high PH blues

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Hi folks. Im sort of new here... I did my first post regarding high iron in my new pond due to well water with high iron. I got that problem resolved. last check was under .1. But now I cant seem to get my PH to go down to normal. Im using an API pond master test kit. Ammonia jumped a little last week but is now back to yellow; normal. But my PH is consistenly in the blues, I would say guessing 8.5 to 9, maybe higher. That makes me a little nervous. So far everything I read says its not so much the PH number but making sure it doesnt jump or spike, which can stress the fish.
So, Im in Cape May NJ, so its been pretty hot and humid up until a few days ago, where temps have been low 80's. I did a 10% water change this morning. I checked the well water PH to have a reference point and that was light green (guessing around 6.5 to 7 ph). Then this afternoon, it rained heavy and added about 3 inches of rain to the pond...I checked the ph of the rain water and that was about real light green (guessing a PH of 6 or 6.5) I drained the extra to get back down to my skimmer level mark and then checked the PH and it actually looked higher ( a bit darker blue). ??? I also bought a KH test on amazon and got it yesterday ...the KH was about 179 according to reference chart match.
Some more info...pond is about 3 weeks old? pond is 12 by 10 feet kidney shaped and 4.5 feet deep at deepest. Im guessing 4500 gallons? 2 large koi and about 12 gold fish. Previously in old pond which was way too small, one of the koi was fat/bloated since last season. After a few days in new pond and being able to swim more, she lost the fatness/bloat...I found a bunch of eggs all over everything too, so I guess you could say she was spawning. That was something new for me. she kept rubbing on the stones in pond and the other koi wouldn't stop following her. when I saw all these little eggs sticking all over the pump and filter skimmer, etc.
Moving on, I added several aquatic plants about a week ago, some lettuce and other plants. The fish seemed to like eating the lettuce, which the place I bought them warned me of. lol. I have also been feeding less to keep organic waste down until things get balanced out.
I am currently running a 4500 gph pump that runs from skimmer (I added a filter mat to the filter that came with it in the skimmer housing) ) to a bio fall that has bio balls in base and lava rocks on top (about 10 inches). Additionally, I am running a laguna pressure flo 3200 filter with a 2400? gph pump. The uv light isnt working in that, but I did get a stand alone 25 watt uv on amazon that it running inline from waterfall skimmer setup. the output of the pressure flo 3200 is going into a makeshift gravel upflow filter I made with a storage bin that ejects into pond which also helps add some bubbles. so I got the waterfall and the gravel falls making aeration. And additionally, I hooked up a 3000gph pump thats on its own running into waterfall to add a little more umph to the waterflow.
A few days ago water got pretty green (enough to not be able to see fish at bottom) I added some api algifix and it cleared up as of today. again, ammonia yellow and ph consistently blue . Ive been trying vinegar past few weeks adding about half a gallon a day with literally no change in ph so far. and I did add some API pond salt as a preventative measure for stress several days ago, about a quarter of recommended amount.
I just bought a digital PH tester so waiting for that from amazon. Maybe that will help me by having a number as opposed to color match.
Any ideas or suggestions?
All the fish are moving about and seem healthy. Only think odd was the koi acting a little funny and there was some foamy water for a day or 2, which got me concerned. but that ended up being her spawning. And I also found one of the gold fish in the skimmer, thank goodness still alive ( new pond owner so I check everything several times a day). This happened I think becasue I had the water level too low and she was able to swim over the weir door. Its an atlantic ps3900 skimmer. I ended up adding a little grated plastic square sheet in the provided slots at bottom of weir opening which allows for about 2 inched below water line but allows water to flow through, just not fish. seems to be working. Im keeping an eye on it.
So, I know PH fluctuation is worse then a consistent ph, but I would like to get that number down a little, safely of course.
I guess what I am asking is should I be more or less proactive? Will things eventually balance to a lower ph, or do I need to take more drastic measures? lol.
Sorry if I am writing too much. Just wanna give as much info to paint the whole picture for you all.
I'll try to keep to the point in future posts. Thanks also for all who responded to my last post. I got so much great information from all of you. I appreciate all your time and effort to help me.
 
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Here's my advice to you: stop adding things to the pond and stop testing your pH. That may seem simplistic, but honestly I just saved you time, money, and stress. Oh and no more water changes. Let your pond settle itself down. Let your plants grow. Let nature do her thing. Too much chemist - not enough chemistry.
 

cas

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Hi @cberr .

Good to see that you checked the KH, but the other component to a stable pH is the GH. Carbonate hardness (KH) will prevent low PH (PH crash) and Calcium hardness (part of GH) will prevent high PH. I wouldn't try adding things to change the pH directly (vinegar). Try to keep the KH and GH the same amount. A good number I try to keep both at is 120 ppm.

To increase the GH, add Calcium Chloride and Epsom Salt. Don't increase the GH more than 20 ppm in a 24 hour period.

3 tablespoons of each should raise the Hardness in a 1,000 gallon pond about 5 ppm. Dissolve each in a container of pond water before adding it to the pond. Slowly pour it around the perimeter.

Hope this helps.
 
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Sounds fair enough...just let nature do it’s thing. Just wanna make sure everything is set up to do that, thus the in-depth,detailed post above. Lol. I figured I’d write everything so you all can see if I am doin the right or wrong things. As far as a gh test, I’ll get one of those. It makes sense to have the kh and gh at a good number to get ph correct, as opposed to focusing on the ph. It felt to me like adding vinager, if it worked at all, was only fighting Nature. But what stumped me was, I thought for sure the rain and the well water, both having a substantially lower ph, would help lower ph. It actually made the pond have a higher ph.
On another note, my next challenge is getting the chocolate lab to stop drinking the water from the pond. . I have water dishes all over for him, yet he prefers to drink from the pond.
 

mrsclem

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Agree with Cas- it's a new pond and your koi just spawned. No chemicals! Your ph is fine as long as it is stable. Mine was over 9 for months, fish didn't care! You added salt and the only way to remove that from the pond is water changes but let nature do that. You may wnat to get a test kit to check the salt level.
 
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Your detailed post was great! But when you break it down it amounts to "I added this. Then I added that. Then I put in some of this. Oh and then I tried some of that.Then I dumped it all out and started over." It's starting to sound more like a pot of soup on the stove than a pond full of fish! We've all been there - you want so bad for everything to be perfect that the urge to "do something" becomes almost overwhelming. The best thing you can do is wait. Patience is a pond keeper's best friend.

Also remember that pH changes from morning to evening, so don't be thrown by that variation. Rain - unless it empties and refills your pond - has little to no effect on pH.

And go ahead and let him drink! Our dogs prefer pond water - they ask to go out and get a drink when they have perfectly good water in the house!
 
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Great. Thanks for all the replies. It sounds like the general consensus is let nature do it thing, which I shall. Agreed. getting over the need to do something and overthink it. Thanks for all your help. The whole point of me making this pond is to sit by it and relax. Lol. I’d go there early in the morning with a cup of coffee and just watch them swim around. It’s fun. I wonder, on the flip side, if the fish get pleasure at staring up at our world and wonder about these weird creatures breathing air. Hmm. Anyway, again, thanks all.
 
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Exactly! Pond keeping should be a stress reliever... not a stress inducer! You'll see that the less you do, the less the pond will require from you... and you will live in harmony!

And I know for a FACT that my fish love seeing me! And they love when I get in the pond, so they can nibble away at my legs and arms and try to swim up my shorts!
 

addy1

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My ph was around 5.3 and very soft water. It took around a year to get the ph stable and the hardness up. I did add crushed oyster shells to increase the hardness, once the hardness climbed up the ph was stable. Mine sits around 7.6 or so.

I never added baking soda etc to try and adjust the ph, I wanted the pond to take care of itself not need to constantly add stuff to adjust.

The growth of plants, the kitty litter I have a lot of plants in, time all did the job.
 

addy1

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And I know for a FACT that my fish love seeing me! And they love when I get in the pond, so they can nibble away at my legs and arms and try to swim up my shorts!
They come running when I enter the pond, all these little fish nibbling on my legs. I can almost reach down and pick them up.
 
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