New pond, fish are flourishing, but water quality isn't perfect


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This past November, my wife and I purchased our first home. The home came with a homemade in-ground pond where the previous owner kept goldfish. He had quite a few big fish in there when he was running the setup. We thought that he took all the fish before we moved in, because it had been mostly drained, and didn't do anything with the pond until the spring. I ended up finding 3 small fish that had begun rotting, drained the water that had accumulated from snow melt, and cleaned the pond with a chlorinated spray to kill off the bacteria causing the very strong stench. I looked up how to neutralize the chloramines, and used a solution of hydrogen peroxide to water as a rinse (the same way they neutralize excessive chloramines in water supplies). Pumped the water out, and rinsed with water to clear as much of the resulting inert solution as possible. I filled the pond and (after reading a ton about filtration over the winter) got his existing setup running. The house has an artesian well, with a water softener, and then a coconut carbon filter after the softener with an "auto fill" timer hooked up, running to the pond.

Fast forward: The 4 fish I have in the pond are flourishing. It was pretty easy to keep the water clear in the early months. I added API beneficial bacteria the first time I noticed water turning green, and it cleared. After the recommended 2 weeks, I added tablets to establish a 30 day release of bacteria to help establish the nitrogen cycle. It worked for a while. That is until the hotter months came along (We live in NH and July is when it began) I still have yet to get any nitrite, or nitrogen when I test. Ammonia levels also remain very low, but the water has a perpetual green cloudiness to it with small amounts of foam that remain for a couple weeks at a time, disappearing and now returning.

I've read that new ponds are difficult to establish a balance. The fish seem very happy. They always eat, no fin pressing (when I see them searching for food), no flashing, etc. I don't feel like they're in immediate danger, though I worry if this condition will worsen.

I've been on top of skimming, and adjusting ph to stay within healthy range. What worries me the most is that none of my tests, so far, turn up any nitrite or nitrogen. Though, the ammonia remains low, I'm inclined to believe that it's not a problem of waste building up. I could be wrong, as I'm new to all of this. When I skim the bottom, there's no sludge.

In short, is this a normal process, and how can I do better?
 

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addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
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I see plants around the pond, but none in the pond. Plants do a great job with green water.
 
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That was my first thought. It's actually an aquaponics setup, and we haven't gotten any plants growing in it. We had trouble trying to get them to grow at first. I'm going to try to get some going in the system. I just wasn't sure entirely if that was the only thing missing.
 

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cas

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Very nice pond. I agree with Addy1. Get some plants in the pond and it will help with the algae.
 
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One thing I always like to point out - water QUALITY and water CLARITY are not the same thing. You can have a very healthy green pond. And an unhealthy pond that is full of crystal clear water.

I'm with @addy1 on this one - with no plants in the pond, you don't have a complete eco-system. So nature is providing that part with the green water. Don't worry about "adjusting" the pH - that will happen naturally. My mantra in pond keeping is constantly "less is more". Let it happen.
 
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One thing I learned from this group that may help you: the number of the pH isn't as important as stability. A little bit low or a little bit high is no big deal if it is consistent. There is a range that is healthy and outside that range is no good -- but in general, a consistent number within the healthy range is just fine.
 

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