Algae vs Zero Algae

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Talk' started by barryian, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. barryian

    barryian

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    Hello - Temps are moderating here in February. Amazing! 55F tomorrow and 62F on Sunday and it's been mild even with some snow. I removed my netting and frame last week and Sunday will fire up the bio. Last year at this time, I used a phosphate remover. I don't recall if a couple of weeks later I used a 1/2 dose of liquid algaecide or just a pp treatment that I do during cold water temps each March. Senior moment. Probably didn't use an algae remover as I wouldn't want to swim in an algaecide either. The reason I do this is, even with 2 strong UV's, though I have crystal clear water 4 feet down, my Savio filter has to be hosed out every few days. I can go a week but the water level on the pump side drops considerably. So, last year, killing off all the algae, I had much less backwashing and much less hosing of the Savio
    filter to do. I don't know if "less is more" applies in this case ...lol ....

    My basic premise is, this is a dedicated koi pond, zero plants, no shelves. For those who don't know me, I'm a ponder for
    25 years. Doesn't mean I know everything but it's a long time. Lots of reading and always still learning. Any up or downside to being algae-less? IMO, I haven't had koi problems either way as water parameters are always checked and paramount, so I was curious to other opinions. I'm aware of some negativity to pp treatments but I think if you know your stuff, they're an amazing cleanup for aeromonas to just plain pond matter ... not to mention a whole list of other negative impacts a pond can have. So that's a preventative I do each March.
    BACK TO algae ...
    :)
    FYI - I have a nice algae wall growth due to maintaining a 50F temp throughout the winter.... That waterfall was clean this past November.... You can see it now .... IMG_6671.jpg
     
    barryian, Feb 17, 2017
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  2. barryian

    Faebinder

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    My biggest fear of using an algaecide is the loss of the algae would lead to extreme excess of phos/nitrates that eventually will be poor to the health of the fish. There is a reason why algae exists.. they eat something.... and that something does not go away unless you are doing water changes, which in a koi pond is a lot of water.
     
    Faebinder, Feb 17, 2017
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  3. barryian

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Since a dedicated Koi pond is primarily for the viewing of only the fish at the expense of a balanced aquatic eco-system, removal and/or prevention of algae will not make that much of a difference. DO levels may be negatively affected, but artificial aeration can compensate for that. Zoo-plankton will become nearly non-existent since they feed on algae thereby removing the last bit of a fish's natural diet, but processed food can replace that.
    When action is taken to remove these 'negative impacts', the 'positive impacts' are also affected. It is the balance of Nature.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Feb 17, 2017
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  4. barryian

    Tula

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    Your pond looks beautiful :) I haven't removed my cover yet, but am getting close, as we've had a mild winter.

    What kind of Savio filter do you have?
     
    Tula, Feb 17, 2017
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    sissy sissy

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    algae is a plant in a way and is doing it's job cleaning the pond water of excess nutrients .I always say aeration is our friend
     
    sissy, Feb 17, 2017
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  6. barryian

    Jimmy Gibson

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    I have the same problem as you....I have two large Koi and they keeping alot of it trimmed down but not all....so what I do is take my pool brush and give the pond a good scrubbing....most of the suspended algae gets caught in my filter and I backwash it the next morning....but it grows right back.....since I have no rocks or gravel on the bottom of my pond other than the base of the waterfall.....the algae actually looks better than the white lettering on my liner....and before anyone says anything....yes I should have flipped the liner over....too late now....lol Jimmy
     
    Jimmy Gibson, Feb 17, 2017
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  7. barryian

    barryian

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    Lol ... surprised the lettering didn't where off or get covered over time .... Sounds similar, most definitely. I've also used my pool brush sparingly, but I use it mostly by the main drain area as it cleans that up well. I think if the phosphates from winter build up, the algae is exacerbated, unless I do a pp treatment and remove phosphates. As I said, last year when I did that, I was good for the season. With 10 koi up to 24" in size, they keep the carpet algae at bay, but the floating algae in the water will keep producing even though it is well filtered out. So being koi dedicated, I pretty much eradicate algae these days.
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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  8. barryian

    barryian

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    Not sure how the lack of algae increases phosphates. I do water changes but less often last year as without the algae problem, eat seem less necessary as often as the previous years. Once phosphates are removed from the winter debris even though netted, I never have had phosphates rise and my nitrates remain 0 - extremely low. My water changes are 15-20% every few weeks. At one point before my pond rebuild in 2012, I had to do water changes weekly. No more! With the overkill filtration, I could last a month.
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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  9. barryian

    barryian

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    Did I say filter, I meant skimmer! It's the large Savio with an 8" weir and a 2800gph pump. Then there's an GcTek Alpha One 2.5 bio-filter good
    up to 5000 gallons. I'm running quite a bit of overkill... I always felt in a koi pond, overkill is always better than just meeting the minimum requirements, especially when your 6-8" koi become 24-30" koi. As said, pond is 2000 gal...
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Curious. given your lack of any aquatic plantings, how do you account for '0' Nitrate? Where is it going?
     
    Meyer Jordan, Feb 18, 2017
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  11. barryian

    barryian

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    Hi there @Meyer Jordan ... Agreed being dedicated koi, I felt the same way. I was curious as to opinions. I realize, algae never hurt my old pond but it was a different setup. 25 years ago when I started, I had a gravity fed vegetable filter, planted, with plants on shelves. Pond was about 600 gallons.
    Currently the DO levels are somewhat affected but not enough to affect the fish. Using a DO meter, if I recall correctly, the level was about 7-8? Does that sound right? I haven't used it in a few years. In 85F degree water which is rare, there's no problem visually and I have a Hakko running 24/7/ 365 .... So, it supplements the balance I've removed. Also the waterfall & bio water converge returning via the waterfall giving more oxygen. I even have an oxygen line running in the skimmer. Probably totally unnecessary. Nice hearing different opinions or and scenarios.
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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  12. barryian

    barryian

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    Good question. Could it be the high content of algae collected in the filter and skimmer where the water passes through? It is always extremely
    low if not close to 0 ....
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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  13. barryian

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Many well planted eco-ponds never have a Nitrate level of Zero. I find it extremely baffling that in a dedicated Koi Pond such as yours such a leel would exist. Nitrate is always the one parameter that DKPs chronically have elevated levels. The biofilter and/or skimmer may house algae but at levels (without clogging) not sufficent to maintain a zero reading.

    FYI: This is the volume conversions of nitrification.
    1 ppm ammonia --> 2.7 ppm nitrite --> 3.6 ppm nitrate
     
    Meyer Jordan, Feb 18, 2017
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  14. barryian

    barryian

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    So, Through the winter I've checked the ammonia, nitrites, pH, kH and gH but never bothered with nitrates since the around November.
    I will check the nitrates tomorrow as I plan to start up the bio. We'll see what we have and I'll let you know the number!
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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  15. barryian

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    I would be more interested in the Nitrate level after the biofilter has cycled.....in about 4 weeks.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Feb 18, 2017
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  16. barryian

    barryian

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    Well, I currently have a zero nitrate number. I'll follow it and we'll see. Does the high kH which I maintain between 150 - 200 have an affect on the nitrates? Just finished the bio startup, water change so all is up & running. We'll see what happens over time. Have have no idea why it remains at zero under the present conditions. Test solutions are new. Both old and new test the same. With a 50F winter water temp, the bio might reseed more rapidly. Would you think?
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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  17. barryian

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    This is why I added the request to see what the level was after 4 or so weeks. Over the Winter with the biofilter shut down and any remaining bacterial action retarded by the lower temperatures it is not surprising to see a low Nitrate level....none (or very little) has been produced. With the temperature rising, the biofilter coming back on-line and regular normal feeding about to resume, this should quickly change as more Nitrate is produced. If it doesn't then we have a mystery to solve.
    What is your Ammonia level at present?
     
    Meyer Jordan, Feb 18, 2017
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  18. barryian

    Jimmy Gibson

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    My pond is brand new.....first put water in it November 26, 2016...so I have a serious learning curve going on....we got our first two Koi really by accident....but they are large....Donald is probably 9 lbs and Hillary is at least 7 lbs..... They are going to be the tools that I use to get my biological going....I only feed them when the temperature is above 60 degrees and going to stay that way at least three days.... So I am not going to add anymore till April....we have a local High School that has has four huge green house that grows fresh vegetables for use in the school system....three of them are used to grow vegetables....the fourth one is used to grow Koi....and breed them...so you can guess where Koi waste water goes....but they have a sale in April and from what I hear they have taken the time to breed beautiful Koi....and people come from miles around to buy their Koi.....so that is where I am getting my next fish....
     
    Jimmy Gibson, Feb 18, 2017
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  19. barryian

    barryian

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    I've fed the fish 3 times over the last 2 weeks with water temps at 50F. First time I've ever attempted that. They enjoyed it. Currently the
    ammonia & nitrites are zero & pH always maintains at 8.3 using baking soda as the buffer and keeping the kH high as I said. Last year the nitrates maintained a zero reading if not close, all season long so I think we will have a mystery. We'll see in 4 weeks time
    .
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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  20. barryian

    barryian

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    You don't have to wait for water temps to reach 60F to feed them. Nice size koi, btw. When did you put them in the water? If water temp is above 50F, you can start a minimum light feeding of a wheat germ pellet, the large ones 7-8mm ..... Very light feeding to get some ammonia which will get the bio-filter working bacteria in gear. From Nov until now, did you have some fish in the new pond to get the process started as your temps are milder than up here I would think? Actually I just noticed you're only zone 7a. Hmm, so it's cool down there.
     
    barryian, Feb 18, 2017
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