where did my fish go?

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i live in NJ. we were away for four days and returned yesterday. when i looked in the pond (1k gal) all my fish were gone. i have about 35 mostly around 6-8 inches (1 large 10") all goldfish. can't figure it out (e-mail address removed)& ? first thought someone stole them but no signs of unusual disturbance. but since i had about 4 completely dark brown fish that they wouldn't have taken the time to see them nor want to take to time to fish "all" of them out of my pond. then thought predators since the red maple dropped most of their leaves recently giving a chance that birds can see them from high. maybe racoons who would have the eyesight and patience in the dark?

gave them all up for dead until early this morning i thought i saw a few (maybe 4 or so) darting around at the bottom.

i'm new to ponding and bought the house summer 2010. lost some fish over last winter as i didn't have a clue on what or how to winterize. but this year was diligent at dead leaf removal daily and ran filter since the spring where the clear water may have been a problem allowing visibility of fish.

since i've never cleaned the pond, i have big rocks about the 12" diameter over a liner. is it possible that there is enough space to house the fish? do they bury themselves in mud? (i'm not sure of the bottom but didn't think the muck was that deep.

would they all do to "sleep" at the same date?

i just thought they floated at the bottom pretty much motionless the entire winter.

sorry for asking so much but now i'm not sure if i should winterize now. i was planning to place a bubbler this winter.

thx,
 

HARO

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By all means go ahead and winterize your pond. If the fish are hiding in the rocks, you will give them a better chance of survival by keeping a hole in the ice to let gases escape, and you'll probably get a pleasant surprise in the spring! John
 

sissy

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How deep is your pond and how big is it and I am from NJ so what area do you live and I know it should be warmer there today but the cold and snow are coming your way
 

sissy

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You will have to clean the bottom of the pond as all that gunk that is down there is what could kill your fish .I 'm not saying do it now but it should have been done .The fish you had could have spawned and you could have babes .I hope your pond is deep enough to make it through the winter and if not you made need to get a deicer and as haro said keep a whole in the ice.Come spring buy a net for over your pond at lowes or home depot ,it is called bird netting and very cheap
 

fishin4cars

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Watch VERY closely around anything they can hide around, Flower pots, rocks, ledges, creases in the liner, etc. Is your pond covered at all for leaf protection and or predators? When the water gets cold, and if something spooked the fish they will hide and stay in the same place they feel comfortable with for long periods of time. Last year I had 7-10 fish that I thought the Heron had gotten when we had the major attack take place. I knew where one of my bigger fish was hiding as I could see his tail every few days. He stayed in the same spot for almost 5 weeks before moving so I knew I still had some life in the pond, Come spring out came about 8 of the 30 fish I had and they were doing good. Then the owl attacked and got two of those. So as you can tell from my experience last winter, I had multiple issues to deal with and any one or none could be similar to your situation. My advice, treat the pond as if all the fish are there and hiding. If something got some and scared them, Not much you can do about that now except protect what's left. If they are all in there providing a hole in the ice and if possible some oxygen areation to one end will greatly increase you chances of survival with the ones that are in hiding. BTW, I seriously doubt all the fish are missing, They get pretty smart at staying out of sight when they start being hunted/spooked..
 

sissy

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Yep even my Aggie as big as she is hides under the waterfall .Sneaky devils when they want to be
 
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sissy, i'm in morristown. deepest part is about 3 feet and the muck is mostly between the rocks. it's not like there's several inches of mud. but because of the bigger stones there are spaces between them that got filled in. kinda like grout. how do fish normally go dormant? wouldn't they just float at the bottom in a listless state? was away last night so haven't seen anything. dark when i got home.
 

addy1

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When my pond dropped to 38 the fish sort of hung out in one spot not really moving, any temp above 40 they swim around and snack on plants.
 

sissy

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They usually just float on the bottom of the pond .I lived in Edison for over 15 years but was raised in Somerset county in Franklin Township .I don't have rock in the bottom of my pond because of the gunk that gets between the rocks .To hard to clean .I have 2 kinds of underwater pond lights winter ones that are regular and get hot and summer LED ones .But you could set a light up shining into your pond so you can look in it at night .I had a cfl bulb but have replaced that with an LED as the LED only cost 2 dollars a year to run and I have it on a dusk to dawn switch .Mine have not gone down for the winter yet ,to warm here .But last couple of winter's it was funny to watch them just float there .They look almost dead .I am still feeding them wheat germ 1 or 2 times a week ,Well except that last 8 days I had a small ammonia spike so wanted to stabilize the pond .I still have tadpoles in my pond and they should be gone but are still here .my pond is a little over 4 feet deep and that is because of the summer heat here and my pond is in mostly sun .I had to make a shade sail .Can I ask you if you are near the victory gardens
 

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