Water changes in the winter


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I live in zone 8B and my question is as long as my water parameters are good PH 7.0, Ammonia 0.0. Nitrite 0.0, and Phosphate 0.0 should I still do a partial water change? My water temperature is between 51 and 54 currently and my koi eat very little when the temperature goes up.
 
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I think that water changes are important. They can replenish minerals that are used up by the fish. Those things won't show up on your test kits.

I do water changes year round and my filters run all the time. I've had no problems with doing regular water changes all year.
 

j.w

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You are in a fairly warm area all year so you can do them if you like. I stop in the Winter as no need cuz I don't feed them so no build up of poo or decaying plant stuff. Pond stays nice and clear all Winter w/o water changes for me.
 

mrsclem

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Only do water changes when I clean my filters. Once it gets cold, filters don't get cleaned so no water changes till spring.
 

Jhn

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I don’t do water changes period in my ponds...never have. It’s what works for me and my pond is setup with this in mind. IMO, with a correctly setup pond with proper fish population water changes are unnecessary, but I will say if you want to do water changes and it works for you go ahead.
 

sissy

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minerals do not come from city water ,but you can add minerals to your pond .Even well waters when tested do not have many minerals in it unless you have hard or soft water .I have iron in my water and send it to get tested at least once a year and only thing that shows up on the test is the iron ,the other very small amount of minerals are some calcium and a couple that really have no effect on health in any quantities .Most minerals fish get is from food .The main reason I get mine tested is the iron .I add koi clay to my pond and it is not only healthy for the fish it is good for humans .I get the food grade off ebay and even use it for my skin
 
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I think that would depend on where you live. We have a lot of limestone here, so there are minerals in our water. We have good water for fish. We just happened to be in the right place.
 
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I'm not trying to convince anyone one way or the other. For me water changes in the winter are a no brainer. Since the pond is covered, the filter system runs year round. I still feed the fish, but sparingly. The filters have to be cleaned and after they are backwashed, the pond water that is used by doing that has to be replaced. It may not always be a large one, but it is a water change.
 
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minerals do not come from city water

Trace elements and minerals are always present in todays water. Its the parts per million that becomes the issue. when you get your water tested they only test for the common elements or what is an issue to keep an eye on in your area. Many city supplies add all kinds of chemicals to their water , phosphate being one of the most common along with chlorine neither are beneficial to the pond as clorine kills bacteria and phosphates help promote algae.
As far as water changes in the winter it is very very easy to put your fish into shock if your water parameters vary too much especially with temp. as long as you do it slowly and let the waters mix slowly I would think it can only help.
 
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Maybe these 2 links would help explain what I'm referring to.



I don't have dirt blowing into my pond and rain here is acidic, so that's not the best for my fish. I suppose that would vary with location.
 
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Jhn

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@WaterGardener While fish do draw minerals from their water, in outdoor ponds they get most if not all of their nutrient/mineral needs met by what they eat naturally and we feed them in our ponds. Especially, those of us that strive to keep a natural balance in our pond with minimal interference outside of weeding plants and maintaining filter systems.

The article you provided is aimed at aquarium keepers where the fish get their dietary needs met by what the aquarist feeds them only. Ponds are not the same thing.

Personally, having kept various species of pond fish for a long time and never doing water changes in any of my ponds. I have never experienced a fish suffering from a mineral deficiency. I believe people need to do what works for them, as long as they understand why they are doing or not doing certain husbandry practices.
 
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If you have a natural pond that works for you, that's great. My pond is far from natural. It's a hole in the ground with a rubber liner, bare bottom, and a pump and filter that circulates the same water over and over. It's much more like an outdoor aquarium than any natural pond. It may not look it, but that's the reality.

Everything needs minerals and micro nutrients to survive. Those can be taken up by fish and the plants from the water. I've done quite a lot of studying about my system, and to me, water changes are important to refresh and replenish these things. Fertilizing plants can be another way of introducing minerals to the system.

If there were no need for these things, there would be no market for koi clay. And why would that product need to be used more than once for the entire life of the fish? But it is supposed to be used regularly.

I'm sure you feel you have no problems with minerals in your system and have never had a problem because of the way yours is set up. That's good. But how do you really know? I would imagine that over the years, you have had fish die? Do you do blood test on those to make sure they have no deficiencies? Or could it be possible that if you have a disease, that it might be a result of a mineral issue that compromises the fish's immune system? There are many things that we don't know about these things.

I don't feel the same as you do and what works for me might not work for you. Everyone has their own beliefs and knowledge about what they do and what they feel applies to their own situation. Because we do things differently, doesn't mean one is right and the other is wrong.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 

Jhn

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I don’t have a natural pond it is the same as yours rubber liner, not all of it is bare bottom though just the deep portion. I strive to have the pond in balance with minimal interference from me. I have had my current pond for 10 years with zero fish deaths from disease and the pond I had at my previous home for close to 20 years Had pretty much the same result excluding the learning curve from the first few years. Did I lose fish yes but from predation. Don’t do water changes, don’t add koi clay, just weed plants, empty skimmer baskets, rinse filter mats in skimmer as necessary. Have koi, orfes, goldfish, and catfish in my pond along with turtles.

If a pond is under a 1000 gallons then I would agree it is more like an outdoor aquarium or if it is a DKP no matter the size then yes, water changes will be necessary to maintain water quality. However, large ponds that are set up to filter with plants (eco ponds) will not require water changes if done correctly. Why because the fish are getting nutrients/minerals from the food they naturally forage on in the pond, bugs, worms, plants and other aquatic life, as well as what we feed them. The plants are pulling nutrients from the water from waste created by the living animals in the pond, which along with the various bacteria in the pond, keeping the pond in balance. The whole point of the eco pond is to establish a food chain from phytoplankton all the way up to the top, our fish and keeping a balance.

I am not saying fish and plants don’t need minerals and nutrients to survive, just disagree on water changes being necessary to provide it and maintain water quality in all instances. Since most don’t test their source water how do they know their tap water is actually providing essential minerals or is reducing the nutrient level in their pond. Not saying your way is right or wrong, I always believe pond keepers/aquarists need to do what works for them, regardless of whether I do it or not. Nothing wrong with differing view points on how to do or not do things, there are many different approaches to pond keeping but individuals need to know and think for themselves so they can make informed decisions.
 
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Like you said you have been at this a while . And like myself you have seen some posts with some questions and topics that make go HHHMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!! with a eye brow twitching and some Serious questions going through your mind. Even on you tube i have seen some folks feeding there koi with more food in on feeding then i would use in a month and when you look at the water you
can see the fish are swimming in their own waste. In that regard water changes are an absolute must.
 
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The only time you should do water changes on ponds is if there are too many fish in the pond and your filtration/bog is not good enough. In the winter, you should do even less water changes cause the fish metabolism is lower and the ammonia given off is less in general and less dangerous as well since more can be converted to ammonia to give off compared to ammonium ion.

Just how big is this pond gallon wise and how many fish do you have in it? Does it have a bog?
 
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I want to thank all that have responded and I have read every response. My pond is 800 gallon above ground pond. I have had aquariums most of my life, and I am 75, and my experience tells me to do small water changes in the winter. I do not think it will hurt but an 800 gallon above ground pond is like an 800 gallon aquarium. I am new to koi keeping and turn to this forum for help often or just to see what others are doing.
 

Mmathis

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I am in zone 8 A/B (right on the line). I didn’t do anything with my pond during the winter as far as water changes.
 
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If there were no need for these things, there would be no market for koi clay
Well, that's not exactly the argument I would make. There are LOTS of products on the market that I personally believe serve no purpose, and yet they exist. The fact that someone is making a buck selling them is not proof that they are necessary. And that's true in the pond industry as well as just about any other area of life. I'm not discounting the value of koi clay - I use it myself - but it's not proof that water changes are important. Assuming that the water you're adding to the pond contains necessary minerals that your fish need is making a big leap in my opinion unless you've actually had your water analyzed.

I think that water changes, like other aspects of pond keeping, depend on a variety of factors that differ significantly from one pond to the next. The size of the pond is definitely a consideration, as is the fish load and type of filtration. Because there are so many variables in each one of those, it's next to impossible to determine from a distance whether the benefits of a water change would outweigh the risks. But I do think there's value in breaking the aquarium to pond comparisons that have led to ideas like frequent water changes being accepted as fact. Many folks who have previously kept aquariums come into pond keeping with the idea that water changes are important. I see my pond and watch the water level rise and fall as water evaporates (or splashes out or the plants uptake water or my dogs drink it, etc) and nature (or me, in the case of a dry spell) adds more to make up for the loss. That doesn't happen in an aquarium.
 
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I think that water changes are important. They can replenish minerals that are used up by the fish. Those things won't show up on your test kits.

I do water changes year round and my filters run all the time. I've had no problems with doing regular water changes all year.
Is this the first year you have had this pond? If not, do you normally need to add water to the pond during the winter to replace evaporation or does it rain enough? Does your yard sprinkler send water into the pond?
 

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