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Thread: Spon off of Winter faster....moderate climate winter temperature swings

  1. #1
    Honmei
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    Spon off of Winter faster....moderate climate winter temperature swings

    I was reading through the winter fasting thread and it seemed to have moved to temperature swings, primarily in more moderate climate.

    In northern areas subjected to more severe winters, it is an easy decision that something has to be done to protect the koi from those sever low temperatures. Covering the pond, heating, moving the koi inside are some of those options But what about more moderate climates? In nature, in large bodies of water, fish (carp) are not subjected to large swings in water temperature. But yet due to our decreased depths and lower volumes of water, our ponds have a propensity to have water temperatures swing, both plus and minus and in many areasvery dramtically.

    While living in Dallas, I tracked water temperatures by week for two years in my 6' deep, 18,500 gallon pond. The pond was fairly protected from winds being in a very wooded area but yet I saw multiple water temerature swing both plus and minus 10F and sometimes even back to back for a 2 week shift of 20 degrees. Now I am not a scientist nor can I add any diffinitive science as to how this can affect the koi but I am a very logical thinker and it was simple logic to me that these kinds of severe shifts in temperatures were not a good thing for the koi.

    I wasn't concerned about low temeratures since the lowest temps I recorded in those two years was 47F, well within a good "winter season" and this was despite some of the worst winter weather the DFW area had ever experienced. But those temperature swimngs bothered me alot, especially in the fall cool down and spring warm up seasons when these dramatic shift typically took place.

    My solution? I built a heater for the pond. I think there was only one other pond in the DFW area at the time with a heater (The Bartons). If not mistaken though, they were using it primarily to maintain higher temperatures (more like spring and fall typical temps of in the mid 60s).

    This was not my goal. I simply wanted to manage the temperature swings from mid fall to mid spring. I set the heater's control unit for roughly 10F above what the normal ambient temps were based on the previous two years. In other words, when the pond naturally reached down to 65F I set the control unit at that temperature and continued downward, by week by 2 degree increments once the natural pond temps were down to 55F and then maintained the 55F through the winter. This actually extended the "growing period" both on the fall and spring times of the year but also allowed for "stable" temperatures through those times where there would otherwise have been severe temperature swings....the thing I was actually trying to avoid.

    The following year, two of our close friends who had seen what we had done also wanted to adopt this practice so I built and installed heaters on their ponds as well.

    Just some food for thought for those in more moderate climates. O know Ray Jordan in San Antonio also adopted this similar practice and I don't think that San Antonio would ever have severe low water temps (although the winter of 85 was especially brutal!

    Steve
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
    CKHPA

  2. #2
    Oyagoi kntry's Avatar
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    How did you build the heater?

    I'm really worried about my fish in that above ground pool. I have a solar blanket on it and the shower is covered but we're seeing high teens at night and highs in the low 30's all this week.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei
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    well, you need to think about the koi's physiology for your answers.

    If the water is swinging 10 degrees but always staying below 46 and above 38 then it is no longer a matter of temperature - only one of duration- as the fish is in stasis.
    In the North East it is common to get a winter thaw ( usually in Feb) and the fish can definitely rouse. But as things chill down again the koi go right bask into stasis. It is actually dangerous to stimulate them as they have several more weeks of winter in a natural setting.

    Come cap and trade and very few people will be heating ponds any more. It will be just too expensive. And if the smart meters go in I doubt the homeowner can justify to the utility board whyy they are using so much electricity. So we all need to rethink that one....

    My opinion is that the southern part of the USA needs to pay homage to the concept of winter stasis and it's beneficial effect thru compromise. Meaning limited meals and limited calorie intake per meal. And simply link this feeding to the coldest time of year. If you are up and down around the trigger point ( remember this also includes light) then just stay the course with feeding limited times ( twice a week or less) and in smaller amounts. And remember, protein sparing is a real thing and very real in koi, Their growth in muscle will be excellent after some protein fasting and then the addition of carbs. JR

  4. #4
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    I am worried about my fish and ponds this year too. I drained two of my 3 QTs for the winter and had to rearrange fish, which I really do not like doing this time of year. No choice.....there was no way I could keep those QTs from freezing up. I have covered all waterfalls and moving water with black plastic. The shower filters have been bypassed. I have greenhouse plastic draped over the filters to try to keep some of the heat in. I have water flowing through all pipes, but my plumbing is all 5 year old PVC that has been exposed to the weather for years and is getting brittle. Hopefully the pipes don't freeze and split. The pond water is frigid and the fish are not moving around at all. It's getting into the low teens at night and not getting much above freezing during the day. It has never been so cold here in many, many years. There is no way I can heat or even cover the ponds. I'll just have to let nature take it's course, and hope my fish survive this. I have a new fish shipping in from Quality in the next couple of weeks. I have a heater in my one remaining QT. Hopefully I can get the water temp up in that one. That tank is insulated, so it might work out OK. I really don't like this weather one bit.

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    Very bad time of year to introduce new fish! Can't you postpone shippment a couple of months?

  6. #6
    Oyagoi Eugeneg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kntry View Post
    How did you build the heater?

    I'm really worried about my fish in that above ground pool. I have a solar blanket on it and the shower is covered but we're seeing high teens at night and highs in the low 30's all this week.
    If it is that cold then the shower is not doing anything other than cooling water I would turn it off. Showers were designed for indoor use. You might consider for the winter months installing a small inground filter. The sollar blanket should not lay on the surface of the water as there is danger of part of it being submerged and fish swimming on top. You could go to a greenhouse supply place and get some 6mil plastic and make a tent type structure under which you can place an electric heater. A floating heater will help but check as to shut of temperatures. You are not only loosing heat from the surface but sides as well. The danger is flunctuations in temperature and try and make sure that you do not get dips in temp below 40f . I f you do you will have to do things like stacking bales of straw around which is very effective.
    Regards
    Eugene

  7. #7
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Very bad time of year to introduce new fish! Can't you postpone shippment a couple of months?
    If I can get the temp in the QT up to 68°, I'll accept the fish now. Otherwise, I'll get the shipment put off. I put the heater in the QT yesterday, so I'll see today if the tank is heating up or not.

  8. #8
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by schildkoi View Post
    I was reading through the winter fasting thread and it seemed to have moved to temperature swings, primarily in more moderate climate.

    In northern areas subjected to more severe winters, it is an easy decision that something has to be done to protect the koi from those sever low temperatures. Covering the pond, heating, moving the koi inside are some of those options But what about more moderate climates? In nature, in large bodies of water, fish (carp) are not subjected to large swings in water temperature. But yet due to our decreased depths and lower volumes of water, our ponds have a propensity to have water temperatures swing, both plus and minus and in many areasvery dramtically.

    While living in Dallas, I tracked water temperatures by week for two years in my 6' deep, 18,500 gallon pond. The pond was fairly protected from winds being in a very wooded area but yet I saw multiple water temerature swing both plus and minus 10F and sometimes even back to back for a 2 week shift of 20 degrees. Now I am not a scientist nor can I add any diffinitive science as to how this can affect the koi but I am a very logical thinker and it was simple logic to me that these kinds of severe shifts in temperatures were not a good thing for the koi.

    I wasn't concerned about low temeratures since the lowest temps I recorded in those two years was 47F, well within a good "winter season" and this was despite some of the worst winter weather the DFW area had ever experienced. But those temperature swimngs bothered me alot, especially in the fall cool down and spring warm up seasons when these dramatic shift typically took place.

    My solution? I built a heater for the pond. I think there was only one other pond in the DFW area at the time with a heater (The Bartons). If not mistaken though, they were using it primarily to maintain higher temperatures (more like spring and fall typical temps of in the mid 60s).

    This was not my goal. I simply wanted to manage the temperature swings from mid fall to mid spring. I set the heater's control unit for roughly 10F above what the normal ambient temps were based on the previous two years. In other words, when the pond naturally reached down to 65F I set the control unit at that temperature and continued downward, by week by 2 degree increments once the natural pond temps were down to 55F and then maintained the 55F through the winter. This actually extended the "growing period" both on the fall and spring times of the year but also allowed for "stable" temperatures through those times where there would otherwise have been severe temperature swings....the thing I was actually trying to avoid.

    The following year, two of our close friends who had seen what we had done also wanted to adopt this practice so I built and installed heaters on their ponds as well.

    Just some food for thought for those in more moderate climates. O know Ray Jordan in San Antonio also adopted this similar practice and I don't think that San Antonio would ever have severe low water temps (although the winter of 85 was especially brutal!

    Steve
    i give up..what is a "spon"?

  9. #9
    Honmei
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    well, you need to think about the koi's physiology for your answers.

    If the water is swinging 10 degrees but always staying below 46 and above 38 then it is no longer a matter of temperature - only one of duration- as the fish is in stasis.
    In the North East it is common to get a winter thaw ( usually in Feb) and the fish can definitely rouse. But as things chill down again the koi go right bask into stasis. It is actually dangerous to stimulate them as they have several more weeks of winter in a natural setting.

    Come cap and trade and very few people will be heating ponds any more. It will be just too expensive. And if the smart meters go in I doubt the homeowner can justify to the utility board whyy they are using so much electricity. So we all need to rethink that one....

    My opinion is that the southern part of the USA needs to pay homage to the concept of winter stasis and it's beneficial effect thru compromise. Meaning limited meals and limited calorie intake per meal. And simply link this feeding to the coldest time of year. If you are up and down around the trigger point ( remember this also includes light) then just stay the course with feeding limited times ( twice a week or less) and in smaller amounts. And remember, protein sparing is a real thing and very real in koi, Their growth in muscle will be excellent after some protein fasting and then the addition of carbs. JR
    JR, Huh? I thought I had said moderate climates? I thought I had said without a heater the absolute low was 47F and thus the bolded part of your response really isn't apllicable?

    I agree on the winter fasting,m even in the moderate climates but that isn't what I was getting at with the intent of this thread. But, what the heck. In fact, I fast my koi, indoors in 60-65F water temps which could be considered a "moderate climate". I do get a 10-15F seasonal swing as well and adjust lighting accordingly as well.....but again, that wasn't the intent of this thread but how weekly swings in moderate temperatures can adversely affect the koi.

    Sandy, I have posted pics of my heater and those I have built tns of times and I really hate to be redundent. If you can't find them in a search, let me know and I'll see what I can do for you.

    Luke,
    A "Spon" is a form of "tropie"
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
    CKHPA

  10. #10
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    seattle, wa
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    with a sympathetic heart

    for those experiencing severe winter challenges and the stress it put on you and your koi.

    When i moved from Ohio to the Northwest over 30 years ago, some of the initial winters were pretty brutal. Lots of snow and fridgid temps along with loss of electrical for days sometimes weeks. This caused busted pipes
    and major havac.

    This anquish motivated me to build a small pond inside an insulated building and to add a heater. back up power was insured with a honda generator.

    I find this avenue allowed me to have as much control as humanly possible to avoid tremendous changes in temperature. hence steve's advice. It also allowed me to have control of how low a temperature to allow so that i could take advantage of JR's admonitions of the importance of allowing koi to experience winter.

    So every fall as the ikegae takes place in the Mecca of Koi, I switch my Koi from outside to inside. Then in the spring I drain, clean and start back up my outside facility and move my koi outside.

    I'm so glad I did this decades ago as It has taken a lot of stress away from the enjoyment. My inside pond is liner, the wooden framework heavily insulated. The heater was an inline spa heater, the smallest one made by coates in kent washington. It can be plugged into a standard (not 220) outlet. I try and fast my koi 6 weeks at a temp of 52 F. I've done this now for two decades with great satisfaction. If I was to do it over again would have more natural light built into the building.

    So my advice is to do what you can now to stabilize the situation, then start thinking about what can be done to eliminate this situation happening again.
    Dick Benbow

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