No winterizing ok??

Discussion in 'Winterizing Your Pond' started by Gary Nicholls, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Gary Nicholls

    Gary Nicholls

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    For the first winter we had our pond, I read all the advice about winterizing and bought a heat ring. It worked fine and kept a hole in the ice for aeration. Second year, the ring malfunctioned and the pond froze over. I was sure that I had lost all my fish and plants, but when spring came, everything was fine. Fish were swimming and plants came back to life.
    Since then, I haven't done anything for the pond except sweeping as many leaves out as I could. I leave both the pond filter and the waterfall pump in the pond and they both emerge in working order in the spring as well.
    My pond is around 400 gallons and goes 18-20 inches deep as we enter winter number 7 IMG_0232.JPG . Am I just lucky or does anyone else use this slacker method with their pond in the winter?
     
    Gary Nicholls, Jan 2, 2018
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    qclabrat, sissy and Tula like this.
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  2. Gary Nicholls

    Lisak1

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    First of all, your pond is lovely! Welcome to the GPF!

    Where are you located? What are your winters like? Do you get heavy ice cover all winter? Or just thin ice now and again? What kind of fish and how many?
     
    Lisak1, Jan 2, 2018
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  3. Gary Nicholls

    Gary Nicholls

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    Just a little northeast of you in southeast Michigan. Thanks for the thumbs up; we love our pond and can swing on the porch for hours just watching the action. We have 16 fish, Koi and goldfish mostly, plus a couple of pond fish from a local park that our nephews caught and dropped in. The pond ices solid for most of the winter, but everything seems to survive ok. It's a little unusual being in the front yard, but many of our neighbors stop by to watch the fish with us. The greenery behind the waterfall is the result of seed droppings from the bird feeder hanging in the tree just overhead. True to my slacker philosophy, that didn't require any work on my part, the seeds just starting growing. Makes the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks happy too.
     
    Gary Nicholls, Jan 2, 2018
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  4. Gary Nicholls

    Tula

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    Welcome , I have family in the suburbs of Detroit !
     
    Tula, Jan 2, 2018
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  5. Gary Nicholls

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    Welcome from another Michigander! You'll find that if you don't have a high fish load and keep the organic load low (esp in the winter) that your fish will do fine, esp if they're goldfish--they're quite tough. As the fish get larger, however, the risk of oxygen depletion along with toxic gas buildup goes up. Typically, the large fish will die off first if this happens. Here in Michigan, we sort of depend/expect that 'January thaw', which imo, really helps any of the frozen lakes/ponds in the area keep their inhabitants alive. The times we don't get it are when you'll begin reading of 'fish kills' in the spring, as there just wasn't enough air-to-water interaction. Too, when the snowcover is unchecked, the algae that is still alive and growing (albeit slowly) suffers. This algae gives off O2 even during the winter months. If you have a lot of organics still decaying in the winter (and they will continue even if slowly) this decay process also robs the water of O2. Putting in an aerator doesn't do anything to alleviate this condition as what you need is turbulence at the water's surface to get the reactions you need. Turbulence is reduced when slush/ice forms faster than your air bubbles can hit the surface. I used to put in an aerator but now use a pond breather to keep a hole open. So, I'm not quite a total slacker but my effort is very minimal.
     
    brokensword, Jan 2, 2018
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  6. Gary Nicholls

    Lisak1

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    Yup. I would say up to this point you've been lucky. You have a lot of fish for 400 gallons - especially since you say some are koi. 16 goldfish would be much less of a load on a pond than, say, 15 goldfish and one koi. The body mass of a koi is just so much greater - they just produce more of everything that fish produce.

    Not trying to be a downer, but if you hang around here you'll find that one story gets repeated over and over: "I've had my pond with the same fish for 6-7-8 years with no trouble, but now suddenly for no apparent reason they are all dying". The tipping point comes and then all heck breaks loose. I would hate to see that happen to you.

    IF you want to continue to have a basically hands off pond, one thing that would help would be to re-home your koi. You're probably like all of us and are attached to your fish, but your pond really isn't big enough to provide sufficient space for them and eventually they, and you, will suffer. I know you didn't ask for advice, but if you had that would me mine! Obviously nothing you can do for this year, so I wouldn't worry too much about it right now. Just something to think about for spring.

    Again - welcome! I hope you'll keep posting! This is a fun, friendly group of pond lovers!
     
    Lisak1, Jan 3, 2018
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  7. Gary Nicholls

    Jhn

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    20 years or so ago when i had my first house and put in my first pond, I shut everything off for the first winter and skipped the deicer. Found that the goldfish did fine, the koi not so much. Only had 2 koi at the time but both died. Since then I have just left pumps running on ponds where i didn't have to worry about ice dams. Deicers or pond breathers in the ones I need to shut the pumps off.

    In my current home have 3separate ponds now. The one in the front of the house I just leave the waterfall running, and it does fine. Doesn't really have much fish in it other than 6-10 native fish.

    The main pond has an aerator and leave the waterfall running, but shut off the pump to the bog.

    Then there is the new terrapin pond, forgot to turn off the pumps in it. The one in the skimmer box would have been fine to leave on but the pump about 2 feet down in the pond well it pumped the pond almost empty, as the above ground tubs it was feeding had iced over and forced the water to flow over the side. fortunately, the only thing in it at the moment are some native fish, all the turtles are inside for the winter. Anyhow, it has some pond breathers in it now after I filled it back up.

    So, I really don't do a whole lot to winterize the ponds when I don't forget things, so like brokensword my effort is very minimal.
     
    Jhn, Jan 3, 2018
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  8. Gary Nicholls

    sissy sissy

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    Welcome and you say you have made it but old man winter can be brutal .I get ready for the worst and hope for the best .My brother lives in Flatrock Michigan
     
    sissy, Jan 8, 2018
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