Pond Q&A - Weekend Version for Friend
Here is the weekend edition ofour Pond Q&A. We're getting so many
emails, we're going to make this one a long one!
Seems like many of you are really enjoying these, so we'll keep
** Special Note **
We'll now be posting the daily Q&A on our weblog in case you
want to refer back to a previous Q&A for future reference. That
address again is www.macarthurwatergardens.com/BLOG
"I have a small prefab pond only about 100 gals. I live in
Roanoke Virginia and it does get pretty cold here at times. Some
times in the teens.
My problem is at the time I didn't know Koi needed at least 3
feet of water, my pond is only 18 inches deep. I have 1 gold
fish and I understand now, that 18 inches is ok for them. But I
afraid my Koi will die. Can I put in a heater for the winter and
what would you recommend.
Also if the pond is heated would it be necessary to feed them all
Yes, I'm familiar with the winters in Virginia.. We've weathered
many up that way before moving to Florida, so I know it can get
pretty cold. One hundred gallons is not very big as far as ponds
go, but 18 inches should still be ok as it's just below the frost
However, I would definately recommend a de-icer to keep the ice
from covering the pond and trapping winter gasses in the pond.
De-gassing is an important part of the winter cycle, and you also
want to make sure the fish don't run out of oxygen.
De-icer's don't heat the pond, they just keep the water above
freezing in the immediate area around the heating element - so
DONT FEED your fish in winter! We've covered this in previous
issues, but just to recap - you fish can't digest food in cooler
temperatures, so it's better for them not to feed them at all
during winter, even if they will eat.
At temperaturs between 65F and 55F, only feed a low protein or
wheat germ food, as these are easy for the fish to digest. Then,
when the water temps drop below 55F, stop altogether.
Hope this helps..
"I have a 3000 gallon pond in Southwest Missouri. I have
neglected it with other projects and have algae growing in it
now. Itís almost time to close it for winter can I still use
Algae Fix to kill the algae?
I have adequate filtration and uv light and I keep my pond heated
all winter at 40-50 degrees and continue to run my filter. I
also net my pond from leaves. Am I doing the right things?
I have not had algae all summer and fall until this last week and
it is my fault but I canít help that now. Any suggestions would
Yes, you can still use Algae Fix but make sure to keep your pond
well aerated and also to remove as much dead algae from the pond
after using the Algae Fix. Decaying dead algae will add to the
organic load in the pond if left in, so it's best to remove it.
You may also want to do a partial water change before and after
dosing, just in case. I always like to give my fish a fresh dose
of new water (but not too much) going into winter.
Even a 10% water change will invigorate them, but a 25% change is
It's not really necessary to heat your pond to 40-50 degrees, but
if you do have a heater - I'm sure your fish will not complain
"How low of temp can a pleacaustomas (probably misspelled that!)
survive outside? We have raised them in indoor aquariums, but
would be very interested in putting one in my pond.
We live in northwest arizona, we get cold in the winter, but not
many nights that freeze. Our pond is about 4 x 6 and 18 to 24
That's why we call them Pleco's for short.. Nobody's really sure
how to spell their name :)
They're great for algae control in ponds, but again - they don't
over-winter well, so plan on bringing them in when the weather
gets cold. But if you pond rarely freezes and is 24" dep, then
you should be ok.
I've got a 4500 gallon pond and wondered how many "sucker fish" I
should purchase. I live in Southern California. Also, how do
they get along with Koi and goldfish?
Well that's like asking me 'how many fish can I have in my pond?
'... And the answer is: "SIZE DOES MATTER." For a 4500 gallon
pond, I'd recommend at least 8-10 decent size plecos (5"-10" in
Although these suckers (pun intended) will gobble up algae all
day and night long, they're slow moving and have a lot of surface
area to cover in a pond that size.. So, try to get enough to
effectively handle your pond. The good news is, in Southern
Cali, you won't have to worry about them dying off in the winter
and you'll only have to buy them once.
And once they get nice and big, you'll have extras to give away
to your friends! For those of you who have never seen a Pleco,
they're ugly enough as it is when they're small. Imagine a giant
Pleco -- they look almost pre-historic. Fortunately, they hide
most of the day, so you will rarely even see them in the pond
(until they get so big their tails are hanging out over the
Only joking there - but I do highly recommend them for
eliminating string algae in ponds.
I am from Benoni, a city about 36km south of Johannesburg in
South Africa, I have just moved into a townhouse with a smallish
pond, attached to the pond is a little waterfall, I would really
like to keep some gold fish in the pond but I have no experience
in keeping fish.
The pond takes approximately 20 liters of water so I would say it
is quite small. At the moment there is nothing in the pond but
water and some black algae spots on the bottom.
PLEASE HELP ME !!!!!!!!!!
Hi from South Africa!
Well, my liters to gallons calibration is a bit rusty, but it
sounds like a fairly small patio pond from what you described.
Regardless, I would probably change the water in the pond, since
you don't know how long it's been sitting, or what's in the
Probably best to drain it, and clean it out with a hose. NEVER
use soap in any container that will have fish - it's very toxic
to fish and will usually leave a residue. Just spray it out with
your hose, and scrub out the algae stains with a brush. Then
re-fill, de-chlorinate, and let it run for a few days. At that
point, start witn ONE fish, and see how he does.
You could probably have 2-5 fish in this container, but I would
recommend a filter of some kind.
Hope this helps..
HELLO NOW YOU GOT MY ATTENTION:
I'VE BEEN READING YOUR E-MAILS FOR SOME TIME NOW AND YOU SAID
SOMETHING THAT HIT HOME READ THREW THE NAPALM JOKE ABOUT THE
BEES, BUT HOPPED YOU WOULD BE ON THE MARK WITH THAT ONE. BEES
ARE A BIG PROBLEM HERE IN SOUTH SAC. COUNTY, CALIF.
ALSO ALGAE WITH THE HEAT BUT THE USE OF PLECAUSTOMOS IN THE POND
IS A GREAT IDEA PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS THE COOLIST TEMP THESE
LITTLE BUDDIE'S CAN HANDLE AND ARE THERE OTHER OTHER SUCKER FISH
THAT COULD BE PLACED IN THE POND MINE IS ABOUT 5000 GAL. TWO AND
A HALF FT DEEP.
GOT LOTS OF FISH TOO REALY OLD KOI & GOLD, WHAT I LIKE TO CALL
BUTTERFLY SHUBOINKINS - THEM BABIES ARE MY FAVORITE. THEY'VE GOT
SIX TO TEN INCH FINS. THE WATER HAS TO BE CLEAR AT ALLTIMES SO I
CAN SEE MY JEWELS.
I'VE GOT A REALY BIG GUY LIVING IN MY HOME THAT I'VE NAMED WARF
HE HAS HIS OWN TANK WITH A FEW BUDDIES THAT I'E NEVER HAD TO
CLEAN IN TWELVE YEARS.
I'VE OFTEN WONDERED IF IT WOULD BE SAFE FOR HIM TO LIVE OUT THERE
IN THE POND. IN COMPARISON, IT WOULD BE LIKE FREEING WILLIE BUT
WOULD'NT EVEN WANT TO CHANCE IT IF HE WOULD CHILL TO DEATH THERES
NO HEATER ON HIS 75GALTANK. HE LIVES IN THE GARAGE
Another reader had forwarded us an email about dealing with bees,
I'll try to dig it up and forward it to you. Something about
covering yourself in honey, and dancing around bare naked
swatting the hive with a stick.. On second thought - don't try
For the Pleco's, they can handle cool temps as low as 30 - 40
degrees for short periods, but definately no freezing water or
If you're curious, the fish you described are called Shibunkins
and can grow quite large. Yours sound like they're doing well,
send us some pictures if you'd like to share them.
Not sure what to tell you about 'WHARF' - normally, I'd never
recommend going 12 years without cleaning the tank, but if he's
happy and healthy, then don't change a thing!
I have a question...
I am writing from sunny Pretoria in South Africa. Our
temperatures range from 25 degrees Celsius in the summer upwards
to about 40, and in the winter from 10 to 20, very rarely below
We are in the process of building a new pond (our first real pond
;-) ). I will be sort of indoors, with walls on all sides. We
are looking at building it +/- 4 m by 3 m, and approximately 1.5
m deep. That said... Where do we start?
I have been reading all your questions and answer, i came to the
conclusion that the most important thing is to do it right first
time. Were do we start?
I have tried to get the "bead" (as mentioned in one of your
previous emails on filtration) filter, but it is not available is
I love Koi, and would really like to build them a home to thrive
Any suggestions would be most welcomed!
Thanks for you insightful emails!
Another reader from South Africa!
To answer your question, I would read everything you can get your
hands on regarding building and maintaining a new pond. Educate
yourself BEFORE building it, and save yourself lots of headaches
"Can 'Plecaustomus' live in a sub-tropical climate in the middle
of the ocean?
This is what I wanted and was told they need at least 18C we have
gotten as low as 10-11C but never lower and not usually higher
then mid 20's the year round temp is 17C.
There's only one way to find out ;-)
Depending on how deep your pond is, and the severity and duration
of the cold - they may or may not survive.. Sometimes they will,
sometimes they wont. Sorry I can't give you a better answer, but
sometimes you just have to try it and see...
Whew, that was a lot of questions..
The hardback version of this weeks Q&A will available next month
(smile), but you can always review past commentary at our free
weblog located at
Have a great weekend!