Aquatic Disaster

Patricia heard a noise in the middle of the night that she described as “gnashing of teeth.” When I went out to look at the pond this morning, it was almost empty, with a couple of the large rocks that line the edge of it having fallen into it, and apparently having cut the liner. Likely it was a raccoon trying to get the fish, who tipped the rocks over and fell in. Fortunately, at least some of the fish, including the one koi, are still in the bottom, but I’m going to have to find and repair the leak before I can refill it, and with fish in it, I’m going to have to neutralize the chlorine when I add water. And it’s a chilly day to be dealing with it.

Late-afternoon update]

Well, if I have a leak, it isn’t in the pond. I added some water that had been sitting overnight in a bucket to evaporate off the chlorine, and it didn’t go down. If it doesn’t go down overnight, I’ll turn the stream back on and see if that’s where the leak is.

[Friday-morning update]

The pond didn’t go down overnight, but when I turned on the stream, I found the leak. It was backing up to the beginning of it, beyond the liner.

10 thoughts on “Aquatic Disaster”

  1. See if you lived in a part of the country like I do where there isn’t a climate disaster occurring, the top 1ft or so of your pond would be frozen over. Anything the raccoon tipped over would just be sitting there and you could pull it off with a netted pole.

  2. Hmm, none of my pond content deals with fixing liners, only installing them. Let us know how you patch the leak(s).

    At least dechlorinators are not expensive.

      1. Flex seal should work. I assume you’ve got an EPDM pond liner, 20 to 45 mil.

        I’d refill it slowly, perhaps with some pauses, so as not to cause a pH or temperature shock to the fish.

          1. I think milk can help trace (kind of like finding air leaks with cigarette smoke), but probably not as good as a dye, and you’d of course have to add enough water to get the leak flowing again, as it should be near the final water level.

    1. I’ve had a few pond accidents where the pump ended up out of position and spraying water out over the side. As the water level drops to the level of the pump, the pump either shifts position or runs dry. Either way the loss stops.

      If it’s holding water, it’s holding water.

        1. Well, depending on how dry the normal subsoil is, you might be able to detect a really wet area around the rim, probably near the pump.

          If a leak had dropped the level by a large amount, the leak would be deep because the water level won’t drop below the hole. Water from a deep leak shouldn’t make the top of the ground wet, but an errant hose shooting water out over the lip should. But it’s California so it may have all dried up before you even got out there.

          One time when that happened to me, some of the housemate’s friends (college boys) had swung by to mow the lawn. Noticing the low water level, there was still plenty for the fish to swim in, due to the level where the pump sat, but probably 70% or so of the total volume was gone. So, being college boys, they came to the rescue by running the garden hose directly into the pond and filling it back up. Some hours later they told the housemate how they’d “saved the pond”. Yeah, the tap water had already killed most of the fish.

          Another time the same guys wiped out the garden with a weed trimmer because they thought the tomato and pepper plants, with fruit still on them, were weeds.

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