Winter shut down

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Niagara Falls, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    I'm in a plant hardiness zone referred to as 5a. North shore of St. Lawrence River near 1000 Islands.:canadaflag:

    Any suggestions as to when I should shut the waterfall/pond down for the winter. I don't want to do it too early, nor too late....:confused:

    I've stopped feeding the fish as of our Thanksgiving, Oct 9. And I cut all the plants down to water level.

    All advice will be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    There are surely others that can give more accurate advice on shut down time, but I would think that the time to do this would be when temps will remain around the freezing point or below.

    Plants that are not already dormant should never be cut lower than One (1) inch above the water level. This prevents any water-borne bacterial intrusion which may kill the plant.
     
  3. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    I just noticed today that a few of the goldfish are just staying at the surface slowly moving and appear to be looking for a place to die.....

    I stopped feeding them as soon as the temperature was below 10C/50F.

    It was below 10C from about mid Oct until this week, now it's 20C/70F here today and is going to stay above 15C/60F for the rest of the week.
     
  4. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    Buy a pond thermometer. When the water temp stays around 40F or below, do not feed. Right now, you need to feed the little fellows. Just give them a little. If they eat it all in less than 5 minutes, give them a little more. Their metabolism is still active.
     
  5. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177

    I'm in the same zone maybe a little more mild at the moment. Anyway your fish will tell you when they are done for the year. Mine at least stop eating all together when they are non active. I've tried to feed them as I just watch the food go into the skimmer. Shutting the pond down is really a personal preferance for when you are done messing with the pond etc do to the swinging temps. My area is so hard to tell anymore if it's going to be a mild year that I can play with the pond in the winter. The year before last I had maybe 2-3 day's that I had to chip ice from the waterfall. Last year I had way to many day's that this year the WF is getting shut down and I'll use my pump as a bubbler. The customers that have full service contracts I shut thiers down when I'm done with the leaves and plantings etc.
     
  6. jonesy5149

    jonesy5149 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 259

    yaaaaaa.. need to feed do a estimate of how much you feed them and the wen it starts getting colder start slow slow slow feeding them less.... you cutting the plant.. nope.. cut wen you are done shutting down the pond ( freeze) next year wen you open it it will have all kinds of bicarbs and will green fast if the filter is not baby sat and nitrogen will go to the sky with the dead roots from the plants that did not acclimate
     
  7. jonesy5149

    jonesy5149 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 259

    (yessssssss)
     
  8. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    This last week the temperature has been wavering around 40F, and now for the next week the forecast is for temps in the high 40's.

    I'm still running the pump but have stopped feeding the fish and they just seem to gather in a school with out much moment.

    I'm going to put a piece of plywood over part of the pond to act as a cover.
     
  9. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    Run the pump for as long as is practical. Even though the metabolic rate of the fish is decreasing, they are still producing a certain level of Ammonia which needs to be converted to nitrite and nitrate. You will not completely loose bacterial activity until you reach 0C-1C/32F-35F. Turning the pump off too soon will cause die-off of the bacteria colony in the bio-filter which, if an 'Indian Summer' scenario occurs and the fish become re=animated, will leave you with only the small amount of bio-conversion that the Pond will provide.
    This could potentially cause problems. This is why I recommended the Pond thermometer...to enable you to closely monitor the temp level of the water.
     
  10. Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    Is a pond thermometer an absolute requirement? Why is it so different from any other?
     

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