Hello to All and HELP!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by AlaPAMa, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    No thanks, I did have the accurate volume @1765, but in my very first post I inadvertently typed 3500-4000 instead of 1500-2000 (fat finger syndrome) and didn't realize the error until later. THEN I attempted to correct it and ended up re-posting it 3 times! :(
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
    #41
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  2. AlaPAMa

    Waterbug

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    OK, I see. That is pretty bad. Clear is a relative term and so I never know where people are on the spectrum.

    Scum algae (slime algae)
    I didn't see the "white" in the test. But I think I'm seeing a "rough" surface in some pictures which looks like a scum type macroalgae. Green water algae is more of single cell suspended thru out the water column type deal. The scum type kind of float in more of a mat, but it breaks up into dust if you touch, and sometimes your hand gets coated with a green slime when you pull it out. Does this sound right?

    I've mostly seen scum type algae in the spring and it normally doesn't last long. Skimmers remove it nicely and so those ponds never see it.

    Soup
    My own term for this type of water is "soup". To me it looks like soup. And also because there are many components, algae, dead organic stuff and bacteria. The good news it will be fairly easy to make a big improvement.

    The honeymoon is over.
    The heart of the problem is organic waste. Every pond has a honeymoon period. When first installed most ponds will turn green and then after 6-12 weeks many turn clear. That's when people put barley into the pond, or magnets, of chemicals, or crazy filters. All of these "cures" are suppose to take 6-12 weeks to work. Surprise, surprise. Pond clears and gizmo (along with the clever pond keeper) gets full credit.

    But that's just the honeymoon weekend. The rest of the honeymoon period normally lasts 4-6 years, but 2-12 is possible. During this time stuff grows and dies. Dead stuff piles up. By pile up I mean in the water, not just on the bottom. Cleaning a pond once a year only extends the honeymoon period. During this period a pond keeper gets confirmation that their barley, filter or whatever really does work great because everything "looks" great.

    As organic stuff decomposes is breaks into smaller and smaller bits. Seeing ground pepper size suspended matter is bits of decompose stuff, algae, plants, dead fish, frog spawn. But those bits continue to decompose into smaller bit that are called DOCs which just means really small, like bacteria small. At this size they start to do something new, they act as a soap and you see white foam on the surface. The foam can come from a waterfall or even from bubbles of escaping gases.

    So there comes a time when decomposing organic waste reaches a tipping point and it can be very sudden. In one of my first backyard ponds the tipping point came 5 years in when big chunk of decomposed leaves broke off the bottom and floated on the surface for a while. Pretty gross.

    4 choices
    You pond has reached that tipping point. The honeymoon is now over. You really have 4 basic choices.

    1. Accept the pond as it is. It will change and may improve some. Many people do go this route, I call these Wildlife Ponds. In these the fish aren't fed and you just take what nature provides. Can be good, can be bad, but it's always interesting to these type of owners.

    2. Remove everything in the pond down to the liner. Replace all the rock with new rock. Basically start over. It resets the honeymoon clock.

    3. Fill in the pond. Many, many people do this. Like you, unable to find good info and having been told dozens of myths they just get fed up.

    4. Get really skeptical. You can improve your pond know how by a factor of 100 by doing one thing, not believing a single thing you've ever heard about ponds. There is good info, but this is a numbers thing. If you currently know a 100 things about ponds and 99 are myths and 1 is right you're better off disbelieving all 100. Because currently you have no way to pick out that single nugget.

    Becoming skeptical is key. Without that there will be an endless flow of myths and crank ideas. Being skeptical means you ask people who offer suggestions to explain why and how it works. Most common response, and a little defensive, "well I use it and my pond is perfectly clean". To sway you they will hype how clean it is saying crazy stuff like "cleaner than my drinking water". It becomes obvious, when you probe even a little, that they're only repeating something they've heard and really have no idea what's going on.

    Need more info
    Sorry if you already posted this stuff:
    Can you post some wide shots of your pond?
    Do have a skimmer? I assume not.
    No filters of any kind right?
    Size of your pump(s)?
    Waterfall or stream? I assume not.

    Then I can post some pretty easy improvements along with references to how these were tested and expected results.
     
    Waterbug, Apr 23, 2013
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  3. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    Soup
    My own term for this type of water is "soup". To me it looks like soup. And also because there are many components, algae, dead organic stuff and bacteria. The good news it will be fairly easy to make a big improvement.


    1. Accept the pond as it is. It will change and may improve some. Many people do go this route, I call these Wildlife Ponds. In these the fish aren't fed and you just take what nature provides. Can be good, can be bad, but it's always interesting to these type of owners.

    2. Remove everything in the pond down to the liner. Replace all the rock with new rock. Basically start over. It resets the honeymoon clock.

    3. Fill in the pond. Many, many people do this. Like you, unable to find good info and having been told dozens of myths they just get fed up.

    4. Get really skeptical. You can improve your pond know how by a factor of 100 by doing one thing, not believing a single thing you've ever heard about ponds. There is good info, but this is a numbers thing. If you currently know a 100 things about ponds and 99 are myths and 1 is right you're better off disbelieving all 100. Because currently you have no way to pick out that single nugget.

    Becoming skeptical is key. Without that there will be an endless flow of myths and crank ideas. Being skeptical means you ask people who offer suggestions to explain why and how it works. Most common response, and a little defensive, "well I use it and my pond is perfectly clean". To sway you they will hype how clean it is saying crazy stuff like "cleaner than my drinking water". It becomes obvious, when you probe even a little, that they're only repeating something they've heard and really have no idea what's going on.

    Need more info
    Sorry if you already posted this stuff:
    Can you post some wide shots of your pond?
    Do have a skimmer? I assume not.
    No filters of any kind right?
    Size of your pump(s)?
    Waterfall or stream? I assume not.

    Then I can post some pretty easy improvements along with references to how these were tested and expected results.


    Yep, I've got soup...
    No skimmer, apparently No filter and the 1 pump is 700gph w/UV Light, No waterfall nor stream either.
    If a new pump & filter and building up the sides to lower run off from the surrounds doesn't clear it up, then well just go the Wildlife Pond route. It seems to have worked well thus far, as long as I don't want clear water :) AND we LOVE it so Backfilling is out of the question.
    I'm VERY Skeptical, that's why I joined your forum :D

    I'll post a couple of wide shots for you shortly......
    Thanks to you and everyone who is helping to educate me! Several have posted that I came to the right place, and indeed it appears I have.
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
    #43
  4. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
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  5. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
    #45
  6. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    ok, here they are!
    The pond is on the West side of the house in a vertical W/E position.

    Toward the West:
    IMG_2500.jpg

    Toward the North:
    IMG_2503.JPG

    Toward the East:
    IMG_2506.jpg

    Toward the South:
    IMG_2507.JPG

    DISCLAIMER: We inherited this pond in this DIY condition. The only thing we've done is prune the hedges due to too many per foot.
     

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    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
    #46
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  7. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    I took MORE photos of the sides.... the steepest sides won't hold the larger stones. A large amount of the white stone has fallen in also. I may have access to some bulk stone, but unsure how to stabilize on these sides..... p.s. the large dead clump is a water lilly that is about to come out and be repotted. :)

    IMG_2507.JPG IMG_2508.JPG IMG_2509.JPG IMG_2510.JPG IMG_2511.JPG IMG_2512.JPG IMG_2513.JPG IMG_2514.JPG IMG_2515.JPG
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
    #47
  8. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    I would start a new thread on this (if I knew how)........ I am definitely buying one SO

    Ok, EVERYONE: What filter works for you?

    Please post specific brand & GPH...... a link would be SUPER AWESOME Too!
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
    #48
  9. AlaPAMa

    capewind

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    Wow, with the additional photos, you can really see the protein (foam) ... WB may say they are DOCs ... I use the term foam, just because it makes me think of a protein skimmer we had on a marine tank ... I am likely very incorrect on my terminology there ...

    Our outside filter would be overkill on your pond ... We are running a Laguna Filter Falls 5000, with a 8000 gph pump (pump is split to another waterfall and UV, 8000 gph is too much for this filter) ... inside, we have a combo of filters that would either be too small for your pond, or homemade ... for store bought items, I know hubby likes Laguna and Savio for his clients (NOTE, I said hubby's clients, but *I* am still more or less a novice when it comes to more than the basics)...
     
    capewind, Apr 23, 2013
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  10. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    I found a store "near" me with expected delivery of Thursday! Hopefully, that will make some difference.
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
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  11. AlaPAMa

    capewind

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    Remember, this is JUST A PUMP ,.. now you need a FILTER to connect the PUMP to. The water will get drawn from your pond via the pump, then be plumbed to a FILTER to remove the larger debris ....
     
    capewind, Apr 23, 2013
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  12. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    Yes, thank you! What FILTER to buy??? I would LOVE a submersible, all-in-one but I am unable to find one that pushes enough GPH. Any advice? ;)
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
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  13. AlaPAMa

    capewind

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    capewind, Apr 23, 2013
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  14. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    Thanks! But as you can see, my pond is in my front yard directly in front of the porch and I don't have anywhere to hide that filter. What do you/does your hubby think of an Aquascape 1500?

    Awwhhh......... nevermind, just another pump :(
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 23, 2013
    #54
  15. AlaPAMa

    capewind

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    You half bury it ... it is also a waterfall in a box, and can hide it with rocks and plants. There are other filters that he uses for clients, but they require him building them, and I asked him for EASY ;-)

    I dont know the brand, but looked it up ... it is smaller (gph) and more $$$ than the one from Harbor Freight ... Before finding the Harbor Freight pump (again, thanks to a member here), his preference was for Laguna or Pond Master pumps ... big price difference tho, so I am really liking the one I showed you from Harbor Freight.
     
    capewind, Apr 23, 2013
    #55
  16. AlaPAMa

    Waterbug

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    Thanks for the pictures. From the fountain I can see a lot of suspended algae. OK, possible improvements. There are several issues which in total cause the problem.

    1. Decomposing plant material, dead bodies, frog spawn.

    2. Suspended algae, whether single cell (green pond) or slime (floating).

    3. It's spring. Decomposition slows in winter and when water warms up bacteria go into over drive. The whitish grayish hue is probably bacteria, so much that you can see the mass.

    I wouldn't list runoff as a problem, but it well may be. I can't tell from the pictures. Reducing runoff risk would be a good idea however.

    The UV is not working. If you haven't replaced the bulb in the past year then it's time. Turn off the UV in the mean time as it's doing nothing. Whether you want to mess with the UV is an issue. Because of the other issues a UV may not make a big difference in the short term.

    Bottom line is there is just too much decomposing organic matter in the pond. This includes the potted plants. Virtually everything else you do is never going to get a head of that waste. You could buy a dozen filters.

    I would remove everything from the pond and start over. Mainly because I'd want to know what was in the pond.

    I would build a concrete block collar around the perimeter to stabilize the edges to stop rocks from falling in. That will also fix most/all of the runoff issue. would also cover the liner above the water line but that doesn't have anything to do with clear water. Actually I always mortar rock over the entire liner, but again, nothing to do with clear water.

    When I mortar rock the bottom I also build a "planter" out of mortared rock for the lily. That helps reduce soli/media from moving out into the pond and makes cleaning easier.

    I move all plants into their own separate planter. Looks like it's in the pond but isn't exactly.

    Because of your type of pond I would suggest a vacuum for cleaning. A net can be used but is more difficult. Trees on your lot, lots of plants and no skimmer or bottom drain system means vacuum is your best choice. You'd want to vacuum 2-4 times per month.

    Once the "new" pond is done I'd make sure the UV was working.

    Things that can help. Google "Trickle Tower pond filter". This can be as simple as a pile of rocks that you run water over. Like where your fountain is you could extend that to about 2-3' and just pile rocks around it. TT filters are self cleaning, self washing. They can get macroalgae to grow and that can kill green water algae (theory). A TT is not a guarantee for clear water and are normally considered only a bio filter, meaning converting ammonia, which you don't need. But a TT is based on a stream, it's like building a stream. We don't know how but in many cases streams seem to create clear water. I believe it has to do with macroalgae, but that doesn't matter.

    Or adding a stream but I assume that's more than you'd want to do.

    There is a possibility the TT only could get you the water you want. But cleaning out the pond and separating the plants increase the odds. A pond can have a lot of decomposing waste and still be clear. It's more of a question of how fresh the organic material is, how fast it is coming into the pond. There's more than one way to approach the issues.

    As a general guideline a pond like yours has to be cleaned manually. Aquascape for example requires their ponds to be emptied and cleaned at least once a year. However vacuuming is another way as long as the bottom allows vacuuming. Loose rocks, plant pots, etc., can make vacuuming impossible. Which is why Aquascape requires their ponds to be emptied, they have loose rocks.

    Keep up the vacuuming and get the UV working and you'll have clear water.

    Buy a combo filter...prepare for more learning.
     
    Waterbug, Apr 24, 2013
    #56
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  17. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    I think it's Wildlife Pond time.....
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 24, 2013
    #57
  18. AlaPAMa

    Waterbug

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    Easy is a relative concept. It is not unusual for an owner to consider changing a bulb in a UV as too much work. It isn't as easy as changing a light bulb. Or to pile up some rock to make a Trickle Tower.

    You can call your Wildlife Pond a "Frog Sanctuary". It is good for the environment imo. Enjoy.
     
    Waterbug, Apr 24, 2013
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  19. AlaPAMa

    AlaPAMa

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    I don't mind changing a bulb in a UV, or vacuuming the pond, or building up the sides and buying and maintaining a filter and transplanting water lilies .....but I am incapable and overwhelmed by the amount of work required from your previous post. :)
    I will continue to do all that I can to maintain a health pond, but it looks as if I will have to hire anything further :unsure:
    Thanks!
     
    AlaPAMa, Apr 26, 2013
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  20. AlaPAMa

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    [​IMG] AlaPAMA
    I somehow missed this thread and hope you find all the info you are looking for to help get your pond in tip top shape to your liking!
     
    j.w, Apr 26, 2013
    #60
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