My 1st winter


Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
14
Country
United Kingdom
Hi All
I’m looking for advice on how to deal with my ponds 1st winter. My pond is 11ftx5ft 4ft deep at 1 end 20inches at the other and is fed by a 10,000 litre capacity external filter, the pond will be 6 months old in November, Iv 2 small koi , 6 comets and 6 standard goldfish. My questions are

1/ do I leave the pump on throughout winter?
2/ what should I do with my various pond plants?
3/ Do I leave my waterfall and air stones on ?
4/ if I turn everything off , is there anything I need to do to help my fish survive winter ?
 
Ad

Advertisements

mrsclem

mrsclem
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
3,957
Reaction score
3,532
Location
st. mary's county, md.
Hardiness Zone
7A
Country
United States
What is your winter weather like? How cold does it get? Lilies can be cut back and put in deepest water. I don't have any other plants in my ponds so someone else can help with that. Depending on weather here, I shut my pumps and filters down when the top of the ponds freeze over. Doesn't happen every year.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
3,685
Reaction score
3,124
Location
Ct
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
your 4 foot depth should help them through winter. Many shut down the pumps at or close to freezing. The main idea is to keep an opening where gas exchange can occur and the fish have o2 and not a buildup of cow. Whether thats by a pond heater. Or aeration. But one word of caution with air if you use really cold air to pump in to the pond you may chill the pond too much.
 
Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
14
Country
United Kingdom
What is your winter weather like? How cold does it get? Lilies can be cut back and put in deepest water. I don't have any other plants in my ponds so someone else can help with that. Depending on weather here, I shut my pumps and filters down when the top of the ponds freeze over. Doesn't happen every year.
I’m in Ireland , Belfast to be exact so similar to north England/ Scotland .
 
Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
14
Country
United Kingdom
your 4 foot depth should help them through winter. Many shut down the pumps at or close to freezing. The main idea is to keep an opening where gas exchange can occur and the fish have o2 and not a buildup of cow. Whether thats by a pond heater. Or aeration. But one word of caution with air if you use really cold air to pump in to the pond you may chill the pond too much.
Thanks for that tip, think I might turn air stone pump off , what really confuses newbies like me is no one seems to agree on what to do, even websites give you conflicting advice
 

TheFishGuy

( Insert something funny )
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
580
Reaction score
294
Location
Colorado
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
4b or 5a
Country
United States
Thanks for that tip, think I might turn air stone pump off , what really confuses newbies like me is no one seems to agree on what to do, even websites give you conflicting advice
there are many different people with lots of different advice, lots of it has do do with how cold/warm the climate they live in is,

I for example keep a pump running at the bottom of the pond to provide surface agitation, to keep a hole in the ice, along with a de icer to keep the ice in other areas down to a few inches. Some people run there waterfalls all throughout the winter, some just run deicers, some run air stones. and some even drill holes in the ice to keep a hole in it.

the important thing is that your fish still have adequate space in the bottom to move around, although they will be a lot less active in the winter. so my advice, do what you like just make sure your pond doesent freeze down to the last few inches ( with a four foot depth that is very unlikely), and make sure there is a hole in the ice for air exchange :)
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
14
Country
United Kingdom
there are many different people with lots of different advice, lots of it has do do with how cold/warm the climate they live in is,

I for example keep a pump running at the bottom of the pond to provide surface agitation, to keep a hole in the ice, along with a de icer to keep the ice in other areas down to a few inches. Some people run there waterfalls all throughout the winter, some just run deicers, some run air stones. and some even drill holes in the ice to keep a hole in it.

the important thing is that your fish still have adequate space in the bottom to move around, although they will be a lot less active in the winter. so my advice, do what you like just make sure your pond doesent freeze down to the last few inches ( with a four foot depth that is very unlikely), and make sure there is a hole in the ice for air exchange :)
What do you use as a de icer? Iv small standard goldfish in my pond , do I do anything different with these ? Thanks for the advice
 

TheFishGuy

( Insert something funny )
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
580
Reaction score
294
Location
Colorado
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
4b or 5a
Country
United States
Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
9,979
Reaction score
10,445
Location
Northern IL
Showcase(s):
1
Your pond is small-ish, so that will be one factor to consider. I plugged it into a pond calculator and it's somewhere between 600 and 800 gallons - around 2500 - 3000 liters - does that sound right? A smaller volume of water will freeze faster than a larger volume. But your pond is deep, so that's good. It's not likely to freeze 4 feet deep.

I also noticed you said external filter - that can be a problem in the cold weather. Pumps can freeze, as can exposed plumbing.

Pond plants can be dropped into the deeper water. Most of them can freeze solid - they just don't want to be exposed. Cut them back and drop them deeper if they are in pots.

Airstones can be left running. We pull ours to a higher spot in the pond - like on a shelf - to avoid disturbing the warmer water at the bottom of the pond. We do have a de-icer, - rarely use it, but when we do we position it right over the airstone. The bubbles from the airstone help keep the water agitated and keep that hole open in the ice when we need it.

We run our waterfall all winter, however that's another thing that's unique to every pond. You have to be aware of the construction of your waterfall - can ice form on your fall without forcing water out of the pond? Our waterfall is wide and deep - the whole thing will ice over, but the water will keep flowing underneath. If you have a small waterfall, the ice may re-direct the water out of the pond and that would be a bad winter time issue to deal with.

The last thing I want to mention is your fish. You have the perfect size pond for goldfish - you do not have a suitable sized pond for your koi. I know you said "small koi" but there really are NO small koi. What you have are YOUNG koi that will soon be BIG koi. Even a small-ish koi is going to be a foot long fully grown... some can be as big as 2.5 to 3 feet long. I would strongly encourage you to either find a new home for those two or, better yet, start digging a bigger pond!

Hope this helps!
 

TheFishGuy

( Insert something funny )
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
580
Reaction score
294
Location
Colorado
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
4b or 5a
Country
United States
Your pond is small-ish, so that will be one factor to consider. I plugged it into a pond calculator and it's somewhere between 600 and 800 gallons - around 2500 - 3000 liters - does that sound right? A smaller volume of water will freeze faster than a larger volume. But your pond is deep, so that's good. It's not likely to freeze 4 feet deep.

I also noticed you said external filter - that can be a problem in the cold weather. Pumps can freeze, as can exposed plumbing.

Pond plants can be dropped into the deeper water. Most of them can freeze solid - they just don't want to be exposed. Cut them back and drop them deeper if they are in pots.

Airstones can be left running. We pull ours to a higher spot in the pond - like on a shelf - to avoid disturbing the warmer water at the bottom of the pond. We do have a de-icer, - rarely use it, but when we do we position it right over the airstone. The bubbles from the airstone help keep the water agitated and keep that hole open in the ice when we need it.

We run our waterfall all winter, however that's another thing that's unique to every pond. You have to be aware of the construction of your waterfall - can ice form on your fall without forcing water out of the pond? Our waterfall is wide and deep - the whole thing will ice over, but the water will keep flowing underneath. If you have a small waterfall, the ice may re-direct the water out of the pond and that would be a bad winter time issue to deal with.

The last thing I want to mention is your fish. You have the perfect size pond for goldfish - you do not have a suitable sized pond for your koi. I know you said "small koi" but there really are NO small koi. What you have are YOUNG koi that will soon be BIG koi. Even a small-ish koi is going to be a foot long fully grown... some can be as big as 2.5 to 3 feet long. I would strongly encourage you to either find a new home for those two or, better yet, start digging a bigger pond!

Hope this helps!
Just a note: they doubled the size of their pond recently to get to the size they have currently, so maybe not mentioning digging a bigger pond probably isnt something they are thinking about........
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
3,685
Reaction score
3,124
Location
Ct
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
We pull ours to a higher spot in the pond - like on a shelf - to avoid disturbing the warmer water at the bottom of the pond
As Lisa stated having the air at a top shelf that water is already at freezing or slightly above. So airrating there is less disruptive. I do not recommend a pump or air stone at the bottom of the pond. Because unlike what we all have learned above heat rises, in the winter you will get layers and at the bottom especially in a 4 foot deep pond you can get some warmth , though almost negligible. The fish hardly move they almost look dead. We have all felt in a pond the layers of warm and cold water. Same principle. I have main drains in the pond those get shut down long before the waterfall does. I also installed a rhino main drain with the rubber air bladder it works great but the more I learned the more I realized these both disturb that layer of warmth at the bottom and it was best not to use them.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
2,077
Reaction score
1,294
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
You may want to shut down, clean and store your external filter inside for the winter. When I had external filters, that's what I did. I now filter exclusively with a bog. Also, make sure your plumbing (pipes, hoses etc.) Are all clear of water or maybe take it all inside.

I have a string tied to my air stones and I also raise them up for the winter. I don't want to be pumping cold air down to the bottom where the fish are hibernating.

I use a 250 watt thermostatically controlled K&H floating deicer. It keeps the perfect hole for gas exchange. I once had a 750 watt unit, but it was way too powerful. It kept a large area of open water.

Here's a simple filter/fountain I've been using for years:
I have a bucket sitting in my pond. In the bottom of the bucket is a small 550 GPH pump covered with lava rock. I have a piece of PVC pipe screwed into the outlet of the pump. The pvc pipe rises up and ends just under the surface of the water. This creates a fountain and the lava rock helps with filtering. During the winter, this is my only filter. The fountain causes surface disturbance which helps with oxygenation and keeps an opening in the ice. When we get a long spell of really cold weather, an ice dome forms over the fountain. You can see the water shooting up inside the dome. Really cool!
 
Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
14
Country
United Kingdom
Your pond is small-ish, so that will be one factor to consider. I plugged it into a pond calculator and it's somewhere between 600 and 800 gallons - around 2500 - 3000 liters - does that sound right? A smaller volume of water will freeze faster than a larger volume. But your pond is deep, so that's good. It's not likely to freeze 4 feet deep.

I also noticed you said external filter - that can be a problem in the cold weather. Pumps can freeze, as can exposed plumbing.

Pond plants can be dropped into the deeper water. Most of them can freeze solid - they just don't want to be exposed. Cut them back and drop them deeper if they are in pots.

Airstones can be left running. We pull ours to a higher spot in the pond - like on a shelf - to avoid disturbing the warmer water at the bottom of the pond. We do have a de-icer, - rarely use it, but when we do we position it right over the airstone. The bubbles from the airstone help keep the water agitated and keep that hole open in the ice when we need it.

We run our waterfall all winter, however that's another thing that's unique to every pond. You have to be aware of the construction of your waterfall - can ice form on your fall without forcing water out of the pond? Our waterfall is wide and deep - the whole thing will ice over, but the water will keep flowing underneath. If you have a small waterfall, the ice may re-direct the water out of the pond and that would be a bad winter time issue to deal with.

The last thing I want to mention is your fish. You have the perfect size pond for goldfish - you do not have a suitable sized pond for your koi. I know you said "small koi" but there really are NO small koi. What you have are YOUNG koi that will soon be BIG koi. Even a small-ish koi is going to be a foot long fully grown... some can be as big as 2.5 to 3 feet long. I would strongly encourage you to either find a new home for those two or, better yet, start digging a bigger pond!

Hope this helps!
Lol thanks for your reply , my 2 “ young Koi “ I will deal with as they get bigger , Iv already doubled the size of the pond. My pond is well sheltered on 2 sides , a garden fence and a garden shed give it some protection but off course it’s still open to the elements so I will just keep a good eye on it thought out winter and adjust if necessary. Thanks for your reply ,,, I really thought my pond was big enough for a few koi , back to the drawing board lol
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
9,979
Reaction score
10,445
Location
Northern IL
Showcase(s):
1
I really thought my pond was big enough for a few koi
I wish we could generate a dollar for every pond owner who thought that - we could keep this forum running for all eternity! Honestly it should be incumbent on the fish sellers to let people know what they're getting into with koi. They start out soooo tiny! It happens far too often... and I would rather be the bearer of bad news now when you still have options rather than later when you're asking for help with sick fish.
 

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

Similar Threads

My 1st koi 11
1st pond build attempt 14
1st timer looking for advice 20
1st Pond....equipment help 20
Going To Lose 1st Fish 11
1st ever pond 5
Feb 1st and very little ice 13
mild 1st winter 11

Top