Question about overwintering fish in garage


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Hello all Ponders...

Lots of good info on the site but didn't see answers to all my questions so thought I would ask to get answers that would hopefully provide the best life for my fish.

I'm in Indiana and have a small shallow preformed pond...really got attached to my fish so ended up buying a stock tank to keep them in over winter in my garage.

Here are my parameters:

110 gallon stock tank placed in unheated attached to house garage. it is placed against inner wood wall. limited natural light only one window it's at the far wall.
Tank filled with roughly 90 to 95 gallons of water . filled about 75 percent from well water and the other 25 using my current pond water.

2 standard gold fish (3 to 4 inches)
2 fancy gold fish (3 inches)
About 8 rosie red minnows (roughly 2 inches)
fish are all healthy and fat
Current water temp is 56 degrees
Aerator running 24/7
Pressure bio sponge filter running 24/7
Filled the tank two weeks ago and added the fish last Friday right before a wicked cold front .
I have fed them twice small amounts.
Have added a bunch of fake aquarium plants in two heaps to give them some place to hide for security .
1 floodlight (100 watt bulb) high above at angle to give them some light.
Have an insulation panel over half of the tank to give them a bit more security as well .
Plan not to heat water and let them chill (slow metabolism into spring)

Now my questions or confirmations.

1. Should I continue to feed until 50 degree water... (small amounts) every 2 or 3 days? after it drops below 50 don't feed them at all? is that true even though it could possibly hang around that 50 for weeks? Just guessing but if we have a typical winter water temps will get high 30s to low 40s at the coldest point.
2. What about the floodlight light. when I have it on they seem to hide in the plants and under the side with the insulation board.(at least while I try to watch from a distance) . I turn it off and they seem to be a little more active with only the florescent light over the work bench. should I do away with the floodlight? If I do it just seems like it will be awful dark for them. Don't want to depress them by keeping them in the dark....lol. I have been leaving floodlight on about 8 hrs a day.
3. I plan to do monthly water changes unless water testing parameters tell me to do it quicker. lucky I'm on a well so plan to fill four 5 gallon buckets a few days before a planned change and let it sit in garage to get roughly the same temp and then change water. Does about once a Month sound about right? I know probably depends how active and how much I feed them but guessing with that amount of water in the tank it was a good guess to start with. Thoughts on if you think that is to often or not soon enough?

I'll try to get a pic added of my over winter set up.

Anything else I should do or don't ...or plan to change with this overwinter project that I'm missing?

Many thanks in advance!!!
 
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Sounds like a good set up! I would let the water parameters dictate your water change frequency. I don't feed mine, once it's close to 50 degrees....I think your rate of feeding lightly every few days, is good for now.
 
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@Nanner I kknow your fish are now indoors but for future reference heres an article on Winterizing your pond :-

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

I have a friend in Canada who brings her fish indoors like you for the winter months once you get a temperature of 10c or bellow I recomend stopping feeding throughout the winter months as Goldfish and koi do not possess a stomack , they have a modified intestine and as the food passes through the fish the goodnessvitamins and nutrients etc are taken up by the fish .
Carry on taking Water tests throughout this period and if a water change is necessary trickle the water slowly into the stock tank adding declorinator as you go unless you have a water declorination unit on your pond .
If done correctly you may loose .2c of temperature nothing more , I do this mid winter outdoors so I know just how to match temperatures , how it works is the ambient temperature of the water warms the water trickling in , it may take longer to do but its ajob well done.
Observe your fish daily to see if they ar having any problems , if so act quickly to remedy things .
Your fish should make it safetly
Feeding your fish Wheat germ and garlic will help protect your fish against parasites in the spring remember stop after the pond drops to 10c or bellow
Start feeding again in the late spring when temperatures go above 10c and stays there again feed wheat germ and garlic then when you feel temperatures are right transfer the fish back to the pond

Dave
 
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I would worry about the Rosie red minnows at those temps they are not exactly cold water fish.

Ruben
Rosy red minnows are the most prolific fish in my pond and they do quite well considering they are under ice for 6 months with the water temperature a couple degrees above freezing.
I don't agree with water changing during the winter, but if you're monitoring the water quality throughout, you'll probably be fine, Nanner.

.
 
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Thanks for the info all...keep comments questions and or thoughts coming.

Yeah the rosy reds are just a member of the fathead minnow family...so they should do fine in the cold water.maybeRuben was thinking of a different type of fish. :)

Mitch why not the small water change (15% to 20%) once a month? Is it adding the variable of changing parameters during their slow down period. not challenging your though process on it just curious to see if I'm missing some area of concern . I'm all for not changing it if not needed. lol
 
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Also quick question with my parameters of fish and water volume.


If not feeding the fish how often should I check my water paraemeters? every two weeks???
 

sissy

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They may need air and hint go with an led bulb to save energy and other thing that would have been great is to put it on oversized furniture dollies so you can move it and also keep cold from transferring up from the slab .I made my own over sized furniture dolly for my one stock tank and used rubber tires and it is easy to pull it with the rope or just push it in and out of the basement .Since we don't get to cold here I push it out on nicer sunny days to give the plants in it real sunlight .It took 2 heavier sheets of pressure treated plywood for my 150 gallon stock tank .I wanted it to last and just in case it rains it is safe also.I use a small pump that I have on a timer that runs it for 4 hours .
 
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Hello all Ponders...

Lots of good info on the site but didn't see answers to all my questions so thought I would ask to get answers that would hopefully provide the best life for my fish.

I'm in Indiana and have a small shallow preformed pond...really got attached to my fish so ended up buying a stock tank to keep them in over winter in my garage.

Here are my parameters:

110 gallon stock tank placed in unheated attached to house garage. it is placed against inner wood wall. limited natural light only one window it's at the far wall.
Tank filled with roughly 90 to 95 gallons of water . filled about 75 percent from well water and the other 25 using my current pond water.

2 standard gold fish (3 to 4 inches)
2 fancy gold fish (3 inches)
About 8 rosie red minnows (roughly 2 inches)
fish are all healthy and fat
Current water temp is 56 degrees
Aerator running 24/7
Pressure bio sponge filter running 24/7
Filled the tank two weeks ago and added the fish last Friday right before a wicked cold front .
I have fed them twice small amounts.
Have added a bunch of fake aquarium plants in two heaps to give them some place to hide for security .
1 floodlight (100 watt bulb) high above at angle to give them some light.
Have an insulation panel over half of the tank to give them a bit more security as well .
Plan not to heat water and let them chill (slow metabolism into spring)

Now my questions or confirmations.

1. Should I continue to feed until 50 degree water... (small amounts) every 2 or 3 days? after it drops below 50 don't feed them at all? is that true even though it could possibly hang around that 50 for weeks? Just guessing but if we have a typical winter water temps will get high 30s to low 40s at the coldest point.
2. What about the floodlight light. when I have it on they seem to hide in the plants and under the side with the insulation board.(at least while I try to watch from a distance) . I turn it off and they seem to be a little more active with only the florescent light over the work bench. should I do away with the floodlight? If I do it just seems like it will be awful dark for them. Don't want to depress them by keeping them in the dark....lol. I have been leaving floodlight on about 8 hrs a day.
3. I plan to do monthly water changes unless water testing parameters tell me to do it quicker. lucky I'm on a well so plan to fill four 5 gallon buckets a few days before a planned change and let it sit in garage to get roughly the same temp and then change water. Does about once a Month sound about right? I know probably depends how active and how much I feed them but guessing with that amount of water in the tank it was a good guess to start with. Thoughts on if you think that is to often or not soon enough?

I'll try to get a pic added of my over winter set up.

Anything else I should do or don't ...or plan to change with this overwinter project that I'm missing?

Many thanks in advance!!!
*********************************************************************
Only one comment - as you stated >>> Tank filled with roughly 90 to 95 gallons of water . filled about 75 percent from well water and the other 25 using my current pond water...

In which case, I'd keep special attention on Ammonia, Nitrite & check that kH for pH buffer ... Though feeding will stop and your not feeding much, that 75% water change did remove much nitrosomonas and nitrobacter plus you have no biofilm. Otherwise, temps dropping and things will slow down.
All's good!
 
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Mitch why not the small water change (15% to 20%) once a month? Is it adding the variable of changing parameters during their slow down period. not challenging your though process on it just curious to see if I'm missing some area of concern . I'm all for not changing it if not needed. lol
Water changes change the chemistry of the water so each time you do a water change the fish have to adapt to the new parameters, which can cause them stress.
I prefer to focus on a quality filtration system that utilizes a combination of biofilm, algae, submerged plants, good water movement where possible and mechanical detritus removal if needed. An appropriate fish population is very important as well.

With water changes, the closer you can match the existing water chemistry conditions the better. Not everyone does that.

How often you perform water quality tests depends on how established your pond is. Recently setup ponds require more frequent tests.

.
 
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As explained already Mitch but water changes are a necessary evil my friend especially if over wintering indoors or out

Sace
 

morewater

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Doing "water changes" on a 5000 gallon in-ground pond at -25C presents some problems, Dave.

Doing "water changes" on a continual basis, in a balanced pond, even at +25C, is a waste of water and a waste of time IMO.
 
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If outdoors here in the Uk you can use the trickle method of adding water using the ambient temperature of the pond to warm up the water trickling back in Mitch as I previosly said if done correctly then you will loose only .1 or .2c which is nothing , ok it takes hours to do but my pond is covered its not going to cool down any and I put my water through a three chambered water filter before it returns to the pond .
When its topped up all I do is start up the pond pump and we are good to go for another month .
My Canadian friend Elaine uses this method on her stock tanks which she uses to keep her koi in during the periods of -24c and bellow and a windchill that is -54c , which is why they come indoors .
She lost koi whilst outdoors every winter , I suggested the stock tanks indoors which she keeps at 11c since then she hasnt lost one.

Dave
 
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Yes, you are talking about doing water changes in a mild climate such as yours or water changes on indoor stock tanks.
My pond and fish are outdoors.
Even with a stream of water running through a hose, at -40 (which it gets here) the hose will freeze and with 2 feet of ice there is no access to the water below the ice.

Ever since I have been using pond breathers to provide gas exchange, I have not lost any fish with no water changes.
I see no reason to perform water changes.

.
 
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addy1

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I have not done a water change in 6 years, well almost 7. The pond does get rain water when it rains other than that the only water added is to fluff the level when it looses water in the summer.

Yes, you are talking about doing water changes in a mild climate such as yours or water changes on indoor stock tanks.
My pond and fish are outdoors.
Even with a stream of water running through a hose, at -40 (which it gets here) the hose will freeze and with 2 feet of ice there is no access to the water below the ice.

Ever since I have been using pond breathers to provide gas exchange, I have not lost any fish with no water changes.
I see no reason to perform water changes.

.
 

addy1

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We are on a well. I never leave anything on a trickle run. In the summer I have a irrigation system that is set to add water on a timed basis. Mid summer 1/2 hour, early summer 15 minutes. My bog plants inhale water.
 
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DeepWater

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Now that the fish are out of the small shallow pre-formed pond, it would be a good time to dig it out a little deeper and a little bigger, and replace it with an EPDM liner. Being in south central Indiana you should have no problem overwintering your pond life outdoors then...
 

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