Ponds and Water Gardening forum: 2016 Koi Awakening

Views: 277, Replies: 18 » Jump to the end
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 25, 2016 11:00 AM CST
I am so happy. My largest koi made it through the winter. He was three-quarters out of the cave at the bottom of the pond. Surely the smaller fellows will be following. I need to do a water change, add spring bacteria and test temp so I know when to add the spring meds. Would hate to lose them at this stage. Doin' a happy dance. Hurray! Hurray!
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 25, 2016 11:57 AM CST

Moderator

That's great. How big is he? I just started up filtration in my main koi pond this week, with water temperature rising faster than expected and the koi getting pretty active, so I've had them on my mind, too.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 25, 2016 10:55 PM CST
Oh, I am sure that 'he' is no where the size of yours. Last I saw him he was about 12" but they grow over the winter even though dormant. I figure he is at least 14" now. Haven't see the little guys yet. They were mostly gold fish with one or two Shibunkin. I think about 15 went into winter. No idea how many of those survived. I added Medzyme and Arctic Blend bacteria today. They both can work in 40F water.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 25, 2016 11:47 PM CST

Moderator

Do you have a heater in your pond? I was nervous about leaving mine in an unheated pond this winter when my surface heater developed a ground fault. We're much warmer in the winter here, so I'm impressed with zone four overwintering. I've had goldfish survive in what seemed like solid blocks of ice, but I'm much more protective of my fancy koi.

I've never noticed any growth once I stop feeding them, but honestly I've never actually measured my koi beyond a rough estimation.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 26, 2016 8:49 AM CST
Paul, I don't use a heater anymore. Well, a deicer that is just to keep a hole open in the ice. The fish just go dormant for several months. I can see why you wouldn't want to risk your koi though. It is a bit of a crap shoot as to what will happen. I have lost many fish over the last several years during winter including some spendy koi. Now I just get my koi from Walmart. I love them all the same.

The last three winters we have put a pump in the deeper end then run the hose to the shallower end and 'lofted' it by about 2' so that it arcs to the pond introducing oxygen and keeping the hole open most of the winter though not all. If it is really cold the open water closes up. I have two burned out deicers in there right now. I need to get rid of them (didn't realize they were defective until too late) and get at least two new ones. If the ice stays closed up for too long all the fish die. No way for the gasses to escape, including from their exhalations. They disappear into a cave under some really large rocks in the side of the pond. Rocks are over 3' tall and 2' wide. Natural rock so odd shaped.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 26, 2016 2:49 PM CST

Moderator

Sounds like you've got a pretty good setup there. My heater was just a surface deicer, too.

Here's a few of mine out playing (and begging for food) yesterday.
Thumb of 2016-03-26/psa/48b050

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 26, 2016 2:53 PM CST
Oh yeah. You have a bunch more than I. Looks like you have a little algae bloom there.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 26, 2016 3:32 PM CST

Moderator

I bought a large number of small koi several years ago for an aquaponics test, and they grew. Smiling

I'm one of those heretical pond keepers who encourages a diverse group of algae in some of my ponds. I've been raising fish for twenty years or so--saltwater, brackish, and fresh--and I have a little different take on what makes fish healthy and happy than some, though I was trained in the "right" way to do it. I do have pristine aquaculture systems, primarily for fry and food fish, but even those have a bit more of a holistic approach than some people take. As far as I'm concerned, whatever works and makes you happy is success and brightens the world a bit. I'm keenly aware that every climate and environment has different needs anyway.

Once the filter cycles again in this pond I'll clean out debris that's accumulated during the winter and do a small water change. The water will then clear up and look pretty good until the strong sunlight and increased appetites of the fish prompt a series of harmless algae (not cyanobacteria) blooms in the height of summer. Then, as the sunlight tapers off, the water will look good again until the cold takes over and I shut down the filter for the winter. If I ever manage to get enough plants growing in here that the fish don't just rip apart, they'll put an end to the algae blooms entirely, as in my other ponds. I've got rafts and partially submerged pots that grow plants in here that the fish can't get at, and we've talked about a secondary pond for plants and smaller fish with a spillway or small stream to this one. It'll depend on how much time we scrape together to work on it this year.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 26, 2016 5:09 PM CST
My pond is usually greenish in color as I have absolutely no shade and we have a LOT of sun. I try to have some plants but haven't had much luck the last few years. My fault as I used to have so many water lilies that it covered about 3/4 of the surface. Good for them I guess but I never got to see the fish. They, of course, loved it.
1"
My water is clear as a bell most of the time and the green comes from the algae growing on the bottom and sides. Sometimes the falls get all but clogged with string algae and I use barley or Algaway 5.4 (MicroLab) to cut it back. It would take over entirely otherwise. My fish aren't big enough to help out by eating it. Hmmmmm. Do fish eat algae? They certainly do like the water lilies. I have a floating ring that I fill with water lettuce and they hang out beneath it and I suspect nibble on the roots. And of course as they spawn the babies hide out in it.

Two summers ago I had one koi that was rather dark and that fall I had a lot of black babies. For the first time in spring I had about 20 1-2" babies survive the winter. Some turned grayish on the bellies and some had red or gold streaks here and there. Either the black one was a female pregnant when I got her or she mixed with a gold fish. I culled the herd last year of many of both those and the regular gold fish bitty ones. My pond can't support what they could have grown into. I would love to do the entire pond over but I have done fixes and one increase in size twice now and it cost a fortune. I would love a bog pond for plants and to provide additional natural cleansing for the water but that won't happen. It is a great hobby but I am small time compared with many here at ATP. Although it seems like this forum isn't as active as it was at Dave's Garden.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 26, 2016 10:09 PM CST

Moderator

Koi pulled up all of my water lilies in that pond last year. I'm still scheming what to do about that. I don't have any trouble with filamentous algae in ponds like this one, either because of algal competition or because the koi don't let it get established, but I do have to clean it out of my unfiltered lotus ponds a couple times a year (just did that a few days ago on the big lotus near this pond).

I've had the goldfish multiply in the my ponds, but not the koi so far. I don't think I've done a good job of giving them places to breed, but like you, I'm not sure what I do with the babies if they did have them.

I'm hoping this forum will pick up a bit as the weather warms in the northern hemisphere. I suppose the Garden Association changes will eventually expose us to more people, but the great members already here have a lot of good stuff to share when the weather warms up.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 27, 2016 9:25 AM CST
"Garden Association Change"? Oh, you mean the blend of cubits and ATP? I never, well rarely, go to cubits. I guess I think of it as someplace to buy things rather than as a chat place like this. I would think the fellows down south would have all sorts of activity going on including new ponds and yet there is rarely a new topic or comment here. Not too interested in horsetail except how to get rid of it from my yard. And I am lucky to have three or four lily blooms per year.

Didn't you have some humongous lily or lily pad several years ago on DG? I forgot you have wonderful lilies of all sorts. What do you plant them in for your floating 'beds?' And fertilize with?
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 27, 2016 6:35 PM CST

Moderator

I mean All Things Plants now runs the National Gardening Association (garden.org) and Dave intends to bring the two together.
http://garden.org/ideas/view/dave/2591/The-National-Gardenin...
http://garden.org/ideas/view/dave/2601/ATP-Podcast-100-Welco...

I didn't grow manage to grow the giant prickly lily last year, so I didn't get new seed to grow out this year. I'll need to start over with seed from an outside source in order to be able to grow it again. Nothing I did to the seed delayed (or hurried) its sprouting, so I never figured out how to save seed beyond one winter.

I used extruded polystyrene to hold up plants on a raft in the pond. I'll look around to see if I can find any photos.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 27, 2016 6:39 PM CST
Thanks Paul. I really need to refurbish, better yet, replace my old 'floaters'. They look like c***. I have my order into Texas Waterlilies for lilies and marginal. I won't have to hold them indoors very long, problematic around here.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 28, 2016 10:46 AM CST

Moderator

The water has completely cleared now, though the sides and bottom are still pretty dirty. Here they are on the bottom this morning, ~40" under water.
Thumb of 2016-03-28/psa/25065b

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 28, 2016 11:31 AM CST
You really have some beauties. I see both pictures, one showing the side of the pool. Do you do anything to dress up the block. Not a big deal and very sharp and clean looking. No mess, no fuss. I would prefer that having gone for the 'au natural' look and failing rather miserably. I try each year but guess I just don't have that touch.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Mar 28, 2016 7:24 PM CST

Moderator

I've discovered I'm pretty good with living things, but a terrible landscaper. Mostly I've given up. I can see in my head what I want, but can't figure out how to do that in real life. Confused

My wife mostly built this pond to my specifications, with a bit of labor from my kids and I. It's set into a hill, which is why it's built up on the side. She likes the brick look and I like the natural look, but she knows what she's doing, so I have no trouble letting her get out the laser level and run the plumb lines. We joke that we're all backward from the stereotypes as a couple, since she's the handywoman (most of the power tools are hers) and I'm the gardener and cook.

The water is mostly kept at the very top (it's quite low at the moment) and the liner is trimmed to the shape of the bricks so as not to show from the outside. The liner top is level to 1/16th inch in all directions(!) and when overfilled flows evenly out between the bricks in all directions. I want to put plants around it, but she wants to put a new path alongside it, and we're reworking the filtration plumbing, so I've had to wait. I think there's pictures of construction, or at least of the first filling of it, somewhere on this forum.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Mar 29, 2016 2:02 PM CST
I love it. Being a tom boy who followed my father all around when he was building our home (we peeled the bark from the trees outselves) I love to do things with my hands. However, liking it and doing it well are two different things. I envy your wife her skill. I am too helter-skelter in how I approach things. Like you I know the product I want but can't always get 'there from here.' I accept less than perfection in the product, to say nothing of elegance, as long as it functions as I want it. I cannot say my DH is terribly handy but he is an engineer and grew up without a father so he had no one to teach him. I suppose I am a Rube Goldberg sort.

I noticed the natural rock pavers around the front of our pond are coming loose again. I think it is because the ground beneath is not very stable. I had the entire front dug up two summers ago, had rock and crushed asphalt pounded down then flat stones (18"x6"x36" laid flat with similar stones up on edge for the sides. The liner than draped up and over the rock on the inside of the pond. Yes, it shows, but it is more sanitary and much easier to clean. In this case, I got to ramrod the job. At one point they had actually laid down the stones and had the uprights glued in when I told the guy overseeing the project when he visited that they had not compacted beneath. He made them break apart the rock, pull the stones up (using a backhoe and chains) and redo it. But we have a high water table to while he improved the drainage I think it is still unstable.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tomato Heads Organic Gardener Greenhouse Native Plants and Wildflowers Herbs
Image
psa
Apr 6, 2016 6:19 PM CST

Moderator

Shot a bit of video feeding the koi today.



edit: Figured out how to embed videos instead of just linking to them.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Apr 6, 2016 8:02 PM CST
Neat. I just spent 45 minutes just looking at all those pond build outs. Makes me salivate at some of them. But oh the work. Thanks so much for sharing. I really enjoyed it. And your fish are gorgeous. I just love the angel fins. Hurray! Thank You! Thank You!
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ponds and Water Gardening forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Dianthus 'Nyewood Cream'"