Fish Under Ice

I have a patio pond. It’s made of a 400 gallon poly-tub that sits next to my raised porch. It’s one of the first projects we completed when we moved into our new home back in 2017. I acquired a number of aquatic plants and a dozen or so “dime-store goldfish” that were no bigger than my thumb. Since then, the plants have truly flourished, including a couple of “drop and grow” water lily plants which were dry-rooted in a plastic pot that we bought at the farm store.

The first year, I only “dropped” one – a plant that produced lovely reddish-pink blooms. The next year, I added a water lily with yellow blooms and much larger circumference leaves. Last summer, those plants completely consumed the top of the pond, obscuring my view of the fishes which had grown substantially over the years and even produced little fry that have grown up, too. I believe the fishes like the lily pads, as they produce a lot of shade which keeps the water cooler.

Last year, at the end of summer, I chose to offer some of the water lily plants to a friend for her pond. Oh my goodness. It nearly didn’t happen. Robert reached down to grab the mass of roots and it was as if they had taken over the entire bottom third of the pond. They were a massive ball of exceedingly heavy roots all entwined as one. While Robert held the roots towards the surface, we were able to use a sharp knife and cut off a good chunk of roots and stems, but it made me quite aware that this Spring we have a huge project to tackle. It will be worth it so that I can see my precious fishes again. They provide such a calming tranquility as they move through the water.

During the winter, the fish go into a sort of dormant state. We don’t feed them (albeit there remains quite a bit of plant matter on which to dine if they get hungry.) The surface freezes over, but we keep an aerator going and we run a floating heater which keeps a small opening in the surface. It makes me happy to see the wild birds taking advantage of that open water, especially during the very cold weather.

Yesterday, the temperature rose to the mid-40’s (F.) The pond surface ice began to recede. For the first time in a long while I saw my fishes – including my fav, the large one with the white ring around his belly. I thought I’d share these interesting images of the fish swimming beneath the surface of the ice, and peaking out through the open water.

One Comment on “Fish Under Ice

  1. Wow that is so amazing. Really surprised water lillies and your fish survive through the winter. But it seems like a lot of work. It would have been great if you had an youtube video to go with your pictures.

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