Discussion in 'Water Features' started by zim bob the landscaper, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. zim bob the landscaper

    zim bob the landscaper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,706

    what do you do to the pond in the winter also what do you do with the fish.

  2. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    I've done both. That is, I've drained the pond and moved the fish into a large indoor tank complete with biofilter and waterfall, and I've also left the fish outdoors with only a stock tank heater floating on the surface to keep an area ice free - which is necessary to allow built up gasses to escape. There are pros and cons to both.

    Draining the pond allows you to perform a good cleaning job on it, and with my fish indoors they didn't go into a hibernation mode but became very friendly pets that would eat out of my hand. An indoor pond requires work and maintenance. You need room, still have to circulate or aerate the water with a pump, and you surely don't want plumbing problems. I tend to think that moving the fish from one environment to another can be very rough on them... sort of like digging up and transplanting plants. Some may not make it.

    Keeping the fish outdoors, and not draining the pond is easier. Fish slow down, you stop feeding them, and they then basically do nothing until the water warms up again. You have to keep at least a small area of the surface ice free. My fish got much larger by leaving them outdoors, but the drawback being that I missed having them as indoor pets, and I missed the appeal of the indoor water feature - though not the work involved.
  3. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    While it does make it much eaiser to thoroughly clean a pond. I'd highly recommend against anyone draining their ponds totally empty. One of the reasons for this is the risk of having water under your liner. If you have water under your liner and you drain all of the water out of your pond, the water under the liner will be able to push the bottom of your liner up. Things get really ugly from there. I never drain my pond more than 1/2 empty. By doing so, I know that all the water IN my pond will prevent any ground water that's pushing on the back side of my liner from being able push up my liner. Any nitrifying bacteria that's left high and dry for too long will die. That's also something you don't want to happen.

    I would either make a cheap greenhouse to cover your pond (do a search on lawnsite for this topic), or drain the pond down low enough to drain your pipes and float a heater. Be sure to take your pump(s) and U/V inside (if you have one).

  4. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Yea and nay. First of all, you surely do not want water under your liner, as Victor stated, but secondly you shouldn't have it there in the first place.

    I had water under my own pond liner once, but not from draining the pond. Needless to say, it was a rude awakening. After removing the pump for the winter, my wife reinstalled it but didn't get the pump's plumbing put back together tight enough. Things came apart and the pump flooded a skimmer box. Though a lot of water was draining out into an overflow curtain drain, there was more water filling in than what it could handle. I lost about half of the water out of the pond and with quite a bit going over the top of the skimmer box. All of the gravel, rocks, and water plants on the outside of the pond fell down into the deeper areas.

    I know what you're thinking, and the answer is "Uh huh, I'm still married to her."

    Bottom line is, I've seen water get out of hand more than once from more places than just mine, and so far it's always been attributed to poor designs, poor installations, or poor connections, alas. I hate to say it and this does sound terrible, but if it takes draining the pond just to notice some hidden evil event going on, such as water leaking beneath the liner, then it may be worth it in the long run.
  5. ODUrugger

    ODUrugger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    Just Leave them in the pond... its best for them physiologically. Just make sure you have sufficient depth and moniter water temps relatively close. if things start to dip below 38or40 (Never happens here in VA) get a water heater.
  6. baja4wd

    baja4wd LawnSite Member
    from South
    Messages: 65

    Do you leave your filtration system on? Fountain etc. or do you just turn it off and remove it for the winter? Here in Mississippi, we only have maybe 1-2 weeks of weather that may be in the 30's etc. the rest of the time its usually lower 40's. I also have a deep end in my pond that is roughly 2 1/2-3' deep. I started with 25 feeder gold fish about a month 1/2 ago, lost 2 the first day and the others are growing and reacting well. I am planning on leaving them in for the winter and adding a heater if needed.
  7. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    With temperatures roughly drop down below 55 degrees, then the benefitial bacteria in bio filters will fail to do its job. However, aeration is a plus for ponds, which is generally performed by a waterfall or fountain.

    I will take my pump out after things begin to get really cold and there is some threat of the skimmer boxes intake freezing solid. At that point for aeration I'll stick an aquarium aerator out in the pond along with a stock tank heater. This is always a period that worries me a bit because once the pump is removed then everything pretty well shuts down. That's okay, I know, but neither the site or sound of water is there and that has some kind of psychological effect. It's a bit like putting my pond into a comatose state, and all through winter I keep wondering, "I wonder how the fish are doing?" But then on the other hand, when springtime arrives and the pump is put back into service, it's like new life all over again.
  8. LiL Hustler

    LiL Hustler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    Thanks everybody for the great winterizing answers. I have one more question pertaining to winterizing. What do you do with the plants for the winter? Leave them in the pond? I thought if I had to maybe put them in a tank in my house, keeping them moist.

  9. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    I've heard that some people take their water lilies out and store them in their garages, I put mine down at the deepest part of the pond. Other plants I'll bring indoors just because I know that they wouldn't make it outside.

    A couple years ago when I brought my fish and plants indoors, the plants bloomed and seemed to do real well at first, however they did get sickly later on. I have no idea what caused this other than perhaps not quite enough light.

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