How long is it "safe" to run on minimal to no filtration?


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Over the last few days, the main pond has been getting mucky but not totally unusual after a lot of rain ... It was worse than usual, but still had good visibility for maybe the top 2' of water ... More rain yesterday, so didnt pay much attention to the color of water ... TODAY, bright and sunny, and the water is a muddy green color (more brown than green), with zero visibility (if a fish is just under the surface, I can only see a shadow) ... asked hubby what was up with THAT ... Low and behold, the main pump was almost dead ,,, screaming bearing, smelled awful, and putting out 1000 gph at best ... it WAS an 8000 gph pump ...

The 8000 gph pump was plumbed so a bit of water went to the UV, but the bulk of the water was going to a 55 gallon barrel (solids seperator), then to a Laguna Filter Falls 5000 (return split as half as a waterfall, other half into pvc plumbing under gravel/bog area) ...

Also, was/are still running a 2150 gph pump, which is only running a small home made skimmer (dumps into the 55 gallon barrel as well, it;s just a simple 1" feed) and a 1000 gph pump that runs into pillow stuffing in a basket ...

Total volume of water is about 8500-9000 gallons and is presently heavily stocked. Did a 2000 gallon water change today, and as of an hour ago, water termp was at 74*F (water change dropped the temp some, it has been averaging about 80^)

DID get a replacement pump, but it will 100% require the pond to be replumbed. Hubby had been planning to move some things around anyways, but everything about this pump means he has to do it immediately, which means he cant just plug in the new pump and be done with it.

How long do you think we can afford to be without a main pump running? I can do SMALL water changes every couple of days, but have to wait on the mail to get more dechlorinator. By the feel of the jug, I am guessing I have enough left here to do 3 changes at 2000 gallons each.
 
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My main concern would be assuring the fish are getting enough oxygen. I would also feed the fish as little as possible during this time. I am not confident enough to put a time frame on this and I don't want to give you bad advice so I'm just gonna say if you follow my advice, which I'd bet you already knew anyway, you have a good amount of time. Weeks?
 
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The day actually started with our son saying something about how bad the water was, and no one came up to see him .. tossed a small amount of food in, which they didnt come up for, and ended up having to net it out ... I guess if they are not coming to the surface, they have enough oxygen at least at the moment.

I know some folks run no filtration, but we always have, AND I just added about 40 fish to the pond a couple weeks ago (I wanted to empty one of the basement ponds). They werent big fish (most about 5-6") that I planned to retrieve out of the main pond a bit later in the season. Just wanted to move them, and there WAS plenty of room for them outside ... they do still have all the plants too, so that will help ...

I attached a pic of the pump hubby got ... Thank God for contractors discounts and being friends with the owners ... I was having serious sticker shock when I saw the "retail" price ...
 

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fishin4cars

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CW, can you add a few aeration stones to the bottom of the pond? This will greatly help. ammonia is going to be your biggest concern for sure but if you test twice a day you can determine how often the water changes will need to be done. You can also get some ammonia binder which will help is stabilizing the ammonia some between water changes, If you have any other small pumps they could be pointed where they blow across the pond surface and that will help some too. I was able to keep 26 5"-16" Koi alive for 13 days back during Hurricane Katrina when we were with out power. Extra chloramine remover and ammonia blocker have now been added to our hurricane emergency box.
 
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Great idea on small pumps blowing across the pond ,,, that can be done easily. With the green tint to the murk, and the pond being in full sun, my biggest concern is with the UV off, the potential for the water to go to pea soup quickly. Damn UV is hard plumbed, so even a temp change there is a project.

Hubby and son left here at 8 to shoot up to Home Depot ... I hate that store .. nowhere near as nice as Lowes ... they didnt have crap for plumbing parts ... never do:-(

I have enough dechlorinator on hand to do about 6000 gallons. Meant to order another gallon this week and forgot.
 
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Capewind we kept our pond isolated from the pump for about two weeks when the bio filter sprang a leak and refused all attempts at fixing it by following the patches finding the weakest point and leaked again, in the end it had to be taken off line.
However we did run filtered water into he pond from the tap by use of our dechlorinator 24/7 tricklng into the pond.
However if your water smells bad your not gettng any movement .and the pond is stagnating .
Get your hubby onto this job as fast as he can, dont feed your fish for the time being as this will only complicate matters,
Test the water daily if anything is sliding then do a waterchange "as much as you can".
Do you have any plants in your pond ?.
Why cant Hubby do this change for you asap ?
Adding airstones around the pond by way of one of the large koi filters would be a good idea at this time just to keep the water moving if you have one with a 12 gang outlet all the better, if you dont have one get one asap and rig it as I've described.
Your biggest problem will be heat should the weather change .
From what I know about pumps they are as tough as old boots ours has jammed three times with K1 media and was red hot on all those occasions but after clearing the blockage the pump roared back into life.
Try giving your defective pump a damn good clean out and see if it will spark up again.
Above all try to keep a clear head throughout this crisis and be ready to do whatever is needed panicing doesnt achieve much, I know I've been there.
Our last blockage was only last month and was sorted within two days if I remember rightly.
You could at a push use one of your others "it pays to have spares ", we have two pumps one inline one wet pump, (the wet can be rigged to the filters in an emergancy), two spare airpumps , spare air hose , spare air stones, we even in a dire emergancy have an indoor Fluval FX5 capable of 950 gph "it pays to keep old equipment too" and should everything fail due to a powercut our most important bit of kit ever a box generator 750 watts . :D.
Keep this in mind too the guy doing the fixing had been in the trade 40 years 20 of them with koi, he said Dave your panicing over nothing , you have air going in your pond, koi are tougher than you think, do you know that is true it really is.

rgrds

Dave

PS buy yourself a dechlorination unit saves a fortune in Liquid and last per catridge 100.000 gallons per change :-

http://www.vyair.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=68

You know it makes good sense :D
 
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Dave 54 said:
However if your water smells bad your not gettng any movement .and the pond is stagnating .
No odors, or yet anyways ... there IS some movement ... just no where near what there was... there's a 1000 and 2150 gph pumps still running mundain functions (basket of pillow stuffing, and tiny skimmer) ... Last night he plumbed an extra 2150 gph where the 8000 gph was, but that is a JOKE. Compared to what the 8000 gph was originally putting out, the 2150 is barely a trickle.

Dave 54 said:
Get your hubby onto this job as fast as he can, dont feed your fish for the time being as this will only complicate matters,
Issue is needing to replumb ... he needs 3" pvc parts off of the new pump and this pump wont fit into the pit where the other pump was Cant get them around here on the weekends. He bought an Artesian Pro AP1/2-HF-C-3. I was having serious sticker shock at the prices. Thankfully we are long time clients of the store that had the pump, and got better than our contractors discount on it, and I was still choking. I had no idea the big pumps cost so much.

Dave 54 said:
Test the water daily if anything is sliding then do a waterchange "as much as you can".
I guess the good news is this pond always tests as zero, so that should give some wiggle room...

Dave 54 said:
Do you have any plants in your pond ?.
Yes, and a fair amount of them too ... Hubby is moving the lilies out to their pond, so that they are out of his way, but I am going to guess if we put all the plants (not counting the lilies), into one square area, they would take up a foot print of about 75 sq ft.

Dave 54 said:
Why cant Hubby do this change for you asap ?
My lovely sandbar that we live on outlaws the big box stores, which means #1 he cant get parts til atleast Monday (tomorrow) and he also has to work this week ... IE, he is in the middle of a large project for a client, and even the equipment is on a jobsite, and not here ,,, since the new pump wont fit where the old one was, he also has to take the waterfall that connects the two ponds apart to get the new plumbing to the other side of the pond area ...

Dave 54 said:
Your biggest problem will be heat should the weather change .
We have rain projected nearly every other day this week, so that will help keep the temps down ...

Dave 54 said:
From what I know about pumps they are as tough as old boots ours has jammed three times with K1 media and was red hot on all those occasions but after clearing the blockage the pump roared back into life.
He already checked it out for the repair option ... we also have a 4000 gph sitting here that needs a new "empeller" (sp???) ... he is going to call tomorrow to see if the dealer 45 minutes away has it in stock ,,,

Dave 54 said:
Try giving your defective pump a damn good clean out and see if it will spark up again.
It's old ... I wasnt paying attention but son was saying something to hubby about keeping the housing and ordering a new motor ... maybe from Granger??? I really wasnt paying attention to their conversation ... point being for a large spare. We have several pumps, but nothing big....

Dave 54 said:
Above all try to keep a clear head throughout this crisis and be ready to do whatever is needed panicing doesnt achieve much, I know I've been there.
You know I worry about every little mark ... hubby says the fish will be fine, but I worry about worst case, and was wondering what kind of time line we had. I see the amount of work he needs to do as a huge project. As long as the fish are underwater, I think I am the only one stressing LOL.
 
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I think you'll get through this crisis capewind we learn from them as we go along, thats why old fishkeepers are grey haired lol
However it has taught you a valuable lesson in that your filtration design has its short comings and needs alot of fixing when things go wrong .
Perhaps this could be a blessing in disguise and you could along with your hubby redesign things so that if this thing happens again in the future it'll be less of a hassle to fix .?
Your thoughs on this please ?

rgrds

Dave
 
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Dave 54 said:
I think you'll get through this crisis capewind we learn from them as we go along, thats why old fishkeepers are grey haired lol
However it has taught you a valuable lesson in that your filtration design has its short comings and needs alot of fixing when things go wrong .
Perhaps this could be a blessing in disguise and you could along with your hubby redesign things so that if this thing happens again in the future it'll be less of a hassle to fix .?
Your thoughs on this please ?

rgrds

Dave
My thoughts ... #1 is big external pumps GREW over the years LOL ... both in physical size and price. Our main supplier had smaller pumps that would fit into the pit, but at best. could only push 4400 gph. IF we seperated things, we still needed one pump capable of 5000 gph after head height etc for the main filter...

Lesson #2 I am choking on the words ... Listen to hubby once in awhile, and let him spend the money a bit more often ... he told me that he wanted another big pump (spare since the one that just died was ancient), and I thought he was talking about $400-500 and I didnt want to spend THAT kind of money if we didnt have to ... Rude awakening for me that $400-500 was never an option, that the big pumps are even MORE ... The pump he got was marked $899 ... (Didnt pay that, thank God)

Oh ... and he also hit me with an I told you so for the Harbor Freight 2150 gph pumps ... (something along the lines of cheap junk and you get what you pay for)
 
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Algae consumes ammonia directly, no better bio filter. However, if you're concerned you should test the water for ammonia. Smelling the water really isn't a very good test.

If you're concerned about O2, I don't know your fish load but at 74F I wouldn't be too worried, adding an air pump fixes that concern. They're pretty cheap and if you're running a fish load that actually requires 8000 GPH to keep fish alive you really should have an air pump on hand at any rate.

I wouldn't be stressing until you start to see a problem. Again, I don't know your fish load, but I doubt ammonia is going to jump to deadly levels over night. And if O2 was an issue you should see that pretty fast too. As O2 is used it is replaced, just a question of whether it's being used faster than it can be replaced. That case happens fast, like an hour or two. It's not like over a week or two O2 levels slowly drop to deadly levels..
 
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I think Dave nailed it when he said not to panic. I am outside of my comfort zone and want to be sure the fish stay safe while things get redone.

Fish load WAS down to about 30 fish, evenly sized 7-22" ... With twice the load, and everything running as it should, never an ammonia reading even with minimal plants. Now there's a lot of plants, so didnt see a big issue in just moving all the remaining babies out of the 600 in the basement for the summer. I dont remember the exact number now, but there were close to 40 babies, with most only being about 5-6" ... A few of the shubunkins may have only been 3-4" and the largest koi were about 9-10" (just a few this big) ...

Hubby told me this morning that he added another 1000 gph pump last night to the upper pond to make me feel better ... The Harbor Freight 2150 gph pump couldnt handle the head height (maybe 5' height, over 12-15' of line). The pond looks a bit better this morning. Both pumps are drawing from the lower pond, and discharging into the upper pond, returning to the lower pond via the water fall. Shot a video of how the IMPROVED flow now looks coming over the waterfall this morning ... The water is still gross, but feeling better.

http://s712.photobucket.com/user/capewindmastiffs/media/DSCN6646_zps2f4bcfa2.mp4.html

 
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