New here. Introduction and need some help/advice please


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Hi Everyone:

New here, from Long Island, NY. About 2 years ago I built a fairly large pond in the back yard. All work was done myself except for digging the hole, installing the liner, and the rock work. It is about 13' x 15' x 4.5', and roughly 5000 gallons, with around 12 or so large fish (Koi, Shibunkins, Comets), and probably 20+ babies, which are no longer babies. About a month ago, the weather got significantly warmer, and the water went from crystal clear, could make out grains of sand on the bottom, to a pea soup color (could see maybe a foot down), and I could see suspended solids floating. That was right around the time I could actually add plants, because this climate zone is too cold for lilies and other plants until mid May. I have tried everything from bacteria, frequent filter cleanings, flocculants, and simply waiting, and although things got somewhat better, it was still very murky. As a last resort, I used an algaecide, which did improve things significantly. I can now see the bottom, but barely. Still, it is not where I would like it to be. I do not like to use the chemical because the fish really don't like it. I did not do a full cleanout this spring, the pond was netted very well last fall and I was able to remove the debris that made it through with just a net. The water itself is from last spring.

My pond pump is a 10,680 GPH pump at 0 head (my flow rates are likely around 7000 GPH), specifically the ArtesianPro 3/4 HP. It pulls through a Savio Skimmerfilter skimmer that handles flow rates between 5000-8500 GPH, 2 UV bulbs in the skimmer at 50 watts each, and a pre-filter pad. The filter itself is a Pondmaster Clearguard 5.5, which is good for 5500 gal. The skimmer itself is good for filtration alone for 1500 gal. Inside the filter I have added extra bio media (plastic balls that came with the filter), and stacked filter pads in this order from top to bottom in the direction of water flow: one coarse filter pad, two fine filter pads, one charcoal pad, then the bio media. There is one coarse filter pad in the skimmer itself. The filter has an 18 watt UV bulb, for 118W total UV output. All bulbs are new this season. The filter itself empties into a waterfall via a hose. Nothing at the end of the hose. I also have an appropriately sized air pump in the pond.

Water chemistry is very good. pH runs between 7.0 and 7.5, nitrates less than 0.25, ammonia is just about 0, and phosphates as well. The fish all appear healthy and active.

I have attached some photos. Please forgive the mess, we are undergoing major construction on our house now. It did not affect the pond, and the issues started before we broke ground on the build. Please give you your critiques, be brutal if you have to. But please let me know what I can do to make my water clear.

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Welcome!
Your pond is beautiful! I think your fish load might be a bit high? The green water is a sign that there are many nutrients in the water. The important thing is that your pond is healthy!!!!! I would not use an algicide. When it kills off the algae, the dead algae just provides more nutrients for more algae to grow.
You could try adding more plants. Lilies pull nutrients from the planting media - not from the water - so they don't do a lot to help.
Do you feed the fish a lot? You could cut back on feeding and add more plants.
If you are really, really bothered by the green water and if it persists after trying some other things, your best bet is to add a bog filter. That is a whole other conversation that many people on here would love to discuss! :D
 

Jhn

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Nice looking pond…..Couple things, to add as @bagsmom said the algae is keeping your pond healthy, the fish don’t care the water is green it is just aesthetically unpleasing to us. you have too many nutrients and not enough nutrient export, your filters aren’t going to help with that as these don’t remove nitrates or phosphates the main fuel for algae….the reason your nitrates read so low is the algae is consuming it. Store bought filters are usually woefully inadequate for ponds their ratings for pond size are useless imo. Your typical filters are also nitrate factories, unless cleaned weekly, they are great at converting ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate, but do nothing for nitrate removal.

The best way to get nutrient export is through fast growing plants that pull their nutrient right from the water be it in a bog or you pond proper.

In Long Island it isn’t too cold too add plants before mid May, unless you are adding tropical/annual plants for your zone, which it looks like that is all you have, water hyacinths and tropical water lilies. you have very little plants in the pond, you can add alooooot more plants.

Aggressive growing plants like parrot feather, watercress, water forgetmenot, water celery, creeping Jenny, are a few that grow quickly and like wildfire, but are easy to pull out and will come back every year in your growing zone. These guys can be wedged bare root between the rocks around the pond. There are winter hardy water lilies, cannas, irises, arrowheads, taros for your zone, that will come back every year.

Lastly, don’t ever drain the pond to clean it, scrubbing rocks etc., this is like starting from scratch with a new pond every time you do this. Also, I am not a proponent for water changes, just because you think you should, the water you are adding isn’t always better than what is already in the pond. There are situations where it may be necessary, but otherwise it can be counterproductive to your pond.
 
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It is a very nice pond indeed, but I will echo bagsmom's sentiment that you definitely need more plants to compete with the algae. And, although you can't put in tropical plants like the water hyacinth until the spring weather & the water warms up, there are loads of marginal perennial pond plants that can overwinter in the pond just fine.
 
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Thank you everyone. I was also thinking that lack of plants is a big issue. I just realized that there these fast growing underwater plants that I can put on the bottom and they will grow upwards towards the surface. I forgot the names, but I was thinking that a bunch of those would help. Cost is also an issue. Not that I can't afford it, but I spent around $400 on 5 tropical lilies and a few other plants, and I'd like to keep costs down at this point. So I'd like something less expensive. And I think I'll go with the more hardy stuff as well. Last year I didn't have the skimmer and I had half the pond covered in water lettuce. Problem is, it will get sucked into the skimmer. Any suggestions on how to go about it? I read somewhere to string up some fishing line across the pond and it would work to prevent it from going into the skimmer? I will try to go today to pick up some plants.

The bog seems like a good idea, I just have to figure out how to actually do it. I wish I knew about it when I built the pond, so now I have to find a way to retrofit it.

The fish load I can't really do much about for now, and unfortunately the things keep reproducing. But I do have to find a way to relocate some of the fish in a legal way.

Good to know that I shouldn't drain and clean the pond. But it does develop a lot of muck. Any good way to deal with it? Last year I added some sludge destroyer and lost a couple of fish. Perhaps the pond wasn't aerated well?

Any other suggestions as far as routine maintenance goes? Thank you everyone for all your advice.
 
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j.w

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Nice looking pond and as for sludge........best way is just to get yourself a good long handled fine weaved net and scoop it out. Does not have to be spotless:)
 
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Thank you everyone for you help and compliments. Extra plants it is then. I will try to get some more today. If you have any other general tips or advice, please share. I'm learning a lot as I go, but I'm still a newbie to this. For example, I have a lot of what I think is algae attached to the liner. It's very adherent, like something that would need to be power washed to remove. Do I need to do anything about it, or just leave it as a natural byproduct of a pond?
 
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Thank you everyone for you help and compliments. Extra plants it is then. I will try to get some more today. If you have any other general tips or advice, please share. I'm learning a lot as I go, but I'm still a newbie to this. For example, I have a lot of what I think is algae attached to the liner. It's very adherent, like something that would need to be power washed to remove. Do I need to do anything about it, or just leave it as a natural byproduct of a pond?
Algae attached to your liner is a good thing, no need to remove it. Nature is just providing you with a plant until you're able to get some more. ;)
 

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Yep, that peach fuzz algae that coats everything wet in your pond is a good thing, called a biofilm, contains the base of the food web, along with beneficial bacteria. Which is why fish are constantly picking at it. Definitely don’t power wash it off….
 
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Thank you all again, I changed my setup a little bit. Got rid of the rings that held the water hyacinths and strung up a fishing line about an inch off the water surface near the skimmer. That should hopefully keep the plants out of the skimmer. Got another 10 plants today, now for a total of 30 water hyacinths. It's been fairly cool here, so the growing season is slowly ramping up, but hopefully they will reproduce quickly. I will also put in some submerged plants on the bottom, I think it will do the trick. Some of the suggestions above are unfortunately illegal in NY, so I have to see what I can substitute with. Here are a few more pics from today. You can see some of the construction debris from the house addition we are building in the background. Water is much more clear today, I think from the algaecide that I added last week. I do not plan to use it again, and will take the advice of using plants to use up the nutrients that feed the algae. It makes sense, and seem that adding the algaecide treats the symptom without addressing the cause. Seems it could ultimately make the symptom worse.
 

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It's very pretty!!!!!
And I will go ahead and be the immature person who says it: Your online name is HILARIOUS!
 
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Green water in the Spring is normal for some.
I'm in northeastern Pennsylvania and my pond has literally just returned to its crystal clear state around June 18. Even with my bog it can be a bit murky in the Spring.

Nature provides the algae (plants) until your regular plants and your pond's beneficial bacteria wake up from a cold winter.

Add lots and lots of plants.

UV lights are not selective. They kill even the good stuff. Then all that dead matter becomes food for more algae to feed on.

You were very lucky with the algecide.
We've seen so many posts where fish have been killed off from adding that stuff.

I never do water changes and the only cleaning I do is slowly running a net along the bottom in the Spring and Fall.

The bog filter does help, as mentioned.
My pond is way overstocked.
Before adding the bog, I couldn't get rid of the pea soup green water. There was just too much fish waste and the store bought filters couldn't keep up with it.
Now, with the bog, once the Spring wake up is over, the water is amazingly clear.

The best thing to do would be add lots and lots of plants.
 
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Green water in the Spring is normal for some.
I'm in northeastern Pennsylvania and my pond has literally just returned to its crystal clear state around June 18. Even with my bog it can be a bit murky in the Spring.

Nature provides the algae (plants) until your regular plants and your pond's beneficial bacteria wake up from a cold winter.

Add lots and lots of plants.

UV lights are not selective. They kill even the good stuff. Then all that dead matter becomes food for more algae to feed on.

You were very lucky with the algecide.
We've seen so many posts where fish have been killed off from adding that stuff.

I never do water changes and the only cleaning I do is slowly running a net along the bottom in the Spring and Fall.

The bog filter does help, as mentioned.
My pond is way overstocked.
Before adding the bog, I couldn't get rid of the pea soup green water. There was just too much fish waste and the store bought filters couldn't keep up with it.
Now, with the bog, once the Spring wake up is over, the water is amazingly clear.

The best thing to do would be add lots and lots of plants.
Yes, I have killed fish in the past with the algaecide, but the problem was I extremely overestimated the volume of my pond and horribly overdosed it. But I really don't like to use it. The fish are sluggish for 24 hours, and I can tell they really don't like it. Unfortunately plant selection in my local places is mediocre. I ordered a lot of underwater plants online yesterday, and some weights to sink them to the bottom. And the fish will like them also. The algaecide actually worked really well, I can see the bottom clearly this morning and the fish are back to being happy and active. My hope is that the plants, once the growing season gets fully underway, will keep it that way. I will not use the stuff again, I really do fear it.

By next year, i will have to find a way to relocate some fish. I may not be overstocked now as the little fish are still quite little, but they are growing quickly and I can already tell there will be more on the way. I may need to add additional filters, my pump can certainly handle the extra load. It's overbuilt for the pond size.
 
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addy1

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Plants plants and more plants A lot of us filter with only a bog! and plants

Welcome to the forum!

Very pretty pond!
 
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Now I'm really interested to see how I can retrofit a bog into the pond.
I did it after my pond was 10 years old.
I struggled with solid green water the complete previous year. And that was with two pressure filters and a UV light.

As stated, I have way too many fish.
The only way I could have achieved clear water was to add a bog or rehome half my fish.

After adding on the bog, the pea soup green water cleared up within a week and the plants in the bog were new, so their benefit hadn't even been applied yet.

Here's my add-on bog thread:
 

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