Filter ? need some help


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I need help too.

OK, I am not a pond newbee but new on this forum.
My wife and I have had a 600 L cement Koi pond for 30 years or more.
We used to have lollies and just let the pond biota balance out naturally with a few plants like lilies to reduce sunlight.
However, just over a year ago, we installed an Aquapro all in one pump filter after a major cleanup of the pond.
Well, the lilies failed to thrive this time but the Aquapro kept the water pretty clear with many filter cleans.
However, this summer it;s not doing well at all. The filter is blocking up really fast and needing a clean twice a week and the water is very opaque green now. It's a sponge filter so not capable of removing single cell algae. The PH and nutrients are good but the algae bloom is out of control. The pump has a UV lamp which I thought may have failed. The lamp appeared a little discolored but the filaments looked OK. So, I tested the lamp with an ohm meter which indicates the lamp is open circuit. I got a replacement lamp which also test open circuit. Well I'm not familiar with uncoated filament UV Lamps so, don't really know how they work or want to expect. So I then exposed some fluorescent materials to the lamp, being exceedingly careful to shield myself from the direct UV.

The materials failed to fluoresce. So it appears the lamp is not producing UV. Without a clear way forward, I put the pump back in the pond in hopes I am mistaken but alas, there is not improvement with the green water. The pump is out of warranty so it seem to me there is no chance of getting anyone to repair the pump. So, it's going to be up to me to diagnose and repair. Problem is, I haven't been able to find out how it's supposed to work. I know the supply is 12 V AC but the Watts and Amps for the lamp suggest the the voltage should be twice that and the filament resistance should be measurable (according to ohms law). Also, I don't understand what makes a filament lamp with clear glass envelops emit UV if it's just 50 Hz low voltage AC. Perhaps it's driven by very high frequency AC? So, none of this is making any sense. Can anyone enlighten me as to how this is supposed to work?

I don't think it's acceptable to have to purchase a new all in one filter pump every year.

PS. We have not been able to source any water lilies, possibly due to the severe drought this year.

PPS, I found the lamp has a cutout switch that is engaged when the lamp cover is in place. This explains why I detected no UV in my test as the switch was not engaged. With it engaged, I find 1860 V supplied to the lamp. High voltage yes but current limited. This explains the lamp's high resistance. With the switch disengaged, I get 3.5V at 68 kHz. I haven't tested the frequency at high voltage as I don't want to risk my meter. I assume this means the filament is excited by high frequency/high voltage AC to emit UV. I still don't know if these measurements are in spec but at lease making some sense now. Also found the new lamp has a little discoloration, so obviously been getting hot. I'll assume the lamp is working for now and just see what happens to the pond over the next week.

The manufacture has not responded to my request for assistance.

Ken
 
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I need help too.

OK, I am not a pond newbee but new on this forum.
My wife and I have had a 600 L cement Koi pond for 30 years or more.
We used to have lollies and just let the pond biota balance out naturally with a few plants like lilies to reduce sunlight.
However, just over a year ago, we installed an Aquapro all in one pump filter after a major cleanup of the pond.
Well, the lilies failed to thrive this time but the Aquapro kept the water pretty clear with many filter cleans.
However, this summer it;s not doing well at all. The filter is blocking up really fast and needing a clean twice a week and the water is very opaque green now. It's a sponge filter so not capable of removing single cell algae. The PH and nutrients are good but the algae bloom is out of control. The pump has a UV lamp which I thought may have failed. The lamp appeared a little discolored but the filaments looked OK. So, I tested the lamp with an ohm meter which indicates the lamp is open circuit. I got a replacement lamp which also test open circuit. Well I'm not familiar with uncoated filament UV Lamps so, don't really know how they work or want to expect. So I then exposed some fluorescent materials to the lamp, being exceedingly careful to shield myself from the direct UV.

The materials failed to fluoresce. So it appears the lamp is not producing UV. Without a clear way forward, I put the pump back in the pond in hopes I am mistaken but alas, there is not improvement with the green water. The pump is out of warranty so it seem to me there is no chance of getting anyone to repair the pump. So, it's going to be up to me to diagnose and repair. Problem is, I haven't been able to find out how it's supposed to work. I know the supply is 12 V AC but the Watts and Amps for the lamp suggest the the voltage should be twice that and the filament resistance should be measurable (according to ohms law). Also, I don't understand what makes a filament lamp with clear glass envelops emit UV if it's just 50 Hz low voltage AC. Perhaps it's driven by very high frequency AC? So, none of this is making any sense. Can anyone enlighten me as to how this is supposed to work?

I don't think it's acceptable to have to purchase a new all in one filter pump every year.

PS. We have not been able to source any water lilies, possibly due to the severe drought this year.

PPS, I found the lamp has a cutout switch that is engaged when the lamp cover is in place. This explains why I detected no UV in my test as the switch was not engaged. With it engaged, I find 1860 V supplied to the lamp. High voltage yes but current limited. This explains the lamp's high resistance. With the switch disengaged, I get 3.5V at 68 kHz. I haven't tested the frequency at high voltage as I don't want to risk my meter. I assume this means the filament is excited by high frequency/high voltage AC to emit UV. I still don't know if these measurements are in spec but at lease making some sense now. Also found the new lamp has a little discoloration, so obviously been getting hot. I'll assume the lamp is working for now and just see what happens to the pond over the next week.

The manufacture has not responded to my request for assistance.

Ken
Do you fertilize your lillys? Slow release pellets? Can't help with filter, don't use one.
 
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Do you have anything aerating the water? I.E. breaking water surface for oxygen.?
Waterfall, bubbler, water fountain.?
 
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Do you have anything aerating the water? I.E. breaking water surface for oxygen.?
Waterfall, bubbler, water fountain.?
The pump circulates the surface as it's supposed too so that the water is turned over and oxygenated. It is scientifically documented that spraying water into the air is ineffectual at oxygenation. Oxygenation occurs at the surface only so it is far more effective to just turn the water over. All the science based fish keeping literature says this.

Ken
 
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Do you fertilize your lilies? Slow release pellets? Can't help with filter, don't use one.
Well, I never did, just left a substantial root weighed down and the lilies recovered every time. However, my wife had different ideas from looking up advice online. She only transplanted a very small lily shoot in a basket with nutrient. The lilies did not survive. Yes, I agree the nutrient is an issue but the everything was fine for a while and I have pulled a mountain of stringy algae out so that means nutrient as well. The problem now is single cell algae that the filter and lamp are not controlling.
 
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By the way, I found a safety cutout switch on the lamp, so that explains why it appears to not emit UV. With the switch engaged (and lamp removed), the lamp holder gets well over 1000V high frequency and low current. So, that explains why the 5W lamp is unmeasurable resistance (ohms law). Still, with the lamp glass in place to close the switch, and shielded from exposing me to UV, it's pretty well impossible to verify if UV is produced or not. However, the new lamp is slightly discoloured after a week of use, so something is happening electrically. Still don't know if it's producing high intensity UV though. So, I have put the whole thing back together but the water remains just as opaque green as before. We are in Drought and had a little rain the other day so I was able to top up to counter evaporation but that leaves only 50 l remaining. If we get decent rain sometime, I'd dump the nutrient rich pond water and replace with fresh rain water. But that's just impossible now, we got 3mm of rain in December, all the grass is white and disintegrating, exposing bare dust. We have lost a lot of garden plants, only the most hardy remain. We are allowed to hand water just just 30 min twice a week for a 1000 m^2 garden. My 2000 I rain water tank is bone dry. 50 l is all there is to flush and clean the pump and filter. After that I can't clean it or I loose the biome due to chlorinated town water. These 40+ C days and wind take an inch or so off the pond every day. If we don't get good rain soon, it'll be a hole in the ground with a few fish bones.
 
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The pump circulates the surface as it's supposed too so that the water is turned over and oxygenated. It is scientifically documented that spraying water into the air is ineffectual at oxygenation. Oxygenation occurs at the surface only so it is far more effective to just turn the water over. All the science based fish keeping literature says this.

Ken
Yea no kidding. spraying water into the air would do nothing.

Which is why I said I.E. anything breaking the water surface..

This was 1 question in a series of questions I had for you about your pond. To get the info not only I need but anyone who is trying to help you needs.
I have a lot of experience dealing with algae especially since I come from the saltwater end of fish keeping.

You ask for help, then when asked a question. You give a smart ass answer. I’ve been keeping fish for 30+years I don’t need an education. You might want to actually understand the Scientific literature you’re reading
I’m not the one on here asking for help.

the point of a bubbler or fountain is to agitate the surface. Not to spray water in the air.
Turning over water without aggravating , agitating, or breaking the surface tension of the water does nothing for aeration. This is a fact.
your not just turning over the water. There is something breaking the water surface tension.

The only thing I will say is if you have algae you have an imbalance in your nitrogen process. Algae forms because nutrients are too high. This is fact. Nutrients are too high because you have a imbalance of beneficial bacteria.
It’s not the plants you can have perfect water healthy water without plants. it’s the bacteria that keeps the water and the nitrogen cycle processing. Too much waste not enough bacteria excess nutrients algae grows.Plants will help in reducing nutrients ,but you have to have the right amount of beneficial bacteria per fish load no matter what.
 
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Hang on, Your question seemed to me to imply a suggestion that a fountain was needed. That sounded to me like someone who thought that spraying into the air was effective at oxygenation which is a very common though incorrect view. I responded to head off that line of thinking, not knowing anything else about you. Sorry, I misunderstood where you were coming from with that. My pump sends water straight upwards to disturb the surface but I am not using a fountain. The filter sponge is supposed to contain beneficial bacteria and the instructions are to only rinse it in rainwater. I have adhered to that and the pond was fine all last summer but not this summer. Through spring, the water was clear but there was stringy algae on the sides as last summer as well. However, the stringy algae grow became too rapid and problematic with bits floating off and blocking the pump. So, I got in and hauled wads of it out. We are in severe drought, dust storms and heavy smoke from the bush fires. In all this, the water turned green. I am not sure which factors have cause this. The PH has tended toward alkaline so I keep adjusting that. In the past, it has stabilised and not been necessary, this week it tests around 7.2. It's raining today thankfully but this rainwater is heavy with dust because everything is coated in it. I can let the dust settle, there is too much to filter. I suspect the rainwater quality will still be impaired because of the condition we have been having. Topping up with stored rain water also seems to have made the pond considerably worse. This water had been stored in a tank about 6 months and the dregs were a bit sludgy. I had filtered it as much as I was able and hoped the pond filter would have improved it more but it hasn't. I can't use the town water as the chlorine treatment was changed in a way that makes it resistant to chemical removal or off gassing with age. So the only way to maintain water in the pond was to use these dregs of rain water. It seem to me, that was the biggest factor in this algae bloom.

Ken
 

Jhn

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@Sailfish is the new pump sized correctly for your pond? Does it at least turn the pond volume over 2x per hour?

Uv lamps treat the symptom green water and not the source which as was mentioned is excess nutrients. The uv kills the algae cells the dead algae if not removed will just fuel more algae.

@Joejoe80 Sufficient Plants and proper circulation will solve any algae problem, and bring an out of balance pond into balance. Plants will consume ammonia/nitrates, metals etc. outcompeting the algae for available nutrients. the trick is to use plants that grow quickly thus using up more nutrients and banking them. Having proper water movement will help keep detritus and plant matter from settling out to the pond bottom fueling the nutrients.

True you can keep a healthy pond without plants, (if you have or desire a DKP), but ponds are a different animal than keeping fish tanks. Plants will use up nutrients leaving less available ammonia/nitrates for bacteria to consume thus bringing the nutrient load down and bringing the pond into balance without increasing the bacteria population. You also can’t control what goes into your pond via rainwater and all the wildlife that finds the pond ( depending on your location)bringing with them more waste. If I didn’t have plants in my pond it would be a green algae ridden cesspool regardless of how great of a filter system I installed and create much more work for me.
 
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OK now were getting somewhere. You Seem to be in a pretty shitty situation all around. So for now let’s not even talk about Dust in the water. Which would probably make some kind of mud mixture. plus lots of string algae that clumps up. To the point you pull it out in clumps.
Which is good you do. cause Algae feeds and traps excess nutrients from the water. However if you don’t remove the algae you’re not actually removing the nutrients. As algae Rose it feeds off the nutrients. You remove the algae it removes those nutrients with it. New algae grows removes more nutrients. You will be constantly fighting this until you remove the source of the excess nutrients.
So let’s forget that for now. Let’s Start from the beginning.

1. You built a pond or pond was built alread?

2. if you build the pond or pond was already built. Was filtration in place and then water was added correct?

3. after water was added pond was cycled? To allow beneficial bacteria to grow in youfilter and pond? and to allow nitrogen cycle to finish. Before adding fish?

answer these questions and will move on to the next set.
 
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Yes, The pump size is close to the limit for a 600 l pond 1000 l/hr, but it did just fine last year, just not this summer.

I agree about plants. we relied on them for decades with no pump and had clear water. My wife wanted the filter to reduce the buildup of detritus which was a big job to clean out every 5 or more years. Last clean was due the the mass of root growth and of course, removing them releases much detritus. So the job was basically, create a holding tank, remove as much water and fish as possible, then haul absolutely everything out and discard all but sufficient root to restart the system. Clean the pond thoroughly, replace water, fish and plants and top up lost water. This has always worked well in the past but as I explained earlier, the water lilies failed. We haven't been able to source any water plants to replace them. We do still have one Arum lily but that's all now. There is a 2000 l/hr model pump available. I think the most effective solution would be more plants if we could find them. The lack of availability may be due to the drought, not sure really.
 
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i’m not saying that you can’t use plants to outperform the algae growth but if that’s what you’re using plants for you have a problem in your system.

And just because all you have is plants in your pond. does not mean you don’t have beneficial bacteria. beneficial bacteria lives in everything including plants.
Only when a system becomes in balanced biologically you begin to have problems.

it don’t matter what type of system it is.fish tank, pond, pool with fish in it it don’t matter. water is water. fish are fish plants are plants they all need the same thing. It’s all the same filtration processes it’s all nitrogen cycle the nitrogen cycle is the same for everything no matter what.

The nitrogen cycle is able to be fully completed and processed without plants in any water system.
That’s because of the beneficial bacteria that grows during the nitrogen process.

If plants were so necessary then the nitrogen process would not be able to be completed without them.


Plants are biological filtration. And serve the same exact purpose in a fish tank as it does a pond they’re exact same thing fish are fish plants are plants it don’t matter if it’s in a fish tank aquarium or a pond it’s all the same concept all the same cycling processes all the same bacteria’s everything is exactly the same.
Light is absolutely a source for algae to grow. But without nutrients or excess nutrients in the water nothing will grow including plants.
If the biological beneficial bacteria is populated enough in any water system there is no need for plants. Or any other type of extra filtration such as UV.
Anaerobic bacteria alone should be enough to handle the waste produced by your fish and your feeding as long as it’s not being over done. Or over stocked.

Bacteria population Can only grow so big. If Fish waste and feeding is not exceeding the amount of waste the beneficial bacteria can process then there will be no excess nutrients in the water. And no need for any other type of filtration.
We overfeed and overstock our ponds that’s the reason why you need extra filtration such as plants.
Besides them being nice to look at and natural.
The only way for algae to grow is if there is an biological imbalance in the system.

I have ran full reef systems with high output T5 lighting and 150 watt metal highlights. I’ve used everything from compact to leds.
12 hour day 12 hour night cycle 1 hour sun rise 1 hour sun set.
Pushing as much light for as long as possible to get as much growth out of coral and plants as possible.
never have I had anybody that I help with fish tanks or reef tanks or any other water system that I know of have I ever had an algae issue.
except for when the system is under filtered overfed and overstocked. Which the biological bacteria is underpopulated for the amount of waist being produced.

like I said before plants are not necessary. they do aid in infiltration.
But adding plants that grow fast to outperform the algae that’s growing is not a fix it’s a Band-Aid you should not have to add rapidly growing plants to hopefully outgrow the algae.
Some algae growth is to be expected but it should not be in excess. As long as your system is in balance.
 
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OK now were getting somewhere. You Seem to be in a pretty shitty situation all around. So for now let’s not even talk about Dust in the water. Which would probably make some kind of mud mixture. plus lots of string algae that clumps up. To the point you pull it out in clumps.
Which is good you do. cause Algae feeds and traps excess nutrients from the water. However if you don’t remove the algae you’re not actually removing the nutrients. As algae Rose it feeds off the nutrients. You remove the algae it removes those nutrients with it. New algae grows removes more nutrients. You will be constantly fighting this until you remove the source of the excess nutrients.
So let’s forget that for now. Let’s Start from the beginning.

1. You built a pond or pond was built alread?

2. if you build the pond or pond was already built. Was filtration in place and then water was added correct?

3. after water was added pond was cycled? To allow beneficial bacteria to grow in youfilter and pond? and to allow nitrogen cycle to finish. Before adding fish?

answer these questions and will move on to the next set.
I built the pond about 1983/84 and it's in half shade. As stated above, there has never been a filter system until last summer. Plants have been sufficient to maintain clear water. The pump went in after a clean out last summer and the pump was sufficient all last summer. At that time, I made a holding tank for the fish and clean water before cleaning out the pond. So fish, original water and rain water top up and plants went back in, but the water lilies failed the thrive and died. Yet the water remained clear, with some stringy algae growing on the sides, the excess of which I kept removing. Everything was fine up to the start of this summer which has seen record high temperatures. We have been unable to source plants and the stringy algae got much worse and started detaching in clumps. I responded by scraping it off the sides, it still got worse, I scrubbed the sides to clear as much as possible, it continued to develop and clog the filter which I was then cleaning out twice a week as it was getting blocked. By this time, evaporation was high and I was topping up with stored rain water. As the rain water ran lower and a bit sludgy, I settled it out before add the cleanest portion to the pond. The pond developed single cell algae bloom. I began to suspect the UV lamp may have overheated from the pump getting blocked and that is what I really wanted was help determining if the lamp was working or not working. The other factor here is that by the end of the rain water, it had become quite coloured and that seemed to really make the pond very bad. The pond had been down to possibly half capacity from evaporation and there was no other option than to use this water.

I still don't know if the lamp works. my hope was the filter might gradually remove some of cells and nutrients. It does build up a sludge in the filter sponge but obviously not removing enough.

Ken
 
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Oh man reading your last statement. I can easily conclude that your entire system was messed up. Disturbing The nitrogen cycle

if it was me I would keep those fish and what not in whatever container you have them in.
I would completely drain the pond clean it up. And start the whole cycle process over.

with all the stuff you’re saying that has gone on. that you have done,and that nature has done to that pond. I can easily conclude that the nitrogen cycle, and process has been ruined and thrown out a balance. I.e. the loss of beneficial bacteria whether it be in the plants rocks gravel or whatever else that is a porous material.
Without a good population of beneficial bacteria there is nothing to process the ammonia to create nitrate to break it down into nitrate it don’t matter how many plants you have there is still bacteria in those plants there is still bacteria in your rocks your gravel and everything else it’s not the plants
 
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I get the plants kept the water clean. I understand and I get that plants keep everybody’s water clean. That they filter out nutrients I get it.
It is the beneficial bacteria that creates a nitrogen cycle without beneficial bacteria there is no nitrogen cycle.
without ammonia there’s no beneficial bacteria to grow. if ammonia builds up without beneficial bacteria. There is nothing to turn that ammonia into nitrite. Which more bacteria then turns into nitrate which is what your plants feed off of

beneficial bacteria even grows on the liner so scrubbing the liner it’s self will knock out some of your beneficial bacteria. jdisrupting your nitrogen cycle.
Scrubbing and cleaning and stirring up all that Muck and detritus will actually cause an ammonia spike. which will cause the nitrogen process to completely cycle over again. and if your beneficial bacteria isn’t there or populated enough that’s when your system becomes out of balance.

I have seen this hundreds and hundreds of times in fish tanks alone
People get an algae problem they start scrubbing everything .cleaning all the filters .cleaning all the rock .cleaning all the substrate. all that does is make it worse.
It kills off the beneficial bacteria anaerobic bacteria. that turns ammonia into nitrite which then turns it into nitrate and your plants can feed off of.

Now in a fish tank it’s a lot less water and more controlled.
the best thing to do is to turn off all the lights. Which obviously with an outdoor pond you can’t.
Physically remove as much Algae as possible. and do water changes. Water changes are going to dilute the nutrients in the water. I.e. ammonia nitrite nitrate.

Judging from everything that you’re telling us. It wasn’t a filtration issue. It was a natural issue that you have no control over whether it’s debris, temperature, water issue.
All of that added together. And then breaking down most of your system and cleaning and scrubbing everything you wiped out your filtration system your beneficial bacteria
Which caused the nitrogen cycle to start again cause the pneumonia spike and being that you had all these issues going on there wasn’t enough bacteria populated to keep up with all that excess ammonia and nutrients

I’ve been through this too many times with fish tanks it’s the same thing

Fish water plants. And a nitrogen cycle.
Only difference is sun light vs Artificial light.

The only difference between an indoor fish tank and aquarium and pond is that you have more control over outside issues of an aquarium or fish tank.
I.e. Mother Nature.
 
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Jhn

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i’m not saying that you can’t use plants to outperform the algae growth but if that’s what you’re using plants for you have a problem in your system.

And just because all you have is plants in your pond. does not mean you don’t have beneficial bacteria. beneficial bacteria lives in everything including plants.
Only when a system becomes in balanced biologically you begin to have problems.

it don’t matter what type of system it is.fish tank, pond, pool with fish in it it don’t matter. water is water. fish are fish plants are plants they all need the same thing. It’s all the same filtration processes it’s all nitrogen cycle the nitrogen cycle is the same for everything no matter what.

The nitrogen cycle is able to be fully completed and processed without plants in any water system.
That’s because of the beneficial bacteria that grows during the nitrogen process.

If plants were so necessary then the nitrogen process would not be able to be completed without them.


Plants are biological filtration. And serve the same exact purpose in a fish tank as it does a pond they’re exact same thing fish are fish plants are plants it don’t matter if it’s in a fish tank aquarium or a pond it’s all the same concept all the same cycling processes all the same bacteria’s everything is exactly the same.
Light is absolutely a source for algae to grow. But without nutrients or excess nutrients in the water nothing will grow including plants.
If the biological beneficial bacteria is populated enough in any water system there is no need for plants. Or any other type of extra filtration such as UV.
Anaerobic bacteria alone should be enough to handle the waste produced by your fish and your feeding as long as it’s not being over done. Or over stocked.

Bacteria population Can only grow so big. If Fish waste and feeding is not exceeding the amount of waste the beneficial bacteria can process then there will be no excess nutrients in the water. And no need for any other type of filtration.
We overfeed and overstock our ponds that’s the reason why you need extra filtration such as plants.
Besides them being nice to look at and natural.
The only way for algae to grow is if there is an biological imbalance in the system.

I have ran full reef systems with high output T5 lighting and 150 watt metal highlights. I’ve used everything from compact to leds.
12 hour day 12 hour night cycle 1 hour sun rise 1 hour sun set.
Pushing as much light for as long as possible to get as much growth out of coral and plants as possible.
never have I had anybody that I help with fish tanks or reef tanks or any other water system that I know of have I ever had an algae issue.
except for when the system is under filtered overfed and overstocked. Which the biological bacteria is underpopulated for the amount of waist being produced.

like I said before plants are not necessary. they do aid in infiltration.
But adding plants that grow fast to outperform the algae that’s growing is not a fix it’s a Band-Aid you should not have to add rapidly growing plants to hopefully outgrow the algae.
Some algae growth is to be expected but it should not be in excess. As long as your system is in balance.
[/quote
Indeed bacteria does grow on everything in the water, never said it didn’t, and never said that it wasn’t necessary. There are many ways to keep a pond in balance it comes down to which method you prefer.

To say plants are a bandaid in a pond and are only needed if the pond is out of balance is just plain wrong. Band aids are using uv filters or dumping chemicals in the pond to battle green water. If plants where a band aid my ponds would have failed a loooong time ago. Plants are just another form of nutrient removal via banking as they grow then export when the plants are trimmed back or even can be recycled as the fish eat the plants then start the process over again.

The plants, the periphyton layer that builds upon everything in the pond, the bugs, the photo and zoo plankton, the fish, establishes a balanced food web. Yes, you can have a successful “balanced pond” that has no plants or food web but for me personally, I don’t want a sterile crystal “gin” clear pond that relies on mechanical filters etc., because basically it is now just an outdoor aquarium. I prefer the natural eco pond method with proper circulation and plants to create a natural food web. I enjoy watching various wildlife around the pond (except for herons and turtle snatching hawks). Everyone’s pond becomes overstocked at some point if fish aren’t removed Or something eats them. My pond has a crap ton of fish in it as well as turtles. Yet have never had an algae problem in all the years I have kept ponds, which is just as long as you have kept reef tanks. I also come from the saltwater/reef keeping side as well, which I have had various styles of tanks off and on since I was in middle school.



Also, in response to your last post plants do not just feed off nitrates, they also feed off ammonia which as you mentioned is the starting point of the nitrogen cycle.
 
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I can agree to everything you said. I to do not prefer a pond without plants..

I will add though if you only have plants you better have a shit load of plants.

and I’m sure we can agree with everything that has happend and they have done to the pond, that it's best to start over. With a new cycle.
It’s unfortunate but imo it’s best option.
 

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Yes, would agree best to start over again in their case. Sounds like he did already when he emptied it and cleaned it “thoroughly”, which is not good because they got rid of the periphyton layer on the pond sides and bottom, so it is basically like starting over with a new pond.

Would also add if they do start over again, to save the filter media rinse it in pond water and use it to help lessen the length and severity of the cycling process.
 
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Now do you think it’s easier to start a pond with mechanical biological filtration. This way you know that your beneficial bacteria is well colonized in established. And then add plants to the pond.

or do you think it’s easier to start with plants only.

Thinking about it if you start with plants only. Does that limit you to the types of filtration you can use.
Such as skimmer boxes. you could go with a floating skimmer, but you would not be able to use a fixed skimmer box. Without major modifications.

like for someone like me. Who is new to ponds. Plants can be a little intimidating. I know there are plants that can take over and even damage a ponds.
You really don’t have to worry about a plant root puncturing glass.
 

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