Please help a new pond owner with winter care

Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
23
Reaction score
1
Location
New Jersey
Country
United States
Hello there!
I made my first goldfish and koi pond this past summer. It is four feet deep and around 1800 gallons. It holds 11 fish koi, comet goldfish and 2 fantail goldfish. The fishes are young and range from 5 inches ( my fantails) to 9 inches the comets and koi. (Although the fantail goldfish are REALLY wide too.)

My question is about wintering them in New Jersey. I am really freaking out and clueless about what I am doing.

I have heard they can just hibernate and to stop all feedings and just run a deicer and aeration. However, because they are smaller I thought I could heat the pond water all winter to avoid hibernation, and I bought 2 1000 watt aquarium heaters. I built a protector around them so the fish could not get burned. I also put a thick tarp over a framed gazebo all around the pond to keep any wind chill out.

Now I am afraid I have screwed things up. I get water temp readings of 60 degrees or a bit higher while air temps are 40 degrees yet all my fish have hidden in their cave and stopped swimming. I see them dart out sometimes. Are they hibernating? Am I interfering with it ? What do I do? I am so scared that I will kill them, and I love them all very much. They deserve an experienced owner and I don't want them to suffer because my plan of keeping them warm enough to not hibernate seems to not be working. Can anyone please help?

Anyway
 

Smaug

God makes perfect. I just dug the hole
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Messages
791
Reaction score
415
Location
Gettysburg
Country
United States
I winter fingerling babys over winters every winter with no heater. It's better to just let them chill so to speak. Stop feeding after the wate temps dip below 40,until then feed only wheat germ based foods. Don't start feeding again until the water temps go above 50 and stay there,again feed wheat germ based foods til the water temps go over 60 and stay there. That's my regimen,it works for me and my fish,never a loss from winter but once some losses from too quick a spring warm up with a failing pump.good luck,it will be fine.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
6,275
Reaction score
2,818
Location
Plymouth
Hardiness Zone
7a
Country
United Kingdom
@Amy Vandertuyn I wrote this article especially for the novice fish keeper ientering their first ever winter to help them understand what to do from removing dead leaves etc to prepping your filters please read it as it should help you greatly (y)
https://www.gardenpondforum.com/art...e-long-slow-decline-in-temperature-begins.40/

Also:-

https://www.gardenpondforum.com/articles/prepping-your-pond-for-the-winter.29/

Do you happen to know the frost line and how deep it goes into the ground , our own pond is 4.5 feet and the Britsh koi keepers Society recomends a depth of between 4.5ft - 5ft , did you insulate the liner when you made the pond ?

Dave
 
Last edited:

morewater

President, Raccoon Haters International
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
1,344
Reaction score
1,673
Location
Southern Ontario
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
Canada
Stick an aerator or a pond breather in the pond to keep a hole in the ice for gas exchange.

Next...... ignore it until the Spring.
 

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
44,515
Reaction score
29,362
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
United States
Unplug the heaters like said above. I use pond breathers. My ice was around 16 inches thick. The fish did fine.
 

Mmathis

TurtleMommy
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
14,011
Reaction score
8,164
Location
NW Louisiana -- zone 8b
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Ditto what everyone else said. Heaters aren't used to actually heat the water in a pond, but they are used to keep a hole open in the ice for air/gas exchange. A heater isn't necessary, but if you do use one, use one intended for ponds, not an aquarium heater.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
23
Reaction score
1
Location
New Jersey
Country
United States
I winter fingerling babys over winters every winter with no heater. It's better to just let them chill so to speak. Stop feeding after the wate temps dip below 40,until then feed only wheat germ based foods. Don't start feeding again until the water temps go above 50 and stay there,again feed wheat germ based foods til the water temps go over 60 and stay there. That's my regimen,it works for me and my fish,never a loss from winter but once some losses from too quick a spring warm up with a failing pump.good luck,it will be fine.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
23
Reaction score
1
Location
New Jersey
Country
United States
I cant believe the messages to inform and help me, Thank you all so much . OK I unplugged heaters and will hope they will be ok. I will watch and of course make sure there is always an opening in the top of the pond and the aerators are on. I think my tampering may hurt them and I love them. I am inexperienced but want to do what is right, The whole hiberantion thing scares me as as new pond owner I guess I am afraid I will kill them.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
23
Reaction score
1
Location
New Jersey
Country
United States
For an inexperienced person, it is scary not to see their happy faces and I would hate for my ignorance to kill them. That would be the worst.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
23
Reaction score
1
Location
New Jersey
Country
United States
@Amy Vandertuyn I wrote this article especially for the novice fish keeper ientering their first ever winter to help them understand what to do from removing dead leaves etc to prepping your filters please read it as it should help you greatly (y)
https://www.gardenpondforum.com/art...e-long-slow-decline-in-temperature-begins.40/

Also:-

https://www.gardenpondforum.com/articles/prepping-your-pond-for-the-winter.29/

Do you happen to know the frost line and how deep it goes into the ground , our own pond is 4.5 feet and the Britsh koi keepers Society recomends a depth of between 4.5ft - 5ft , did you insulate the liner when you made the pond ?

Dave
I do not know the frost line. What should I look for or do? Our deepest area is 4 ft and they are all there. But, I made them a cave and can't see them. Will a 4 inch fish survive ? They are all together at the bottom in the cave. I just don't want to do something wrong and harm them. Thank you for replying. THANK YOU
 

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

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
31,101
Messages
512,377
Members
13,342
Latest member
Bigpock

Latest Threads

Top