KOI Pond Winterization

EAD063

Arachnoprince
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Hey all, I haven't seen many Koi Pond posts but I figured I would make one that may help some people, winterizing. :)

I've noticed a lot of pieople (especially in my area) have these ponds and ultimately end up brining they're fish inside for the winter and keeping them in tanks. This is fine, but I have used a much easier method in the 3 years since I constructed my pond. I have a koi pond that I estimate to be in the 700-800 gallon range, I forgot the actual amount. It is about 10+ feet in circumfrance and about 3, 3.5 feet deep.

During the winter months, I remove the entire filtration system first. Then I position the in-water pump in a manner so the water flow is pointing up. My pump has a water fountain attachment so I need to do little adjustment seeings the water jet shoots up anyways, others may need to turn it on it's side and use rocks to keep it that way. But anyways, the water jet will keep the ice from forming in about a 2 foot wide area of the pond, this is where the floating heating element goes. For up keep, I usually break the surface of the ice until I can see water about every other day, this lets out some of the nitrate and ammonia and also keeps the pond from a complete freeze over. Feeding stops in the fall since they cannot digest they're food in cold weather and ultimately will die, so in the winter the fish require minimal up keep. Other than that the fish live happily (and practically dormant) until the spring. I have done this for 2 consecutive winters without any loss at all. I currently have 8 normal/different colored koi, 4 large butterfly koi, and about 8 of these small dwarf fish that resemble trout. With exception to the large blue herring that hass picked about 3 fish out of my pond this year, it has brought me nothing but peace and enjoyment and if I had the money I would build 10 more of them. If anyone wants pictures or even a how-to on how I made the pond I would be happy to assit.

Ed
 

Binky/Carol

Arachnosquire
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I live in Wisconsin and a local garden center has a pond and goldfish.
I went to see it a few years ago, they had something pushing the water around to air-rate it, but it had a thickish layer of ice on it and the fish were fine.
You could think about putting a mesh over the top of the ice to keep the herron out from your fish...
I know some people will get a simple trash can (plastic) or a small water trough and put in their garage, then run an air hose into the thing.
I think you are doing the right thing, but watch them herrons eating yer fish.
I gave my mom my above ground pond, and she had my fish in California for about 2 or 3 yrs.. and then a coon found them.. and just went on a killing spree...
Be careful of that too.

Carol
 

EAD063

Arachnoprince
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We've actually discovered that plastic pinwheels work quite well and are more attractive than the orange plastic netting that we had to cover it with most of the summer..... Racoons and fox are a pain in the butt though, the two are the reason I don't have ducks anymore. We did once have a cow escapee from across the street drinking out of the pond but I don't think he had the fish on his menu. I do think I have a pic of the cows nose pressed on my front door somewhere seeings one in particular seems to get out at least twice per year.

Neighbors comment at the local town meeting: "Wow, I just moved here and I can't belive the amount of wlidlife. Just the other day I saw a fox eating a duck on my front lawn."

Ed
 

GartenSpinnen

Arachnoprince
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You can do that to keep your fish alive, IF you have a pond 3' or more deep, the ideal depth is anywhere between 3'-4' deep. As long as you keep the toxic gasses from building up under the ice you will usually be fine. Another great way to do this is take a pan and warm it up on your stove, then take the hot pan outside and set it on the ice so that it melts a hole in the ice. If your pond is less than 3' deep i would recommend taking your fish inside somewhere for the winter. :)
 

EAD063

Arachnoprince
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I should have mentioned that. :) Take any algea eagers out too, I forgot about the big Pleco last year and he ended up being a floater.
 

thisgal

Arachnoknight
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We've got two koi in our 3 foot deep pond out back. In the summer, we feed them about once a week or so; they love cleaning the walls of the pond off of algae, as well as eating entire batches of tadpoles! Anyway, in the winter all we really do is make sure at least a quarter of the pond's surface is free of ice. The aeration pump is left on all year, and if it gets really cold (we're in WV, it's never super cold), we hang a heat lamp over it to melt a hole in the ice.
 

Ant Worker

Arachnosquire
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How many koi do you have in your pond?
Koi are nice, but the space they need I'd rather stock bluegill or goldfish in any pond I would ever have.
 

EAD063

Arachnoprince
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How many koi do you have in your pond?
Koi are nice, but the space they need I'd rather stock bluegill or goldfish in any pond I would ever have.


I have about 20 give or take. The pond is very large as I said around 800 gallon, (could be more but thats the number that I seem to recall that maybe how many gallons per hour the filter is for all I know) but it is approximately 8to 10 feet in diameter and is oblong in some parts, and ranges from 3 to 4 feet deep. I think I would also perfer the koi because of how pretty they are, blue gill around here tend to be very dark and would probaly fade away in the dark colored liner. The small dwarf fish I have that resemble trout ususally clump together and take up little space. Personally I love the butterfly koi. If I could start over I would only have them in the pond.... Plus koi can get REALLY big given the conditions, I long for the day mine look like those at the koi pond place, but they live a display pond which spreads over a half acre, they spit water at you while they loaf on the shallow banks haha.
(Like these) http://www.butterflykoi.com/fishheads.jpg

Here are a couple links to the butterfly koi.
http://www.csulb.edu/misc/inside/archives/vol_56_no_14/imgs/koi1.jpg
http://www.koi-art.com/images/koi/white-butterfly.jpg
 

GailC

Arachnoprince
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I use to have a small pond, around 300 gallons. I just used a floating stock tank heater to keep the ice melted in the winter, if it was mild enough I would leave the waterfall going but usualy that would freeze soild.
 

Ant Worker

Arachnosquire
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I think you may have overstocked your pond with 20 koi lol! I think I remember for keeping a single koi indoors all its life you need 400 gallons, but I'll check up on what it says for outdoor koi..
 

EAD063

Arachnoprince
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Definently not... if anyone knows the formula for how many gallons a pond is by circumfrance and depth I can find out the exact number of gallons the pond is, like I said 800 was the number that sticks out but I think that maybe how many gallons the filter moves per hour. Either way, when the fish clump they take up about 1/20 of the pond. The dwarf fish take up about a third of the size of koi, so they use very little space. Also, I didn't start this thread for my benefit... I did for people who maybe new to the hobby and this is their first winter... I don't need any help. Thanks.
 

Ant Worker

Arachnosquire
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The amount of space they tank up isn't the issue. You can't put a feeder goldfish in a 10 gallon aquarium, they need about 30 PER fish. Because they get so huge, koi are related to goldfish and grow larger, and produce a large amount of waste..
 

EAD063

Arachnoprince
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The amount of space they tank up isn't the issue. You can't put a feeder goldfish in a 10 gallon aquarium, they need about 30 PER fish. Because they get so huge, koi are related to goldfish and grow larger, and produce a large amount of waste..
I don't understand? I don't have any 10 gallon tank and my fish have plently of room. As for waste, sumersible pump is at least 800gallons per hour, a 2x3 bio filter and a uvsterilizer. Your confusing me alot here. I do not have a tiny pond by any means. Again I made this thread for those who may have one or two fish that they bring in during the winter.
 

Ant Worker

Arachnosquire
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You were saying they don't take up much space in the pond so it wasn't full..
I'm comparing that to putting fish in a small aquarium, overstocking it and thinking its ok because there is enough "room" because when the fish are close they don't take up much space.. Same concept.
For anyone who wants to overwinter a few koi, I recommend a MINIMUM of a 75 gallon tank for 2 koi, even then, lots of filtration and frequent water changes. Only keep them in there for the winter, 3-4 months.
 

Ewok

Arachnoangel
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I had a pond that was about 1200 gal and was 6 x11 ft and 2 1/2 -3 ft deep so yours maybe more than 800 gal. How big are your Koi?
 

thisgal

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We've got about a 55 gallon pond with two koi....we've had one for...I don't know, five years, TOPS. They're around six inches long. We had one die about two years ago....she had a massive lopsided lump in her abdomen. No clue what it was, but one day she was floating. And then the cat found her. She was replaced shortly thereafter.
 

Ant Worker

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We've got about a 55 gallon pond with two koi....we've had one for...I don't know, five years, TOPS. They're around six inches long. We had one die about two years ago....she had a massive lopsided lump in her abdomen. No clue what it was, but one day she was floating. And then the cat found her. She was replaced shortly thereafter.
Well 55 gallons is not enough for 1 koi.. Of any sort. Many people believe fish will grow to their aquariums, and they do in a way. Your fish most likely stayed small, to fit the pond/aquarium. However, their internal organs continue to grow and expand, probably what the lump was, and it kills them before they even get close to their expected life expectancy. I REALLY recommend getting either a larger pond, or finding a new home for them and replacing them with smaller, common goldfish.
 

thisgal

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Well, if that's not enough space, you might wanna tell THEM that! {D

We (and by "we" I mean "my dad") actually dissected the one that died, and inside the lump was nothing in particular. It was just a large and spongy mass. If anything was pushing on her internal organs, that thing was. The two we've got now are much more slender than she was (not too thin, of course). If they start to expand unnaturally, I'll certainly take your advice into consideration. Thanx!
 

Ant Worker

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The internal organs won't just be a big mess all over, they will just grow and upon opening the fish up, it will look normal, just to the trained eye, the organ growth is going to be significantly larger than a younger fish of the same size. Just saying, chances are, your fish aren't going to live very long in that small pond.
 

thisgal

Arachnoknight
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Yah, it was normal inside, except for the giant tumor on the left side....and one of the two has lived five years (that WE have had it), and the other is approaching three. As I said before, if I notice anything out of the ordinary (and I WILL be watching them closely), I'll either change their environment or find someone who has an appropriate one, depending on the balance in my checkbook.

And, honestly, if they both die tomorrow from natural causes, and weren't suffering, I wouldn't exactly freak out. Not that I am trying to get rid of them, but a couple of koi in my pond out back are not exactly number one on my list of priorities. (It's a long, stressful, emotional story.) I will take care of them to the best of my ability, but........
 
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