Wisconsin miracle/mystery pond

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by WiscoKid, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. WiscoKid

    WiscoKid

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    Hello all. I'm looking for help with our pond of about 15 years or so and I'm hoping we're not the only people on the planet who've had this experience. Here's the situation:

    We live in Wisconsin and have a straight-sided pond that's about 8 ft x 9 ft x 2 ft (I'm guessing on the depth). It has a rubber liner with two sides covered by rock wall. Our goldfish overwinter in the pond with the help of a pond heater and an aerator. We've had no problems with the pond until last year.

    Last winter the pond level dropped precipitously over the course of a few days. We refilled it and several days later, the pond had emptied except for a couple of inches of water at the bottom. That's maybe 1000 gallons of water that disappeared over the course of about a week. You'd think that much water on the move would be quite apparent. And yet, there was no evidence of it.

    I sadly unplugged the pond heater, but left the aerator running, prepared to net out a school of desiccated fish and not looking forward to replacing the liner.

    A heavy spring rain filled the pond. When the ice cap thawed, the fish were still swimming (!!!) and the pond held water (!!!). We dubbed it the miracle pond. I mean, fish surviving several months of winter in just inches of water. It shouldn't be possible. Nor should the pond have held water.

    Fast forward to this winter. Our trusty pond heater and aerator are in place again. The pond is frozen over except for where the heater is and, ominously, the water level is starting to drop again.

    So here's my question: Does anyone have any thoughts about what's going on?

    Many thanks for your help.

    pond-picture2.jpg
     
    WiscoKid, Dec 28, 2013
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  2. WiscoKid

    Lisak1

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    Uhhhhh... Not really! So it held water all summer? I would say evaporation (we lose water faster in winter than summer) but 1000 gallons in a week? That's a lot!

    Hopefully someone has an idea! What part of WI are you in?
     
    Lisak1, Dec 28, 2013
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  3. WiscoKid

    Lisak1

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    Oh! And I meant to say - lovely pond!
     
    Lisak1, Dec 28, 2013
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  4. WiscoKid

    Tula

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    Do you leave your water fall or filters on? Does this only happen when the pond is frozen over? I'm wondering if an ice dam is forming someplace and if any water is running, it's diverted by the ice….just a thought.

    Your pond is lovely! Kim
     
    Tula, Dec 28, 2013
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  5. WiscoKid

    dieselplower

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    Do you have a water pump running and if so, where us it located?
     
    dieselplower, Dec 28, 2013
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  6. WiscoKid

    DrCase Moderator Moderator

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    Welcome to the Forum

    how big Is the pond heater ?
     
    DrCase, Dec 28, 2013
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  7. WiscoKid

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    [​IMG] to our group


    I have no clue either, unless it has to do with heater size, like dr case is asking the size. When it is really cold here you can see the water steaming off the pond, without a heater, I don't use one the aerator works fine here to keep a hole in the ice.

    Very nice pond you have there. Goldfish are tough little guys. I missed moving one in our deck pond, shallow small pond, it froze up pretty good but one shubbie showed up in the spring doing just fine.
     
    addy1, Dec 28, 2013
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  8. WiscoKid

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Ditto!
     
    Mmathis, Dec 28, 2013
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  9. WiscoKid

    Dave 54

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    Oh how I love a good mystery lol welcome to the forum , our guess is perhaps the heater is the cause of all this you dont say what type or what wattage your using , we in the koi world use the in line heater , there are metalic tropical tank sytyle heaters we use in QT ing of fish during winter or when we are ramping koi "ramping koi means to lower and heat the pond in rapid succession" this is to try and bring on the koi herpes virus prior to your koi going into the pond .
    Last but not least we have the floating heater which is it that you uses please ?
    My first action in the spring would be to check all pipework and replace anything suspect , check the seal on your filter and again if suspect replace .
    I've a feeling that perhaps your problem is there but only winter and the heater bring it on in the spring it reseals and thats it until winter again what pipe work do you have ?
    The flex pipe is prone to going brittle after a while especially if exposed to UV rays , other pipe work lasts longer , see if there is like a white residue on the pipes anywhere on your pipework that would indicate a leak



    Dave
     
    Dave 54, Dec 28, 2013
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  10. WiscoKid

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    Very strange and I would think it would take more than just one little heater to displace all that much water in just a few days. Must be some kind of leak somewhere that has to do w/ ice forming a way for your water to leak out like if you have a waterfall running. If your pond is just sitting there w/ ice on top and no running water on surface then I am befuddled. We gotta know how this is happening :cheerful:
     
    j.w, Dec 28, 2013
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  11. WiscoKid

    shakaho

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    As I read it, the water loss only occurred in the winter with the heater and aerator running. When the heater was turned off the water loss stopped. That would seem to indicate the heater is the problem. I don't know why. You could try a different type of heater. You could also consider making a greenhouse-type dome or roof over the pond, which will raise the temperature considerably then use an air or water pump directed up to keep a hole in the ice.

    What part of WI are you in? In the southern part this should work.
     
    shakaho, Dec 28, 2013
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  12. WiscoKid

    WiscoKid

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    Hello all, thanks so much for the feedback! To respond to your questions:

    It's a floating heater, 100 watt. Only the area within the heater ring stays open and it's about 10-12 inches across, so it's not providing a lot of air space for water to evaporate.

    We're in southern Wisconsin (Madison), zone 5A.

    When we first had the pond we used a tarp held up by bamboo poles for the first few winters. That worked reasonably well until a brutally cold winter killed off all of our fish but one. A mallard came along and ate the sole survivor.

    We don't have the pump or filter running during the winter, so I don't think the tube leading up to the waterfall could be the culprit, unless I'm missing something about water dynamics.

    I checked the water level this afternoon (it was a toasty 42° today, woo hoo!) and it seems as though the level is about at normal height. This may have to remain a mystery. I'll keep an eye on things and see if I can spot any trails left by departing water, although right now the snow cover masks quite a bit.

    Thanks again!
    Linda
     
    WiscoKid, Dec 29, 2013
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  13. WiscoKid

    Tula

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    Hmmmmm….very perplexing. Keep us posted:) Kim
     
    Tula, Dec 29, 2013
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  14. WiscoKid

    sissy sissy

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    Could have been a leak that sealed itself up .I had that happen with the old waterfall .Kept loosing water for weeks and could not figure it out .Then it just stopped loosing water ,but still decided to rip the waterfall apart and rebuild it for a new filter.I found what caused it roots had grown between the liner from the waterfall and the liner from the pond and after awhile they got so thick I guess the sealed it up .All summer It did not leak but winter and spring it did and then it stopped for over a year .
     
    sissy, Dec 29, 2013
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  15. WiscoKid

    WiscoKid

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    Sissy, I think you're on to something about roots being the likely culprit. We've got a Korean maple planted next to the pond. It has to have roots hitting the lining. And I could see where the pond could leak seasonally if the roots get just a little bit thinner during winter when the tree's not actively growing. Brilliant! (Although uggh, how I do not look forward to the thought of deconstructing the rock walls of our pond this spring.)

    What a great community this is. Thanks to everyone for your input!

    Linda
     
    WiscoKid, Dec 29, 2013
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  16. WiscoKid

    sissy sissy

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    To many things planted near the pond with the dampness really make roots grow .The roots seek out moisture and we unknowingly provide it with our ponds .Darn ponds :cheerful:
     
    sissy, Dec 29, 2013
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  17. WiscoKid

    Becky Administrator

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    Welcome to the forum! :wave:
     
    Becky, Dec 30, 2013
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  18. WiscoKid

    JBtheExplorer Native Gardener

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    I can't help you, but welcome to the forums fellow Wisconsinite!
     
    JBtheExplorer, Dec 30, 2013
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