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    Thread: Use of filter in winter pond

    1. #1
      Concetta is offline Member
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      Use of filter in winter pond

      I've read various thoughts around having a filter in a winter pond and not having one.

      Understanding that a pump running from the bottom of the pond will stir up warm water with cold - not the best - what if the pump were up higher in the pond, on a shelf of sorts, and pumping the pond water through the filter, letting the water hose back into the pond very low to the water surface -making bubbles but not a massive stir?

      Winter in Alaska - i have two de-icers on separate circuits which are those that don't come on unless the water temp is 42 degrees. I have aerators close to the surface.

      The pond is covered by a Shelter-Logic enclosure.

      Last year, I had the filter going all winter long. It was a small filter though and, with a winter that lasted about 2 months longer than usual, the filter was clogged. The nitrate and nitrite levels were high by spring.

      This fall, I made a 50 gallon filter but the pump burnt out before winter actually hit. The new 1.5 HP pump has arrived. My instincts tell me to use it but I wanted to get your opinions/suggestions.

    2. #2
      audioenvy is online now Supporting Member
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      Personally, at my climate I prefer to run filtration/air systems all winter. Yes I know that bio-conversion is essentially dormant but as the water warms I'm ready. Also, I like there being plenty of air and I like to mechanically filter the (albeit reduced amount of) crud that is present even in winter. I have a filter area covered with a tarp that I keep heated so the air being pushed into the water is warm.

      Also, unless the water is less than 39 degrees the whole "warm water on the bottom of the pond" notion does not apply. Water is heaviest at 39 degrees so if your water is stagnant and is above that temperature then it's actually colder at the bottom than at the top.

      ALL THAT SAID: Alaska is a whole different animal than Utah. If I lived in Alaska I would only keep koi if I had a heated greenhouse with heated water and artificial lighting so augment the lack of light during the winter months.
      Last edited by audioenvy; 12-31-2018 at 05:06 PM.

    3. #3
      Concetta is offline Member
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      Thank you

      Quote Originally Posted by audioenvy View Post
      Personally, at my climate I prefer to run filtration/air systems all winter. Yes I know that bio-conversion is essentially dormant but as the water warms I'm ready. Also, I like there being plenty of air and I like to mechanically filter the (albeit reduced amount of) crud that is present even in winter. I have a filter area covered with a tarp that I keep heated so the air being pushed into the water is warm.

      Also, unless the water is less than 39 degrees the whole "warm water on the bottom of the pond" notion does not apply. Water is heaviest at 39 degrees so if your water is stagnant and is above that temperature then it's actually colder at the bottom than at the top.

      ALL THAT SAID: Alaska is a whole different animal than Utah. If I lived in Alaska I would only keep koi if I had a heated greenhouse with heated water and artificial lighting so augment the lack of light during the winter months.
      Thank you so much for your thoughts Audioenvy! I've had my Koi outdoors for years.

    4. #4
      ademink's Avatar
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      Deviation from your question....I've been looking at the Shelter Logic as a cover, as well. How is that working for you??
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



    5. #5
      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Concetta View Post
      I've read various thoughts around having a filter in a winter pond and not having one.

      Understanding that a pump running from the bottom of the pond will stir up warm water with cold - not the best - what if the pump were up higher in the pond, on a shelf of sorts, and pumping the pond water through the filter, letting the water hose back into the pond very low to the water surface -making bubbles but not a massive stir?

      Winter in Alaska - i have two de-icers on separate circuits which are those that don't come on unless the water temp is 42 degrees. I have aerators close to the surface.

      The pond is covered by a Shelter-Logic enclosure.

      Last year, I had the filter going all winter long. It was a small filter though and, with a winter that lasted about 2 months longer than usual, the filter was clogged. The nitrate and nitrite levels were high by spring.

      This fall, I made a 50 gallon filter but the pump burnt out before winter actually hit. The new 1.5 HP pump has arrived. My instincts tell me to use it but I wanted to get your opinions/suggestions.
      So it sounds like last year was the first year you left the filter running? What did you do in previous years? Were the nitrite and nitrate levels high then too?

      I would think AK is cold for long enough to really set back your bio filters and don't think it's unusual for your ammonia, and nitrite levels to be high as the
      filters try to regain maturity come spring time. High nitrate levels might just be because not enough water changes are happening.

      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

    6. #6
      Concetta is offline Member
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      Shelter-Logic

      Quote Originally Posted by ademink View Post
      Deviation from your question....I've been looking at the Shelter Logic as a cover, as well. How is that working for you??
      Generally, I like it. Mine was purchased from Sam's Club 10 x 10. The zipper freezes and I've had to use clamps to hold down the sides. I'll make some revisions next fall to securing the sides to the frame. I'd put some cords from each of the roof pipes to the other to increase the strength of the roof from the snow fall.

      It sure keeps it warm in there!

    7. #7
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      Concetta,

      Hopefully some with experience will chime in. ( that's not me) I'm trying to do a suspended submerged filter this year in my cold pond. So I have no results to report. I will say that with the water 40 degrees it hasn't kicked in and lowered the ammonia level and it's been in there several weeks with seasoned stuff, 'Filter squeezens' as Dr. Erik J. calls it.


      If you have time I'd like to know more about your set up since you are successful in a cold climate. Maybe I could learn a thing or two.
      PM sent

    8. #8
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      Update folks...

      I used the 'turn off the filter/pump method' subscribed to by most of the commenters and, well, nope.

      I checked the pond yesterday. High levels of Nitrates and Nitrites.

      I did a partial water change, added Prime and ammonia block, and hooked the pump back up to the filter. Today, the fish are more active which isn't the best of things I suppose (it is around 20 degrees here) - and the nitrate and nitrite levels are less but still higher than I'd like.

      Any other suggestions for a more immediate reduction in these levels?

      Thanks

    9. #9
      audioenvy is online now Supporting Member
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      You can render the nitrites harmless by adding salt to 0.1% salinity. The nitrate removal will likely require water changes. I'm assuming you're not feeding at all.

    10. #10
      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Concetta View Post
      Any other suggestions for a more immediate reduction in these levels?
      Have you tested the tap or whatever water you use for water changes?
      It can change over time.
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

    11. #11
      Concetta is offline Member
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      Thank you

      Quote Originally Posted by audioenvy View Post
      You can render the nitrites harmless by adding salt to 0.1% salinity. The nitrate removal will likely require water changes. I'm assuming you're not feeding at all.

      The fish haven't been fed since October when the temps dropped.

      I will research the salt suggestion. I've never used salt in the pond.

    12. #12
      Concetta is offline Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Have you tested the tap or whatever water you use for water changes?
      It can change over time.
      No, I haven't tested the tap water. Are you suggesting the tap water has the high level of Nitrates/Nitrites? If so, what can I do about it?

      Thanks for responding!

    13. #13
      ricshaw is online now Supporting Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Concetta View Post
      The fish haven't been fed since October when the temps dropped.
      Just curious... what is the pond water temperature?

      And 1.5 hp pump sounds like a lot of pump!

    14. #14
      Concetta is offline Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
      Just curious... what is the pond water temperature?

      And 1.5 hp pump sounds like a lot of pump!
      Today's water temp is 41.7 F. I have a de-icer and aerators in the pond. The de-icer comes on if the water temps are less than 42 degrees.

    15. #15
      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Concetta View Post
      No, I haven't tested the tap water. Are you suggesting the tap water has the high level of Nitrates/Nitrites? If so, what can I do about it?

      Thanks for responding!
      Yes, the source water can have nitrite/nitrate in it. There's probably not a lot you can do to eliminate it
      unless you've got another water source. I've never seen nitrate effect koi. I've read it can cause problems
      with conditioning of high grade koi but I've seen numbers as high as 400 without a death. I'm sure your
      tap water is less than that but if it has some concentration it might explain why you're doing water changes
      and not effecting the total number as much as some say. Nitrite, like has been said, can be treated with
      .15% to .3% of salt. I think you'll find it's pretty standard to use it to protect the fish from effect of it
      (brown blood disease). Here's one link (find Part #3):

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/showt...-Health-Sticky

      If needed, here's a calculator:

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/koicalcs.php?do=calcsalt

      This time of year and with cold temps I personally wouldn't worry about the nitrate unless it was extremely
      high and use salt if nitrite was elevated. Filters with 40* water just won't be effective much imo.
      --Steve
      Find more about Weather in Poulsbo, WA

      "I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
      Who knows what the tide could bring." --Tom Hanks in Cast Away

    16. #16
      lajude is offline Member
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      I tested my tap water out of the blue. It tested between .5 and 1.0 which surprised me. I guess it is from the chloramines that are added to the water. I have been adding a little more Prime than what is required to offset this.

    17. #17
      Concetta is offline Member
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      Thanks so much for the links!

      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Yes, the source water can have nitrite/nitrate in it. There's probably not a lot you can do to eliminate it
      unless you've got another water source. I've never seen nitrate effect koi. I've read it can cause problems
      with conditioning of high grade koi but I've seen numbers as high as 400 without a death. I'm sure your
      tap water is less than that but if it has some concentration it might explain why you're doing water changes
      and not effecting the total number as much as some say. Nitrite, like has been said, can be treated with
      .15% to .3% of salt. I think you'll find it's pretty standard to use it to protect the fish from effect of it
      (brown blood disease). Here's one link (find Part #3):

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/showt...-Health-Sticky

      If needed, here's a calculator:

      https://www.koiphen.com/forums/koicalcs.php?do=calcsalt

      This time of year and with cold temps I personally wouldn't worry about the nitrate unless it was extremely
      high and use salt if nitrite was elevated. Filters with 40* water just won't be effective much imo.
      Thanks Steve!

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      MBroderick is offline Senior Member
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      Here in Baltimore / mid-Adlantic area I run the filter year round but I turn off the circuit to the waterfall and just circulate through the mid-water returns. Havent had any problems and I think it improves the water quality slightly. I've been running it like this for 8 winters now. Granted, we don't get all that cold here. We might have a week of below 30 temps and a few nights that dip into the teens but that's about as bad as it gets.
      Ponds are like lovers and tic-tac's You can never have just one.

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      rayrod2030 is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by MBroderick View Post
      Here in Baltimore / mid-Adlantic area I run the filter year round but I turn off the circuit to the waterfall and just circulate through the mid-water returns. Havent had any problems and I think it improves the water quality slightly. I've been running it like this for 8 winters now. Granted, we don't get all that cold here. We might have a week of below 30 temps and a few nights that dip into the teens but that's about as bad as it gets.

      Same here in northeast NJ.

    20. #20
      maccrory is offline Junior Member
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      I've had my pond for 17 years and have never run my filter in the winter. I live in the NE in the Western Burbs of Philly. My pond has been 3/4 frozen for about 6 or 7 weeks now. We've had very see-saw temp ranges this winter and a few snowfalls. I use a strong bubbler along with 2 60 watt flood bulbs suspended in an upside-down pots to keep small holes in the ice just in case my bubbler would ever fail. As you can see from the pics I still have a nice sized hole in the ice. The hoops you see are my 1st time failed attempt to enclose my pond. I would really like to cover my pond in the winter to make it easier on my fish so its back to the drawing board next winter to see if I can figure out a better engineered solution. Name:  20190214_102523.jpg
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