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    Thread: Koi dying in my frozen pond

    1. #1
      MovingTarget is offline Senior Member
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      Koi dying in my frozen pond

      Iím so bummed out. I have an 8k gallon pond. I left the bubbles going on one of my koi toilets. At first the fish where all on the bottom sitting side by side. I donít see them now and I think they moved under a boulder that is half in and out of the water. Yesterday found two of my favorite ones dead and had been frozen near the top. I see another sitting right side up but totally in ice.

      Iím worried Iím going to lose all of them. The hole in the ice is really big right now over 10í. What did I do wrong? The only thing I can think of is maybe I should not have used the bubbles on the bottom drain but put a large air stone closer to the top but I had read this setup is good to put air on he bottom.

      The filter is off and only thing going on is the air. Hate to just wait and see but I donít know what other options I have.

      My wife will be all over me not to buy new fish in the spring if I just kill them off in the winter plus who could afford the financial and emotional cost. Thoughts?

    2. #2
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      If the pond is clean probably too cold. Too much circulation over cooled the pond. Drop a thermometer in near the bottom. Temp should be close to 39 degrees F. Cut way back on the air.

    3. #3
      nguyenphilip is offline Senior Member
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      My koi pond have been running air diffuser on my with my 2 bottom drain for this winter. My pond is cover and all my koi is doing fine.

    4. #4
      Essex Koi is offline Senior Member
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      Sorry to hear your fish are dying. Itís worth adding up the cost of the fish that have died / estimating how many more you could lose and seeing if it makes financial sense to add a cover of some description and maybe some heating.

      As you say, itís not only a financial cost, but also emotional cost involved, personally I heat and cover, however the size and shape of your pond may be limiting factors on what you can achieve economically.

      Current ambient temperature where I am is 26f and my pond is at 68c.

      Another option would be to get an intex pool and put it in your garage or shed if you have one and heat the building first off whilst you evaluate what to do.
      Last edited by Essex Koi; 02-05-2018 at 04:37 PM.
      Main pond 4000 US Gallon, 22 Koi. Oase Proficlear Premium + Bio Module, Bitron 120 w UVC, Bakki Shower, Dura 7+ ashp. Grow on tank 600 Gallons with Eazypod Automatic and 70 litre K1 biochamber.

    5. #5
      MovingTarget is offline Senior Member
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      Thanks. I just don’t see how I could cover it and there is no way to heat it. The basement is finished and I’m just not seeing how that could be possible. Plus I shouldn’t have to do all of that. I only know of one pond that’s covered and one that’s heated here in CO all the others don’t have that and their fish survive.

      I will check the bottom temp and cut the air in half.

    6. #6
      Essex Koi is offline Senior Member
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      How deep is your pond? This might make a difference.

      There can also be differences between ponds - wind hitting it, how much shelter it has, etc. My pond is in the back garden and it is surrounded by 10 foot high brick walls. It’s an average of 5f warmer than the surrounding area.
      Main pond 4000 US Gallon, 22 Koi. Oase Proficlear Premium + Bio Module, Bitron 120 w UVC, Bakki Shower, Dura 7+ ashp. Grow on tank 600 Gallons with Eazypod Automatic and 70 litre K1 biochamber.

    7. #7
      MovingTarget is offline Senior Member
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      Name:  3F8584D8-F1F7-4BBD-B85D-6FE1A7D810ED.jpg
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Size:  195.3 KBItís 4 feet deep. Going off my poor memory itís about 25íx15í on the surface.

      Also its very clean.

    8. #8
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      I agree with Essex. A cover is a very good investment and it's not impossible to build. Either that or bring the fish in where you can monitor better.
      Start with water parameters. What has it been previously and recently? Ammonia, nitrite, ph am and pm, Kh, nitrate? When was your last water change?
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    9. #9
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      Actually- it would be relatively simple to cover it. Mine is roughly the same size, and it was not very expensive for the materials or difficult to put up. I added a solar blanket underneath for a second layer of protection, you can see it in the post with the fish- I just flip the solar blanket open to check on the fish every once in a while. Next year I will trim the plastic (it is greenhouse UV stabilized 6mil), just didn't get around to it this year!

      With only 4 foot depth, I would recommend trying. FYI- I used a couple of 4x4 posts to support the high end. The high end on mine is protected from heavy wind by some trees.
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    10. #10
      MovingTarget is offline Senior Member
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      Practically speaking, I don’t have space to bring them inside, I don’t have storage for those materials when not being used, I doubt my wife would go for it and I would be really worried about getting a letter from the HOA.

      I know they can survive without all of that because most people I’ve spoken to here (in CO) don’t.

      I will test the water when I get home. Last I checked all was well within normal ranges. I don’t have the numbers with me as I’m at work but I log them in a spreadsheet.

    11. #11
      MovingTarget is offline Senior Member
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      Nice setup. What does your water temp stay at when it’s really cold? I’m assuming you don’t heat it? Do you keep feeding them?

    12. #12
      MovingTarget is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by nguyenphilip View Post
      My koi pond have been running air diffuser on my with my 2 bottom drain for this winter. My pond is cover and all my koi is doing fine.
      Do you have a cover? How deep is your pond?

    13. #13
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      I feed mine a couple pellets every few days. The temperature took a bit of a dive when we had a few weeks of frigid weather- it went to about 37, but has rebounded to about 40. Of course, it could have been warmer but I left my showers running just to see how everything would work and I think even in the protected environment some cooling occurred, although evaporation has been minimal.

    14. #14
      Essex Koi is offline Senior Member
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      Your pond is quite open to the elements with not a lot of cover from wind (from what I can see in the image), other folk might have their ponds more sheltered, hence why you’re hearing this. The alternative could be that your Koi are weaker than the local folk who have them.

      Do you know where your Koi originate from? A lot of Israeli Koi don’t do well in the cold - a couple of threads on koiphen regarding this.

      You could put a couple of small heaters near the boulder you mentioned where your Koi are congregating to help them survive. Something like the ice hole heaters which are cheap to buy and relatively cheap to run. You’ll find they stay quite close to them.
      Main pond 4000 US Gallon, 22 Koi. Oase Proficlear Premium + Bio Module, Bitron 120 w UVC, Bakki Shower, Dura 7+ ashp. Grow on tank 600 Gallons with Eazypod Automatic and 70 litre K1 biochamber.

    15. #15
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      I am just guessing, but I suspect that something has changed with the water parameters. If the fish were lined up on the bottom, that is usually a sign of stasis, and they will stay in that condition until temperatures improve, unless there is something that stimulates movement, like trying to net them, a predator trying to get them, or a change in the water chemistry that makes the water uncomfortable, like a pH shift (usually a crash), or a build up in ammonia (ammonia burns). Recheck the parameters and be sure that they haven't changed.

      "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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    16. #16
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      Check the temp before doing anything.. If too cold easy to cut back on air and put some high density foam sheets on top of the pond. There have already been simular posts this cold winter season of over circulated and over cooled ponds.
      Last edited by BWG; 02-05-2018 at 08:26 PM.

    17. #17
      nguyenphilip is offline Senior Member
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      My pond is about 4.5 feet, my cover is just couple 2x4 and I'm using plastic sheet from lows or home depot for this year. I am planning to buy some better supply later this year to make it more heat friendly.

    18. #18
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      I take it that the picture of the pond is not current? Ite doesn't look frozen over in that pic. As for all other ponds in Colorado not having issues, I agree that each pond is different, and if water freezes, fish die. I also agree with Rich that the water parameters should be checked, they may be completely out of whack. Many people don't do water changes or maintenance in the winter, because they think the fish are in hibernation- they're not. They're still excreting ammonia, eating algae, other stuff off the walls and bottom. They're just doing it more slowly. Also, if you don't check your KH, or even pay attention to it it, that could be an issue. It's related to a healthy biofilter, ammonia removal, pH, and a healthy pond. In my opinion, it's one of the most important parameters in the pond, yet know one seems to check for it. If you don't have a KH test kit, get one from your local fish store, or Amazon.

      I can't bring my fish in either, they're way too big, and I'm not strong enough to lift them anyway. I don't know how low the temps go in Colorado where you're at, but we get below zero (actual) temps, and even colder windchill temps. I started covering -10 years ago, way before a lot of people in this area started covering, because I felt sorry for my fish being so cold (yep, I'm an animal wimp). A few years ago, because of harsher winters, so many people in our area started losing fish because of the cold. So, it can and will happen, you just may not hear about it. Or, it may just be starting in your area.

      In the past years, I designed several different setups using wood, and finally settled on an aluminum framed one (although technically, you cloudless use PVC instead of aluminum poles, if it were thick enough). The wood frames were sturdy enough, but the cover would snag, rip, and hold water in areas, and I got tired of bailing water out of low lying areas. I ended up buying parts for s carport, and aluminum poles as the supports. My dimensions of my set up are: 42 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 3 feet at the lowest point, and 7 feet at the highest.

      My set up would work with your pond, and surprisingly, comes apart to store in a very small space in my backyard. The longest pole is 14 feet, so the poles store along the fenceline behind the garage. The solar pool cover takes up the most room, and is stored in a back corner of the garage. It's about 2-3 feet by 6 feet. And Heavy! You could put it in a shed. You could check with your HOA about temporary setups, because it could be set up for only 4 months out of the year.

      My set up is a lean-to style, can hold up to a couple of feet of snow, and high wind gusts up to 60-70 mph (been there, done that), and was designed to last for a very long time. Going on 5+ years now, with the same solar pool cover. The poles and fittings are in great shape. BYW - I used "footings" instead of poles that go in the ground, and weigh the cover down with cinder blocks. Without heating, the water stays around forty. I do drop in a couple of bucket heaters at the waterfall and skimmer inlet and keep it running, therefore, I never lose biological filtration, and my water temp stays about 60. I still don't feed my fish much, usually just once every 2 weeks. I also do monthly water changes an filter cleanings, since I can go inside the cover and do all of this.

      Here's an outside pic of my cover:
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    19. #19
      MovingTarget is offline Senior Member
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      Thanks for the thoughtful post. If I do a cover I would consider doing what you did. We get very serious wind frequently. I had to buy hurricane straps for my hot tub cover.

      I do check the kh and agree with your comments on its importance. I turned off my bead filter for the winter because I was advised the bacteria dies so I didnít see the point.

      I did turn the air to a quarter of what it was and I was thrilled to see several of the fish swimming around, including one that was frozen solid in ice on Sunday.

      Our temps get below 0 at least a week a year and wind chill can get well below that on a more frequent basis but it does also get into the 40s to 50s each month too. Much better than NE Ohio where I used to live.

      And yes that picture was from August. Now most on the pond is frozen then water fall is off and only the evergreens are green.
      Last edited by MovingTarget; 02-06-2018 at 12:49 PM.

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      Koiphen member malatu put high density foam sheets on the surface this season with good results. Cut them into circles and painted to make more attractive.

      For your air pump put a tee into the line after the pump and place a valve on it. Open the valve a little to bleed off air. This will reduce air flow to the pond and reduce back pressure on the pump and extend its life.
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