Archive for the ‘Liven Up Your Backyard With Wildlife and Water Ponds’ Category

Backyard Fish Ponds

November 20, 2013 3:15 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Charles asks…

Backyard Fish Ponds

How do fish survive in frozen lakes?

When winter rolls around and lakes and bodies of water freeze over, do they just swim normally in the freezing water? In backyard ponds, you need a pump to keep them alive, why is this different from a lake?

Martin Boyle answers:

Backyard Fish Ponds

Although it’s true that the water does not freeze when it’s deep, it may be close to freezing which could be bad for fish. Many animals have s super cooling system in their bodies. They have special proteins called glycoproteins that prevent ice crystals from forming in their blood. This allows the blood to flow freely, so you don’t need a pump or anything to keep them alive, as long as the water is deep enough and doesn’t freeze over all the way, they will be fine.

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Your Questions About Fish Ponds

October 10, 2012 1:41 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Susan asks…

Making a fish pond unfreezable and safe?

I am designing a backyard fish pond for goldfish and/or Koi. The wintertime temperatures average around 26°F (-3°C) in my region. How deep will the pond have to be in order for my fish to be able to survive the winter?
I am worried about the safety of having a deep pond with children around. How can I make it safer?
Are there any other alternatives to prevent freezing without having a deep pond?
Thanks for any ideas or suggestions!

Martin Boyle answers:

To avoid freezing solid in the wintertime, the pond will need to be at least 3 feet deep. (Although 26*F wouldn’t freeze it solid anyways.) Another alternative would be to get a heater, here are some stock-tank heaters that would work just fine in a pond as well:

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Your Questions About Fish Ponds

October 9, 2012 12:13 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Betty asks…

How do you clean oil out of a pond with Coi fish and turtle?

Our new water pump had an oil leak and leaked into our fish pond. There is observable oil floating on the top of the water. What can we do to absorb the oil or is there a product, plant or animal to help with this.

Martin Boyle answers:

Try laying sheets of paper on the surface of the fish pond to absorb the oil then removing them, won’t make things any worse.

Also a tiny amount of oil probably won’t harm the fish and will break down with sunlight and biological action. Chemicals; to try and get rid of it are probably more dangerous than the oil.

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Tips On Creating A Koi Carp Pond In Minnesota.

August 22, 2012 6:47 pm
posted by Martin Boyle




Mandy asks…

New Koi pond planned for the first time?

My daughter wants to make a rock garden and Koi pond outside for me while she is home from college this summer, and although we know how to lay out and build a pond, I don’t know that much about Koi. I’d like to start buying a few and keep them in a couple of tanks inside as I am getting the outside pond ready, but I don’t know much about water conditioning either inside or out, nor do I know what I might need to do as far as seasonal changes-we live in Minnesota. Any tips before we start digging and stocking?
I knew a little about exposure to direct sunlight and the location isn’t ideal in that respect, but we are going to plant around it and the rock garden will provide some low shade, plus there will be some privacy fence installed, so I think we’ll be OK.

The pond itself will be a bent dog bone about 20 feet long and I am going to estimate six to eight feet wide at the widest points. It will go in front of a door and a small pedestrian bridge will cross it. A small deck will extend between the pond and the patio from the door up to the corner where an addition abuts the main structure.

So it is a fairly ambitious project, but we have power equipment for the initial digging and the topsoil is quite deep and not rocky until you get down two or three feet. I’m very appreciative of my daughter’s offer to do this, but she loves gardening and landscaping, and wants to fix up a nice little outdoor area for her grandmother. So it isn’t just for me. Thanks for the tips!

Martin Boyle answers:

I don’t have koi, and my ponds are smaller-100 and 120 gallons, but here’s some links to pond websites I’ve saved, lots of good info on them:;jsessionid=0a0101421f4345cbd872621e44a6aa2886d16b09527f.e3eSc3iSaN0Le34Pa38Ta38Naxf0

One thing I can suggest, pick a space that has some shade(near trees), and not a whole lot of sunlight. Otherwise, you’ll end up with green soup from the algae bloom. That’s one mistake I made and forgot to take into account. The way are soil is here(very rocky), I just don’t have the patience to dig out another place to move out.

I would also hold off on buying the koi, just in case your pond idea doesn’t pan out for some reason or other. They are pond fish since they grow to about 3 feet, and won’t do well long inside in a tank.

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