First Winter Concerns

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Donna Saverino MI, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. Donna Saverino MI

    Donna Saverino MI My first Grandchild

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    My pond is about 60/70 gal with 3 gold fish. Zone 5 in Detroit area of Michigan
    I like to go out to my pond to look for leaves so I can pull them out.
    I still do water changes about every other week. Water is very clear.
    I add the cold-water bacteria with the water change.
    Next week I probably won’t be able to make any more water changes. The temps are dipping very low. I will have to add my deicer.

    #1: To test my water should I let pond water come to room temps before testing the quality?

    #2: My phosphate is a tad high. The other 3 numbers are great. How detrimental is it when the phosphate is ‘a tad high’ at this time of year? If so how do I lower it?

    #3: I was told that the pond water should stay still and quit so the fish can be in a microclimate that they need. So I have an air stone and a bubbler at the shallow end to keep it moving there and the deeper end quiet. Any thoughts on that statement?

    #4: If the fish are not eating how can there be nitrate gas to worry about?

    Can anyone out there answer at least some of these concerns? This is my first winter.
    Donna S. from Royal Oak, MI
     
    Donna Saverino MI, Dec 22, 2017
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  2. Donna Saverino MI

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    I'm from right around the block from you, so I'm well aware of the weather conditions. Your 'pond' seems very small to me at 60-70 gallons. For sure you can't let it freeze up, though there are reports gf can survive being ice cubes, but it's not something I'd do.

    Were it me, I'd have just taken them inside for the winter, either an aquarium or a kiddy swimming pool. Others may chime in with exactly what you need to do and since I don't test my water, I'll not comment on the tests you want to do. This time of year, the gf are entering a dormancy. The nitrates/phosphates may be coming from decaying organic debris? Again, if Meyer happens by, he'll correct or confirm this. The smaller the pond, the easier it is to have water parameters get out of whack. Also, nitrate isn't a gas, it's an ion, so that's not the gas you'd be worried about. It's CO that comes from decaying organic matter, primarily. This is one reason to keep a hole open in any ice that forms.

    IMO, you don't need (ever) to add any bacteria and imo, you don't need water changes if you're not feeding (I never do water changes but my pond is a lot larger; I imagine the smaller would more quickly need immediate relief but if you're doing it right, you shouldn't need any water changes ever--jmo). Again, the smaller the pond, the harder it is to keep everything in balance. If you have plants, they would help, though obviously not at this time of the year. There is algae that grows along the surfaces of your pond and this is essential as this algae continues to still grow, albeit slowly, in the winter, giving off O2. Normally, with any pond I recommend a pond breather as a winter protector, but your pond is very small. The idea of using an aerator to keep the hole open; (you DON'T need it for O2 for your fish as cold water holds more oxygen than warmer water, plus this aeration doesn't happen ((in any significant amount)) with the small bubbles IN the water column but at the surface where the bubbles keep the area moving/gas exchanging) is something I did until the line froze up once--that's when I switched to a pond breather. So, in winter, the aerator keeps a hole open. With such a small pond though, I wonder how much success you can have as the water must get very near freezing all the way down, especially if you're using an aerator, which would mix the top and bottom water layer (such as it is and in your pond, I doubt you really even have any temp diff).

    IF you decide to bring them in, take time to let the water warm to room temp slowly, as in don't try to warm it artificially; the fish will be affected no matter what you do but slow is best. IF you keep them outside, you need to make sure the water doesn't freeze all the way down. How deep is the deepest part of your pond? I know I've gotten 15" of ice before, so...

    Anyway, there's others who can more directly answer the questions, but I thought I'd put in my 2 cents, as it were.

    Michael
     
    brokensword, Dec 22, 2017
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    Tula, qclabrat, MoonShadows and 3 others like this.
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  3. Donna Saverino MI

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    My small stream ponds freeze up solid during our a lot milder winters than you have. I don't think you should leave the fish outside.
    This time of year I do nothing to my ponds except add the pond breather to my two big ponds that have fish in them
     
    addy1, Dec 22, 2017
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  4. Donna Saverino MI

    sissy sissy

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    Welcome to the pond sight and have to agree that is very small for a hard winter .My brother lives in Flatrock Michigan aand he had a preformed and it was one of the larger ones and even the pond heater barely got him through his first winter and then he that spring he got a liner and went to a thousand + gallons and even then he said it can be a little scary because of power outages .
     
    sissy, Dec 22, 2017
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  5. Donna Saverino MI

    Faebinder

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    I agree that your pond is too small and will freeze outside without help.

    Insulate and add a trough deicer...

    Forget the cold water bacteria.
     
    Faebinder, Dec 23, 2017
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  6. Donna Saverino MI

    Lisak1

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    Welcome! You'll find lots of good and helpful people here willing to share what they know about pond keeping!

    As for your questions - the information you have read is all commonly shared and you will get varying opinions about whether it's good, bad or indifferent. However, you are trying to apply larger pond principles to your small pond and they really aren't the same thing. You have what would be more comparable to a container "pond" - the water volume makes it a whole other animal.

    For example, in your small pond, there really isn't a "deep end" or a "shallow end". The difference is negligible. Whether or not fish can stay out all winter depends on how deep the pond will freeze - you need AT MINIMUM 24 inches of water depth. Water changes, de-icers, bacteria - none of that will matter in the slightest if your pond freezes solid or the fish can't get deep enough. Is this an in-ground pond or above ground?

    I think the advice to bring your fish inside for the winter is sound. Leaving them out in zone 5 will end badly for your fish I'm afraid.
     
    Lisak1, Dec 23, 2017
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  7. Donna Saverino MI

    qclabrat

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    Do you have garage or basement? As others have said, you're better off overwintering inside. I did that last year before I dug a 4 feet deep pond this past spring. Also what size are your 3 goldfish?
     
    qclabrat, Dec 23, 2017
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  8. Donna Saverino MI

    sissy sissy

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    I put my stock tanks on furniture dolly's so I could move them into the basement .The one thing you really need to worry about is power outages .The pond can freeze solid in about an hour or 2
     
    sissy, Dec 23, 2017
    #8
  9. Donna Saverino MI

    Donna Saverino MI My first Grandchild

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    Hi neighbor! What City?
     
    Donna Saverino MI, Dec 23, 2017
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  10. Donna Saverino MI

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    right up the road near St. Joe hospital, and in Bloomfield Township. I grew up in Royal Oak, the west side near Beverly Hills, so definitely know where you're coming from! Welcome to GPF.


    Michael
     
    brokensword, Dec 23, 2017
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