We paid about 1/6 of the "going rate." We love it!
 
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@CBloom I want to laugh at your question, but not in a bad way. I joined here in 2011. After being around a while, everyone had me CONVINCED that I would have to go through the whole get-the-pond-ready-for-winter thing for my first winter. Problem is.....I live in Shreveport, NW LA (I laugh about that every winter!) No, you absolutely do not need a heater! But you may want to take the pleco and the catfish inside for the winter, and keep them in a heated tank. They are tropical fish and won’t tolerate low temps. The goldfish, however, are cold water fish.

And welcome to our group!

And for everyone else, here is a bit of Louisiana history: https://www.sugarkettles.com/
Thank you so much! Everyone's responses have really put my mind at ease. I was outside at 2:30 am the other night scooping water out of the kettle because it had been raining for hours and I was afraid the little guys would jump out. After a hurricane recently, I went out in the morning to check on the fish, and one of them was on the ground! I nearly had a heart attack. Luckily, he survived! But now I am very conscious of the water level during heavy storms.

Funny story - when we first set up the sugar kettle, I went to our local pet store and told the "fish guy" that I wanted some fish to put in it. I had picked out a few fish that cost about $30 each. This guy was like, "No, you're just starting out; here's a bag of 12 fish for $4. Let's start with this." I've had them for 8 months and they are awesome! I am really enjoying them. Thank you all for helping me to take care of them!
 
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nothing is made to last anymore and it has been getting harder and harder to find American made things since China deal destroyed that .Gosh I bought 2x4's the other day and they were 6 dollars a piece ,I used to pay 1.88
Yeah, I too was shocked at the price of 2x4's. The prices doubled from last year. I think there's been a lot of price gouging going on from the pandemic. I understand how the pandemic can cause undue rises in supply prices, but some of the prices out there are ridiculous.
Has your homeowner's insurance gone up due to the price of lumber?
 
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Thank you so much! Everyone's responses have really put my mind at ease. I was outside at 2:30 am the other night scooping water out of the kettle because it had been raining for hours and I was afraid the little guys would jump out. After a hurricane recently, I went out in the morning to check on the fish, and one of them was on the ground! I nearly had a heart attack. Luckily, he survived! But now I am very conscious of the water level during heavy storms.

Funny story - when we first set up the sugar kettle, I went to our local pet store and told the "fish guy" that I wanted some fish to put in it. I had picked out a few fish that cost about $30 each. This guy was like, "No, you're just starting out; here's a bag of 12 fish for $4. Let's start with this." I've had them for 8 months and they are awesome! I am really enjoying them. Thank you all for helping me to take care of them!
Maybe you can cover it with window screening so they can't hop out. You'll be able to sleep better!
If you're handy, you might make a wooden frame for the window screening for easy on/off. Staple the screening to the wood.
 
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Welcome to the group!
Most people refer to putting a “heater” in/on their pond in winter but it’s actually 99% of the time simply a “floating tank heater”, made to keep ice from completely covering a water tank for cattle/horses, etc. They work on a thermostat and only turn on when the water temp gets close to freezing. I always cringe when I see someone asking how to heat their pond, unless of course they live in southern FL. And, honestly, I wouldn’t want to heat my 9,000 gal pond even in FL! Another pointer with the floating heater, which will keep an opening in any ice that forms so gasses can escape, they typically take a LOT of power. I found using an aerator and turning a small pump on its side on a shelf shooting water toward the surface were much more economical, even though I was using two items instead of one.
I realize your son’s tropical fish died but the goldfish will be perfectly fine. They are in the carp family, just like koi. And I love my goldies! They can be so beautiful and even the solid orange ones are pretty when they have the long tails. Keep in mind, you will likely have a population explosion next summer, unless of course you got lucky and only got males or females.
 

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