Ponds 2013 - What's up?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Thought I would start a thread for 2013 of a general nature regarding ponds as they progress into summer. For instance, my pond is thawing out and I am experiencing a greater (by a bunch) degree of fish death (just --- yeah, JUST goldfish --- but they are my fishies and mourn them). I found four fairly large (for me) gold fish in the skimmer dead with three more rimming the bowl (so to speak) at the bottom. Can unseasonably warm weather while there is still at least a thin ice cap on the pond (not including holes for air and the skimmer is totally ice free) contribute to fish death? Not sure how long this has been going on as the snow just melted enough to let me uncover the skimmer.

Mary

Did you inspect the goldfish that were found in the skimmer? How did they look?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Dead???? Sorry, couldn't resist. I didn't see anything wrong except for the expected damage due to being dead for a while in the water. Not even much of that. I just wondered if the change in temp (although the water temp shouldn't have changed much at the bottom) would do any harm. Plus why do they congregate in the skimmer? There is nothing there to attract them. It isn't any warmer. I still think it's oxygen deprivation. It was once again the larger ones that have died. I think I had twelve left last fall. Six of the biggest are dead. The ones in the skimmer are somewhat smaller, and those even smaller must still be in the caves. Guess I will find out in the spring. But I agree with Damien. For sure no more koi. Just gold fish. It's just that they were just getting to be interesting sizes. sigh

I had that one coming ^_^. I was wondering if there was any hint of ulcer disease.

Damien may be right - especiallly with the larger ones going as they will require more oxygen.

I am assuming you have your bubblers going? Other than that, I am not sure.

I dont' know why they would be in the skimmer either - question though regarding the skimmer - mine shuts down when the pumps are started and the trap door closes - are you running a pump so the door stays open?

I know I have read where goldfish can get ice crystals in their gills - I am wondering if this is what is going on.

Thoughts?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

We didn't run a bubbler this year after running one through the caves last year with awful results. We should have at least fun one down in the deep end on the floor. Guess we were pretty discouraged. No, we shut down everything. The water is pumped down to just below the pipe in the skimmer that would feed the biowell above. We have a heat trace in it to thaw out what water trickled down from the biowell in the spring then freezes so the pipes don't burst. We don't have a door per se, just the 3 or 2" pipe that connects to the pump that sits in the skimmer all summer pumping water from the pond up to the biowell, and from there it goes down the falls. I didn't notice any obvious wounds though on the fish.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Gee wiz Mary,
You have been having rotten luck with your fish. Sure hope it doesn't continue.
I know just how it feels to keep burying some every day. Remember last spring?
Right now it appears all is well in both ponds. Just added 13 blue and yellow shubunkins to old pond. 1 new butterfly koi to larger pond. Weather has been so warm I am still feeding. 83 here today.
Weather seems wacky all over. I am surprised you were getting a thaw now. Who knows.

Take care and hope spring brings better results with your fish living.
Bonnie

It is discouraging, but once you find out what the problem is, then you should be fine.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Thanks guys. It is what it is. Will take stock in the spring. I figure I have about six left at this point. And, yes, I remember last spring in your pond. Absolutely terrible. What you lost was awful, day after day. My losses can't compare. So thanks for the kind words.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I hope all you northern folks stay warm.
Saw weather on TV last night that is going thru Mississippi and southern states. What a mess. I saw snow flurries here in years past but it never stayed on the ground. Everybody was out with cameras taking pics. Not me, I saw enough when I lived in New England.
Most of those states don't own snow removal equipment. I well remember black ice. Now that is bad.

39 degrees tonight predicted. I won't complain cause I don't think it will kill my plants. Famous last words.
Oh well just roll with the flow is all we can do.

Bonnie

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Two day steady snow; light flaky stuff. Easy to shovel; lousy to make snowmen with, (hmmm, have the PC people renamed them snowpersons??). Glad to have my plants under a nice warm blanket.

Pondlove

I know what you mean by the rock necklace.

When we put our last pond in, DH wanted to put rocks on edge so that the shelf was now closed off for the most part by the rock. Then we put rinsed pea gravel into this shelving and planted things into the pea gravel. We have a small pump that runs through the larger of the bogs and this goes a long way to keeping the water clean.

The first picture was taken the middle of March last year. The second picture is of the same bog and was taken in the middle of July of last year. In the late fall the plants get cut back so they don't fall into the water and rot.

Thumbnail by Carolyn22 Thumbnail by Carolyn22
(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I keep trying to figure out a way to emulate your bog. I don't think I can do that but I think I can get some draping plants to cover some of the rock necklace. The improvements in 2012 got rid of at the least the horrible rock pile and replaced it with a nice trim edging for about a third of the pond (or better). I have a draping evergreen on one part and found that water celery returns each year here. Amazing considering our weather. And the same weather keeps it under control with a little judicious clipping and edging. I also planted some Creeping Jenny that drapes over a portion of the flat edge rock. It should look so much better this summer. We'll see.

Your koi are huge Carolyn. Just beautiful.

Mary -

Thank you. I am really looking forward to seeing them. It feels like forever.

I think the only reason the water celery isnt' invasive for you is because you are in Alaska. I have seen areas around my pond where it has jumped the bog and is growing on the ground by the pond.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Beautiful Carolyn and I agree with Mary your fish look huge. About how long are they now and how old?
Bonnie

Thank you, Bonnie. I would have to be guessing at this point. The last time we measured the fish was when we last emptied the pond and that was in 2009. My fish are old enough that their growth would not be very rapid. The largest at that time and still is my kohaku and he was measured at 23.5", so I am guessing he is probably 24-25". Not sure how old he is - I know I have one that is older than the kohaku and not as big. I would guess my oldest fish to be 9-10 years old at this point.

We lost the last one of our original fish the year before last and at that point, that fish was 10 years old. We lost her when my husband had an awful time catching her to quarantine her and felt there were some internal injuries. She had injuries from spawning that were becoming infected. Thankfully, the injuries from spawning do not normally become infected.


Fish were moving around in the pond when I came home from work today. You can see the ice and the fish in this picture. We are supposed to get cold the end of this week, so I am sure they will slow down again.

Thumbnail by Carolyn22
(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

what an amazing picture. Are the fish under the ice or does the ice end at the white section?

The ice is the white section. Some of them were moving rather quickly, I thought.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I'll bet those fish will really be glad when spring comes. And I know you will be Carolyn when you can readily see and enjoy them.

Bonnie

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

I had a large butterfly in a tubbie for a dip today, and went out and found her on the deck. Must have jumped at some point. Lost most of her scales (she has big doitsu scales) and looks tattered, but is still alive. We'll see if she recovers! Sheesh, you get personally insulted when you try to help them and they turn on you....haha! :)

Mary - you are so right. I always take it heart too.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I have 2 fairly long screen that came from windows we replaced and I saved them cause twice I had 2 that took a leap of faith and ended up dead. Learned my lesson. Now when anybody goes into sick tank or quaranteen they get covered.

Got 1 in larger pond that Jeff neted up and he jumped out of net. Second time he got him he jumped from one net to another that Jeff had ready in his left hand. I naturally named him Jumper and I'm just waiting for him to jump out of pond one day. Wouldn't surprise me. A friend told me fish each had their own personality and she doesn't even have fish but I think she is right. They never cease to amaze me.

Good luck with it Mary. Hope he heals up.

Bonnie

We have something similar that we fashioned - the quarantine tank is the 90 gallon walmart pond we started out with. DH had some screening and made a large enough frame to fit over the walmart tub. So far, it has worked well. Odd that they like to jump like that isn't it? I always wondered what was going through their minds after they have jumped out and are just laying there on the ground.... I can just hear Laurel and Hardy - "This is another fine mess you have gotten me into".

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Mary, I am surprised to hear that your ponds are thawing. I would have thought that they would still be frozen. Mine are still frozen and the energy efficient heater that we bought a couple of years ago really doesn't do well keeping a hole in the ice. About 2 weeks ago during some freezing rain it closed up and still hasn't thawed so I am expecting some dead fish and frogs come spring.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Our temps have been running consistently above 30F and during the days about 35-36F. The ice cap remains but gets thinner and the open water portions around the deicers gets larger. We are now running more inthe 20's so the ice is still rotten but with the snow falling on top there is no open water except around the deicers and in the skimmer where we have a third deicer. Fish hang out there quite often. Not sure if it is because of temp or availability of open water = oxygen.

Mary

What I find interesting is that your winter has been less harsh than mine - Holly, I think I can include you in that as well. We are still in the teens.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Our temps rise and fall every other day. Right now it is 20* outside and yesterday with the windchill it was colder. A few days ago it was warm enough to look around and think it might be nice enough to do a little yard work.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Only yard work I could do would be shovel snow. I won't see the yard til the end of March and then just in spots.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

We haven't had much snow in our area yet. It was just beautiful a few days ago just a couple of inches. A nice light wet snow that clung to the branches and made everything beautiful but it was gone by afternoon.

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

http://www.ponddoc.com/WhatsUpDoc/FishHealth/SpringOutbreak.htm

Hopefully the above link opens for you. It's a GREAT read, especially for this time of year, when everyone is getting ready to get their ponds up and running again. This is the main time of year for fish disease!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Can't open it up.
Right now I am up to my neck with work. Had 3 truck loads of trim trimmings that had been chipped droped of by power co. sub. and they are too large for mulch. So me and a borrowed 8 HP shredder are trying to get thru the piles. So far 3 days of work 3 - 5 gal. cans of gas and I've just made a dent in it. I'm exhausted but will persist. When I get enough done for flower beds I'll just throw the rest along pasture fence to keep weeds down. It will rot down into good soil eventually. Got to get it out of the yard before RU.

Mary did you mark your calendar for April 13 for RU. I don't want you to miss another one if you can help it.

Hope no one experiences sick fish this spring. Keep fingers crossed.
Bonnie

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

M Mary,
Link came up while I was closing out so printed whole thing out. GREAT reference material. I'll pass it onto Jeff.
Thanks much. Bonnie

MM - a lot of good info in that link. I should print it off too.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

We have had snow almost daily, some light some heavy, for the last two weeks. A reprise of last spring. I was hoping for light snow so I could move it off the gardens and pond early. Course, the snow on the pond just provides fresh water so that is okay. It is the first spot to thaw due to the rock surrounds that warm up and then warm the air, water and reflect heat to the snow and ice. My sure harbinger of spring when I can see open water.

The birds have been singing the last couple of mornings. I am hoping they know something I don't know. Funny thing, yesterday morning as I was leaving the house for work - I thought I heard a robin and when I stopped to listen, I heard cardinals. I am not saying the robin wasn't there, but who knows? One can only hope right?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Never thought about robins. We have ravens and the occasional eagle, doves, and small birds that cover trees so fully they look almost leafed out. No robins. In spring we see Stellar Jays and I guess you are right robins. There are also starlings that roost in a birdhouse on top of a 10' steel pole by our mail box. It has a weather vane on top.

I was checking my seed packets and it appears that I have some stuff that I have to start about mid-March. I also have to go buy some begonia tubers to start now if I want flowers this summer. I hate to say it but I find it hard to get motivated this spring. Winter really takes a tole.

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

I ordered my variegated water celery, something I've always wanted to try along an edge of a pond. Also found amazing black plastic 26 inch bowl/dish/planter thingies at Lowes for 11.99 in the pond section. Not sure what I'm going to do with them, but I'm thinking most likey small water lilies with some upward rush in each, at the corners of my decks.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Watchout for the celery. It is really hardy even here. It survives our winter and if started early enough will cover half the pond by summer's end.

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

I wasa thinking of growing it outside of the pond, in the moist dirt along the edge. The capper stones should separate it from the water....Do you think it will crawl over and spread throughout the pond? Is it a "water" plant....or is it a moist area plant?

MM - Water celery is a moist area plant. It has jumped most of my bogs and also outside of the pond into the ground around the pond. Funny thing is that it has also moved into my herb garden which is further away, but at the backside of the pond. The area of the herb garden isn't always moist soil, which makes me wonder if the plant is just invasive, period.

Mary - we don't have the Stellar Jays, however I have seen pictures of them. I have to tell you, the first time I saw a bald eagle flying, I was going across the bridge from work and I almost wrecked the car - what a truly gorgeous site to see the eagles trolling the river.

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