Wintering over our koi in the garage....


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Dear everyone who has taken time to write.
Firstly, I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and experience. I am most definitely going to rethink our decision next fall when the fish, hopefully, will have gotten through the winter with me and be larger. Really, the answer in my case might be a secondary, deeper outdoor pond with less surface area in a more protected space than the existing outdoor pond which is totally exposed, facing NW, circular and 20 feet in diameter. If I had a second pond closer to the house with less surface area for the winter I could cover it, like Colleen, and also attach it to my generator in the event of power outages. We are planning a conversion to propane this fall and I have asked our installer to attach the garage power to our generator which would protect the winter fish tank in the garage.
All the water in our tank in the garage was pumped in directly from the outdoor pond. The fish were moved gently and expeditiously and all are now inside along with some mosquito fish that came along for the ride.
Outside the temperatures are varying between the 30s and 40s right now and the pond water has been steadily in the 50s in the garage. I have been covering the pond at night with insulation boards that also line the pond to keep a bit of the heat in.
Our plan is to supply water from the house spigot, draining the exit pipe and hose after each use. I have a corrugated hose for draining the filter that I pump out the back of the garage just about daily.
So far so good. The fish are looking healthy and active. The fish waste is minimal so far. I am thinking a small net might serve just to scoop it out if I am vigilant.
Photos are attached of the fish and my water tests.
The pond water (from our barn well) has a dramatically higher pH level than the house water. And, I am seeing that the house water taken from the outdoor spigot shows slightly elevated phosphates. With the proper hose I could probably send water from my kitchen sink out to the garage. The house water runs through particle filters, so will have to give it a test too. It would be more pleasant, also, than wrestling with a hose outdoors when the temperatures go down.
Should I be thinking about quality of life changes in the winter tank? Does anyone recommend introducing friendly bacteria?
Again, thanks for sharing—all coaching and feedback most sincerely appreciated.
Evelyn, called Evie
PS. Plans are to raise the water level once we have made our screen covering.

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waynefrcan

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I see nothing wrong with your method. I have also brought my fish in a garage for the winter and not a single loss in 3 winters. It is colder in my area of mid Alberta. I was never successful with wintering outside and always had fish loss. And yes the largest koi were dead or sick. IMO conditions must be perfect to be successful in colder regions and it's hard to get them perfect. I always was worried how they were doing but now in the garage I know they are warmer and we get to enjoy them year round.

I built a wood container similar to yours but recently added a intex pool as the goldfish have multiplied. Have a heater for the garage and also in water heaters when it's -20-30 C outside. Do more water changes also.

Question about your pond, is it rock lined, any muck on the bottom? That will effect water quality over winter.
 
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j.w

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Yay they made it and looks like a lot of pretty fish in there :joyful:
 
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So glad to hear your plan worked out! Was it worth it in your mind to bring them indoors?
 

sissy

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When they get as big as my aggie and bert it will be impossible to bring them in .Bought mine back in 2005 and they are now over 2 feet long and the older koi get the easier they are to get stressed out .Colleen in Canada keeps hers outside in her bitter cold winters .Kio prefer colder water .
 
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So glad to hear your plan worked out! Was it worth it in your mind to bring them indoors?
Oh, absolutely. It has been a heartache to see the ice melt and find a couple of dead fish. We have ideas about how to improve water circulation under the ice over winter so we will be evaluating the options as we go along.
Then, there is always the issue of predators… Saw our first Blueheron at the edge of the pond last summer.
 
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When they get as big as my aggie and bert it will be impossible to bring them in .Bought mine back in 2005 and they are now over 2 feet long and the older koi get the easier they are to get stressed out .Colleen in Canada keeps hers outside in her bitter cold winters .Kio prefer colder water .
Wow! How great that you have kept your koi alive for 15 years! I have been following Colleen. Her ponds are awesome!
 

sissy

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her ponds are great and living where she lives it is amazing .I just wish now that I had gone with a pondless pond .I just don't have the time or energy for this anymore .I just came in because I was getting wet from the mist that is coming down .But I did get some weed pulling done and got the new bottom sweeps put on the bottom of the basement doors .
 
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Dear Everyone, I would like to report that after two years we have thankfully managed to keep our koi all alive over winter in the garage tank. Yes, 25 fish plus a few babies that somehow mysteriously manifested at summer’s end. The babies are not koi so the theory is they may have traveled here as eggs on the floating pond plants that came from Florida. We changed about a third of the water every few weeks. The fish were dormant so there was little to no waste to deal with. We kept the pump, filter and aerators running. They have returned now to their outdoor pond. It’s a bit cold for them to start eating but they do seem to come up and say hi, of course I could be imagining it.
 
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I see nothing wrong with your method. I have also brought my fish in a garage for the winter and not a single loss in 3 winters. It is colder in my area of mid Alberta. I was never successful with wintering outside and always had fish loss. And yes the largest koi were dead or sick. IMO conditions must be perfect to be successful in colder regions and it's hard to get them perfect. I always was worried how they were doing but now in the garage I know they are warmer and we get to enjoy them year round.

I built a wood container similar to yours but recently added a intex pool as the goldfish have multiplied. Have a heater for the garage and also in water heaters when it's -20-30 C outside. Do more water changes also.

Question about your pond, is it rock lined, any muck on the bottom? That will effect water quality over winter.
Hello, I just saw this question around two years too late. In any event, we started out with rocks lining the pond but ultimately we removed them all. It was a ridiculous amount of work! But, as you say, has contributed to the health of the pond. What really made the critical difference however was upgrading to a more powerful filter.
 
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I'm so happy to read your update! You've obviously found a plan that works!! Thank you for sharing ....any pics ?
 
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