Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Koi Pond News March 2007

Or, everything you ever wanted to know and more about my pond.

On Friday, March 23, I measured the water temperature in my koi pond and it was 47˚F (8.3˚C) already! Last year at around this time it was only 41˚F. It really has been a warm year. The fish were up and looking really hungry. They had eaten all of their food from last year, so I had to run out and buy more. I forgot how expensive koi food is. A ten pound bag of Kaytee was $25 at the local Petco. That was the least expensive of the brands they carry which include the uber-expensive Hikari and my fall back brand Tetra Pond. I don’t like Tetra Pond, because it does cost a bit more and you have to drop it into the pond instead of throwing it in as the pellets weigh less. I prefer to toss it in from my porch; I’m too lazy to walk down to my pond. So that is the low down on food.

Two years ago, Sean came up with a great idea for keeping an opening in the ice on the pond. We have two ponds, a big pond and a little pond. They are connected by a waterfall. What we used to have was a sump pump on a shallow shelf under the waterfall in the big pond and have it pump the water into the little pond and then down the waterfall back into the big pond. For the new idea we took a smaller pump and put it into an opaque plastic box with lots of holes drilled in the sides and placed that on the shelf in the big pond and left it running. The top of the box was in the air. The ice could freeze right up to the box, but that didn’t matter, so long as the water in the box didn’t freeze and the water below the ice didn’t freeze. Also, we got the action of the sun on the contents of the box. This system worked very well for two years.

Until we got that flood last month and the pond flooded its banks and the pump was totally submerged and leaked oil into the pond, shorted out and stopped pumping. Disaster!!!

Then we got subzero temperatures for a week or so, and I had to use the old fashioned method of making a hole in the ice. I put a hot teapot on the ice in the morning with a rope on the handle, so when it fell in, I could pull it back out. It is an old Japanese trick that one learns from knowing an old Japanese person. Kidding, I learned it from reading books.

So, we went out and bought a Beckett waterfall pump. Anything made especially for a fish pond is expensive. We will try our brilliant method with a smaller box and the fish pond pump that really is submersible.

But this late in the season, and we will resume running our regular waterfall pump from the basement. That runs from an underground line from the pond to the well pump in the basement to the waterfall in the pond. We need to do a water change this year. Ah, spring. You gotta love it.

5 comments:

about a boy said...

you are so lucky to have koi! very good luck! i made a pond in the back garden years ago but had to take it out. it would mysteriously drain of water some nights...i swear a herd of cows must have passed to have drained it so.

the pond is gone. the mystery remains.

Sue said...

Yeah. It is the koi pond of my dreams. It is 21 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep. If you click on the label "pets", there is a post about how we rented a back hoe to dig it. Some of my koi are almost 3 feet long. Gee wiz, I thought everybody would be bored by this post. Maybe I should have gone into more detail.

Peter said...

Did the koi gobble the oil or did you reach the pond on time before they got hurt?

Sue said...

We pulled the pump out as soon as we noticed it was leaking oil. But really, the pond is so large (3000 gallons or 11,000 liters) that the small amount of oil that leaked would not be harmful to the fish.

Shaney said...

Hmmm well I am certainly interested to know more...For example Do you only feed them once a year? Or do you buy supplies for that period? What exactly is a koi...lol Do they have a "Dummies Guide to idiotic questions" Becasue if not...I think I should write one....Sorry too seem so 'goofy' but I dont know a great deal about fish & species etc etc...Do you have full views of your pond captured on camera? Would love to see it as a whole...
Do I ask too much....sowwy Sue...
xoxoxo