Woke up this morning 1/4 of my water missing and most of fish dead

Discussion in 'Newbies to Garden Ponds' started by Paul S, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Paul S

    Paul S

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    Water quality
    * Ammonia Level (pond) 0
    * Nitrite Level (pond) could not get reading
    * Ammonia Level (tap water)
    * Nitrite Level (tap water)
    * Ph Level, pond (If possible, KH, GH and chlorine) 8.5
    * Ph Level, tap water (If possible, KH, GH and chlorine)
    * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Sentry 5 in 1 test stripes and sentry ammonia test strip

    Other useful information:
    * Water temperature? 51dregrees
    * Pond size and how long has it been running? About 2000gal and pump off for winter, just 1000watt heater on bottom
    * What is the name and size of the filter(s)? grech cpf-5000 filter
    * How often do you change the water and how much? havn't changed it since put in fish
    * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? august entire pond
    * How many fish in the pond and their type? six 10" koi 2 fancy goldfish
    * What kind of water additives or conditioners have you used? pond care algae fix two weeks prior
    * What do you feed your fish and how often? didnt feed after temp dropped below 50 degres
    * Any new fish added to the pond recently? no
    * Any medications added to the pond? no
    * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and pond
    * Any unusual findings on the fish? no
    * Any unusual behaviour like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Fish stayed at the bottom the whole winter hanging out near the heater, and when the water temp started getting around 50 degrees they started swimming around more but wouldn't eat

    Hello, Im a newbie, this is my first year of running my pond. I do not know the water condition levels but I had my fish in my pond the entire Chicago winter and they survived and were starting to swim around now that the temperatures were getting around 50 degress. This morning I woke up and 1/4 of my pond water was missing and all of my koi were dead, 3 floating on top and they other ones on the bottom. Only my goldfish are still alive.


    I dont understand what happen, my only theory is that since i did not drain my plumbing maybe water froze in there and cracked it and now when it warmed up, it defrosted and all the water drained through it. My water level was fine yesterday and today 1/4 of it gone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  2. Paul S

    Lisak1

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    1st question - you say your heater was on the bottom? Why?
     
    Lisak1, Mar 19, 2014
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  3. Paul S

    Paul S

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    I had two 500watt glass fish tank heater that I put on the bottom to keep it from freezing over. During the winter it got below 0 a lot of times and parts of the pond would freeze but the heater kept a nice large open circle in the pond, which i thought was ideal.
     
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  4. Paul S

    JohnHuff Friends call me Dr. Sir John Huff

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    Hi: Sorry to hear about your loss.
    53F and missing 1/4 of your water is not going to kill your fish. However there are a couple of immediate steps you need to take:
    1) Test your water.You can buy a testing kit at any fish/pet store. Your answer to why your fish died will most likely be revealed by this.
    2) Fill your pond up again and find your leak.
    Other comments:
    - Don't do full water changes, just 10-20% weekly or bi-weekly.
    - Don't add any additives to your pond such as the algae fix.
    - Don't try to feed your fish until the temp gets up past 55F regularly
    - Do you have a filter? If yes, have you cleaned it? Can you post some pics of your pond and set up?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
    JohnHuff, Mar 19, 2014
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  5. Paul S

    JohnHuff Friends call me Dr. Sir John Huff

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    Don't know why she asked that question. Doesn't have any bearing on anything.

    Other comments/thoughts:
    - It's OK for fish to be outdoors during the Winter. Some of our members have ponds way up north in Canada in much colder temperatures.
    - Though not always advised, some of us, including me shut their pond down every Winter.
    - Goldfish are more hardy and Koi are more difficult to keep, sometimes they are more likely to die during inclement conditions.
     
    JohnHuff, Mar 19, 2014
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  6. Paul S

    Paul S

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    I havnt feed them since november when the temp were over 50 degrees.
    I havnt changed the water since the fish have been in. Only changed it once before I ever had fish.
    I will go test the water.
    Yes I do have a filter, I cleaned it before I turned off the pump for the winter. I will post a pic shortly of the pond.
     
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  7. Paul S

    Big Lou

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    Sorry for your loss. When using any algaecide your pump must be on to provide excellent circulation and oxygen. One theory to consider.
     
    Big Lou, Mar 19, 2014
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  8. Paul S

    Paul S

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    I didnt think of that, The algae was so bad that I decided to put in some algaecide but I did not turn my pump on, I, i just stirred the water with my net. I tried turning on my pond pump two weeks ago but I think the pipes were frozen because I could not get any water to pump through
     
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  9. Paul S

    taherrmann4 Tmann

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    I agree with Big Lou if your pump wasn't on and you poured in algaecide, there was no way to get good circulation and stirring it with your pond net would not be adequate.
     
    taherrmann4, Mar 19, 2014
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  10. Paul S

    Paul S

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    Oh ok, stupid newbie mistake I made. I wasnt sure which test to get so I got both. I tested ammonia and it was 0 or the latest yellow color.
    I was not able to get nitrate or nitrite reading but my ph seemed to be around 8.5 and alkalinity around 300 water harness 150
     
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  11. Paul S

    Paul S

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    Here is a pic of my test strip
     

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    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  12. Paul S

    Paul S

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    Pic of my pond
     

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    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  13. Paul S

    dieselplower

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    Lack of oxygen caused by the algae dying off could have contributed. It often happens that the biggest fish do die from that first. The question remains, where did the water go? When was the last time you checked the water level before you noticed it was low? In other words... Did this just empty overnight? Is there anything that fell into the pond that could have punctured the liner? I had a rock fall in and do that.
     
    dieselplower, Mar 19, 2014
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  14. Paul S

    JohnHuff Friends call me Dr. Sir John Huff

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    Don't worry too much about the algaecide. You did that 2 weeks ago. If they killed the fish, they would have done it 2 weeks or so ago, not this morning.

    Do you know why you weren't able to nitrite and nitrate reading? I can't see that pic very well. Can you do it again?

    Do you have a pic of the filter?

    The reason why some people have algae is overfeeding. Algae need nutrients to survive bloom. If it's a type of algae you can scoop out, even better because you are taking organics out of your closed environment.

    Seeing your pond now. I would do a little water change and fill it up with treated water and run your filter.
     
    JohnHuff, Mar 19, 2014
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  15. Paul S

    Paul S

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    The level was ok yesterday. It must have happened over night or early morning. I think it may have something to do with the plumbing because the water is just below the pipe that goes into the pump. I think the water froze inside the pipes and cracked them and when it thawed, drained part of my pond.

    The way I have my plumbing set up is I have a:
    3" bottom drain running into 2 ft of 3" PVC
    then angled up into 4 ft of 3" PCV
    then angled sideways for another 2ft
    then reduced to 2" PCV running for another 6ft then going into the pump.
    All the PCV is buried underground.
    The pond is a lil over 3ft deep at its deepest point.
     
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  16. Paul S

    Lisak1

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    I asked the question because I wondered if it was possible that an aquarium heater on the bottom of the pond would get hot enough to melt a hole in the liner if it was in contact for an extended period of time. I don't know if by "at the bottom" you meant near the bottom, or literally on the bottom. Your fish dying and your water disappearing may have two separate causes.

    Also, I am near Chicago also so I know the kind of winter you've experienced! I am sorry about your pond and fish - you've already gotten some good suggestions. Hopefully the answer is an easy one!
     
    Lisak1, Mar 19, 2014
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  17. Paul S

    Paul S

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    I tired twice and I could not get a reading of the Nitrate or Nitrite. They came out gray/brown colors. I have not fed the fish since November. I stopped running the pump in the beginning of December. I took apart the filter and it was very filthy and smelly, i will post a picture shortly
     
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  18. Paul S

    Paul S

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    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  19. Paul S

    Paul S

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    The heaters had suction cup bases and I attached them to plexi glass to make sure they did not directly contact the liner.
     
    Paul S, Mar 19, 2014
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  20. Paul S

    dieselplower

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    Seems like a reasonable theory that the ice melted and the water drained out a busted pipe. Try taking the water inside and letting it warm up to room temperature, and then test it.
     
    dieselplower, Mar 19, 2014
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