basic water quality problems


koiguy1969

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Diagnose Pond Water Quality Problems

Use this handy page to find problems with your pond water's quality and clear them up. Most of the time there is a simple solution. Every pond should have good water quality and it's for certain koi and goldfish cannot live without it.

Symptom:....................................... What It Is:
Green Water / Pea Soup................... Algae Bloom
Smells Like Rotten Eggs.............. Accumulation of Sludge (high levels of anaerobic bacteria)
Small Floating Debris .......Filter Needs Cleaning / Insufficient Mechanical Filtration / Use Coagulator
White Hazy Water........... Bacterial Bloom
White Foam................ Protein Buildup / Spawning
Brown Cloudy Water............ Often Rain RunOff / Dirt in Water / Use Coagulator
pH Tests High (over 8.0).......... Pond Too Alkaline
pH Tests Low (under 7.0).......... Pond Too Acidic
Ammonia Tests Positive............. Inadequate Biological Filtration / Nitrosomas Bacteria Not Established
Nitrite Tests Positive................ Inadequate Biological Filtration / Nitrobacter Bacteria Not Established
Oily Residue on Surface..........Oil "Spill" / Oil-based Product Used in Pond
Algae Clumping on Top........... Blanket Algae
Algae Strands Growing on Rocks............... String Algae


further elaboration availble here:
http://www.ponddoc.com/Topics/DiagnoseWater.htm

further info on bacteria here:https://www.gardenpondforum.com/bacteria-just-basics-t4827.html
 
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j.w

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Thanks Koiguy.............I've got this bookmarked for future reference :lol:
 
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sissy

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I get string algae growing on my waterfall rocks but only the 2 that are slate and not the rest .I end up taking a brush to scrub some of it off after I turn the waterfall off ..These are the 2 flat stones that the water hits and splashes over to go into the pond .I do not understand since the rocks along side that get hit by the same water do not get this algae .I have even taken these 2 rocks out to clean them real good and then put them back .They are really pretty rocks and I hate to omit them from my waterfall .
 
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sissy said:
I get string algae growing on my waterfall rocks but only the 2 that are slate and not the rest .I end up taking a brush to scrub some of it off after I turn the waterfall off ..These are the 2 flat stones that the water hits and splashes over to go into the pond .I do not understand since the rocks along side that get hit by the same water do not get this algae .I have even taken these 2 rocks out to clean them real good and then put them back .They are really pretty rocks and I hate to omit them from my waterfall .
String algae is primary building block is calcium carbonate. Calcium Carbonate is also leeched from limestone or products such as concrete. Typically ponds built with limestone will have a really hard time controlling string algae.

This is a very common problem up here where I live because landscapers and even pond builders don't understand this concept and continue to build ponds out of a black lime stone.
 

addy1

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Thanks, that is nice to know
 
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Hi, I live in Nebraska and have a 4000 gal pond. I do not have a lot of money, but have found that some things cannot be skimped on. I am currently going to build a Skippy biofilter conversion as seen on this forum. Will this take care of the clumpy, masses that grow on the shallow parts of my pond in the rocks? It is so bad, you can't even see the rocks in places? I love this site and will refer to it often. Thanks everyone for the advice and am looking forward to improving my natural habitat pond.
 
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sissy

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welcome granyhuskr and you may need more than 1 of those filters to get the pond back to the shape you want it .What kind of fish do you have and how many do you have
 
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Hi granyhuskr, I had trouble with that string algea late last summer on the two limstone looking flat rocks I bought from Home Depot that I use as my waterfall rocks. I just kept cleaning the stuff and pulling it off of those rocks and it seemed to do the trick as it did not go anywhere else in the pond (thank God).
 

koiguy1969

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THOUGHT SOME NEWBIES MIGHT FIND THIS USEFUL AS WELL....SOME GOOD INFO FOR YA.
Nitrification study

Click to enlarge

Top tank Butterfly Koi

Bottom tank standard Koi

Koi are sometimes described as ammonia machines. In other words, their respiration through their gills and waste products produce what shortly becomes toxic levels of ammonia.

It has been demonstrated that after 2 to 7 days, the ammonia concentration starts to level off and then actually declines. This is attributed to a gram negative bacteria named Nitrosomonas europaea. Nitrosomonas converts ammonia to nitrite, and is generally credited with being the first half of a biological filter.

Nitrite levels from the converted ammonia then rapidly build up to even more toxic levels. Another bacteria Nitrobacter winogradsky had been thought to be the converter of nitrite to nitrate. Recently, with the benefit of the most modern technology, including DNA sequencing and analyses, it has been demonstrated that the actual converter of nitrite to nitrate in aquaria is Nitrospira marina (Hovanec, T. A. and E. F. DeLong. 1996, "Comparative analysis of nitrifying bacteria associated with freshwater and marine aquaria", Appl Environ Microbiol 62:2888-2896 and Burrell, P. C., J. Keller and L.L. Blackall. 1998, "Microbiology of a Nitrite-Oxidizing Bioreactor", Applied Env Microbiol 64:1878-1883.).

Generally it has been observed that the bacteria that convert the nitrite to nitrate don't show up until ammonia concentrations build up to high concentrations (see test results below). So the Nitrospira marina doesn't start to show up or become effective until after the ammonia levels start to spike. Then it takes 4 to 8 weeks to become effective enough to level off and reduce the nitrite concentrations. The Nitrospira marina is the second half of the biological filter, and takes much longer to mature than the first half..

The nitrates are then removed by algae and plants which completes the nitrification process in aquaria and ponds. They also can be removed by frequent water changes. Koi growth can be stunted by high levels of nitrates.

Unfortunately, many Koi have been lost because of total ignorance or a poor understanding of this process. What is not well understood is you can completely destroy a great biological filter by rigorously cleaning it with chlorinated tap water, and throwing out the media and replacing it with new media. Some chemical treatments can also destroy it.

High levels of nitrite lead to brown blood disease. Brown blood disease occurs in fish when water contains high nitrite concentrations. Nitrite enters the bloodstream through the gills and turns the blood to a chocolate-brown color. Hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood, combines with nitrite to form methemoglobin, which is incapable of oxygen transport. Brown blood cannot carry sufficient amounts of oxygen, and affected fish can suffocate despite adequate oxygen concentration in the water. This accounts for the gasping behavior often observed in fish with brown blood disease, even when oxygen levels are relatively high. In humans high nitrite levels cause "blue baby disease".

Sodium chloride (common salt; NaCl) is used to "treat" brown blood disease. Calcium chloride also can be used but is typically more expensive. The chloride portion of salt competes with nitrite for absorption through the gills. Maintaining at least a 10 to 1 ratio of chloride to nitrite in a pond effectively prevents nitrite from entering Koi. Where Koi have bacterial and/or parasite diseases, their sensitivity to nitrite may be greater, and a higher chloride to nitrite ratio may be needed to afford added protection from nitrite invasion into the bloodstream. As a general rule, strive to maintain at least to 50 to 100 ppm chloride in pond waters as "insurance" against high spikes of nitrite concentration. 1,000 ppm of salt is equal to a 0.1% level.

Brown blood disease can be prevented, or at least minimized, by close monitoring of nitrite, chloride, and total ammonia nitrogen (TAN), and by maintaining the proper chloride to nitrite ratio. If brown blood disease does occur, the condition can be reversed by adding salt to the water. Koi surviving brown blood disease or nitrite stress are more susceptible to bacterial infections, anemia (white-lip or no-blood), and other stress-related diseases. These secondary problems, such as Aeromonas or Columnaris infections, often occur 1 to 3 weeks after brown blood disease occurs.

Remember:
1 ppm of ammonia can lead to almost 3 ppm of nitrite because one Nitrogen atom in a molecule of ammonia (molecular weight of 17) forms one Nitrogen atom in a molecule of nitrite (molecular weight of 46), so 17 ppm of ammonia would lead to 46 ppm of nitrite. In other words, the ratio of the molecular weights (46/17) can potentially multiply the ammonia levels by 2.7 times.
1 ppm of nitrite can similarly lead to 1.35 ppm of nitrate (62/46).
1 ppm of ammonia can for the above reasons lead to 3.65 ppm of nitrate (62/17).

 
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Ammonia Tests Positive............. Inadequate Biological Filtration / Nitrosomas Bacteria Not Established

further elaboration availble here:
http://www.ponddoc.c...agnoseWater.htm

This was the best information that gave me the reason why my ammonia hit an unusual high while the other numbers stayed at a good level.

I have copied it and the link for future reference.

I cleaned out both my pump and aerator filter (a floater with a plant in it, dumped all it's dirt and debris into the pump, silly me it was floating right above it), I still need to get to my box filter that holds my spitter pump (currently under my fall and hard to get to while I recover from back surgery).
 
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I'm frustrated......

Tap water is crap.....5 ppm Nitrites

Water is disinfected with Chloramines, so I bought the filters specifically for it. Tested the water out of the filters....0 Nitirites.

Begin the fill of the newly 45mil lined pond, testing as I go, before and after the non-chlorinator with metals extrators as well.....tests out at .25 ammonia and .5 Nitrites.

I rinsed out the liner before I put it in the pond......I'm half filled, but will drain if necessary.

Anyone?
 

koiguy1969

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outdoork9lady said:
I'm frustrated......

Tap water is crap.....5 ppm Nitrites

Water is disinfected with Chloramines, so I bought the filters specifically for it. Tested the water out of the filters....0 Nitirites.

Begin the fill of the newly 45mil lined pond, testing as I go, before and after the non-chlorinator with metals extrators as well.....tests out at .25 ammonia and .5 Nitrites.

I rinsed out the liner before I put it in the pond......I'm half filled, but will drain if necessary.

Anyone?
outdoor9lady...
try using a good liquid or powdered " pond dechlorinator"..... like KORDONS AMQUEL PLUS" (one of the better ones).. they get rid of chlorine, chloramines, nuetralize heavy metals, nitrites and nitrates. heres a link to product:→ http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=23812&cmpid=11csepg&ref=3475&subref=AA
this will solve your dilemna...
 
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I can but the real question is, could the liner be giving off some kind of gas? I'm going to retest my water as it leaves the hose at two different speeds. I tested it at a pretty good clip after the filter exit and it showed 0 nitrites. I was told slower was better, so I slowed it down for the fill ( 220 gal in 4 hours).
 
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koiguy1969

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not likely a "fish safe" pond liner is leeching anything. are you filling a bucket from the hose and testing? or trying to test right off the hose's flow?... a filter that removes chlorine and says it "breaks the chlorine-ammonia bond" in chloramines leaves the ammonia in the water. just get the right stuff and your problem is solved. leave the inline water filter for doing small water changes... the pond's filtration can remove the ammonia and nitrites once its established.
** i'm assuming your using activated carbon or "charcoal" filters for your filling... they break the bond, absorb chlorine, and leave the ammonias.
 

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