Hi from New Zealand

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by MarcusNZ, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. MarcusNZ

    MarcusNZ

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    Hi all,

    I live in a coastal spot in New Zealand called Tauranga where the climate is pretty timid all year around. I had a little spare time on my hands this summer so I decided to create a water feature. With no experience and a heap of enthusiasim I did a little investigating and chatted with a few people about good and bad things to take into account. I did everything by hand including moving and positioning rocks ranging up to 200kgs into the furthurest point on my section with very limited access. It was a long drawn out and sometimes painfull battle but the perseverance paid off in the end. About 6 weeks later and I have a little under 2000gal Firestone lined pond, running a "Pondone" Clari Tec 10000UV filter with a 24/7 waterfall supplied by a 6000l/hr pump (I'm actually only getting 3600l/hr due to head pressure resistance).

    I used mortar to lock in the rocks surrounding the pond and concrete to fabricate parts of and lock in the larger rocks for the waterfall. I washed everything down well and pumped out before filling the pond. I then ran the pump for a week before introducing 5 Lilys and one Lotus. A week or so later I added a 2ft fish tunnel & 4 (50mm) Comet goldfish. They seemed happy enough after 4 days so I introduced 6 Fantails (120-160mm) and a few buckets of fresh water weed from a local river.

    I have since had 3 of of the comets and 4 of the fantails die over the span of a month. I purchased a testing kit and found the only thing out of spec was pH which measured 9 (or more) on the high pH scale. Everything else (Ammonia, Nitrites, & Nitrates) were all 0. At this stage I also realised that I had the Lotus sitting on a cinder block and the pump sitting on a large paving stone (to keep it off the bottom). Over the first month, I swapped out A LOT of water to try and drag the pH down as advised by a local store owner that I got my gear through. Tap water here is pH7.6 and the pH can vary a lot over the day (7.8 first thing in the morning and 8.4 late in the afternoon).

    I have resorted to isolating my waterfall out of the equation, lowering the level of the pond water below the rock boarder and recircing straight back into the pond from the filter. This appears to have worked for now (no deaths in 8 days) and my las 3 remaining fish seem happier and more active than ever. Eight days ago I swapped out approximately 2/3rds of the pond water and 14hrs later tested from both the water that was pooling in parts of the waterfall and the now isolated pond. The pHs were 9+ & 7.8 respectively at 8am. I concluded that the high pH had to be coming from the concrete.

    It has been disturbing seeing the fish die off after putting so much effort into making a haven for them. I thought this was going to beautify my yard and make a nice relaxing spot for me and the family to enjoy watching the fish playing in a tranquil setting. Instead it has been countless hours of stressing, changing out water, collecting dead fish, masses of phone calls, trolling the internet looking for possible causes/solutions and all the while wondering who was going to die next. The fantails were all quite large and given to me from a workmate. He has been good about it probably sensing how gutted and frustrated I am to lose the beautiful healthy fish he gave me. He is prepared to send a few more fish my way but I'm wanting to wait until the waterfall has been in use for a few months with no deaths.

    I have purchased a small container of potable concrete sealer that I will be using to apply a few coats on to the morter of the pond boader and every concrete surface that I can get to on the waterfall during my next days off. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Marcus.
     
    MarcusNZ, Dec 31, 2012
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  2. MarcusNZ

    sissy sissy

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    welcome and my ph is 9 and have not lost one fish in over 8 years .I test my water but now that is balanced with plants I don't do it as much .I did not use mortar I just dry stacked them in my small creek (if you can call it that )Do you have well water or city water .Is there anything being washed into the pond and did you let the pond acclimate and filters run awhile .I left my pond without fish for over 2 months before adding my fish .
     
    sissy, Dec 31, 2012
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  3. MarcusNZ

    MarcusNZ

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    Hi Sissy,

    We have had a lot of rain in the last week or so and there have been no "incidents" due to run off.
    I fill the pond with Town supply water (metered $$$).
    After my first fill I ran the pump through the filter (UV lamp turned off) using the waterfall for the first week prior to adding my plants. I added my first four fish (Comets) about a week after that. The six larger Fantails arrived about four days later. I guess I may have added them too soon? The mosquito larvae seemed to be thriving so I assumed fish would be fine too.

    The water went murky right before I did my last large water change just over a week ago which coincided with my most recent Fantail death (the fish died before the water change which prompted the change). This is also when I turned on the UV lamp for the first time.

    How long should it take my pond to acclimate or become ballanced? Boy, this is more complex than I would have figured before starting...

    Thanks for your help BTW. :)
     
    MarcusNZ, Dec 31, 2012
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  4. MarcusNZ

    Big Lou

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    Maybe I missed it but did you use the appropriate amount of water decholoranater?

    Read this web article about ph. Good luck and welcome.

    Big Lou


    "Water pH
    The pH range of 6 to 8.5 is acceptable for most pond life.  The primary concern with pH is its direct relationship to the toxicity of ammonia and nitrite.  Each pH interger above the neutral 7 reflects a tenfold increase in such toxicities.

    Any pH value below the neutral 7 is considered acidic.  Baking soda or ground limestone will raise the pH level.

    pH values over 8.5 will definitely stress the fish to the point of disease.  We receive some calls where the pond owner claims to have a pH reading of 9.0 or more, and the cause for this is cement or mortar leeching toxic lime into the water.  Bricks  or untreated mortar blocks used as plant pedestals, run-off water, and reconstituted materials used in or around the pond may be washing in leeched lime which can cause severely high pH readings.

    We suggest you use a commercial lime neutralizer or a nontoxic pool sealant paint if you have a concrete pond. 

    If the pH is normally high in your tap water, we suggest obtaining more suitable fish for your pond, such as the common goldfish, shubunkin, or comet goldfish.  These fish can tolerate higher (non-toxic) pH levels."
     
    Big Lou, Dec 31, 2012
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  5. MarcusNZ

    sissy sissy

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    city water usually has chemicals in it and needs pretreated .Gold fish are not as fussy about water quality as koi are ,I have both .I use quilt batting to prefilter fine stuff out .I waited 2 months but I also used some of the water from the old pond to seed the filter and to help it start it's bio load .Adding water with out testing can cause fish loss if not tested and pretreated .
     
    sissy, Dec 31, 2012
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  6. MarcusNZ

    sissy sissy

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    My pond ph has been the same for over 4 years at 9 and never have had a problem .Remember temps out side and acid rain can cause problems and maybe you should get a kh test kit .
     
    sissy, Dec 31, 2012
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  7. MarcusNZ

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    [​IMG]Marcus
     
    j.w, Jan 1, 2013
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  8. MarcusNZ

    adavisus

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    It's a coin flip what hazard is affecting the fish, the ph is a severe stress, who knows what might have come along on the river weed you brought in, a wild card may be some toxic plant around the pond dropping sap. Euphorbia might be the villain.

    I'd suggest you move the surviving fish to a kiddy paddling pool and give the pond at least two weeks to settle down. Chatting to a local pet shop, aquarist, pondkeeper might narrow down what local hazards might apply.

    A good indicator that a pond is habitable for fish is when you can see aquatic organisms like daphnia thrive...

    Regards, andy
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/21940871@N06/
    http://swglist.wordpress.com/
     
    adavisus, Jan 1, 2013
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  9. MarcusNZ

    MarcusNZ

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    - Hi Big Lou. Thanks for the pH info.
    The local fish guy here said the town water supply here is pretty good and requires no treatment. I'm pretty much clueless and have relied on his word & expertise seeing as he has been in the pond and fish arena for many years. I hope he is right... I made sure to use the spray function on the hose when adding (other that oxygenating, I'm not sure what other benefits that offers :unsure: ). If lack of conditioning has been the issue, I have obviously been making matters worse (or at the very least, not helping) with the regular water changes. The Ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrites have all been reading zeros to this point in time and it has been 8 days since I last added water (excluding rain water). I also added a few inches of 15-20mm Riverstone to the bottom of the pond right before my last water change which muddied the water even after a 2/3rd water change. The water is now crystal clear again.

    -Sissy. As I mentioned above, I hope the local fish guy has it right about our town supply. Temperature wise, the fantails have come out of a smaller, more shallow pond. We are mid summer right now with temperatures around 20 degrees C. I will get a kh kit on my next days off thanks :)

    - JW. Thanks for the warm welcome :)

    - Andy. Re. Chatting to a local pet shop, aquarist, pondkeeper etc The main guy I have been chatting to sells pond gear, fish, plants, "the works". He is an English chap that has been doing ponds and fish for 35years.

    I'm hoping that the waterfall concrete goes off (cures) a little more over the next few weeks while I have it isolated out of the loop and I will also apply a few coats of sealer to any concrete or mortar that I can. I will also get a kh testing kit as suggested by Sissy. I know my current pH climbs between .5 and .6pH during daylight hours. the 3 remaining fish seem happier (more active) than any of the fish were pre-8 days ago (dropping water level below rocks, removing flow over waterfall and 2/3rd water change), so I'm hoping things are on the way up.

    Thanks everybody,
    Marcus.
     
    MarcusNZ, Jan 1, 2013
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  10. MarcusNZ

    Becky Administrator

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    Welcome to the forums Marcus! :wave:
     
    Becky, Jan 2, 2013
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  11. MarcusNZ

    MarcusNZ

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    Thanks Becky. :regular_waving_emot:

    I'm loving the site BTW. Lots of great info for me to digest, some inspiring stories and photos and most of all very helpful members which is invaluable for a pond/fish rookie like myself.

    I was thinking about posting some pics of my pond construction. Where would be the best place to do this?
     
    MarcusNZ, Jan 3, 2013
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  12. MarcusNZ

    mtpond

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    Welcome Marcus.
     
    mtpond, Jan 3, 2013
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  13. MarcusNZ

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Welcome to our group, glad you joined!

    Go to the construction forum and start a construction thread, or the pond photo section, either would work.


    http://www.gardenpon...nd-photography/

    http://www.gardenpon...tion-equipment/
     
    addy1, Jan 3, 2013
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  14. MarcusNZ

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    Welcome aboard Marcus, Is it possible for you to post any pics? The rocks in the bottom "COULD " cause issues later on, just a heads up as settling mum can be trapped in the rocks causing issues down the road, MOST pond keepers have found that they had to remove the rocks out just to clean and eventually remove them completely. You may want to do some reading on cycling a pond "WITH" ammonia. NO FISH, this method has helped some start their ponds up and get through the cycling period without losing fish. High PH can cause stress, but a bigger issue is ammonia is very much more toxic when the PH is high than when it is neutral or slightly acidic than when it's in the high range. Even small amounts of ammonia can be highly toxic in high PH ranges. New Cement can cause high PH, but rarely is that the cause of the fish dying. It's just another factor in a larger picture. Be sure and check carefully before using "ANY" sealer, most sealer products can cause problems as well and may not help your situation at all, In fact some can cause even worse problems. If it were me I would do a # of things, First, drain the pond and remove the rocks off the bottom and start with a clean slate, 2nd, add water and get all your water parameters where they need to be and make the adjustments before trying to add any living creatures. Then once all that is done start adding straight ammonia to the pond and monitor your water. You'll see ammonia climbing at first, then you'll start seeing the nitrite climb, at this point do not add any more ammonia, the nitrite will peak very high and then start dropping, at this point start watching nitrates, Once you have some nitrate readings the ammonia and nitrites should fall to zero. again check the water and make sure PH, GH, KH have stayed in your desired range. This process could take up to 8 weeks but using this method usually takes less time than this as this is how long it usually takes to go through naturally. If the PH continues to climb during all this there is a source that is causing it in the pond. In most cases a particular kind of rock, or substrate a plant is planted in is the cause. If the cement is causing this it should not climb as fast since you have already filled let run and emptied then refilled and allowed time to settle this round. This is when I would start adding a few very inexpensive fish. Once the water has gone through the cycle and the water parameters have now become stable. New ponds can be challenging, some will give you headaches, some will go through the cycle period without any issues at all. I can tell you first hand, I built two 9-10 thousand gallon ponds this year, one started up with no problems at all, one took almost 4 months to get clear and stable. Both set up with almost identical primary filters. Why? I really don't know, but I can tell you after building over 20 ponds in over 25 years no two run a like, and no two go through the same exact issues when starting up. Have patience, Your on the right track, read as much as you can, ask questions, learn how to take care of the water and how to adjust water correctly. Remember that the water is the key, good water=healthy fish in most cases. Unhealthy water causes hidden problems that can drive you crazy. LOL Good luck
     
    fishin4cars, Jan 3, 2013
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  15. MarcusNZ

    sissy sissy

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    if you go to the construction we can not give opinions if i remember correctly sorry that was showcase geeze talk about senior moment .Agree no 2 ponds alike and no weather conditions the same
     
    sissy, Jan 3, 2013
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  16. MarcusNZ

    taherrmann4 Tmann

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    The showcase thread is nice to show pics of your pond as the time goes by. I add some every couple of months or so. It's nice b/c you don't get all the posts in between yours; keeps it nice and clean. The construction and photography one is nice as well b/c as Sissy stated it allows us to give our opinions of which there are many. I do both and you can check them out in my signature so you know what I am talking about.

    Welcome to the forum.
     
    taherrmann4, Jan 4, 2013
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  17. MarcusNZ

    Waterbug

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    I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but 7.8 pH for tap water and 9.0 pH pond doesn't mean the concrete is causing the crease. If the tap water has a higher CO2, level which is likely, that would cause a pH increase. Put some tap water into a clean bucket and stir it up for awhile and measure pH then to see if there's a change in pH. Repeat over a couple of days if you're interested in a more accurate picture.

    I don't know what sealer you're planning, but the term "sealer" is often used on products that don't actually seal anything in a submerged environment. There are specific products which are water proofing membranes which would isolate the water from the concrete. That's a whole other deal.

    Concrete is self sealing.

    Nothing wrong with a pond at 9.0 pH. This is especially true for a new pond keepers. Study up on pH buffering before screwing with pH. Best way to kill fish is messing with pH without really knowing much about it. Yes, perfect pH might be 7 or 8 depending on who you ask, but Koi and Goldfish do fine in 9 -10 pH. There are lots of other parameters that should be "perfect" too but you're not chasing all those too? (I hope).

    There's lots of reasons why fish die...the causes are rarely known. Keepers guess and assume, but rarely actually have any clue. Way better imo to just keep water quality as best as you can. That's something you do have some control over and can measure. Better the water the more health the fish and the better they are able to fight off whatever comes their way. Step one in better water is lots of research. Never trust any single source. Most of what you'll hear is crap and that goes double for most people working in pet stores. What they say often sounds good to new keepers because that's who they talk to day in and day out and it's stuff people like to hear so that's what they say. They don't know any better or have any reason to change.

    Koi Beginner is not a bad place for serious info.
     
    Waterbug, Jan 4, 2013
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  18. MarcusNZ

    fishin4cars True friends just call me Larkin Moderator

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    Glad you dropped in on this one WB. Marcus this young fellow has probably the most experience with dealing with cement in ponds and the water chemistry related to ponds of anyone I know of on the site. WB states proven facts, not just a bunch of jibber that isn't true. Take the time to listen to and read from his posted links. Be sure and check out his ponds as well. He will point you in the right direction for sure.
     
    fishin4cars, Jan 4, 2013
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  19. MarcusNZ

    MarcusNZ

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    Hi Waterbug,

    The internet makes the world a very small place indeed. By chance (and the power of Google), I found & read your article before I came across this wonderful forum. I had concerns as to the possible toxicity of cement products and with this being my first real pond build, I wanted to research as much as practically possible before doing my final fill. Your article gave me confidence in moving forward with the addition of plants (1 week after final fill) and ultimately fish (2 weeks after final fill).

    In retrospect, I rushed things. My fault entirely. Lack of patience, research, & knowledge. Finding this site first and reading how many here have gone about cycling the pond before adding the fish would have helped (my peace of mind at least) immensely. Taking a little more time in letting the concrete cure may have helped too. Perhaps even dumping the water that I had circulating over the falls and into the pond for the first week may have made enough of a difference. Then again, maybe it wouldn't...

    Like you suggested, I am running tests on my tap water. The first 24hrs is done (without the concrete blocks) with pH changes matching my pond.
    pH test day 1
    I will introduce the blocks that I had my Lotus and submersible pumps sitting on when I return from work in a few days. I'm very interested to see if there is any change over time.

    Thanks Waterbug, Sissy and everyone else that has made an effort to help me along my learning curve (which has only just begun). We all had to start somewhere right?

    I can't wait to see my pond rich with the colour of goldies blissfully swimming around. I will no doubt have you all to thank for your contributions in making it special.

    Cheers,
    Marcus.
     
    MarcusNZ, Jan 6, 2013
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  20. MarcusNZ

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I wiped out our first group of goldfish, well water is ph of 5.5 (didn't know that) filled pond with well water, let it sit for 2 months added fish.............all died, pond was 5.5 ph. Spent the rest of the summer correcting and stabilizing the ph before adding more fish
     
    addy1, Jan 6, 2013
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