New member seeking guidance

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Skrubs, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. Skrubs

    Skrubs

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    Hello,
    I am a new member to this forum. So happy to have found this site.
    I live in Southern Indiana and have an established 500 gallon koi pond with a waterfall.
    I have 6 koi that are about 10 years old, and we had a new addition 2 years ago.
    Sorry to say, I discovered two days ago, that my pond is leaking. After filling it, it dropped several inches over night, and water is still running out to the street via my ground water diverters. I don't think that it is leaking from the pond itself, but rather the skimmer, plumbing or waterfall...
    The pond is beginning to freeze over, so I am not sure what I can do. I am concerned about turning off the waterfall, as I don't want the whole pond to freeze and don't want the pipe between the skimmer and the waterfall to freeze and break.
    I can fill the pond and turn off the waterfall for a day and see if the level stays the same, in case it is an issue with the liner, but wondering what my best course of action is, given I have 7 beautiful koi in the pond.
    It is too cold to fix very much at this point.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    The photo I attached is from this summer, when I emptied the pond and cleaned it and had just put the fish back in the shallow end.
     

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    Skrubs, Dec 26, 2017
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  2. Skrubs

    JamieB

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    If it’s plumbing, you can turn them off, drain the pipes, and just add a few air stones to keep a hole in the ice open. First step is find the leak. Then you’ll know how to fix it. I’d say turn all that off, when you can be home to see if it’s still leaking. Then turn each one on in turn to find your leak. Best of luck! And welcome to a great fish community!
     
    JamieB, Dec 26, 2017
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  3. Skrubs

    Spartamets

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    Nice fish, nice pond, horrible situation to be in during winter.

    I agree that finding the leak is the priority, and you have to hurry before it freezes. If the pond freezes so there is a layer of ice, it can drain below that ice crust and you won't necessarily see it happening. After you find the leak, dealing with it will be a whole different headache for winter, but you can't fix a leak until you know where it is.

    The good thing about winter, on the other hand, is that turning off pumps and whatnot doesn't have the same level of negative impact in terms of algae/toxin production as it would during the warmer months, when waste is being produced nonstop. So you can shut things down for a while and, if the leak is not in a place that will drain the water level too much, wait to fix things until the weather can accommodate.

    Again, nice fish and nice pond!
     
    Spartamets, Dec 26, 2017
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  4. Skrubs

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Likely the waterfall. Turn it off for 24 hours and see.

    Are you sure that your pond is only 500 gallons? It appears to be somewhat larger.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Dec 26, 2017
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  5. Skrubs

    Skrubs

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    Hello,
    Thank you for all of your replies.
    I am not sure how big the pond is. It might be bigger. I have lived here for a couple of years and the house came with the pond and the koi. They have had one baby since then.

    I haven't added water to the pond for a couple of days, as it is running out to the street, so I didn't see the point. I did notice today, that it seems that the leak has at least slowed down, but maybe stopped completely. The waterfall is still running, but the pond is only slightly higher than the skimmer door. Is that what is called the weir?
    My skimmer has a pond pump in the bottom and then there is a pipe buried under ground that carries the water to the bottom side of the waterfall filter tub.

    From what I am hearing, if I turn off the pump and the leak stops, then that means there is some issue in the skimmer or the waterfall filter or where the water comes out of the waterfall and possibly is making its way behind the pond lining. Because it appears that the leak may have stopped already, I think I would have to add water to the pond to verify.

    I have a very large rock to the left of the skimmer and it cracked last winter and a good sized piece has broken off recently. I want to verify that there is pond liner behind the broken piece, as it could be that water is going out there. The water level is below that break right now, so I wonder.

    If that is not the case though, how do I prevent water from going into the skimmer if I add water to the pond again? I worry that the skimmer is cracked or the face is detached or something like that.

    I already have a bubbler in the pond and also a hole heater that keeps a round hole open in the ice. I think I have to add water to the pond, or I worry that the current water level may not be sufficient for the fish to survive.
    Usually the pond surface freezes over. The waterfall keeps the water circulating under the ice and the fish just "hibernate" at the bottom of the deep end.

    So to summarize,
    If I add water to the pond and unplug the pump, how do I prevent water from going into the skimmer door which will be partly submerged?

    If I don't care about that, how is turning off the pump (which will stop the waterfall) a valid test for an issue with the plumbing, skimmer and waterfall?

    If I turn off the pump and then add water to the pond and it does not leak, then that confirms that the issue is with the plumbing, skimmer or waterfall, correct?

    It is in the 20's here is Indiana. The pond is starting to freeze but hasn't yet and the leak has stopped. So it is either a puncture or uncovered spot in the lining or the break is in the skimmer filter or the pipe going to the waterfall. The water flow is greatly reduced though, so while I doubt it is the pipe, I wonder if the pipe is only partially filled with water given the reduced flow. The waterfall tub is full, and the leak has stopped, so I think I can narrow it down to something above the current water level.

    Thank you for your help. I love this pond!
    Here is a photo from this summer.
     

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    Skrubs, Dec 26, 2017
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  6. Skrubs

    JamieB

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    Ouch. If it’s the break you were talking about, only solution I know of would be to replace that. Leaking joints can be fixed, a cracked pipe can be cut out and replaced. But short of having some kind of fish safe glue, and some plastic to cover the hole, I don’t know. Some of the more experienced ponders here might know.
     
    JamieB, Dec 27, 2017
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  7. Skrubs

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    First let me clarify for you how the skimmer may, or may not, be a source of the leak.
    The pond liner is attached to the front of the skimmer box by the face plate which also contains the weir. Any leak in this area would be around the face plate, but this is rarely the source of leaks in a pond. Rocks surrounding the skimmer box would have absolutely no influence on leaks developing.
    The determination of the location of any pond leak is a process of elimination. Since waterfalls and streams are typically the location of leaks, these areas should be eliminated first.
    Turn off the pump. Fill the pond to its normal maximum level. Check back in 24 hours. If the water level has not dropped the leak is somewhere in the waterfall/stream. The ground in this area settles over time and water can begin to be lost over the edge of the liner in spots. To rectify, raise the liner edge in the area of the leak.
    If the water level drops while the pump is turned off, then the leak is somewhere in the pond basin. Leave pump off and allow the water level to drop until it ceases dropping. The leak will be somewhere along this current water level or slightly above.
    If the water level stabilizes at the bottom on the skimmer face plate then the leak may very well be a loose face plate (which is rare).
    Lastly, the leak may be in the plumbing, either as a loose connection or split pipe. If this is the only possibility left then plan on doing some digging until the trouble spot is found and mended.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Dec 27, 2017
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  8. Skrubs

    JamieB

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    See I knew someone would know better!
     
    JamieB, Dec 27, 2017
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  9. Skrubs

    Lisak1

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    @Meyer Jordan has given you great advice for finding your leak.

    I just wanted to add that it will not be that big of a deal to turn everything off for the winter and wait to deal with the leak in the spring. Fixing anything in the winter is WAY harder than it will be come spring time. Just get some air stones going and a de-icer to keep a hole in the ice and your fish should be fine. Make sure your plumbing lines are emptied and they will be fine, too.

    Also- what are the measurements of your pond? We can help you figure out your gallons a bit better. With 6 koi I'm going to guess you have more than 500 gallons.
     
    Lisak1, Dec 27, 2017
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  10. Skrubs

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    Unless the leak is at the pond bottom/low along the sides (tree roots?). I'd make sure the water level didn't go lower than you can afford in terms of ice thickness. Obvious I know, but felt it still should be mentioned.
     
    brokensword, Dec 27, 2017
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  11. Skrubs

    Lisak1

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    Good point. Under an ice cap it can be deceptive.
     
    Lisak1, Dec 27, 2017
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  12. Skrubs

    PondMutt

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    current status ?

    fish swimming under ice ?
     
    PondMutt, Dec 28, 2017
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