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  • Results 1 to 7 of 7

    Thread: Questions about pond winterization

    1. #1
      Aychbe is offline Junior Member
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      Questions about pond winterization

      First time poster.

      My pond is fully established and has been the home to 4 koi for the past 2 years. I also have 4 ducks that use the pond for duck stuff. It's a relatively small pond, about 1500 gallons, with a deep section of 3 feet. Last year I installed a DIY retrofitted bottom drain and plumbed it so the pump is in a pit outside of the pond. I have a rather large (probably overkill) DIY 3 stage mechanical filter that is fed by the pump and the filter overflow runs into an above ground reservoir that feeds a small waterfall.

      I live in a freeze zone and get partial/complete freezing of the surface but the pond is deep enough that the koi are able to survive the winter. Last year I had shut down the pump and filter because I had read that I want to leave the bottom water undisturbed. This resulted in a massive amount of pond sludge (most likely duck waste and leaf decomposition) and several burst valves in the plumbing.

      Does anyone here live in a freeze zone who has a bottom drain that they keep running throughout the winter? Should I bypass, at least the biological stage of the filtration process as this is ineffective below freezing? Is it safe to keep the waterfall running, which does deliver surface water to the 2.5' shelf, or should I bypass that as well?

      My water temp in the shallow end is in the mid 40s right now and the fish are still active and feeding but there's a forecast for potential lows in the teens tonight so I should have at least until the end of the weekend to either shut it down, reroute plumbing, dial back flow, etc.

      Thoughts?

    2. #2
      RichToyBox's Avatar
      RichToyBox is offline Administrator ~ WWKC BOD ~
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      Your pond is relatively small, but I would suspect your temperature to be close to that of Detroit area. nmtsaki has her pond covered and uses some bucket heaters to maintain a liquid pond all winter. Do a search for her pond cover. If you can cover the pond, and the cover completely covers the waterfall, I would recommend running the complete system all year. If you cannot or will not cover, then you really do need to shut down everything, probably pull the retro bottom drain and plumbing and remove the pump so that everything in the freeze zone is drained.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."

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    3. #3
      Aychbe is offline Junior Member
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      I can't cover the pond because the ducks need it for a water source. Also, the retro bottom drain plumbing is actually buried except for where it comes out of the pond and over the liner. The piping holds up no problem. I had 2 valves burst that were exposed in the enclosure that contains the filter and the pump pit. Temperature wise, Detroit may be a little colder than where I am in Pittsburgh.

      The filter is made of three 60 gallon trashcans that hold about 20 gallons of water each when filled with the filter medium. Since they're already enclosed, is it possible for me to just use them to heat up the water using either a bucket heater or is it imperative that the entire pond be covered, as to prevent snow from getting in it? I'm using a pump with a max flow if 2100 GPH. I can dial it down, if needed.

      The bottom drain attaches to a 2" check valve. I can disconnect it and run plumbing to the 1' shelf. I can bypass the filter, disable the waterfall and use a relief valve's output to keep a current flowing at the surface but not going deeper than around a foot so that the deepest water should remain relatively undisturbed. I would be pumping cold water from the surface into the deep in the process. Would this be a bad idea?

      I could do a hybrid of both heating the filter and pulling water from the surface if that seems most viable.

      If the cover is the most important part and it's best to just shut down the system and use a bubbler to break the surface tension so that the ducks can get water, which is what I've done in the past, then I can just stick with that.

      Let me know what you think.

    4. #4
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      Yeah without a cover I think keeping the water warm enough to run filters is an uphill battle unless you spend a good amount of money heating the water. You'll get a lot of evaporation without a cover and it really chills things.

    5. #5
      dragonfly1976 is offline Senior Member
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      In our cold temps we have no choice but to shut down and drain all of our pipes and filters. Do you have a way to drain each of the trash can filters you have? You may want to install tees in your plumbing with clean out plugs so it makes it easy to drain for winter.

    6. #6
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      Ducks and koi are not compatible. Duck poo caries lots of pathogens and can fowl the water quickly. 1500 gallons is to small for even one duck.
      Need more Koi

    7. #7
      Aychbe is offline Junior Member
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      Shutting down and draining the filter is no issue. I've installed a drainage valve in each stage of the filtration for cleaning purposes and for the last 2 winters with these particular fish, I've shut down and drained the plumbing.

      So I'm going with no cover = no filter. Not even an issue with me.

      I checked the way I plumbed the retro bottom drain and there's a relatively easy way for me to reroute the plumbing that feeds the pump, allowing me to pull water from the 1' shelf. I can dial down the output and keep surface circulation happening. Unless, of course any of you think this is a horrible idea.

      This isn't my first winter with the pond. I've had it now for either 5 or 6 years. In the past I only had goldfish in it but since I've had the koi, I've shut down the pump and filtration and used airstones for the gas exchange. It works well but early last winter, right around Christmas, we had a freeze/thaw that had air temps go from single digits one day to mid 70s the next. My smallest male came out of stasis too quickly. I saw him swimming very quickly, upside down, under the ice. By the time I got him out, he had pretty much torn the skin off his back. He recovered and healed up fine but I am hoping to avoid this potentially happening again by creating a more consistent temperature throughout the pond using circulator

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