Last Updated: 1/29/18
1. On 1/2/18 at dawn, I poured scalding water down the main waterfall to help open it up. I used a sledge hammer to chip away at the ice forming where the waterfalls splash. They've started to run water over the ice. It's been in the single digits the last few nights. Don't worry, I don't bang on the ice. I'm talking about chipping off ice that's not in the main pond and grabbing it with aqua gloves and throwing it away from the waterfall. If I don't do this, the water could pump out on the ice on top of the pond to some extent. I have the de-icer in the top of the biofilter. Not only does this keep it open (and not pumping water over the sides of the filter) but it also warms the water as it goes down the waterfall which helps keep it flowing. The open area at the air stone is now down to about a foot in diameter. Since the 153 gallon pond is much smaller, the de-icer and aerator there are still keeping half the pond open (no ice on top).
2. I was so incredibly cold the first week of January 2018! It was 7 degrees F the morning of 1/5/18. On 1/6/18, at 5 degrees F, I poured two buckets of scalding water in the 153 gallon pond and eight buckets (three different times in the day) to the 1800 gallon pond. I used the sledge hammer to open up some of the places where moving water was blocked or diverted by ice and then use the hot water to clear them of any pieces of ice that I can't grab fast enough with my aqua gloves over regular gloves. I was able to walk across the marginal area of the pond to pick up sticks. The pond is probably the most frozen it has been. The aerator kept open about an 8" hole. The waterfalls continued to run but for the first time EVER, the main waterfall was not flowing over the big rock on 1/7/18 (4 degrees F that morning). It had diverted out of sight somewhere. By afternoon, it was coming down the main spot again but a lot was going over the mound of ice and pumping the pond down over the ice so I had to work on opening that up. Hopefully, the frigid temperatures are over for now but it was 4 to 15 degrees F every single morning for over a week.
3. On 1/7/18, I didn't do any pond chores aside from the sledge hammer and scalding water. Everything is frozen hard!
4. The cold finally broke so it was up to 42 degrees F on 1/10/18, and I could finally top off the 153 and 1800 gallon ponds and hand remove some leaves. on 1/12/18, it got up to 60 degrees F! But, then everything flash froze by the next day.
5. On 1/14/18, the air temperature was only up to 20 degrees F. The thermometer was frozen in the big pond, and the one in the 153 gallon pond read 40 degrees F. If you think I did anything other than check the thermometers, you're nuts!
6. It was finally warm enough on 1/21/18 to do pond work! The air temperature was 55 degrees F. The thermometer in the 1800 gallon pond read 42 degrees F while that in the 153 gallon pond read 45 degrees F. There was still ice in the marginal area. The net on the big pond was mostly frozen but I was able to detach one corner and get in the pond. I removed and replaced the filter material around the pump. There were two small live pickerel frogs in there that I moved to the 153 gallon pond. I squirted off the bioballs. There were two large pickerel frogs in there that I moved to the big pond and two little pickerels that I left in the bottom of the filter. I changed the box of Ammocarb and the oyster shell. I added water to all the ponds with the two largest being a few inches low. I put some pond salt in the big pond along with baking soda, koi clay, and BZT. Unfortunately, when I went collecting dead frogs in the 1800 gallon pond, I found a record 12 dead ones in the bottom of the pond and three more where the waterfall spills in to a shallow area. One was big but the rest were small. All were pickerel frogs. I have never removed 15 dead frogs in one day. I did not see a single green frog, live or dead. It was so cold the last month. The pond had a hole open in the ice but it must not have been enough. The fish seem okay although my oldest koi, Colin, has fin septicemia which is usual for him this time of the year.
7. It was 50 degrees F outside on 1/28/18 but drizzling. The 1800 gallon pond was at 49 degrees F, and the 153 gallon pond was at 45 degrees F. I topped off all the ponds, put in some additives, and collected some leaves out of both ponds. The snowdrops are blooming by the 153 gallon pond.
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