Introductory "behind the scenes" story on your Pond's ecosystem.


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crsublette

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I think too often simplistic answers are given which purposely leave holes in the flow of thought to create confusion and this leads to misinformation, which could lead to bad decision making that could be harmful to aquatic life.

When we are talking fundamentals, ponds are essentially just outdoor aquariums. The basic fundamentals are always constant. The only variables different between ponds and aquariums is the chemical synthesis when dosing the water, pond's greater surface area and evaporation, increased contaminants in ponds, and the materials and methodologies will vary according to the ecosystem's context. However, the basic fundamentals still remain the same.

One thing to note is that species and chemistry do change in saltwater ecosystems. So, you must keep this in mind when reading articles in aquaculture revolving around saltwater, which is marine, aquatic life. It is best to stick to the facets in the aquaculture arena relating to freshwater since our pond's aquatic life are freshwater in nature.




Out of my research library, here are a couple of articles that I have found to be the best in explaining the complete ecosystem.

To put it simplistic, autrotrophs are the "good guys" and heterotrophs are the "bad guys"; however, not all heterotrophs are "bad guys", just most of them are.

Autotrophic Nitrifying Bacteria and Their Practical Application in Freshwater Aquariums

Heterotrophic Bacteria and Their Practical Application in Freshwater Aquariums

However, I do disagree with how Dr. Hovanec and Tetra claim sole credit for this discovery and sole access to patents in regards to having a product that can jump start a pond's ecosystem.

For further research into the bacteria arena and products available out there, then check out the major leaders in the research arena involving bacteria in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. However, focus on the freshwater aspect to be applied to our ponds.

Keeton Industries

Bacta-Pur

Personally, I do not recommend the use of autrotrophic bacteria products when they are not refrigerated. Refrigeration greatly increases oxygen saturation which allows the autotrophs to remain in hibernation while preventing the heterotroph population from "crowding out" and consuming the autotrophs. Often times, if the product is not refregerated, then the product attempts to accumulate the dimorphic heterotroph "good guys", but this is an extremely fine line to walk due to how products can potentially be mishandled during transportation and storage in warehouses.

During my long days tractor "driving" (since everything is driven by GPS and computers nowadays), I have found this reading material makes my day much more enjoyable and shorter. One day I am going to have my research library annotated and compiled into a single reference guide that I hope to share and hope it will continually evolve as my knowledge grows, progression continues, and our understanding of the freshwater ecosystem grows.

By all means, feel free to contribute to ensure the accuracy and sharing the progressions to help increase our knowledge base of our pond's freshwater ecosystem.
 
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crsublette

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In the context of our freshwater ponds, the heterotroph involved in creating the denitrification process is what causes dirty, rock and muck filled ponds to encourage algae and plant growth.

The production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is the result of several different types of heterotrophic bacteria. In aerobic conditions (which oxygen is higher), sulfate reducing bacteria convert the nitrates (NO3) into hydrogen sulfide (H2S). In between rock subtrates and within muck layers, sulfate reducing bacteria is also encouraged to grow and also other obligate heterotrophs that act like sulfate reducing bacteria in anaerobic (no oxygen) areas. If there is too much dissolved organic carbons in the water, then this helps promote sulfate reducing and obligate heterotroph population. When these heterotroph bacteria begin to lack appropriate dissolve organic compounds to function, then these bacteria will start reversing Nitrate into Nitrite then into Ammonia, which is called assimilatory denitrification; this then feeds algae and plants and can be harmful to fish if the plants and algae is insufficient.

When proper dissolved organic compounds are supplemented and oxygen is reduced to a particular zone, only then can the dimorphic (which means can function in anoxic and anaerobic conditions) heterotroph's population is allowed to thrive to convert the Nitrate into denitrogen gas (N2).

This is why it is important to not allow organics and muck to accumulate too much. Otherwise, you will need to heavily rely on the presence of plants and aeration to offset the gases created and consumption of oxygen by the heterotrophs. Also, you will have to be careful when cleaning the excess organics out of the pond.
 

crsublette

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Denitrification is one area where freshwater and saltwater ecosystems start to take a turn in the road.

In saltwater ecosystems, there are special critters that live within the sand to disturb the sands and disturbs the heavy organic load to prevent the obligate heterotrophs from creating hydorgen sulfide. The critter can dwelve much deeper into the substrate than plants can.

In freshwater ecosystems, there is a very heavy reliance on plant roots to perform the function of the saltwater critters. However, the plants are not as efficient.

There are attempts out there in creating safe freshwater denitrification system. For more info, read freshwater deep sand beds. There are attempts though in trying to make it work. If you live near freshwater rivers or lakes, then there is a chance that some freshwater critters could migrate over to your pond to establish in your muck to help you out. :)

If you want to attempt to have a more "natural" pond where there is a thicker layer of muck and higher dissolved organics, then look into adding some freshwater worms, snails, and other critters that can live in the muck and not be eaten by your fish.
 

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crsublette said:
This is why it is important to not allow organics and muck to accumulate too much. Otherwise, you will need to heavily rely on the presence of plants and aeration to offset the gases created and consumption of oxygen by the heterotrophs. Also, you will have to be careful when cleaning the excess organics out of the pond.
There are aerobic sulfide oxidizing heterotrophs at the surface that convert the toxic hydrogen sulfide gas back into fish safe sulfate, but this it is a slow process and would not be able to quick accommodate a huge influx of the H2S gas. When disturbing the mulm and detritus between rocks, this can release big pockets of H2S gas. So, precautions need to be made... Taking the fish out of the pond would be the better option, if available.

If a deep layer of floor mulm or detritus accumulates between rocks, then you will have to be careful when cleaning the excess organics out of the pond. If you become too reckless in moving the rocks or mulm, then a tremendous amount of toxic gases (hydrogen sulfide) and other toxic heterotroph bacteria on the floating particles could poison your fish or create an ulcer outbreak on your fish. If you need to do some seriously cleaning or rock moving, then I would look into increasing aeration and dosing with a low concentration (3%) peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is actually naturally created in the decomposition of particular materials in the pond, when they're present. The problem comes with the much higher concentrates (27% and 35%), which do not occur naturally. Stick to the 3% generic hydrogen peroxide solution sold at the grocery store and make sure the only ingredients it has is water and H2O2; also, you can sometimes find the MSDS product sheet online that gives the chemical breakdown of the product.

I would only go as high as 1 quart (32 ounces) of 3% H2O2 per 1,000 gallons. This provides the extra oxygen in the water that acts like an oxidizer to neutralize any bad gases produced as you are cleaning and vacuuming the pond. Also, I would have my aerators going as I am cleaning. A weekly regiment of this dosage can help knockback the growth of algae as well.

If you are concerned that you put too much, then you can get a Taylor H2O2 test kit. If the H2O2 is active for more than a day, then start doing a water change to help dilute it, but it should neutralize itself quite fast if your pond has a heavy organic load. So, you might have to do it more than once as you're cleaning, but use it conservatively. You don't want it to linger in the pond for too much longer than a day due to how it can destroy the good bacteria in the pond. So, be conservative with the stuff, but it is much safer than those "algae fix" products you buy at the store.

H2O2 is an oxidizer and this is why it irritates your skin. The much higher concentrations (27% and 35%) can actually give you chemical burns.

You can overdose with 3% H2O2 that can kill plants and fish. Due to extra organics being stirred up, you might have to make multiple does, but do not dose it if your H2O2 test kit indicates presence of it.

After done cleaning, then I would keep heavy aeration going and do a major water change or 10% daily water changes for a few days to make sure the H2O2 test kit reads zero presence.

Before cleaning, taking the fish out of the pond would be the better option, if available.
 
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Can you show me where the nitrogen cycle goes in reverse? Very interesting read. Why do you have to disturb the rock bed? As long as you get it in to your water column everything is good.
 

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mariobrothersleeve said:
Can you show me where the nitrogen cycle goes in reverse? Very interesting read.
Bah, i put in the wrong hyperlink for the Heterotrophic bacteria explanation.... here's the correct one.

Heterotrophic Bacteria and Their Practical Application

When the nitrogen cycle goes into reverse, this is called assimilatory denitrification. This occurs with the obligate heterotrophs lack the appropiate dissolved organic carbons (DOCs) so then the process of creating denitrogen is interrupted and the result is Nitrates converted into Nitrites then into Ammonia. Eventually, depending on compaction in combination with gravel or sand, the depth of mulm will suffocate the appropriate DOCs reaching the heterotrophs.

If there is too much dissolved organic carbons (DOCs) floating in the water column, then this encourages sulfate reducing aerobic heterotroph population to explode causing putrification, which is when Nitrate and DOCs is converted into hydrogen sulfide (H2S); then, this H2S needs to be neutralized by sulfide oxidizing aerobic heterotrophs. The problem with this is the sufide oxidizing heterotrophs are already overloaded by the sulfate reducing obligate heterotrophs, which are deep inside the detritus. So, eventually, these heterotrophs will zap your oxygen levels very fast due to how fast heterotrophs reproduce.


mariobrothersleeve said:
Why do you have to disturb the rock bed? As long as you get it in to your water column everything is good.
The rock bed gets disturb by either animal or reptiles digging into it. If rocks are truly desired, then best to mortar or foam them into place so the cracks are filled and do not move.

Koi is a carp and carp love to dig. So, not only animales and reptiles, koi will also dig into the gravel. This would cause them to possibly release a hydrogen sulfide pocket or cause the toxic heterotrophs to creates ulcers on the fish as they likely will scrap them self while attempting to dig, especially during spawning. Sure, it is possible for koi to not have ulcers as well, but the chances are substantially increased.

It is best to vacuum as much of the mulm and detritus as possible unless you're able to get some critters that will dig in it to keep the detritus somewhat "healthy".

You can't control when animals, reptiles, and fish are to dig or accidentally disturb too much of the mulm.
 
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Koi, bottom feeders by nature are great critters for keeping your rock bed clean. Research sand sifting gobies they do the same thing. They constantly are cleaning for you. Pond take up so much land area, why not make the entire bottom of your pond a giant filter system? Bioload it a big concern for these creatures. They require 1000g for each koi. Overstocking your pond,fish, is what will make your levels unsafe. Bioload and safe ranges are what need to be presented. Disolved oxygen are concerns too,ie low flow low areation.
 

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mariobrothersleeve said:
Koi, bottom feeders by nature are great critters for keeping your rock bed clean. Research sand sifting gobies they do the same thing. They constantly are cleaning for you. Pond take up so much land area, why not make the entire bottom of your pond a giant filter system? Bioload it a big concern for these creatures. They require 1000g for each koi. Overstocking your pond,fish, is what will make your levels unsafe. Bioload and safe ranges are what need to be presented. Disolved oxygen are concerns too,ie low flow low areation.
Of course, if you only had 1 koi per 2,400 gallons, then there would not be much of a problem at all and even extra bio-filtration would not be required. This is due to chemical dilution. Once the dilution is reduced, then this is when bio-filtration systems are used and freshwater flow through / water change systems and mechanized filtration.

There's a big difference between sand and gravel and rocks. As described in the freshwater deep sand bed (DSB) filter, if you can obtain these critters without the koi eating them and they can survive digging through gravel, then that's great.

If you want gravel or sand or mulm lined pond bottoms, then this will definitely restrict the number of fish you can put in your pond. This is just the reality of the situation if you want gravel, sand, mulm to be your pond floor.

The heterotroph bacteria will also zap your dissolved oxygen levels. So, there is alot of extra competition for oxygen competing against your fish's needs that really shouldn't be there.

If you want to be fine with a higher than "low to average" stock density, then remove the mulm, gravel, sand, and increase your water quality maintenance.

Keeping gravel, sand, and mulm on your pond floor is an extremely inefficient and costly bio-filter even with the extra critters sifting the substrate and can become dangerous if the dissolved organics are not properly managed. The hyperlinks point this out.
 
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So, that is my question. Why would you over stock. The introduction of this is the reason for mass water changes. The water that we use should essentially rain water. When implementing ammonia locker and declorinizer to make the water safe it could give you a swing value on your ph. When changing 35% or more of water, this could run your pond into a mini cycle ie, ammonia and nitrite level appear. Then you start seeing your fish with chemical burn and loss of fish. To clean is not a good thing either. Yes pea gravel packs nicely and not disturbing it creates, for me, the ideal set up. Organic introduced is a big issue and cleaning is a must. I like that dsb you now reconize is under the safe category.
 
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Rocks gravel and sand are different. It creates more surface area for benifical bacteria. I use microblift prep and this is great. Do u run a black liner in texas?
 

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mariobrothersleeve said:
So, that is my question. Why would you over stock. The introduction of this is the reason for mass water changes. The water that we use should essentially rain water. When implementing ammonia locker and declorinizer to make the water safe it could give you a swing value on your ph. When changing 35% or more of water, this could run your pond into a mini cycle ie, ammonia and nitrite level appear. Then you start seeing your fish with chemical burn and loss of fish. To clean is not a good thing either. Yes pea gravel packs nicely and not disturbing it creates, for me, the ideal set up. Organic introduced is a big issue and cleaning is a must. I like that dsb you now reconize is under the safe category.
DSB is extremely regulated as described in the referenced material. Nothing about your pond is regulated this well as fish grow and multiply in addition to many other contanimants introduced to water.

Overstock is a very relative term entirely dependent on your bio-filtration capabilities.

The water you use should NOT essentially be rain water. Rain water is devoid of minerals and carbonates. A higher or constant carbonate volume is what protects you from pH swings.

Nothing about ammonia lockers and dechlorinators will cause a pH swing.

Mario, I don't know where you're getting your information... Can you even explain what you write ?? You are really starting to not make sense and I am definitely getting the impression you just want to ignore everything and just believe whatever you want to believe. Who is giving you this information ??

Pea gravel might be an ideal setup for you but it is definitely not the standard-bearer in ponding and it should definitely not be recommended as ideal.
 
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mariobrothersleeve said:
Rocks gravel and sand are different. It creates more surface area for benifical bacteria. I use microblift prep and this is great. Do u run a black liner in texas?
Mario don't you think that rocks on the bottom of a pond will quickly get covered in sediment and hinder the growth of nitrifying bacteria?
After all that's why filters like moving bed filters are touted as being so efficient because the media keeps moving, stays clean and never collects sediment. Just the opposite of what would happen to rocks sitting on the bottom of a pond.
 
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Refer to me as mariobrothersleeve, not ab. You posted this for me to bite on thats what ill do. Son, your generation is more on additives and not on essenials. All you are doing is pulling information from the internet and calling it yours. You are using what you want to explain the "perfect" setup. Putting more fish in that what it can handle is not proper technique, explination of how it benifits you. Yes, im not taking any info from you, as well established i have my own ways. Im not looking to convert to your ways and go on my trditional ways. Ive learned from real life mistakes not what is posted. Keep on adding your additives and u soon will see too. Adding all the blockers come at a cost, over under, to risky. Slow and steady. Run some test, try different ways, i did and went back to convential because there is more going on then what you are posting. Coming with terms of not letting it go as i did on the last post, u cotinued to this post. What are those little creatures in the sand of salt systems? Dont call them creatures they all have name and purposes as well as natural fitration and its a bad sales pitch. Where does your water come from Natural filtration, right farmer dan. I started out in my parents cow pond and a koi my parents gave me from their trip to japan. 23 years later and several ponds later bubba is still with me. A true japanese bloodline. Everything back then was natural and always will be.
 

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I definitely did not post this for you to "bite".

The fact you think any pond that you created is "natural" is quite far from the truth of the matter. Again... If you saw a 18,000 gallon pond in a park with just two "japanese bloodline" koi and humans never intervened... how many fish do you think would survive in it after a few years ??

That's fine Mario. You can choose to believe whatever you want.
 
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Its what the pond can provide for the koi, not how many there will be. There would only be enough an amont of koi. There wouldnt be more fish than water like yall want. The biosystem will provide
 
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Mario, my previous posts have already answered you and I can see it just flat out doesn't matter to you.

I wonder if you truly understand how those "japanese bloodline" koi you got were actually raised.
 

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mariobrothersleeve said:
Its what the pond can provide for the koi, not how many there will be. There would only be enough an amont of koi. There wouldnt be more fish than water like yall want. The biosystem will provide
Sorry, Nature is not that gracious.
 
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No your post said nothing about what "creatures" they were and you do have all the answers! Dude that koi is almost as old as you! Im sure u have the answer, im sure you were on that trip with,my parents come on now you getting mad and trying to make fun natural selection puts a smile on my face
 
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