New pond, nervous about winter

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Spartamets, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. Spartamets

    morewater President, Raccoon Haters International

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    Of course there are all kinds of ways to get rid of your Capybara.

    From vent systems to berms to drainage hose buried around the pond perimeter.

    My point for Spartamets is that if you're going to run your pond year-round in a cold climate that you don't really have any way of knowing what's going on in the pond when it's covered in ice.

    The water can still drain from the pond while leaving the ice cover intact, making you think that you've got a normal water level.

    Seen it. Fixed it. That's why I wear a Mustang full-flotation suit for winter pond work (when I'm around, that is).
     
    morewater, Dec 19, 2016
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  2. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    It is definitely the case that you can't see what happens under the ice; I had no idea what was going on until the ice melted. I regard it as a fortunate happenstance that this problem arose during a freak two-day freeze about a month before the time when this weather usually gets here. It gave me a chance to see what happened before it was too late. (We usually have the occasional freeze and certainly overnight freezing temperatures at this point in the winter, but multiple day deep freezes don't usually start for a while.)

    The siphoning seems to be working. The bump has shrunk, but it's a slow process. I don't expect it to be done until tomorrow afternoon. Since I have some confidence that the hawk won't get to the fish, I'm going to remove the netting this weekend. I want to keep the pump going as an experiment. I don't want to do multiple water refills, but this will be a way to perform a kind of experiment. If this happens again, I will know there is a leak. If it doesn't, then I will know that the problem lies elsewhere. I want to figure this out before the next sustained freeze. The fact that the hippo only formed when there was ice and not before is instructive for me. Either way, I will have the deicer and aerator out in before the next freeze. I will hopefully be able to hold off on any major work until the Spring, but if I have to fix things now, I still have a window. Hopefully I don't need it.

    Thanks for the tips, everyone. I am still surprised that a POND aerator (that's what it says on the box) is not weather proof.
     
    Spartamets, Dec 19, 2016
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  3. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    By the way, morewater, those are some amazing water features you've built.
     
    Spartamets, Dec 19, 2016
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  4. Spartamets

    morewater President, Raccoon Haters International

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    Glad to hear that the siphoning is working for you. Yeah, it's slow.....but at least it's constant and doesn't require any electricity.

    The aerator compressor is sort of waterproof, it's the air inlet that creates the problem in cold weather. It's a little felt disc (depending on your manufacturer/model) that is prone to getting damp and then freezing. By keeping it off of the bottom of the container, you eliminate the chance that it'll be sitting in water, even if the container leaks.
     
    morewater, Dec 19, 2016
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  5. Spartamets

    morewater President, Raccoon Haters International

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    Thanks, I've got a whole bunch more but am technologically challenged and can't figure out how to upload them from my IPad to my PC.
     
    morewater, Dec 19, 2016
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  6. Spartamets

    sissy sissy

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    A styrofoam coolers work good .I put one over my neighbors aerator
     
    sissy, Dec 19, 2016
  7. Spartamets

    snoozer

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    I've used a hole saw to cut a hole in the bottom of a covered bucket so that the air hose and power can feed through there. I put it up on bricks and it has been fine.
     
    snoozer, Dec 20, 2016
  8. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    Hi, the siphoning worked, I refilled the pond, and after a few hours the fish have reemerged. For most of them, it was the first I saw of them in a week. I am relieved that the crisis has been resolved. Thank you everyone (especially morewater) for walking me through it. I'm still running the pump as per my experiment, and no more water loss (yet). We are not going to get below feezing, even overnight, until at least Tuesday here, so I have almost a week to observe everything before needing to shut down for the season. My de-icer, aerator, and cover are ready to go, and this time they'll be hooked up BEFORE the next 24-hour freeze strikes.

    What I think happened is that when I filled the pond as high as I thought it could handle, which I did for the first time shortly before the cold hit, I actually overfilled it, because I forgot to take into account the overflow holes inside the skimmer box. I had put duct tape on those holes to keep dirt from getting in, and I keep the skimmer box covered. I previously got nowhere near that water level. Out of sight, out of mind. When the water slowly leaked out from those overflow holes after my top-off, it settled under the pond, but not enough for me to notice. When the pond froze, the netting got weighted down to touch the water surface and drape across the skimmer area, which is the one spot where the liner is cut right at the surface level of the pond. (It's also the spot where I put the hose to siphon out the water.) With the cold, the water under the pond froze along with the water in the pond, and the ice under the liner expanded, pushing up the water surface further, which in turn kept forcing more water both out the overflow holes and across the netting, which went behind the liner, froze, expanded, forced out more water, etc. A perfect cycle of destruction. That's my theory, for now anyway.

    I am still planning for the longer term. I feel like my pond never got finished before this season began--hence the title of this thread. I hate that I'm balancing winter issues (especially fish health) when there are still so many loose ends, some of which are structural. The big one for me is raising the skimmer box, especially since I am fairly certain that is where the water loss happened with the hippo. I think I know how folks will respond to this question, but it's an approach to the skimmer that I'm entertaining. I have a piece of 8x10 liner left over from the construction. I also have dirt. I thought I would totally cut out the skimmer from the pond (in the Spring, but before I restart the pond) add 6 inches to a foot of dirt along the low end of the pond, including in the skimmer hole, then drape this piece of liner along that back wall. At 8 feet in width, it would comfortably reach all the way to the bottom of the pond with plenty of room to spare, and then I could just attach the skimmer to this new liner. I would slide some kind of small scale venting system under the liner before reattaching the skimmer, too; this should be possible without deconstructing things too fundamentally. I know that leaks are always a problem with connecting liners to each other, but I'm not sure that my proposed set-up, with one liner laying over another to this degree, invites the risk of leaks to the usual degree. Am I not thinking this through correctly? Thanks again for everyone's help with everything, especially the damn hippo. I really didn't need that fun.
     
    Spartamets, Dec 22, 2016
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  9. Spartamets

    sissy sissy

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    We all go through scary things on our first winter and every winter after .Nothing is ever normal with a pond .Murphy's law effects ponds also .They should make a calendar for ponders just for ponders with the good and the bad with ponds
     
    sissy, Dec 22, 2016
  10. Spartamets

    snoozer

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    There are many folks out there that know a lot more than me, but i am pretty sure you will need to have the two pieces of liner glued together or caplillary action will draw water between the two and you will lose water.
     
    snoozer, Dec 22, 2016
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  11. Spartamets

    sissy sissy

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    PL roofing goop works great addy uses it .Great thing is the goop no matter the temp. it does not crack ,I used it also in my rebuild .
     
    sissy, Dec 22, 2016
  12. Spartamets

    Lisak1

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    I feel like someone in this thread - @morewater ? @Meyer Jordan - offered to walk you through the revision. I would hold out for their expert advice before I made any further plans. Yours is not the first pond requiring modification after the fact, I guarantee!
     
    Lisak1, Dec 22, 2016
  13. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    I don't plan to do anything any time soon. Meyer made the offer, Lisak1 (man, he is amazing), and I do intend to take him up on it. I'm just trying to formulate a pre-plan, as it were, so I can prepare for when the weather allows me to act on it. I'm trying to avoid bringing in professional help, and for me the way to avoid it is to have a plan of action so that I can take little intermediate steps. This warmish spell that we're in has me feeling like I have an opportunity/obligation to do something. But I definitely won't act without the experts weighing in, or I would have jumped in and started on that plan immediately. I am starting to learn some things, at least, but slowly--namely that I need help and have an awesome ability to screw things up.
     
    Spartamets, Dec 22, 2016
  14. Spartamets

    Tula

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    I'd just sit tight till Spring, to take action on your skimmer. Some years back, I had a Savio skimmer installed by a pond guy. He said he was experienced, but later admitted he'd never retrofitted a skimmer, only done new installs. It began sinking and I was a wreck, as the water level dropped too.

    Hubby told me to chill, till Spring, which was good advice. I shut the pond down for winter and took care of the skimmer in the Spring.
     
    Tula, Dec 22, 2016
  15. Spartamets

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    As others have already mentioned, this is an ill-advised idea. Effective sealing a piece of liner of these dimensions while in place with all of the accompanying wrinkles and folds is practically impossible and very labor intensive at that.
    The skimmer can be raised without the addition of any new liner. The capacity of the pond will be increase and the liner integrity against leaks will be maintained.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Dec 22, 2016
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  16. Spartamets

    Tula

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    Absolutely! I waited till Spring and my skimmer was raised without cutting the liner :)
     
    Tula, Dec 22, 2016
  17. Spartamets

    Spartamets

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    Thank you, Meyer. I am officially abandoning that idea. The skimmer raising is now fully on hold until Spring, even for prep. Still no leaking since the latest, mishap. Thank you again. I deeply appreciate the assistance.
     
    Spartamets, Dec 22, 2016
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  18. Spartamets

    EricV

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    You can overlap liner, but you have to make sure that both pieces of liner extend well above the water line. Not your case, it seems, but I did this for my waterfall cascade. People do it for connecting streams, etc.
     
    EricV, Dec 22, 2016
  19. Spartamets

    morewater President, Raccoon Haters International

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    I'm glad that your siphoning worked out for you, Spartamets. That's your immediate issue taken care of with little muss or fuss (the best way).

    The "extra" holes in skimmers are easily sealed off using bulkhead fittings or by simply blasting them full of waterfall foam, waiting for it to dry and then cutting off the excess. There are also circular adhesive EPDM patches that can be put over the holes. I'm suspecting that those "holes" you're referring to are actually the holes for the water lines to come through the side to reach the pump, and not for overflow purposes. There's usually an actual overflow port incorporated into most commercially-produced skimmers.

    I'm finding it hard to understand, however, that the water below ground froze, but the actual pond water (at the surface) did not. Had the water creating the Hippo "froze", you wouldn't have been able to siphon it from under the liner if it was in a solid state. Given your weather region, I don't think that your frost-line would be frozen this early in the Winter.

    When you're going to re-position your skimmer, dirt isn't the way to go. You need to use something that's going to drain any water that might accumulated under the skimmer (ie. sand).

    Your plan to drape your excess liner when you adjust your skimmer height is problematic. Look into altering the inlet port of your skimmer. I've run into skimmers that were incorrectly installed in the past, that due to surrounding plantings, etc., were too much of a pain to pull, reposition and re-install. The inlet port of the skimmer can be altered to adjust the height without the need to pull the entire unit. The skimmer inlet port can be cut lower and the existing liner re-attached.

    If the skimmer needs to be raised, it can be accomplished by enlarging the skimmer inlet (cutting upwards) and then sealing the undesired lower portion with a piece of "cut to measure" acrylic or Plexiglas. Or you can opt to move the entire thing. Each situation is different and requires a different approach. There's more ways to kill a cat than kissing it to death.

    There are all kinds of tweaks that can be done to make the whole process simple(r), cheaper, more effective, longer-lasting and aesthetically-pleasing.
     
    morewater, Dec 22, 2016
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  20. Spartamets

    Lisak1

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    You can indeed overlap liner if you have A. water flowing with the direction of the top layer and, as you said, B. the bottom layer extending way above the water line. Otherwise you're just asking for the water to creep up behind the liner and seep out. Next thing you know that bottom liner will be sliding down or your edge will become so saturated it will collapse.

    This is a great thread - good information on both preventing issues and thinking through the fix once you realize you created them!
     
    Lisak1, Dec 22, 2016
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