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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I bought a house last year which had an unused pond in it. In the Spring I got it going again with a suitable pump and filter and put 10 goldfish in it and they seem to be doing well.

I live in Scotland and the temps are now dropping and Im not sure what to do in terms of pond maintenance for the winter. Ive read loads of conflicting stuff on the internet and was just looking to get some advice on winter'izing my pond.

Its an informal pond with about 7500 gallons of water 2x3x2m and 10 goldfish.

Here is what im confused about:

Lots of articles say remove the pond pump and filter until Spring, others say leave the pump and filter running as this will help to prevent freezing. (the filter is above the water level outside the pond). If I leave the the pond filter and pump running and everything freezes overnight im guessing my filter and pump will be ruined. Can anyone recommend in or out - Im confused ?

A bit of a total newbie question, but do I feed the fish over winter ? Will they effectively hibernate over the winter ? They still seem very active at the moment. Do people continue to feed over the winter and do they change their diet to accommodate the lower temperatures ?

Is it worth trying to insulate the top of the pond with something like bubble wrap to try and keep the temperature up ?

Any help / advice / other tips would be greatly appreciated !

Cheers,

Jonny.
 

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Some people heat small areas with a heater and/or cover the pond with old carpet/bubble wrap etc.

The problem is that below 16C the fish effectively have no immune system BUT the bacteria, pathogens etc are still active above 10C, so you either heat it at over 16C and let everything run as normal or let it go below 10C.

I HATE the idea of wintering fish without a filter, they'll then have to go through a new cycle process every spring. Heating 7500 gallons is going to be expensive though so you're left without much choice.

Is there any chance of over wintering them indoors somewhere as you only have 10 fish? Otherwise a heater just for a small area of the pond with something covering most of it to prevent heat loss.
 

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ive been in contact with a pond fish rescue, and was advised to keep the filter running as then as soon as the temperatures rise the bacteria can kick in. also, it helps prevent freezing at the surface. i have removed the larger external filter from my pond though and am just running the smaller internal one which is breaking the waters surface but not dragging the warmer water from the bottom of the pond to the surface and cooling it further. we have also covered our pond, using trellis covered in a double thick layer of greenhouse bubblewrap insulation. it is a steady 11* now and the fish are very active. we are feeding ours wheatgerm pellets 2-3 times a week while they are active. the pond plants are still growing well under the covers too so that will help with water quality. im not 100% sure what im doing is right, but the fish are doing very well so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi,

Thanks for the advice !

There is a possibility I could winter them indoors. If I were to do this what would you say is the minimum size tank / container I could keep them in. I think mine or 5x Orf and 5 x Shubunkin the latter being pretty large.

I think my preferred option is to try and insulate the top of the pond, but this might be trick as the surrounding wall is split level (at the back) and therefore it might be difficult to get a snug fit.

As im a newbie and not terribly organised, I have to admit to not having a pond thermometer, this is on the top of my list of things to do this week :bash:

Heres hoping a happy time for them over the winter !


Thanks Again,

Jonny.
 

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I would keep pond filters running, if thy are exposed, maybe think of something to cover the filters? Box them in, bubble wrap them, put bucket over them etc....

If you have exposed pond pipe, thats likely to be your biggest problem... if you can get that pipe insulation.... squishy grey foam you use to cover pipes, that might help... because if water freezes in the small pipework, it might cracks the pipes.

TBH I would cover the pond rather than move them indoors, the stress of moving th fish about, keeping them in something much smaller and having to cycle it too seems more trouble than necessary.

I'd get a pond heater set up to create a warm spot for the fish to congregate.. and Goldies plan seems pretty much perfect to me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi,

Fortunately my dads a plumber so I can definitely get hold of some pipe lagging to try and stop the exposed tubes from freezing.

The pond filter is outside the water and is housed in a stone box and thinking about it could get hold of some water boiler wrapping material to try and stop stuff from freezing.

My main concern apart from the fish is that the pump and filter are relatively new and I really dont want them to permanently malfunction during the winter period.

Thanks Again For your Advice,

Jonathan.
 

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Sounds like you'll be ok mate!

And as for feeding, from now onwards really (on rainy days they might be more hungry as its warmer!) just offer them afew pellets of Wheatgerm and if they eat it, they can have a bit more... they dont need a huge ammount now...

Being a cold blooded species, the colder they are, the more completely their systems shut down, they do effectively hibernate and get to the point they dont need to eat. If they have a belly full of food and then there is a cold snap overnight, it can leave them with no way of digesting the food and it can rot in their stomach.
 

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I can't help too much sorry but I've seen in a house I've worked in recently their pond had it's own water supply run through some sort of heater to keep a constant temp in the winter. From what I saw it almost looked like a house combi boiler. Not suggesting for one minute that you contemplate going to that expense but maybe it can get your dads plumber mind on the case.
 

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I think you may have done your sums wrong with regards volume, which could prove disastrous if you ever need to medicate.

2x3x2mtrs, by my reckoning is 12000 litres, which is definitely not 7500 gallons, more like 2700?

Not nit-picking, but you need correct volumes if you ever medicate or use other treatments in your pond.

There was a thread about pond freezing the other week, with most either covering, or using the football method, which basically means leaving a football or two floating on the top, and removing every morning to provide airholes. After my filterboxes froze solid last year (i keep them running), i will be covering them with blankets this year, and using several footballs on the pond itself. My boxes are fine by the way, still functioning correctly, no cracks or splits, despite freezing solid! I have a similar volume to yourself, but its shallower with a bigger footprint, which makes it even more prone to freezing unfortunately.

I dont feed in winter, but will continue feeding till the fish start to ignore it. If we get a mild spell midwinter, i may feed some more, but only if i see the fish rooting in the plants, looking for food.

Oh, and i wouldn't worry about a pond thermometer, they are in no way essential! The fish will adapt to temperature change, which will be slow anyway due to the large volume you have. I personally would only use one if i was heating the pond.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi,

Oops just realised I was meant to write litres rather than gallons :bash: . I was writing in a hurry at the end of my lunch break.

To be honest not entirely sure what the depth of the pond is, but would measure again if I needed to medicate for any reason. But its definitely greater than 1.5 metres and no deeper than 2.


Thanks Again,

Jonathan.
 

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just taken a picture of our covered pond, the cover is in 4 sections, 2 large ones and 2 smaller ones, we have a beam in place across the center of the pond for the sections to sit on. we used 4 sections of trellis, 2 are 6ftx5ft and 2 are 6ftx2ft. we used greenhouse insulating bubblewrap, in a double layer, to cover the trellis. the covers can be removed during the day if its a warmer day, i am taking off the 2 smaller ones every day to check the fish. i can easily slide them on and off. the external filter has been removed, and the internal filter is sitting on the shelf in the pond so the deeper water isnt being brought up to the surface. the plants are still growing well under the covers too, the pond weed has grown more since the covers went on than it did when it was open!

yesterday, i helped my neighbour shut down their pond as they are moving, their few goldfish came into our pond. i measured the temps to see how much of a difference our cover was making, her pond is around 5-6* and ours is 10-11*. another benefit of the covers which we didnt think about, is that the trees around here are dropping all of their leaves, next doors pond was full of them, ours is clear :2thumb:

it may not look pretty, but it seems to be working :2thumb:

 

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Looks good goldie, looks very good.

Occasionally wish i had built an ornamental style pond myself, would be so much easier to work with than the natural look i went for.

Leaves are a bugger at this time of year, i'm clearing mine every 2 days at the mo, but there is only one tree that can drop leaves onto it, and its nearly empty, lol.
 

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thank you. i liked the look of a natural pond but i have a fishing cat so needed to ensure the sides were steep, plus we couldnt dig any deeper in our garden so needed to build up the sides and this was the easiest way to do it. its worked out well. we have 2 huge horse chestnut trees behind our garden, and several smaller trees with various sized leaves which all seem to drop them at different times so leaves a an incredible hassle where we are.
 

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thank you. i liked the look of a natural pond but i have a fishing cat so needed to ensure the sides were steep, plus we couldnt dig any deeper in our garden so needed to build up the sides and this was the easiest way to do it. its worked out well. we have 2 huge horse chestnut trees behind our garden, and several smaller trees with various sized leaves which all seem to drop them at different times so leaves a an incredible hassle where we are.
yeah, i remember the build thread, it looked like quite a nice project.

Hows the rescue side of things going? have you taken many in? Or do you see what i seem to see, people expecting good money for fish they can no longer home, and prefer to keep the fish suffering rather than letting them go.
 

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so far we have approx 28 fish, from various sources. the largest tank we have taken any from was 2.5ft, and it had a ton of black moors in there, im talking 20+ and 3-4 large fancies which we now have in our 6ft tank as he only wanted to keep the moors, and several commons/comets. the oldest was 15 and he wouldnt let that go, though it wouldnt have survived in the pond anyway due to the gross deformities, we did take in a large 10 year old common with mouth and gill deformities, and half a tail, he is now called Old Gill and he is thriving! along with a couple more younger comets. we have collected various from ebay listings where the people were trying to sell a bowl with the goldfish, and we offered to buy the tank to get the fish and we then break and then chuck the bowl into recyling :lol2: but we have been contacted by various people who realise they are keeping their fish wrong and need a bigger home for them,we went a couple of months ago to someone with a 2ft tank, in there he had an 8" shubunkin, a 9" comet and 3 fantails,the guy only wanted to rehome the comet but we talked to him and let him know the growth potential and he happily said we could take both the comet and the shubunkin (now called Lucky as he nearly stayed in the small tank!). yesterday we took in several goldfish from our neighbours pond, as she is moving. all fish are thriving :2thumb:
 

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i let mine freeze over and removed the pump. fish were fine but as said its heavy filtering when defrost due to bacteria.
 
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