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Are Pond Ionizers Safe? You be the judge.

Meyer Jordan

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Meyer Jordan submitted a new article:

Are Pond Ionizers Safe? You be the judge. - Copper Toxicity

Are Pond Ionizers Safe? You be the judge.


Certain manufacturers of Pond equipment decided to borrow a technology from the Swimming Pool industry and, with maybe some minor tweaks, promote it as an exciting breakthrough in controlling Pond algae. Presenting the IONIZER!
Through the controlled release of Copper, Zinc and Silver ions into the pond’s water column, algae growth can be controlled and in many cases eliminated. This, on the surface, is great news for...
Read more about this article...
 
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Really?
A test strip is all that is provided for testing something as serious as copper?
Not only is an excess amount of copper toxic to fish, but even at lower concentrations you can say goodbye to other invertebrate organisms in the ecosystem, such as snails.
...just to eliminate algae.
There are better ways to reduce algae in a pond.

Activated carbon and poly-filter pads are helpful in reducing any heavy metal concentrations in a pond or aquarium, as are water changes.

Articles such as this one are very helpful, as more information comes out about the products that we use that are considered convenient or quick fixes.
There was a study done a few years ago that studied the effects of plasticizers on certain marine organisms, namely sea urchin eggs, where it demonstrated that the plasticizers are toxic to the developing embryos.
Plasticizers are compounds that make plastics soft. An example would be a rubbermaid "Brute" garbage can.
A lot of people use these garbage cans, and similar products, but a lot of us also have unexplained deaths.
As more information comes out, hopefully we will continue to improve the environments for our aquatic pets.
(I'm going from memory on this study, so I may have missed a couple of points, but I always like to see more information on subjects like this)
 
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A couple of years ago, this pond guy tried to sell us an ionizer...said it was the latest technology and far superior to UV lights. I was skeptical, as I have some knowledge of a friend's newfoundland, whose liver was damaged from high copper levels. I'm glad I didn't get one :(
 
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Meyer Jordan

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If someone finds that their pond has a high concentration of copper, from ionizers or otherwise; water hyacinth, duckweed and waterweed (elodea nuttalli) have been shown to effectively remove copper (plus heavy metals in general) from the water column.
Here is a study that demonstrates one example.
http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/AA/00/02/63/72/00001/effectsofheavyme00kays.pdf
Typha (Cattail) is another specie that is effective at removing Copper and other heavy metals and toxins from the water column.
Copper ions naturally gravitate to ANY organic matter. In fact, in a pond with a considerable layer of muck on the bottom an ionizer would likely have no effect as an algaecide as the Copper would quickly be bound to the organic muck. It is in those ponds where the owners are fastidious in keeping the pond 'clean' that ionizers can do the most harm.
 
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My wife and I recently went on a garden tour and came across a garden with a pond.
As soon as I saw the pond, I said to myself, "this looks like a pond with an ionizer"
After talking to the owner, she was in fact using one.:(
I didn't have the heart to tell her the damage ionizers could do because I didn't think I could cite any useful specific information to her.
She was pretty convinced on the supposed benefits of the ionizer. It wasn't really the proper venue to get into an argument.

Here is a picture of the pond. The colour balance in the picture is off because the actual colour of the algae covering the rocks is a golden yellow. Otherwise, the pond was devoid of any healthy green algae/periphyton.
The water was crystal clear, which is not what I consider a condition of a healthy pond ecosystem.
She also has a couple of hardy water lilies, but you can see the small size of the lily pads, a result of the colder water temperatures we have here. I did direct her to the local commercial supplier of native plant species that I recently found.
We did discuss the frustration of only having warmer water pond plants available at local garden centers.

IMG_6903.jpg
 
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Man, those ionizers sound like the typical sell you some stuff that superficially fixes a trivial esthetic issue, then sell something else to fix the damage caused by the first thing you didn't need.
 

Meyer Jordan

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Man, those ionizers sound like the typical sell you some stuff that superficially fixes a trivial esthetic issue, then sell something else to fix the damage caused by the first thing you didn't need.
That is basically the business plan of most Pond treatment (and some equipment) manufacturers
 
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So true and so sad. But honestly there's no money to be made in telling people their pond will do just fine with very little intervention. We do that here for free!
 
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Hmmm... I see I see. I will unplug the ionizer and see how she goes. Has any ever tried a permanganate treatment? thanks
 

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Hmmm... I see I see. I will unplug the ionizer and see how she goes. Has any ever tried a permanganate treatment? thanks
Potassium permanganate is a very strong oxidizer.
Here is an excellent article that emphasizes the caution that must be taken when using this chemical.
http://www.bonniesplants.com/PotassiumPermanganate.html

One thing that this article fails to specifically mention is the damage that this chemical will do to the all-important periphyton growth in a pond. This alone will greatly set-back the biochemical balance of a pond.
Better to find out where the nutrients are coming from that feed this nuisance and eliminate it.or greatly restrict it.
 
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Potassium permanganate is a very strong oxidizer.
Here is an excellent article that emphasizes the caution that must be taken when using this chemical.
http://www.bonniesplants.com/PotassiumPermanganate.html

One thing that this article fails to specifically mention is the damage that this chemical will do to the all-important periphyton growth in a pond. This alone will greatly set-back the biochemical balance of a pond.
Better to find out where the nutrients are coming from that feed this nuisance and eliminate it.or greatly restrict it.
Absolutely, thanks for that article.
 
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