The saddest pond day


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I don't even want to post this. I am just heartsick about it, but we knew it was a possibility - I was just hoping for a better outcome.

I came home from work today to find the pond 80% thawed... and all of our big fish dead. Early in January when we had a freakishly warm spell we discovered that the plumbing from the pump to the main line had separated - the water was pumping, but because it wasn't a sealed line it was running very, very slowly. We were concerned that the water was moving so slowly that it would freeze and damage the pump, the plumbing, or both. It was just a simple matter of disconnecting the line, pulling the pump out of the vault, re-gluing the PVC (someone please explain to me why our glued PVC connections keep failing!), dropping the pump back down into the vault and re-connecting the pump.

Well, like every "simple" job, it didn't turn out to be so simple. It was indeed warm - almost 60 degrees - but that meant mud which added some challenges. We got it all glued back together (after discovering the guy at the store had given us two different kinds of PVC cleaner, but no glue... argh!) and went to do the "easy" part of reconnecting the two pieces and discovered the main line was about 1 1/2 inches lower than it needed to be to make the connection. We had had some digging done around the vault (to enlarge the sump line that had cracked the winter before) and it appears the line settled just enough that we will need to shorten the whole pump assembly to get it to work. By this time it was near dark and we knew we had run out of time. All we could do was put in the de-icer and hope the aerator would be enough until we had another opportunity to get the pump reconnected... which probably won't be until spring at this point.

The next day the temperatures dropped and we started to experience real winter weather. Lots of snow and of course the polar vortex came calling. I'm guessing several factors came into play - not enough oxygen, not enough gas exchange (the pond was under full snow cover for several weeks) and fish that were just too big to handle the combination of the first two. All of our goldfish appear to be fine at this point.

I scooped out 6 big fish and saw two more that I couldn't get to. We had 10 big koi, so I know the rest are under the remaining ice. Right now my pond feels like a Death Pond. I feel terrible about this whole situation, even though I know we did what we could to prevent this from happening. My poor, beautiful fish.

Sorry friends. I am a sad ponder today.
 
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mrsclem

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Lisak- so sorry you have lost fish. This winter has been very unusual and a plumbing problem doesn't help. As far as the pvc glue is concerned, pipes need to be clean, dry and correct glue and solvent used . The outside temperature also affects the glue. I shut my pumps down and drained everything before we had our polar vortex freeze. Lost 3 pvc drains last year from freezing. Don't give up!
 

j.w

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I'm very sad for you. It is an awful feeling to lose fish. I had a bad experience when I was moving fish to a newly built pond. So sad :(
 

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Oh how awful, I'm so sorry to hear that :cry: You did what you could given the situation, but I guess that doesn't make it any less sad.
 

addy1

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How sad so sorry for your loss. I know you loved all your fish, it just breaks your heart to have them die.
 
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Aww Lisa I'm so sorry!
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sissy

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sorry to hear this but all this weather I think hit a lot of people hard .polar vortex who knew this was going to be this bad for people .Hopefully maybe you have some baby fish from the fish that died and they are just hiding out .We can all hope for a big surprise for you if they are there .I know it does not make up for the lose of your big fish but it can help a little .The smaller the fish the hardier they can be
 
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Thank you all for your kind words. I have wracked my brain, trying to think if there was more we could have done to prevent this disaster. This plumbing issue happened at an unfortunate time when we just ran out of time to get things back up and running.

I'm thinking that the main line settling was putting pressure on the connection, which led to the PVC glue giving out at the connection - the weakest link, so to speak. We need to brainstorm a better, simpler plumbing assembly to ensure that we don't have this issue in the future. This has happened to us twice in 7 winters - the first time the fish were small, so I think they were better able to handle all the resulting conditions. As my husband pointed out - without the system flowing, not only did we lose gas exchange, we also went from a 4000 gallon complete system (bog and underground storage) to a 2500 gallon pond. That's a big volume reduction at the worst possible time.

@sissy - I do believe our goldfish are OK. And we did have one baby koi survive last spring, so we will hopefully have one reminder of our lost fish. I think I'm done with koi, at least for the time being. It is sad to lose any fish, but pulling those big, beautiful fish out of the pond was heartbreaking.
 
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From your previous posts it's obvious that you loved your fish and that was no easy task you were given after work yesterday. I know this spring won't be the same without them and I'm very sorry to hear this happened.
 
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Oh @Lisak1 , I'm so sad to read this and am so very sorry it happened . The polar vortex created some very extreme weather, record breaking in many areas. You had two unfortunate things happen that were both out of your control :(

I completely understand your feelings of wanting to be done with koi for now. If anything were to happen to mine, I'd feel similarly....wanting to just enjoy a simpler pond ....plants and gold fish, without the added responsibility of caring for large and older koi.
 
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I am so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to watch ice thaw to expose the fish that have died.
 
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Thanks again everyone. I am so grateful that I can share this here, knowing I won't be ripped to shreds. There are forums where you wouldn't dare mention a problem like this. This remains my favorite spot on the internet.

I was able to retrieve two more of the fish yesterday. Oh, just so sad. I can see one more under the ice and the last one is black, so he may be harder to see. They looked absolutely perfect in every way - except dead. That may sound nutty, but you know what I mean. If you had asked me prior to this if I would feel bad if my koi died, I would have said "nah. They're just fish." But you all know they aren't "just fish". They truly are so much more than that.

On the good news front, the goldfish appear to be fine, so we will look forward to a good pond season with our smaller fish friends.
 
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I am so sorry for this loss Lisa. I can imagine how sad it must be. But don't give up, just keep moving forward and we will all be here to offer support.
Barb
 
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I'm so sorry to hear about all your losses @Lisak1 , but I know you will always cherish your fish and will continue to take excellent care of the one's you have left!
 
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Thanks again everyone. I am so grateful that I can share this here, knowing I won't be ripped to shreds. There are forums where you wouldn't dare mention a problem like this. This remains my favorite spot on the internet.

I was able to retrieve two more of the fish yesterday. Oh, just so sad. I can see one more under the ice and the last one is black, so he may be harder to see. They looked absolutely perfect in every way - except dead. That may sound nutty, but you know what I mean. If you had asked me prior to this if I would feel bad if my koi died, I would have said "nah. They're just fish." But you all know they aren't "just fish". They truly are so much more than that.

On the good news front, the goldfish appear to be fine, so we will look forward to a good pond season with our smaller fish friends.
So sorry for your loss, Lisa. I agree with you, this is a wonderful site. No one is mean or gives a 'Hey, told you so' response. Rather, everyone here is so respectful and supportive. I also agree with your comment they aren't 'just fish.' They are members of the family. Our kids grew up with some of our fish and reptiles. Thanks for sharing your situation and I wish you success. Spring is on the way!
 

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