This is my first season with a water garden and I'm concerned about my fish. I have a small amount of ice forming on the surface, and the fish /seem/ fascinated by it. I read they will stay at the bottom when it starts getting cold. but. they are hanging out just under the ice. My husband said it's because they have never seen ice before. Are they okay?
I'm glad for the question...I have a new water garden too and am wondering what to expect. I was told to feed them very little but to use a wheat germ based food. They seem to put it in their mouth then spit it out...what's that about?
Looking forward to responses from experienced water gardeners.
Until ponds go through winter thermal stratification the warmer water layer is at the top. Eventually the warmer water will be at the bottom and the fish will congregate there. In SC I doubt you will see much of this stratification process as you don't have the extreme winter lows. Natural thermal stratification is upset if the pond water is circulated through the winter or if it's very shallow.
In zone 5 with a 3-1/2 ft deep 2500 gal pond, my fish have just this past few days gone to the bottom of the pond for the warmest water. Thermal stratification takes a little longer in my pond because I have a 1500 watt deicer running which heats the upper layer of water, but eventually the cold beats out the heat put out by the deicer and the pond stratifies. It's been 16 here at night for several nights and I don't have any ice formed, yet. That will soon change!
I have two ponds. The big koi pond I just mentioned does stratify. My smaller goldfish pond usually doesn't stratify for long. That's because I have a 1000 watt deicer in 480 gals. Those goldfish are sure fun to watch swimming around in February when the snow is deep. Besides the expense, running that big a deicer in a such a small body of water does pose one problem. I usually have to add water to the pond two or three times in the winter. The water is constantly steaming off into the dry, cold winter air. I don't feed them or put the pump back in until late March. The do just fine all winter in water that stays about 46 degrees. The pond is only 2' deep.
Is there some way you could 'cover part of the pond to keep it from evaporating so fast? Maybe a tarp or a board or?
I would think it would help to keep the wind off as well, and keep the water warmer too?
Maybe I'm nuts :)
It would be much more of a hassle to build something that would withstand the winter winds than adding water. I have a frost proof outdoor faucet just next to the pond and I take my aquarium cleaning water changer hose and hook it up. Goes quick. Cold - but quick. :)
Thank you Carolyn22. It's just been since 09/17 and I've yet to really relax! There is so much I want to do. I'm like a kid in a candy store. I dont know what I want to do first. I'v been doing a lot of volunteering as a Master Gardener at the local botanical garden - 2 half days a week. I'm taking garden club landscaping classes. There's the house (inside) to paint this coming spring. I'm going to native plant a vacant lot we own. Lots of research about the best plants for the site to be done. I joined a garden club and am learning how to arrange and show flowers. I exhibited in the horticultural section of a flower show for the first time. I'm thinking seriously about getting a two year degeree in landscaping. I dont have to take any prerequisites so it shouldn't take a full two years and I'd intern at the same botanical garden where I volunteer. Convenient and the college is only 15 mins from my house. Slow down in retirement? Who does that?
Congratulations Snapple on the selling of your business. I know that is something you wanted to do for some time.
Flutter: I live north of you near Barrington/Lake Zurich in Deer Park (a lot of people don't know where that is. Firstly, how deep is your pond? Do you own a de-icer? Do you have goldfish or koi or something else in your pond? Are all your pumps shut off and out of the pond? Do you have a bubbler in the water? Give me some answers and I can tell you more about how your fish will handle our crazy Chicagoland weather. That first year of ponding is strange. I worried all winter about my fish and wanted to know what was going on down at the bottom (probably not a a lot . . . LOL). Some people have underwater cameras for viewing their fish on their computer and TV screen for when it's winter or when they are away from home. I haven't invested in one, Yet . . .
As far as feeding, don't feed your fish below 50 degrees f. and at this time of year it is wheat germ. Fish spit out food if it taste bad or isn't as good as what they are used to. My fish don't like the cheap brands and spit it out. They really like Hikari only. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the pond. A lot of people here helped me out a ton my first 16 months or so.
Hey, Snapple - Just lurking and read of your retirement! Congratulations -- I've been retired for 3 years now, and I followed pretty much what you are doing -- I love being active with Master Gardeners and both learning from, and teaching the educational programs offered. So much fun!! I'm glad so many others have the pleasure of learning from you --
Flutterbyte - Snapple is the BEST at advice for the newcomer! She has steered me through 4 years, and I have learned so much from her, while avoiding pitfalls!
Here's a pic of the lower stream and pond at my place last summer --
You just picked one of my favorites! It's a prairie native - Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis - grows in sun to part-shade - loves sitting in the water or in moist, well-drained soil. Here's a pic from last summer where I have it in partial shade. Can you see the hummingbird RIGHT in the MIDDLE of the picture? It's truly a stunner with almost no maintenance (I do stake it as the spikes can reach 5 feet) -- Dax
Well Dax. Is there an emoticon for blushing? Cause I am. Just post some of your fab shots of your ultra fab pond/stream set up. Absolutely some of the best stuff ever.
mm nailed it on the temperature feeding regimen and quality food choices for koi. Better food pays off with healthier fish.
Dax: I also favor that plant. I have two types of it. One with bright green foliage and the other like yours. (I'm bad with names of plants . . . sorry). The bright green foliage ones were new last year and didn't really take off but I expect a good show from them next year.
As much as I love the seasons ,I hate not being able to garden in the winter but enjoy the time to plan and reflect on the good and bad garden elements of last season. I had a few plants that just didn't do anything last year, a few choked to death, and quite a few were big winners! I love the co-op's here and at Yahoo.com. I am planning (and spending my 2010 garden allowance already)!
Yep - :) Snapple gave me the info I needed to make sure the pump and filters kept the water clear and for the most part, algae free! Go ahead, and blush some more -- Snapple - can't help thanking you again! I'm now working on a shade garden - about 1/2 acre in total. I love the view as one walks in -- Dax
I found a new product for treating koi parasites, especially flukes. I had a late fall breakout. First one ever. (Confirmed by my vet after I scraped and he scoped.) This product, although expensive is extremely easy to use. Two caveats: One: KNOW YOUR EXACT GALLONAGE: Two: Stay by the pond for the full hour and have the neutralizer mixed and ready to go. It's so darn easy to use. No water changes necessary. My fluke infestation was so bad that it took two treatments 4 days apart. I'll have to scrape and scope first thing next spring just in case. http://www.lagunakoi.com/MinnFinn-Max/MinnFinn-Max-p-547.html
What is in that product? I hope it works out for you. Please remember to let us know in the spring. The day I was closing down my pond I noticed a white spot on an otherwise blue koi fish (Bluey is his name . . .). I couldn't catch him let alone drain down the pond to get him as it was too cold so I am hoping he does okay through the winter and that I can work on him in the spring. He was eating well right before I saw it and was very social so I have my fingers crossed. This is one of the two fish that survived the deadly summer of 2008. I would hate to see him succumb to disease after all he had been through.
The main symptoms for external flukes are flashing and scratching, and in heavy infestations jumping, in an effort to rub the itchy parasite off. If untreated they lead to ulcers which can't be healed, septcemia and death. Gill flukes cause other different symptoms which my fish didnt show. There are two spcies of flukes, each with different reproductive rates. I learned that it's important to know which specific fluke you have because you have to time the reproductive rate to know when to treat the pond a second time. In my case it was two treatments that were four days apart. Flukes are the most rapidly reproducing pond parasite you can have. They reproduce even in water at 33 degrees, although more slowly. My vet warned me that I should scope and scrape at least three fish in the spring at start up to make certain I eliminated them all with the previous fall treatment. It can sometimes take three treatments to get rid of them completely.
This was my first confirmed fluke problem. I think I know where they came from. Le'ts just say not quarantining a new fish before adding it to the pond is a very stupid thing to do.
Ahhhh, you answered my question Snapple. I knew the symptoms, but thought you had held steady with your fish population, so wondered where the flukes came from in a closed setting. But a newbie in the mix can do it. I'm not the best quarantine person myself, so I've been dipping new fish in PP before adding them, just as a precaution. I have 3 ponds, so graduate them slowly from one to the other, keeping a higher salt content in most. I'm eliminating 2 of the ponds, and making one large one (and keeping the smaller 3rd) and know I'll probably run in to a few issues somewhere down the road having most fish in the same pond. So far (knock on wood) I've been very lucky through the years to have not had many problems. I don't buy imports, I'd rather get fish from reputable dealers who have closed systems and breed their own fish, so they themselves are not introducing diseases...keep a slightly elevated salt content...and use a lot of enzyme/bacteria as the weather gets cooler. I'm probably to the point where I'll never need to add another fish, unless I see something I REALLY want, or something magor happens to the ones I have. My spring spawning this year was dissappointing, so I'm hoping this year may be the boom season(?)
I bought a platinum and silver metallic with matt black butterfly koi from my regular koi supplier. It was not from her usual stock, but from one of her farm ponds that she has to raise her own koi. It was about 14" and it's just breath takingly magnificent. The fins are spectacular. The coloration unbelievable. I'm surprised she sold it. I just wasnt thinking when I brought it home and didn't dip it first. She gave me and a couple of other regular customers first pick from this years' cull. I had koi problems from then on.
Yipes...I guess an unfortunate nice gesture. :( Sounds like it is a fantastic fish. Post pics when you get a chance. I just love butterflies, they're so calming to watch float through the water in the evenings (ok maybe it's the glass of wine I have on the deck) but none-the-less they are just beautiful. I've been collecting gin rin and doitsu butterflies through the years, and hopefully someday will end up with enough cute fry to share with everyone!
I got a lot more than I bargained for with that fish. I'm looking forward to pics of your pond redos. That's an ambitious project you've got going on there. What size will the final big pond be? I do have a 480 gal goldfish pond that I sure should have put the new bugger into first. Boy, was I stupid.
Snapps: You and I both know that even if you quaranteened that fish for a week or two there still was a chance (small chance) it would have infected the other fish in the pond. Don't beat yourself up about it, treat them all and it's probably a real good thing someone like you bought that fish instead of a rookie koi keeper. That fish would be dead by now (or close to it). Please let me know how that new product works-I always try to keep one "sure thing" type medicine on hand for each season.
Well the pond project is going to have to wait until after the holidays. We have a very small subdivision fenced back yard, so everything has to be done in shifts. I have 2 small decks finished, and the above ground pool has been moved to the back fence, and will have decking all around it as well (We're eliminating most grass and will go with potted trees and plants around all decks. The 2 smaller ponds will be absorbed into the new pond area, which will be somewhere around 20 x 25 and 4 feet deep. I will keep the one small 2,000 pond, as it's already built between my layers of decking and will give me one isolation pond if needed. Then I'll replant the smaller area of grass and planter boxes. Unfortunately, the leak in the kitchen wall (sigh) is fixed, but the cabinet replacement and flooring, will most likely get done before the back yard.
I only had a few goldfish spawnings (sarassa and shubunkin) so if the koi ever spawned, I certainly missed it. Some of my big guys are over 20 inches and spawned in previous years, so what the heck?? nooooooo clue, lol...
There was no spring spawn up here in the north this last spring either. I was cluless as to the cause. I hope you post pictures of the final pond arrangements. I'm getting a microscope for Christmas. So, If I have parasite problems in the future I can diagnose and treat immediately. What a rotten koi year. I know you had troubles of your own due to the heat. Here's wishihng you and all the DG ponders a great Christmas and a good pond new year.
I have a great microscope and I tell you-looking at fish slides is VERY hard to figure out and I have a biology degree . . .!!!! Good luck with the scope-I hope your more successful with it than I was!
Same to you Snapple!! Have a Blessed Christmas. It is always something, our aquascape 500 is only 3 year old and was replaced with aquasurge.500. I had a search on ebay and I was lucky to get one for $200.00 with free shipping. They are normally $369.00. It is like winning the sweepstake!!! Belle
Seems we all had one issue or another this past year...
Our biggest problem this past year was water clarity. We even called Foster and Smiths' Tech people, because nothing we tried cleared it up. They told us the constant rains were a problem and they had a number of people calling with this same problem. The constant rain would bring down the dirt and chemical particles in the air and because we did not go more than a day or so without rain, the pond never had a chance to take care of itself... Here is to a better ponding year in 2010 for everyone...
Carolynn, My pond is at the bottom of a hill and I also get dirt in it after very, very heavy rains. My filters can clean it in a day or so but I feel it's just better to do a major water change. I know this is going to sound a bit strange but many years ago I was a competitive swimmer and when I swam outdoors in the summer, the morning after a heavy, rain the pool water "felt" different. Not only did I prune up on the fingers (this didn't happen often to me) but also the insides of my mouth would peel and my teeth felt crunchy. Also, my level of "float" was off. Something in heavy rain changed the pool water and my speed. I can't help but consider my ability to sense those changes and I feel a need to fix it for my fish. My coaches thought that maybe the water changed due to pollution being dumped into the pool with the rain. Fresh, cold water feels "fluffy" as well as fast to the experienced swimmer. Bouyancy and speed is better in clean water. Old, hot water that has been filled with lots of little kids all day during open swims is filled with human waste, suntan lotions/oils feels horrible. It is "flat" and slow and less oxygenated. It's just not nice. I wonder how much that affects koi fish especially as they have to process the water to breathe.
I totally believe you. I just makes sense when there are things other 'water' in the water, it is going to change the properties and consistencies of the water. My brother was a swimmer and I never asked him about that type of thing, but I noticed on occasion the water would look 'thick' and we all know on this forum that just the water temperature will affect the oxygen content of the water.
We ended up putting in a pressure filter and will be getting another one this coming year. There will be a total of 4 uv lights running when we put in the 2nd pressure filter. We also dumped the entire pond. I know the experts tell you that you are not supposed to do that, but we were getting nowhere and really did not want to put the fish to 'sleep' in that cruddy water. We did not feel it was healthy for the fish to be in that water any longer than they already had been...
One other thing, our pond is at the highest level in the yard - so we don't get the run off from the rain on the house, or the yard or anything. And we had not had this particular problem in previous years. I am so glad there is a place such as Foster and Smiths tech support for this type of thing. We have utilized this service a number of times over the years...
Here is my pond, just starting to be filled after dumping the entire 4850 gallons...My poor fish didn't know what to make of it - they were in the prefab pond you can just see the edge of to the far right in the picture...
Wow.. Thanks so much for all the responses :) I panicked when I saw the ice and ran out and got a de-icer... I just really like my fish. My water garden is under 500 gallons and I have a two stone aerator and filter still going. I didn't know if they still needed them. When the water got cold I was feeding them cheerios until the quit eating. They seem okay. lol an underwater camera would be fun!
njoyin your pics, some fish actually breed better in 'rough water, rainy seasons' is more natural to their habitat, sometimes fish grow crowded when we dont realize it, sometimes their vitality pauses for their own personal growth. sometimes, I have noticed they get picky about being watched, but the seasons were off by abt 6 weeks last year n it was a short hot season, because of the rain or whatever, chuckl, maybe they just wanted some peace n quiet from the kids