New Pond High PH and Phosphates


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I admit, I am very much a newbie at the whole pond thing but trying my best to learn as much as possible as quick as possible.


My pond is about 500 gallons, with a waterfall pushed by a 2200GPH pump. I have a combination of Koi and Goldfish in the pond. As the subject states, the pond is new - about 3 weeks old. Water tested perfect before adding the fish but after 2 days it got cloudy and had the water tested at the pond shop. At that time, ammonia and nitrites were high and they recommended changing the water, which I did a number of times and the water clarity did improve but was still reading high in ammonia and nitrites and high phosphates. So ... I cut back on feeding and ramped up my education. I was cleaning my filter media too aggressively with tap water and nothing was able to take hold. I bought some microbe-lift bacteria to apply to the media and decided not to clean the filter any more except maybe in a bucket of pond water to get the surface gunk off. I also decided to hold off on any more water changes for a while since adding fresh water constantly would be the same as washing the filter with tap water, more or less.

A week or so later, fish seem very happy, almost eating out of my hand but my water is still out of whack. Lots of algae growing on the rocks and water fall. Ammonia is now zero. Nitrites down to .25 (it was at .5 previously). PH is off the charts at 9.0 (or higher - that's as high as the card shows). And Phosphates are also quite high, though I can't recall the number. The water is still clearish. Not as clear as fresh tap water but I can see the fish quite easily even at the bottom.

So, I hope someone here can give me some advice on what to do with this young pond. Should I just wait a while and
things will align properly once the good bacteria multiply enough? Or do I need to address the PH and Phosphates?

Cheers,

Larry
 
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Hi Larry, I do not know anything about water testing but wanted to share my experience with algae on rocks,if it is string algae it can be a pain but if it is carpet algae it is considered "good algae" and I personally love how it makes the pond look more natural. I currently have string algae in my waterfall stream and this year I am leaving it unless it decides to get into my pond,I am finding it filters the water before it hits the pond and it works for me :) I could put Eco-Blast on the stream and it will go away but I do what works and looks good to me. With your pond being new I would hold off on feeding your fish for awhile as it will create more fish waste. You need lots of patience while the pond becomes balanced.Also I do not see any mention of plants,plants help out tremendously. Would love to see a picture. Have a great day. Amber
 
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Hi Amber,

Thanks for the reply. I do have quite a few plants in, on and around the pond. I have a water lilly and a bunch of some type of seaweed that comes in a bag which I attach to rocks with rubber bands and sink them. Also water hyacinthes and small floating plants. Above the surface, I have a couple of irises and a few other plants that I can't

Larry
 

koidaddy

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Welcome Larry. It is going to take time for you pond to cycle, around 3 months. Try not to overfeed during this period. Kio produce alot of waste and can grow quite large. How many koi do you have? 500 gallon is kind of on the small side for koi but great for your goldfish or add some shubunkins.
 
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I have 6 Koi - 3 about 6-8 inches and 3 smaller about 4 inches. 5 Goldfish are about 5-6 inches. I am trying to limit their feeding to as much as they will consume in about 2 minutes but there's plenty of algae that they seem to be feasting on between feedings.

I think I'm at the upper limit, if not over, for the number or fish for my pond but hope to get it stabilized. I think my main issues now are phosphates and PH that are both too high. Is this just a waiting game at this point?

Cheers,

Larry
 
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koidaddy

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Your ph is high. What does you water supply read that you are using? I cant comment on the phosphates as I have never checked mine. Also what kind of filter do you have?
 

koidaddy

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What planting media are you using? This could effect ph.

So the scrubbie acts as a mechanical and a bio filter? Is it one scrubbie or are there a few? Have you reserched DIY bio filters? You are going to need more filtration with what your fish will produce. Not to discourage but the more bio filtration the better.
 
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Yes, the scrubbie in the waterfall is both mechanical and bio filtration. I also have my pump at the bottom of the pond in a sort of bucket with the same scrubbie media on the bottom and top.

My irises are in pots that came from the garden store. The tops of the pots are above surface. My lilly is also in garden store pot but below the surface. Seems to be some kind of mud.

Cheers,

Larry
 

addy1

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It may be the dirt they are in. I only put clay in pots that go into the pond. They may have had fertilizer in the soil also.

kitty litter clay, the pure stuff, no additives.
 
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Should I just wait a while longer before trying to adjust PH? It would be nice to get the phosphates down also. Remember my pond is still young, only about 1 month old and I did do some drastic water changes at the start that likely cleaned out my bacteria out of my filter.

Cheers,

Larry
 

fishin4cars

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Larry, I wouldn't do anything until you found out WHAT is causing it to get so high. Phosphates are usually introduced either in well water source or by stones, planting media or water run off from the yard into the pond. The first course of action is find out where it's coming from and fix that. Fixing the water now means it's still going to come right back until you know what is causing it.
 

koidaddy

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You need to figure out why its raising the ph so much. Is this a solid reading am/pm? Or does it fluctuate am/pm? I know you can use crushed oyster shells to keep ph stable but am not sure if it has a lowering effect.
 

koiguy1969

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yeah...crushed ouster shells work great as a buffer...i would definately add some as soon as the source of the high ph is located and rid of.... stone, and concrete are the usual suspects in a high ph situation. especially in 'tap wate' with a stable 7.5 ph.
 
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When adding plants you should always wash all of the dirt on the roots off. Then plant in a more pond friendly media. Most plants come in potting mix with lots of fertilizers and organics. That is probably the source of phosphates.

Do you have any rocks or stones of any kind in the pond? Any concrete bricks or pavers touching the water? Also, what type of rock is your pond edge made of?

Water changes will not kill the bacteria as long as you use declorinater.

Carpet alge on the waterfall and rocks is normal and good for the pond.

You said your filter is in your waterfall? The 2000gph flow might be a little high for the filter to have enough time to break stuff down.

And as for the water clearity. Pond water will never be tap water clear(clear with almost a blue tint like a pool). It will be clear, but with a slight tea color tint. But you should still see threw it easily. Take a look real close to the water in a sunny area. Do you see very fine particles floating around? You can try adding some quilt battling to catch the super fines.
 
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OK, I will take a shot at the potted plants and replace the dirt with the pond planting medium I have. Pond structure is rubber liner with mostly granite rocks, however, my waterfall is built mainly from flat flagstone. Could these be messing up my PH and phospates?

Yes my filter is in the waterfall. I know now that it's not the best place for it but that's why I'm posting in the newbie section :lol: I think that it would be a major overhaul of the pond to move the filter to a stand-alone job. It may be possible to add a skippy type just behind the waterfall but I am a little limited for space. Not too sure how I would do it yet.

My next pond will definitely be larger, deeper and with a massive filtration plant ;).

What dechlorinator products do you use and how are the used? I have been using 'pondcare stress coat plus' but have just been dumping it in the pond after dropping the level, then refilling with fresh tap water. Is that a bad way to do it?


Regards,

Larry
 

koidaddy

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Flagstone is ok Larry. Change you plant medium and see what happens. If you run out of what you have, unscented non clumping cat litter will work(crushed clay) and is alot cheaper then stuff from the pond store.
 
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koidaddy

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On the dechlor I use Prime for anything major(over 15%) which hasn't happened in a while. You can add water with a trickle set up and not have to dechlorinate because it is mixing in with the pond water at a slower rate. There was a thread here on how to grow large koi and that was his method. If you can, get a large rubbermaid can and do 65 gallons at time if you want to be safe.
 

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