New pond owner

Discussion in 'Winterizing Your Pond' started by Bruce Toler, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Bruce Toler

    Bruce Toler

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    Hi, I live in Knoxville, TN and typically we don't have harsh winters but currently we are facing overnight lows in the single digits.

    We have a flowing pond in our backyard that feeds into a pond that holds 5 koi fish. My wife and I are freaking out because we are new pond owners and don't know what to do. The pond is frozen over and the pump is making a loud humming noise. We inserted a de-icer this morning, thinking that will help things.

    We are debating on removing the pump but I'm concerned about the well being of our fish and our pipes bursting. However, the sounds would indicate my pump is about blow and facing a host issues.

    Any help would greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
    Bruce Toler, Jan 3, 2018
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  2. Bruce Toler

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    Some way, somehow, you have to keep the pump surrounded by liquid water. If you can't, better to turn it off. Hopefully your pond(s) is deep enough (at least 24"), doesn't have a lot of decaying organic matter, and isn't overloaded with fish. Those 3 things will raise the risk of your fish not surviving. If you can, try to maintain a hole in the ice so any toxic gas buildup can be alleviated. A pond breather is a good option. An aerator can be useful, but don't place it too low in the pond--stay within 18" of the surface. A small pump aimed toward the surface can also help keep a hole open.

    If you turn the pump off, it can remain underwater (where it won't freeze solid, just like your fish) as opposed to bringing it inside. I do this to mine each year. Just unplug and let it be. That said, the only tube I have are flexible pvc and the cold/freeze won't hurt them, even if water is still inside. I don't have anything underground as mine drain backwards in the fall when I turn everything off.

    Unsure of where your pump is, it sort of sounds like the water around your pump is either gone or iced up. Both not so great events. Any plumbing not below the frost line is subject to freezing and bursting. If you're worried about this, either drain or find a way to heat the water enough to keep it liquid. Both not easy things to do, esp when it's so cold out.

    Your fish will be fine if the depth is good. Gf are tough. Koi, not as much but they can survive if the above is optimum. I'm not a fan of keeping the water flowing during the winter as I've read too many stories where tragedy strikes. Very much less so when the only thing to worry about is keeping a hole open during the winter.

    How deep is your pond(s)? How many gallons? Fish size and number? Fish type? These answers might help in better current advice.

    I hope you get things sorted and your pond continue to bring joy.

    Michael
     
    brokensword, Jan 3, 2018
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  3. Bruce Toler

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I forgot to pull out my small recirculating deck pond pump this winter. With this cold it has frozen solid, guess I will find out in the spring if it still works. The deck pond is shallow, no insulation, no fish, I try to keep the frogs out of it since they will freeze solid also.
     
    addy1, Jan 3, 2018
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  4. Bruce Toler

    Bruce Toler

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    Thank you for the reply. Our pump is in a skimmer box and we have a pvc pipe that runs underneath our deck.

    My wife and I made the decision to remove our pump this morning as the pump had been making a loud noise for over 24 hours. As of now, we have de-icer as our only hope to save the fish.

    We tried reinstalling the pump tonight as I began to worry about our pvc pipe freezing and bursting (overnight lows this week are in the single digits). However, the pump would not run while in the skimmer box but it operate while running warm water over it in our sink.

    We are at our wits end with this and we have thrown our hands in the air hoping for the best. We did the best we could do.
     
    Bruce Toler, Jan 4, 2018
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  5. Bruce Toler

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I have left water in some of our pvc pipes over winter, so far no cracking. I have them open to the air on one end.
    Your pipes may do ok. I did lose one pipe one year, a deer stomped on it, between the cold, ice and her hoof it was history.
    Best of luck to you. Your fish should be ok with the deicer in there keeping a hole open.
     
    addy1, Jan 4, 2018
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  6. Bruce Toler

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    If your pond is deep enough and it isn't overloaded with fish and/or organic matter (as noted; 24" min with 100 gallons per koi), the fish should be okay. The pipes may or may not make it, depending on how deep they're buried or if they're exposed at all to the cold. You'll know in the spring when you set it all up again. If you get a leak, I imagine it'll only drop as far as your skimmer opening then stop. You might have plumbing repairs but hopefully not. Any rigid pipe should either be buried below the frost line or insulated if you're going to have water in it. I have flexible pvc which or course, can flex and isn't at the same risk of bursting as rigid pipe. Keep a hole open and odds are very good you'll make it through the winter just fine. You might have to monitor the pump when you re-establish it in the spring as it sounds like it might have been damaged. Typically when you hear that sound, immediately turn it off. Not necessary to have the bearings and windings overheat.
     
    brokensword, Jan 4, 2018
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  7. Bruce Toler

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    you're still taking a chance if the pipes are rigid pvc, addy. Since water expands when freezing, the top will go first and once you get a 'plug', the further expansion below, if it has no where to go, will push out and that's when cracking occurs. As long as the ice has a way to move inside the pipe, it shouldn't put undue pressure sideways. That said, still better to have it open as you have than with any system that is closed or has elbows/bends.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    brokensword, Jan 4, 2018
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  8. Bruce Toler

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    yeah I know, but some i.e. the bog pipes I can't drain unless I drain the bog, which would kill all the plants, a tiny design flaw. So far they have made it since it was built, 7 years. This is one of our coldest winters, a true test.

    They are all rigid pvc.
     
    addy1, Jan 4, 2018
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  9. Bruce Toler

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    well, if you do get a crack in the buried ones, not a huge issue as they already have some slots in them. And if you get a crack on anything vertical, it also prob won't be a huge issue unless the pipe is forced up. How about the pipes leading TO the bog? Are those rigid pvc? Buried? If so, below your frostliine? Those would be the ones I'd be worried about. My bog is fed by the flex pvc and like you, open at the end during winter. Mine drain backwards toward the pond, so there's only going to be ice the depth of the pond ice. Going on 7 years and it is working so far. I figure worst case is the tube portion encased by the ice might freeze and crack there but I'm putting my faith in the 'flex' part of flex pvc, you know??? :confused:
     
    brokensword, Jan 4, 2018
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  10. Bruce Toler

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Well the pipes leading to the bog, partially above ground, partially buried. They go across from the pump, vertical down into the bottom of the bog. Frost line, 30 inches. I may have repairs to do, but don't think so. Last inspection all are still in one piece. The lines leading to the deck pond, drain empty. The lines to the bog, always have water in them. The skimmer line, 24 inches down in the water, so probably safe. The ones in the bog, output lines, around 2.5 deep under pea gravel. So the only line that might get damaged is the one leading into the bog, the vertical one. No way to drain it. It has survived temps into the teens, cold that made 18 inches of ice on the pond, so I am not to worried.
     
    addy1, Jan 4, 2018
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  11. Bruce Toler

    sissy sissy

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    When spring comes wrap you pvc pipes in pipe insulation .I use it for my water filter for my house that drains outside every day and it has worked for years now .I did use 2 sizes of pipe wrap ,a bigger one over the smaller one .
     
    sissy, Jan 8, 2018
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