All of the Fish in the pond Appear to Have Died Overnight! What the?

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Beal, Inc.

I live in a subdivision and my house backs up to 1 of 2 ponds: One pond is located on the left side of the street and the other is on the right. When I went outside this morning to feed the ducks, I noticed over 100 Buzzards out by the lake on the Left.

Worried, I ran out to the water to find over 120 dead fish floating on the top of the lake or washed up on the banks. They were mostly Bass, but there was also Perch (sunfish) and Catfish. Even our single 10lb carp was floating dead along the shore.

The lake on the right is just fine. Strange because the water runs from the left lake to the right lake.

I called the maintenance person who has been with the subdivision since it was first developed over 14 years ago. He couldn't believe his eyes either!

If it was poison, you would think the ducks or turtles would also be dead. If it was lack of oxygen, you would think more would continue to die and surface in a slower process. Am I right?

We had a horrible lightning storm 24-36hours ago, (from this morning) and all I can think of is that lightning must have struck the pond...but that doesn't seem very likely does it? And would it cause that result?

I called the police dept, who said it wasn't their problem. I called the health dept, the sheriff's office and the Dept. of wildlife and fisheries...all closed until tomorrow.

Anyone had this happen?   Suggestions?

The pond is approximately 1 acre...with over 120 dead fish, do you think whatever happened killed them all?

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Rainer
38,293
Raylene Lewis
Century 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX

Susan -  We thought about a massive run off as it has been so dry, but then you would have thought 1) Both Ponds would have been effected, 2) Some tturtles would have died too. I'm pretty sure this was not fertilizer or poison.

Aug 18, 2008 09:48 AM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

I haven't the foggiest idea - but I'm curious and I'm hoping you'll post what you find out in this comment thread - therefore I am parking and waiting ...

Aug 18, 2008 10:30 AM #10
Rainer
38,293
Raylene Lewis
Century 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX

Here is an email I just got -

I spoke with Jeff Henson with the Texas Parks & Wildlife - Inland Fisheries Department, and he said that this is a common problem (especially this year as dry as it has been).  Since no ducks, turtles, or snakes have died, it is not a health or poison problem.  It is from a lack of oxygen.  Since the pond has been low and there is no vegetation, our pond would be an excellent candidate for this.  The fountain would help keep the pond aerated.  It takes a while for the oxygen level to be depleted, but once it hits a certain level it can kill the fish overnight.

 I explained to him that A LOT of families with children and pets frequent the area, and I wanted to make sure that this was not a health/poison problem.  He assured me that there was nothing to worry about.  I asked if we should take a water sample just to be on the safe side, and again he re-assured me that this is a common problem this year as dry as it has been.  He said the most important thing we can do is get the fountain going and leave it running.

Guess the mystery is officially solved.

Aug 18, 2008 01:35 PM #11
Rainmaker
346,606
Sondra Meyer
Star View Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Horse Property Specialist

Raylene, thanks for letting us know what you found out.  I wonder if you should maybe forward this to the City of College Station parks department.  I think that on Haines St.,  Gabbard Park's fountain is broken. (or at least last few times I drove by, it wasn't on.) It might serve as a reminder that the fountain's do serve a useful purpose.  

I'm glad that "your" ducks, turtles and all the kids should all be safe. 

Aug 18, 2008 01:52 PM #12
Rainer
38,293
Raylene Lewis
Century 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX

LOL! Thanks Sondra! I know the ducks aren't "mine" but I did raise 14 of them from ducklings, and they have a place in my heart! LOL! I get so mad when people drive too fast and hit one. We lost 12 ducks and 2 geese to cars over spring break.

Aug 18, 2008 02:02 PM #13
Rainmaker
398,596
John Cannata
214-728-0449 http://TexasLoanGuy.com - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

Wow, that is crazy Raylene.  I do not have any good guesses, except to assume it was the lightening.  Please be sure to post an update if/when you find out.

Aug 18, 2008 02:14 PM #14
Rainer
82,609
Chris Horton
Horton's Lawn Care L.L.C. - Burton, MI

Raylene- You mentioned there was alot of algea on top of the pond, was this before or after the fish died??

Also I didn't do a final update on that post I showed you before, but I ended up losing several Catfish as well... but they are pretty much the only thing alive anymore, and there are more baby cats than I have ever seen before (schools of seriously hundreds, if not thousands all over the place.... atleast my algea is gone though lol) :-\

Fish are definitly expensive, thankfully my pond was naturally stocked by the ducks (I scare the geese off because they are mean, and can even kill a dog), that come into the pond :-D

Lastly, send me a picture of the two ponds if you can please because I do not think the lack of oxygen is accurate (seems like if the two ponds are connected if this was the case both would have the same problem, so I want to see how they are connected if possible... and don't worry about the pictures being to gruesome, I am sure it is nothing compared to how bad mine was if there was only a few hundred lol)

Aug 18, 2008 02:22 PM #15
Rainer
38,293
Raylene Lewis
Century 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX

Chris - I think the algae appeared AFTER the fish died. I'll send you a photo as soon as I can. We cleaned up all the dead fish, so the photos will be just of the 2 ponds. It is pouring rain again now, so I can't go out to take a pic without getting totally soaked!

I only have one goose left. She is friendly, because we hand raised her. ;) Reminds me of a story if you have a sec: My (now deceased) dog Tigger used to love to chase birds. She once got a hold of a duck and pulled out feathers etc. infuriating me! To cure her of this fetish, I stuck the 5lb pet in front of a goose nest at the city park. She was excited to get the opportunity to eat goose, until the big black bird jumped on her and was all over her. We picked her up before any serious damage was done, but that cured her interest in water foul. LOL :D 

Aug 18, 2008 02:59 PM #16
Rainer
9,085
Jeffrey Leatherwood
Century 21 Beal, Inc. - Bryan, TX

maybe oxygen is enriched into the water "like a fountain" with the runoff from small pond to big.  I've seen lightning strike a pond but no dead fish the next day.  I would think that the lightning would find ground pretty quivck without needing the fish's conductivity.  I like the lack of oxygen theory.

Aug 18, 2008 03:06 PM #17
Rainmaker
346,606
Sondra Meyer
Star View Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Horse Property Specialist

Raylene, I've come to discover that you are such an animal lover.   That is outrageous that many birds got killed by cars over spring break.  And, by the way, I still consider them (the live ones)  your ducks.  You love them, look out for them, and worry about them.   

Aug 18, 2008 09:04 PM #18
Rainer
82,609
Chris Horton
Horton's Lawn Care L.L.C. - Burton, MI

Raylene- That's fine, whenever you get a chance to take the pics is ok with me :-D

Hercules my old pit used to chase the geese, but he wanted to play with them not eat them lol. Luckily he was big enough they would run away... I say luckily because he probably would not have even defended himself unless they were really really hurting him, since I trained him you don't bite anything for pretty much any reason.

Aug 19, 2008 04:04 PM #19
Rainer
38,293
Raylene Lewis
Century 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX

Here are a few of the photos

Aug 19, 2008 04:59 PM #20
Rainer
82,609
Chris Horton
Horton's Lawn Care L.L.C. - Burton, MI

Raylene- Do they connect under the road/ bridge in the middle pic on the bottom?? Also was the fountain in there working when the fish died, or has that recently been added? Last question for now atleast... Has the pond ever been chemically treated for algea or anything?

Ok, so I lied... I just got done looking at the update w/ the ducks, and noticed the fountain recently broke... about how long ago did it break/ stop working?? Does anyone know about how deep the pond is?? Lastly... Where the fish dead throughout the entire pond... ie. were there dead fish completely around the shore, not just at one end or side?

Aug 19, 2008 09:21 PM #21
Rainer
38,293
Raylene Lewis
Century 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX

Chris - yes...kind of. The water runs from the overfill under the bridge/road to the lower tank. The fountain was not working when the fish died. I would say it had easily been broken for about a week. No Chemical treatments have been done.

We think the pond is only 8 feet at the deepest...we checked it recently and are pretty sure this is correct.

Your last question is a GREAT one! I had not thought of it until now. Most of the fish were dead at one end of the pond--say 70. another 20 on either side and maybe 2 or 3 across the front. I originally thought they must have floated to one side, but that doesn't really make since if the overflow was on the opposite side...does it? 

Aug 19, 2008 10:47 PM #22
Rainer
82,609
Chris Horton
Horton's Lawn Care L.L.C. - Burton, MI

Raylene- Ok.... I highly doubt that it was a lack of oxygen from your answers and am highly leaning towards lightnig striking the pond and killing the fish.

1. There is a flow in the ponds with the overflow that flows into the 2nd pond.... a flow will circulate the water which provides oxygen in the water. It doesn't matter if there is a flow to the pond or away from it, there is a flow/ current (regardless of how weak of a flow it may be it still circulates the water)

2. The fountain was not broken long enough to create a big enough drop in oxygen levels to do much if any damage especially due to the size of the pond.... my pond has never had a fountain, and has no flow to it whatsoever... its been here for atleast 8-10 years from what the neighbors have told me with no problem in the last 6 we have been here until this summer.

3. For the size of the pond it could easily support the amount of fish in it/ that died with ease for quite some time without the extra oxygen of a fountain. My pond is quite small compared to this one, and I lost well over a thousand fish overnight.

4. We both had lightning storms, and then a big die off... coincidence maybe, kind of doubt it though lol... also your algea problem looks just like mine and within a few days my pond was completely cleared up (and I had tons of algea/ seaweed in my pond).

The one and only thing that has me considering the lack of oxygen really is that there was a higher concentration in one area (which could have been caused by the storms and wind pushing them more to certain areas) and they were all to the shore (or where there "floaters" in the middle and actually in the water still?) which means they could have possibly been running out of air and swam to the top and shallower waters for air, and being that some of these fish are "school" fish they would tend to swim in groups leading to the higher #s in certain areas :-\

Aug 19, 2008 11:10 PM #23
Anonymous
Anonymous
lori

Iknow this is years later but our pond just did this and it is lack of oxygen...the larger fish require more oxygen so they died while the smaller fish were able to live.  Our fountain had broken causing the oxygen level to decrease and rain levels have been low causing the pond to lower which is also another reason for less oxygen.  I dont believe it is lightening ...same time of the year for you as well...heat of the summer. We have large bass floating and green algae ...no lightening has occured and this is what we were told happens to many ponds that are not real deep and no areation occuring..

Sep 12, 2010 02:25 PM #45
Anonymous
Anonymous
Raylene Lewis

Thanks for your post Lori - I think you are exactly right! I am concerned because the fountain is broken again and the HOA says they don't have the money to pay for it to be repaired--this means no more airation yet again!

Sep 13, 2010 07:10 PM #46
Anonymous
Anonymous
Debbie

This same thing happened at the pond on the golf course where I live I noticed the water got real low and the fountain has been off for weeks, the other day all the little fish were dead and made a white circle around the edge and began to smell real bad, now two days later they have the fountain running again...must be the aeration and lack of oxygen...

Oct 11, 2010 11:21 PM #47
Anonymous
Anonymous
gary

Hi, I have a small koi hatchery in the uk. About 10 yrs ago I went to buy new new stock at another hatchery, and the staff were out in boats dragging oxygenating weed out of the lakes. Their lakes were overstocked with fish, and they feared the hot weather would cause an oxygen crash. They were removing it so the fish would hopefully get acustomed to lower levels of oxygen during the day, and when the crash came it would not be such a shock. Sadly, the oxygen crash came too soon, and they lost all of their large koi. The smaller koi all found air pockets and survived

I have not read much of the replies, so excuse me if I repeat what others have said! The temps in the 2 ponds could be different, the deeper the lake the cooler it would be. Also stocking levels could be different. Colder water means more oxygen, and more fish means more demand for oxygen.

I turned off a tank holding about 30,000 week old fry by mistake, the temp went down 7C and they all died. Adult fish would not die from a 7C drop, unless it froze over. Was it very warm when it happened? I have seen a lot of ponds lose fish like this, and the deaths always happen at night,  always at the height of summer, yet lightning strikes any time, and any season?   

My guess is an oxygen crash   

Nov 19, 2010 10:01 AM #48
Anonymous
Anonymous
gary

Hi,

can I just add that if anyone does have a small pond in their garden, and it requires a pump and filter, sooner or later it will block up with algea or just go wrong. If it happens at night, at the hottest part of the year, you too could lose all of your fish. Why not purchase an air pump? They do not clog up, and in the uk can be put away for 9 months of the year, when the water goes cold.

gary

Nov 19, 2010 10:22 AM #49
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Rainer
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Raylene Lewis

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