Fall and Winter

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Thought a new thread talking about where we are with our ponds as we head into fall and winter would be interesting. I suspect it will reverse the pattern we have seen with flowers. This morning it is clear with 48F out doors and 59F in the pond. It will, of course, go up with the sun and I will check again this afternoon late. It was warm in the afternoon sun yesterday. A friend visiting from Arizona said it was 108F at his home while we were probably 70F yesterday afternoon. Fish are feeding like piranha.

Amherst, NY(Zone 6a)

Hello, mstella.

My wife designed our new pond last October to run all winter, which it did. The pond is 3 foot + deep and the pump sits on the bottom in a net. We float a de-icer and it was great this past winter to look out and see the snow up around the pond. At the coldest part of the season, which is December - January for us. ice formed about 1 foot around the perimeter of the pond but that was it.

Thumbnail by DavEdsel
Athens, PA

Oh Mary...... Brrrrr..... don't want to think about winter yet.

Yesterday was cold and raw with hurricane Irene coming through. The fish didn't seem to mind, but they are wet anyway!

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

You got a bit of Irene, did you? I was thinking you were safely inland. But I guess the edges reach far beyond the 'main show.' Which, fortunately, was less than they predicted.

Dave, my ice will reach around 1.5 to 2 feet around January, the coldest month for us. February isn't much better. My fish disappear for several months under the ice, and then under around 1 to 2 feet of snow on top of the ice. Except for the holes our deicers make down to the water that remains unfrozen or unevaporated. Last year the water was as low as around 3" in the 28" shallows.

Athens, PA

Mary

do you think if you put in more deicers, it would help to keep the ice cap down? Say you put 4 clustered together.

I do know the colder we are, the smaller the hole in the ice from the deicers. How cold does it get there?

I put the thermometer into the pond last night to get a temperature reading and completely spaced it until now. It's awful to get old......

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

We are running 48 air temp and 59 water temp in the moring. More deicers wouldnt help unless we covered the pond with them. While our temp is nothing compared to Fairbanks, we still see fairly average -10 to -15 in Jan and Feb which is when the ice really grows. No way to stop it. And truly the fish were fine last year. I didn't lose one. so as long as we work to keep up the oxygen with running a pump to circulate water at the bottom and an aerator or run a hose to drop from the lowest falls, we are okay.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Today the ambient temp was 51 and the pond temp was 56. Larger fish are staying in the caves more and don't know why. Still have water lilies and such to give hiding places. Have run out of regular food so have switched to wheat germ stuff. That should be okay, huh?

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Once the water temps hit below 50, I usually stop feeding...but you can probably go a bit longer with wheat germ food (go for very low protien and fat) I don't know how long your temps go before you drop into frosts and freezes, but this seems very early in the year to stop feeding them altogether....

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Definetly. We will go on for at least two months before freezing on the pond. but the pond temp will be in the 40's in another month. I worry about cutting off their food too early because it stretches out so long -- the cold water. I guess I need to ignore the presence of ice and just go with the no feeding below 50. Don't know how they survive so long with no food. I know that their respiration shuts down to occasional breaths and hardly a feeble fin flip, but still...I guess I shouldn't question. They survive all winter and grow like made in the short summer. I read that fish can't put on fat for the winter? Is that so? it is nearly a straight shot from mouth to anus...

Athens, PA

Mary Stella = when did you stop feeding the fish last year? What were your water temps at that point.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

I'd still keep feeding them at this point, even if the temps are cooler....but you said you're feeding them a wheat germ food, so you should be ok for a while. Under normal warm weather conditions, yep, food goes in and out rather quickly. The warm water allows thier metabolism to function at a very high rate. Once it cools down, so does their metabolism, and digestion stops taking place. Things stay inside the digestive track, and start to cause internal bacterial infections.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I can't remember when I stopped. Mostly because one day it is 52 and the next day or so is 48, then back to 52. I guess the rule of thumb is after it hits 50 the first time, stop the food. They don't seem to interested now. It seems like just a week ago I could sit by the pond and pitch in a few bits and they would fall all over each other to get at it. Would all but beach themselves (the bigger ones) if the food got in the rocks. Two or three would try to cram in there so one would be on top. Too funny.

Athens, PA

Mary

Is this your normal time when you start withholding food and thinking about shut down? I am of the impression that it is early year?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Not really withholding food, just ran out of the regular stuff. So I am kicking in with the wheat germ which I would be using around now anyway. It is just so cold here and with water temps in the mid to low 50's I figured it was okay. Plus the fish just don't seem active or interested anyway. And really spooky. I mean all I have to do is approach the pond and they take off like a shot. I don't know why. It wasn't that way a week or so ago. And there are not animals or kids around my pond. Just rain and cloudy cold days. I am going to put on my raincoat and begin sitting bythe pond again just so they get used to me again.

Athens, PA

Mary

I ask because I am wondering if it is early for you to be shutting down. I am wondering if your fish spook now, because you have had to chase them and catch them because of the fish illness this year. By the way, is everyone all better now? I hope so -

One thing that has helped me, is I have found that using the DG tools, I have been able to journal everything - providing I remember to enter it, but it is a nice refernce to go back and compare or see what worked or what did not work for me in a given situation......

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I am not shuttting down. Won't start that for quite a while. The kohaku has spots on his tail and the platinum has a dark green spot on his dorsal next to the wound he had. but the original wounds on both the platinum and the gold are healing well. We can't catch the kohaku nor have we tried. He is staying in his caverns. Damien says he knows he is hunted. Even after all the messing with the pond and fish, they weren't spooked for long. I could sit by the pond and pop food within a foot of myself and they would crowd to eat. I could have touched them. so I don't know why they are spooked now. I have meds coming to treat the pond and we will make one more try to isolate them in the shallows and dip them. Otherwise, just hope for the best come spring.

Athens, PA

Mary

It sounds like you have time to get the fish healthy before you do shut down. How long before the meds are due to arrive?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

they were waiting for a shipment of ointment and were supposed to ship Monday. that is a holiday. I expect it by no later than Saturday next.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Sounds like a fungus.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

If it IS a fungus, and I treat the pond, will it kill what is on the fish? He had it when I first pulled him and treated him for bacteria. Then did a fungus treatment, as he had both the green and then a sort of wooly stuff. All of that cleared up fine and I put him back in the pond. The wounds are clearing/healing fine also. then that dratted green stuff reappeared. Just a spot on his dorsal.

Athens, PA

Mary

I think it is the saprgolena (not sure of the spelling). It lives in the cooler water. I do think your entire pond needs to be treated.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

And it will be next weekend I hope. Will it kill what is on the fish do you think?

Athens, PA

Mary

I have not used it, however, I have heard in different venues where it was highly recommended.

I would think an ointment would have more staying power in the water as well.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Carolyn....Sorry, since there are 2 Mary's, I often get confused in the conversation. Yes, I also think it could be sap. fungus. There's an over the counter pond additive, call PimaFix (available at PetSmart, etc) for fungus...while waiting for the treatment to arrive by mail. I have also used salt, it seems to work quite well. Don't get the small pond salts from the pet store, get the water softener salt from Lowe's or Walmart in the 40 pound bag. The kind with NO additives.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

We are really leary Mary, of salting the pond. And the pima fix at the store would be for aquariums. I would think I would have to buy a case of the stuff for my approx 3000 gallons pond. the fish are still skiddish and the kohaku rarely comes out of the caves so it would seem that my only hope is to treat the entire pond. I think I figured something like 72# of salt. Do you melt it first? I read somewhere that you add it in thirds over three days so as not to totally shock the fish.

Athens, PA

MS -

The salt the Merry Mary mentioned works well and I use the pickling salt myself. You can buy Pima fix and Mela fix from Webbsonline.com and Foster and Smith in the larger containers. Yes, it does become expensive and sometimes discouraging, however - there is also the upside to ponding. I know this has been a difficult year.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

About 3 times a year I salt my pond, and pretty heavily. Although I don't dissolve it first, I add it where there's a heavy flow, so it eventually dissolves and gets dispersed throughout.
Our PetSmart has quart sized bottles of PimaFix in the pond area.
In my one pond, which is 9 x 7 x 3ft deep, I use about 3/4 of the 40 pound bag of salt if it looks like there's a problem with a fish. It puts a good healthy slime coat on the rest of them, and begins to disinfect the wound on the bad fish. It takes care of minimal diseases like fungus, minor bacterial infections, scrapes from rocks, etc. I do half of it on one day, and the other half the next day.
Remember, before we came up with all of the modern marvels of today's medicine for fish...all they had was salt to fix them. I remember as a little kid, when I'd get a goldfish, the book would always say to add a tablespoon of salt to the aquarium!
:)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My husband designs water / waste water facilities and he is always talking about adding a smidgeon of something like baking soda or whatever. A common item to fix something rather than going to the big guns right out of the shute, like permanganate. I will cut and past the notes above into an email to him. I am going to his office (self employed, he is, so it is just him) and we can discuss it there. Thank you both so much for your help and encouragement. Indeed it has been a rough, troubling summer.

Athens, PA

Hopefully it will get better soon. We have all had our share of illness and other issues. I know that early on, we seemed to lose a lot of fish to what I can now attribute to oxygen crashes. Glad that doesn't happen anymore.

We too salt our pond - it is salted in the late autumn and then the levels are brought to 0 with our early spring water exchanges. We like to do this after the temps where the good bacteria should be kicking in - I know that salt can be quite controversial, but it's been working for us...... (knock wood!)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I talked with Damien about this over lunch. He reminded me that we face an issue that I don't think applies to either you or Mary. You living in PA and she is FL. We are facing a long winter of pond temps of 33-34F, covered in ice. You guys don't have to worry so much about your water temps. Ours is borderline bareable for the fish for months on end. If we salt now, the water will stay liquid and drop below 32F, below the tolerance of the fish. Our only hope would be to salt then change it out before freeze up. So, we are thinking we will rely on the meds to treat the pond, then in spring when the water is maybe 40, treat with salt, also before we start up the biowells and pressure filters and start adding cold water good bacteria. Hopefully the fish will be out and about a bit and it will benefit them also. Then we will start the spring summer regime of prazi, Koizyme, etc. I wish salt was the answer for us in the fall. But then again, I don't have to deal with 90F+ water temps, oxygen drops, PH spikes etc. Our water is rarely above 70, and with the falls etc, it stays nicely oxygenated. So nasty bugs seems (as of this year for the first time) to be my challenge. Maybe cold water bugs. So odd it happened when I got those new fish. On the other hand the pond is not 3 years old, after a total reconstruction in 2008, and I have heard that it takes that long for the crap under the gravel to build up. Who knows. When we removed our gravel from the shallows, there was no smell what so ever. We are going to try to get most of the gravel from the deep end this fall and put in some large flat rocks to hold down the lining. Our water table is so high, it will 'float' the liner at the 4' depth without weight on top. Pond is still running 56-57 in the early hours.

Athens, PA

Mary

All I can think of is when one adds rock salt to the holding chamber to make homemade ice cream.....You do make a good point. Yes, we have fluctuations where our temps are in the minus with the windchills, but that does not usually last very long (thank God!). We do spike in temps and have to deal with the oxygen issues in the deep summer.

See how it goes and quarantine new fish when you get them. I will tell you, we have never had the gravel in the bottom of the pond and we did end up with uclers that one year and the Sap. So..... here's to a mild winter for all of us. ^_^

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

SO....since the 3 of us talk in assorted pond forums, I'll voluntarily go as either Mary2 or MM.... :)
Mary1....if you've decided against salt in your pond, remember, you can always quaranting individual fish in a salt bath/dip, to begin the healing of their skin/sores...
I would lean toward up'ing your dose of healthy bacteria and enzymes (like KoiZyme) and add the clay powder to their food.....I think it should make a very healthy overall pond enviroment for you...and you'd have to deal with far less "now that it's already happened" scenarios.... Carolyn and I can only give you as much free advise as we have, hopefully that's what these forums are for! :)
Let me ask you one more thing....are you running a UV light on your pond? It not only keeps the water clear, but also kills a great deal of bad guys in your water. Get them off of ebay, they can be very pricey from a fish place.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I can change my userid as you were here first. I use Oberon46 for most everything else.

I have two uv's ; one in the pressure filter and then a 48" long 55w freestanding. Yes, they are spendy. I keep forgetting that they also kill bacteria too. The problem with dipping is that they are hard to catch (we have huge caverns where they hide - haven't seen kohaku in days).

Yay. I received the meds and will start tomorrow morning.

I can't tell you how much I have appreciated Carolyn's continued help and encouragement; yours also. I have learned so much from you both and though our environments are some different (slight understatement) there are some things that work for our friends the fish no matter where.

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Goodness no! Don't change your name...I just mean in our smaller circle of conversations,lol...I remember talking to your Oberon name too! :)
Let us know how it goes with the meds going in the pond....I'm hoping it will really correct things and get the balance going before winter.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

RTFL -- too late. I sent the request in. Now I can start over. :)

Athens, PA

MS

You didn't need to change your name. MS works for Mary Stella and MM for MerryMary and Linda works for Mothermole - Linda - if you are lurking....

MS - let us know how it goes. You still have time on your side to get your fish better before you have to shut down, which is a good thing. I would hate for the fish to have to go through the winter with an illness.

Carolyn

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have changed to Oberon46, which I use almost everywhere else.

I will start with the Prazi today. It can be used concurrently with the Proform-C. I also received the dip and ointment for bacteria but I am sure I won't be able to use it this fall. But I will have it next spring just in case.

Athens, PA

MS - Oberon - I have to ask - what is the significance ( I know that is spelled wrong ^_^) with Oberon. All I can think of is Merle.... ^_^

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(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Actually my daughter set up my computer and you have to give it a name, so she chose Oberon. I suspect that she was thinking of the character in Shakespear's play Midnight Summer's Dream. but I also remember Merle Oberon. As a kid in Fairbanks, they showed old moves from the 30's and 40's at night. I loved Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy and quaked through Boris Karloff as the Mummy. lol

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Here is a shot of the cave at the bottom of the four foot depth (used a zoom) that the fish go in and out of. Rocks are a little mossy. This is what makes catching them for treating illness so difficult. And there are many more such spots around the deep end walls.

Thumbnail by Oberon46

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