Pond expansion


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I currently have a 10' x 10', about 1600 gallons. 5 large koi and a handfull of comets/shubunkin.
Live in norther Maryland, zone 6b/7a

I want to expand to 15' x 15' and have some questions that I hope someone with a similar past project can answer;
1. What is the best time of year to do this? fall or spring?
2. How do you displace existing fish?
3. Existing plants? this is not a huge concern.

Should be a good starting point.

Thanks
 

Mmathis

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I’m far from being an expert at this, but for the sake of the safety and health of the fish, I was once advised to choose spring over fall/winter for a move or expansion project. It’s supposed to be less stressful on the fish as they’re not having to adjust to a different environment at the same time as a cold seasonal change.

When you get to the point of needing to move the fish, I have used a large stock tank (300 gallons) to temp. house them — but I don’t have koi. Some people buy an Intex (sp?) pool. They come in different sizes. Some people house (or overwinter their fish) in a garage or basement (we don’t have basements in Louisiana, so my stock tank lives in the back yard).

Hope this helps, and maybe you’ll get a few more responses.
 

addy1

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I would wait until spring, winter can be a tough time on fish.
 
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I'll second - or third! - that recommendation to wait until spring for the reasons already mentioned. And @Mmathis gave you some good ideas for temporary housing for your fish. The important thing is to have a plan to maintain water quality - either move your filter or add a temporary one if you have to. Use pond water to fill the temporary pond and make sure you have good aeration. With big koi you may need more than one holding tank. Best case scenario is the fish staying in the pond as long as possible, so if you can, get your digging done first before you even move them. Not always possible, but something to think about!

Post some pictures - we'd love to see what you're planning!
 
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I currently have a 10' x 10', about 1600 gallons. 5 large koi and a handfull of comets/shubunkin.
Live in norther Maryland, zone 6b/7a

I want to expand to 15' x 15' and have some questions that I hope someone with a similar past project can answer;
1. What is the best time of year to do this? fall or spring?
2. How do you displace existing fish?
3. Existing plants? this is not a huge concern.

Should be a good starting point.

Thanks
Okay I'm going to be in the minority, but I think fall is a way better time to change a liner. In the spring the fish are still dealing with lower resistance to disease because they have not fully restored their immune systems coming out of winter. Also in the spring there is more anaerobic bacteria you have to deal with and you will be stirring up that up. To top it off your pond probably has not fully cycled yet so the beneficial bacteria either are not built up sufficiently or are still pretty weak and ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates can be a problem. In the fall you don't have any of those problems. Plus your fish are starting to slow down a little and with less food and waste there will be less work for the beneficial bacteria. I recommend to keep your filter actively running the whole time. As soon as the new pond is built reintroduce it to the pond even if you plan on buying a larger one for the new pond. Also try to keep any large rocks, plants etc you have in pond water when you are digging the new pond. I use large rubbermaid tubs to hold the fish. You want to make sure they are high enough so that animals cannot steal your fish! It's probably best to try to get your fish back in the new pond as soon as possible, but you probably want at least 24 hours of running the new pond before you reintroduce fish. Also the more water movement you have the better because fresh water from a hose does not have a lot of dissolved O2. I recommend to buy a backup pump and run it to splash water in the new pond so you can get the new pond water aerated as much as you can. If you are going to buy a new pump for the larger pond I would get one right away so you have an extra pump splashing water. I dug a new pond 2 years ago in the fall and moved about 70 fish and I did not lose a single one! Good luck!
 
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Good points for both options. I'm leaning towards late winter/early spring. Maybe end of March.

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks for the help.
 

sissy

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that is when I did mine every time and with great success,but with that a warning snow storms and a fast drop in temperature may have to be addressed
 
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Good points for both options. I'm leaning towards late winter/early spring. Maybe end of March.

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks for the help.
Hi. I don't want to beat a dead horse to death...does that offend PETA? but anyway the early spring is the most dangerous time for fish in a pond. Everyone thinks the winter is but I have rarely lost a fish over the winter as long as my pond was properly aerated. The spring is dangerous because of decayed organic material that is breeding anaerobic bacteria which is very dangerous for fish. Also coming out of the winter the immune system of fish is severely weakened. So put the two together and you have high counts of bacteria and weak resistance to disease. That's why I would recommend against the spring and certainly the early spring. A new pond liner does not have the algae coating needed to help with the nitrogen cycle and this is probably the biggest concerns with starting up a new pond. I would wait until at least later spring when the fish have built up their resistance and can tolerate some problems a little better. Even when you hear about spring cleanup of ponds no one goes and pressure washes the liner so having an algae covered liner is still very important. Good luck whatever you decide!
 

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