Filter crash - need advice!


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Friends,
i've recently had a biological filter crash in my 3,000 gallon pond and i thought i was on the right path, but I'm struggling for answers, and so are the fish.

Like a typical novice, this started due to overfeeding. I came home after a fishing trip last week to find all the fish on the bottom of the pond, and (in hindsight) the problem had been building but i wasn't aware until then. Ammonia was around 2.0 so i did a 50% water change and added Ammo Lock. The next day i did a 20% water change and all seemed well. Then for a few days I cut back on feeding dramatically - but now know that i should have stopped feeding. I've not fed them for 2+ days now. Yesterday the water got murky and this morning the ammonia was back to 2.0, nitrites .25, PH 8.4, salt .35 (added to help reduce stress). I've been keeping KH around 170 but it's been dropping due to this instability but i'm staying on top of it. When I saw that the ammonia was so high again this morning i did a 20% water change this am and the fish are moving around again, nipping at the algae on the pond walls.

I know it'll take some time for the filter to become fully functional again - so what should i do in the meantime? It seems like i just can't get on top of this ammonia even though i'm not feeding them. (i know they produce ammonia via breathing and the pond produces it via the sludge, but the ammonia levels are still making them sick) Finally, i've been adding beneficial bacteria daily to the filter but the more i read, i'm learning that BB does nothing to enhance the bacterial colonies.

I would welcome your recommendations for a regimen for getting the filter back to fully functioning - and, for keeping my fish safe and alive while this is happening. Thanks! ck

P.S. i don't have a test for Nitrates but one's coming in the mail soon.
 
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addy1

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Wow what a mess! @sissy uses zeolite, she has had great success with it for removing ammonia. I don't recall where she gets it from.
Amazon has it

 

sissy

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yes cheaper than pet stores zeolite but you must use a fine mesh cloth like cheese cloth or tulle to contain it .I still have a big bag in the basement and use a bag in both my filyters and change it out every 2 months and the old stuff goes in my veggie garden and it really does help the veggies grow
 
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Not trying to hijack this thread but looking for advice.
Any recommendation on how much PDZ to use as a preventive measure for a 2000 gal pond running a 100 gal
homemade Skippy filter ?
 

Mmathis

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Not trying to hijack this thread but looking for advice.
Any recommendation on how much PDZ to use as a preventive measure for a 2000 gal pond running a 100 gal
homemade Skippy filter ?
The best prevention is to prevent the causes, such as over feeding, over stocking, inadequate bio-filtration, and inadequate use of plants.
 
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Not trying to hijack this thread but looking for advice.
Any recommendation on how much PDZ to use as a preventive measure for a 2000 gal pond running a 100 gal
homemade Skippy filter ?
i've read to use a pound of zeolite per 100 gallons.
 
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Note however that if you use salt in your pond, the zeolite won't work. That's because when the zeolite gets saturated with ammonia, you're supposed to soak it in .5% salt water to release the ammonia and "recharge" the rock. So if there's salt in the pond, it will automatically release the ammonia and it won't work. Good luck! gc
 
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Friends,
i've recently had a biological filter crash in my 3,000 gallon pond and i thought i was on the right path, but I'm struggling for answers, and so are the fish.

Like a typical novice, this started due to overfeeding. I came home after a fishing trip last week to find all the fish on the bottom of the pond, and (in hindsight) the problem had been building but i wasn't aware until then. Ammonia was around 2.0 so i did a 50% water change and added Ammo Lock. The next day i did a 20% water change and all seemed well. Then for a few days I cut back on feeding dramatically - but now know that i should have stopped feeding. I've not fed them for 2+ days now. Yesterday the water got murky and this morning the ammonia was back to 2.0, nitrites .25, PH 8.4, salt .35 (added to help reduce stress). I've been keeping KH around 170 but it's been dropping due to this instability but i'm staying on top of it. When I saw that the ammonia was so high again this morning i did a 20% water change this am and the fish are moving around again, nipping at the algae on the pond walls.

I know it'll take some time for the filter to become fully functional again - so what should i do in the meantime? It seems like i just can't get on top of this ammonia even though i'm not feeding them. (i know they produce ammonia via breathing and the pond produces it via the sludge, but the ammonia levels are still making them sick) Finally, i've been adding beneficial bacteria daily to the filter but the more i read, i'm learning that BB does nothing to enhance the bacterial colonies.

I would welcome your recommendations for a regimen for getting the filter back to fully functioning - and, for keeping my fish safe and alive while this is happening. Thanks! ck

P.S. i don't have a test for Nitrates but one's coming in the mail soon.
Hey any updates on the ammonia situation? Hope things got better for you.
 
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Hey any updates on the ammonia situation? Hope things got better for you.
thanks for checking in. This has been a year of learning for me with the pond - i'm in my second year with it. Regarding my filter crash, the experts on Koiphen said "don't do lots of water changes as you wait for your system to cycle again - just use Seachem safe to keep the ammonia down" but another (expert) friend said "yes, do frequent water changes and add back your plants as soon as you can" (i had the salt pretty high so i removed my plants). When I did the almost daily water changes of 25% AND added back the plants the ammonia disappeared pretty quickly.

As you'd expect, i had a few fish get really sick from this terrible water. i lost two of my $1000+ fish (ugh), but was able to save the rest who were weak and susceptible to parasites. So all good now.

I'll also say that my pond has been more of a water garden - it's 3000 gallons, rubber lined, with no bottom drain. The filtration is a small mechanical/bio waterfall filter and a larger bog filter. Those two filters aren't enough to keep the pond free of heavy muck so i've ordered a large bead filter w/UV light to add as a third filtration system - and i'm hoping this keeps the pond free of muck and junk which will make life for the fish better all around. More than you probably wanted to know, but that's the latest. gc
 
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thanks for checking in. This has been a year of learning for me with the pond - i'm in my second year with it. Regarding my filter crash, the experts on Koiphen said "don't do lots of water changes as you wait for your system to cycle again - just use Seachem safe to keep the ammonia down" but another (expert) friend said "yes, do frequent water changes and add back your plants as soon as you can" (i had the salt pretty high so i removed my plants). When I did the almost daily water changes of 25% AND added back the plants the ammonia disappeared pretty quickly.

As you'd expect, i had a few fish get really sick from this terrible water. i lost two of my $1000+ fish (ugh), but was able to save the rest who were weak and susceptible to parasites. So all good now.

I'll also say that my pond has been more of a water garden - it's 3000 gallons, rubber lined, with no bottom drain. The filtration is a small mechanical/bio waterfall filter and a larger bog filter. Those two filters aren't enough to keep the pond free of heavy muck so i've ordered a large bead filter w/UV light to add as a third filtration system - and i'm hoping this keeps the pond free of muck and junk which will make life for the fish better all around. More than you probably wanted to know, but that's the latest. gc
Oh, no it's not more than I want to know. In fact, I've more questions :D
So, you didn't add Seachem right? And you did almost daily changes of 25% for how long? That does not stress the fish too much? We have an ammonia problem since a couple of days.
We climbed from between 0 and 0.25 to 0.5 to possibly 1.0 today!
Did approx 25 % change but over two days and added bacteria but nothing happened. Is it safe to do a change again? I thought you had to wait for a week?
Also, we're thinking of using zeolite from the local tractor supply. Did you use that at all?
Thanks in advance!
 
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I did use Seachem properly and it helped - but i was warned that it could take up to 4-6 weeks to get the filter right again. i was also told NOT to feed the fish during that time - and it was hard but i did it. If you're at 1.0, i would do 25% WC's every day or every other day for now. And use Seachem safe at the same time. It just takes time for the filter to get going and as long as you don't add to the load by feeding the fish it'll come back soon.
Because i was using salt in the pond, i couldn't use zeolite. But if you don't have salt at all, then zeolite should help you a lot. Remember, however, that your filter needs SOME ammonia for the nitrifying bacteria to eat so if you use zeolite, only use it until ammonia is very low again. Said another way, if you used zeolite constantly then it might take longer for the filter to get going again.

finally, adding back the plants helped a ton - because plans also absorb ammonia as well as other bad agents. Before adding them, rinse the dirt off of their roots (if they're potted) or just go buy lots of water lettuce or water hyacinth from your gardening store. then ask yourself "why did the ammonia get so bad in the first place?" In my case, it was because i was overfeeding - a rookie mistake, but i made it. gc
 
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Do you have plenty of aeration and water movement?

What I don't understand is your statement that your filter "crashed". I have never heard anyone make such a statement. What exactly does that mean and how did you come to this conclusion?

Obviously your test readings are a need for concern.

It seems normal to me when my fish just hang out, whether it be on the bottom or when they line up in a sunny spot.

You say you also have a bog filter. A lot of us have them, they are very effective and if sized properly are usually the only filter that is neccessary.
 
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I did use Seachem properly and it helped - but i was warned that it could take up to 4-6 weeks to get the filter right again. i was also told NOT to feed the fish during that time - and it was hard but i did it. If you're at 1.0, i would do 25% WC's every day or every other day for now. And use Seachem safe at the same time. It just takes time for the filter to get going and as long as you don't add to the load by feeding the fish it'll come back soon.
Because i was using salt in the pond, i couldn't use zeolite. But if you don't have salt at all, then zeolite should help you a lot. Remember, however, that your filter needs SOME ammonia for the nitrifying bacteria to eat so if you use zeolite, only use it until ammonia is very low again. Said another way, if you used zeolite constantly then it might take longer for the filter to get going again.

finally, adding back the plants helped a ton - because plans also absorb ammonia as well as other bad agents. Before adding them, rinse the dirt off of their roots (if they're potted) or just go buy lots of water lettuce or water hyacinth from your gardening store. then ask yourself "why did the ammonia get so bad in the first place?" In my case, it was because i was overfeeding - a rookie mistake, but i made it. gc
Thank you for your prompt responses! We added 20 lbs of salt to our 1800 gallon pond on May 1. However, there have been some water changes since and I would wager that at least half of it is gone.
 
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I suspect that the sudden spike in ammonia that we're measuring is due to the sudden crash of the pea soup algae two days ago (the water got really clear in two to three days and I think all that dead algae decomposing is doing it because we have not fed the fish for three days and did 10% and then 15% water changes and the level went up. The pond store guy thinks there may be a dead critter in there but I'm not seeing anything...
 
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I hope you are using a good liquid test kit and not those inaccurate test strips.

You stated your pond is 3,000 gallons. How many fish are in there, what type of fish and what sizes are they. Are you sure you fish load is not exceeding the size of the pond?
An overpopulated pond can be the cause of koi deaths and it's usually the larger ones that suffer. Unfortunately I have experienced this.
A lot of aeration is needed.
 
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I hope you are using a good liquid test kit and not those inaccurate test strips.

You stated your pond is 3,000 gallons. How many fish are in there, what type of fish and what sizes are they. Are you sure you fish load is not exceeding the size of the pond?
An overpopulated pond can be the cause of koi deaths and it's usually the larger ones that suffer. Unfortunately I have experienced this.
A lot of aeration is needed.
 
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yes, using digital testing for salt & ph, liquid kits for everything else. Regarding overstocking, i've studied that extensively so i can confidently say i'm not overstocking with roughly 12 medium sized koi, ranging from 8" to 16".
 

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