Brown foamy bubbles on surface


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Hello all,

New to this forum . . need your experienced advice. I have a 30 ft dia. pond, (approx.10,000 gallons), 3+ feet deep, with bullrushes and other plants growing in it. It's 13 years old . always had clear water, no natural water inflow, just rain water (snow melt) which I circulate through 7 'flow forms' , along with a fountain. I've been succesful with overwintering my 40+ goldfish (use a bubbler in the winter) This summer my water has turned slightly brown, with brown foamy bubbles on the surface. Also have some milfoil growing on the bottom (brought in by ducks in the spring) which I rake out, some still there. Figured it's a 'nitrate problem' . I've added lots of fresh water . .no clearing up at all. The fish also have been staying very low in the water, possibly due to having had Blue Herons come down for a fishing trip.

I've added a full box of table salt, yet the problem persists - first hot hot summer I've had this cloudy slightly brown water + brown foamy surface bubbles. (was browny BEFORE the hot weather)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

John in Nelson, BC
 
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sissy

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not good for fish .Most use pond salt or solar salt which is cheaper
 
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John in Nelson said:
brown foamy bubbles on the surface.
No picture so I'll have to guess...most common cause, for your age pond, is high DOC level. DOC = dissolved organic carbon, or dissolved organic compounds, or a bunch of other meanings. But basically it just means really tiny bits of decayed matter --- like not visible to the naked eye. Dead plants and animals decompose into smaller and smaller bits. Science just picks a size range and calls it DOC. The tiny bits will continue to decompose until someday it just elements.

At the DOC size it acts like a soap and creates foam on the surface normally from some surface agitation like a waterfall or fountain. Normally a brownish - whitish foam. Most people say something like "dirty looking soap foam".

John in Nelson said:
Also have some milfoil growing on the bottom (brought in by ducks in the spring) which I rake out, some still there. Figured it's a 'nitrate problem'
What's a nitrate problem? That milfoil is growing? Nitrate can be reduced which might reduce growth, but nitrate is continuously being created in a pond. So even if you measure 0 it wouldn't mean there's no nitrates. It just means the plants are using it as fast as it's created, which is normal.

John in Nelson said:
. I've added lots of fresh water . .no clearing up at all.
You mean the milfoil isn't clearing up? Plants need nitrate and other chemicals to create cells, but only a tiny amount to stay alive since they produce most of their food. Mineral nutrients are primarily cell building blocks.
John in Nelson said:
I've added a full box of table salt, yet the problem persists - first hot hot summer I've had this cloudy slightly brown water + brown foamy surface bubbles. (was browny BEFORE the hot weather)
No sure why you thought salt would have any effect. I don't know how big this box was, only that it was full, but for a 10,000 gal pond if you were trying to kill the plants or for a normal parasite treatment level you would have had to add about 834lbs of salt.

So you the box was like 1lb that wouldn't do anything. I wouldn't add salt to a mud bottom pond, which I assume this is, for any reason. There might even be laws against doing so since it can mess up a lot of stuff. Removing the salt would be a real problem.

John in Nelson said:
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
If you can confirm the issue is a high DOC level that would have to be reduced. In a mud bottom pond reducing the DOC level isn't easy because there's a constant resupply. There's a pretty simple device you can make cheap called a "protein skimmer" or "foam fractionator" you can Goggle. You can also turn off surface agitation to reduce the foam on the surface.

The foam thing can come and go. So it could clear up on its own, or get worst. It's not related to temp I think.

Brown water can mean a lot of things, from suspended clay to tannins to tiny bits of suspended decayed matter to even a bacteria bloom.
 
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Thank you all for your responses.

"Waterbug' - thanks for taking the time to ouline my potential problems. I appreciate that very much and I also have come to the conclusion that too much organic material lies on the mud bottom (liner underneath), thus creating the high DOC levels.

Would adding much more fresh water help?

Dr. Case - Flow Forms (google it) are innovative 'basins' that replicate water movement (figure 8's in each basin) coming down a mountain stream. It comes from water research out of Germany and England over 50 years ago. The flow forms, oxygenate, acts as a filter and 'energizes' the water and serves as a downward water flow into the pond. I only circulate my water through these 7 Flow Forms. (no natural inflow)

I've added nothing other than a small amount of salt, which hindsight tells me was futile.

The milfoil (green stringy vegetation) is there . .in smaller amounts, since I clean out most bigger beds once a year. My pond lilies and bullrushes seem to be doing well, although a few 'edge' plants have very black soil bases.

Anyway . . . .appreciate your suggestions. Certainly enjoy this forum !!
 
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Try to keep salt out of the pond and never use table salt cooking salt is fine , do you have a QT setup ?
The only time your fish should see salt is for a short ternm bath.
With salt in the pond you cannot treat your fish as it can in some cases turn toxic, do you get where I'm coming from ???
Its better for the fish to have a short term salt bath in say a benching bowl, then if the pond needs treating there is no salt and no hassle in treating the pond if neccessary .
The Problem with salt is that it doesnt evaporate and the only way you can remove it would be to do a number of water changes until its gone from the pond.
This you dont need as it'll stress your fish out no end !!!!.....

rgrds

Dave
 

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