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Wintering Koi in Alberta
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Joined: 09 Jul 2008

PostPosted: 2008.07.09(Wed)6:25    Post subject: Wintering Koi in Alberta Reply with quote

I have just added Koi and Goldfish to my outdoor pond. (all 3" or less) So far I have not been able to find any literature about special needs in a northern climate and I am getting conflicting advise from the people I have consulted.

We have winters that can drop to -40C. My pond is approx. 14'L X 8'W, and is 6' deep in the lowest spot. Can I keep my koi in the pond or do I need to transfer them inside for the winter?
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Cliff Mayes

Joined: 11 Mar 2007
Location: Western NY

PostPosted: 2008.07.10(Thu)20:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the pond does not freeze, totally, the fish can be OK.

Keep an open hole in the pond somewhere to enable CO2 to get out and O2 to get in. This is extremely simplistic but that is essentially it. Gas exchange is very important. There are a bunch of devices on the market that help do this. Experience varies.

You can see fish cruising under the ice but when the water temperature gets below 55 f do not feed the fish. The very fat Summer Carp will slim down but that is normal. Even though Carp will eat anytime, when the temp falls they cannot digest the food so do not feed when cold weather hits. The food packs up and eventually when it warms up a bit, bacteria start to multiply, before the fishes digestive system kicks in, and will kill the fish.

Watermelon is a welcome treat anytime but along with Cheerios becomes a very good early and late season food. The fish really seem to enjoy the Watermelon but it is not worth much nutritionally.

Needless to say the Winter pond needs to be pristine. Any debris will eventually decompose and cause problems. Some specimans will die from Winter stress and this is considered by some to be "normal" and OK. I have known a lot of pond keepers that have no Winter kill at all. Everyones experience varies.

Goldfish can easily last decades. Nishikgoi (Koi) can live longer than we currently do. Goldfish get large and can be quick. Koi can get well over three feet long and very big around and are extremely strong and quick. Fish are afraid of being caught and do not understand being transferred to a "safer" place.
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