Back in August, I reported on how the fishman had constructed an above-ground pond and stocked it with plants and goldfish. As winter approached, he trimmed the waterlily, inserted PVC pipes for the fish, and inserted a de-icer to keep the pond from freezing. He also slowly weaned the fish off food to prepare them for "hibernation."
I'm happy to share that the goldfish are still alive--even after three months of below-freezing temperatures, and several nighttime lows below 0 F (-18 C). The de-icer is doing its job.
Here's what the pond looked like after our first big snowfall in December:
The fishman occasionally checks on the fish, and on one recent occasion I snapped a quick shot when he opened the lid. We didn't want to keep it open very long, so I didn't get a very good capture. But you can see that the water, on this particular day, was completely unfrozen. And the fish appear to be using the PVC pipes for shelter:
A few days ago, he reported there was a thin layer of ice on top of the water. But apparently, if there's even a small bit of open water, they'll be fine. The goldfish go into a sort of torpor, and survive for months without food.
Today, the fishman checked again. While the outdoor air temperature was 18 F
(-8 C), the water temperature was 54 F (12 C), and the fish were swimming around. It appears his techniques are working. The de-icer; our bright, sunny days; and the greenhouse effect of the clear, insulating lid are keeping the water plenty warm. Here's what the pond looked like on a recent sunny day:
Next, the trick will be deciding when to start feeding again, and when to remove the insulating lid. Obviously, those decisions are many weeks into the future.