Pea Soup Pond

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I have recently had my pond rennovated with a biofilter/stream waterfall, a skimmer and a ionizer unit. I have three large Koi and a bunch of goldfish, and have had the pond for about 6 or 7 years. I have had varying problems with the advice I have had from a series of purported pond professionals, to the extent that I'm wondering if there really is such a thing. I thought I had finally found the answer last fall and after consultation, I had a pond rennovation done this March. My problem is that the provider assured me that the pond would be crystal clear from the get go, and that has yet to happen, and its almost mid June. Today he has nearly emptied the pond to start again much to the consternation of my fish. we've been through two sets of ionizer units (the things that stick into the water flow), I'm concerned that the system isn't big enough to handle the size of the pond. I'm not sure what the capacity of the water pump is but I'll find out. the good news is that my fish are still looking pretty healthy. this is my first post so its a bit disjointed, you're all probably thinking I should be kicked out of the pond owners club if there was one, but if anyone is willing to chime in hear, I'm all ears. thanks
 
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sissy

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Welcome and your so called pond pro I would fire ,sounds like he wants to kill the fish does he not know they will be breeding at this time .I am hoping also that you have well water or then the guy is brain dead .I never trust people like that that do what you in your mind feel is wrong .Go with your gut and kick them in the butt as they are leaving . :razz:
 

fishin4cars

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welcome aboard, sounds like your Pond professional is well not as experienced as he may be making out to be. Might be time to do some reading and learning on your own. Let's start off with some simple questions and see if one of us here can get you going in the right direction. First off, can you post pics? if so take pics and post of your filter, pond, ionizer? - Possible UV light?? Second, What are your water readings, PH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, general Hardness, Carbonate hardness. We need to know them all, not that they read good, exact readings. Next find out what size pumps, the size and gallons of the pond, and what filter is being used and howmuch and what kind of media.
 

brandonsdad02

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For pea green soup, a UV light will take care of it most of the time, but it might take a week or 2. Depends on the pond size, your pump, ect like what fishin' said. Pictures will help us try to help you. Welcome to the site. There are tons of people on here that know a lot about ponds. First thing I would do is fire this guy that says he is a professional. With ponding....I don't think there will ever be a professional. Good luck.
 
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I have had varying problems with the advice I have had from a series of purported pond professionals, to the extent that I'm wondering if there really is such a thing.
It's a pretty low bar...you just have to call yourself one. There are some people out there who can be hired and also know a lot about ponds, but it seems to me there might only be maybe 5 or 6 in the US, I don't know of any in Canada. My own personal standard.

My problem is that the provider assured me that the pond would be crystal clear from the get go
Got it in writing? Sue him. At least you now know how to spot someone who knows nothing about ponds...they think they can predict the future and choose to use that gift by installing ponds. Me, I'd be too busy picking lotto numbers.

Back in the day I use to clean ponds and I'd say the pond would be clear (see the bottom) in 7 days or there was no charge. Never said I guaranteed clear, just I only charged if it was clear. I also didn't guarantee it would stay clear.

Today he has nearly emptied the pond to start again much to the consternation of my fish.
OK, that's kind of funny, assuming he's doing this on his own dime. I'd pay $5 just to come by and sit drinking a lemonade watching this guy waste his time. In a twisted way I get pleasure watching people toil rather than use that 3 lbs of meat they carry around on their shoulders for no apparent reason. It reminds me to try and use my meatball a bit more.

we've been through two sets of ionizer units (the things that stick into the water flow), I'm concerned that the system isn't big enough to handle the size of the pond.
Ionizers are the new hottest thing for ponds in the last year. Like all pond products they're great according to the marketing department.

These were the rage a few years back in swimming pools. After word got around they didn't work that market dried up and manufacturers turned to the pond market hoping to score at least a few good years I guess.

The reasons why ionizers failed in swimming pool only gets worst in ponds. For example, these only work to "keep water clear", they can't clear green water. Mine you I'm talking about swimming pool green which is just a green tint. They couldn't handle even a green tint of algae. In a pond green means opaque green paint. It would take like 100 ionizers to clear that, maybe more, I don't know. But once clear then a single unit could in theory keep a pond clear. So with pools people added chlorine to keep the algae down so the ionizer could work...but then they started to realize the point of the ionizer was so they didn't have to add chlorine. Goodbye ionizer.

Now for the theory...water chemistry has to be within a narrow range for these to work. Get out of bounds and the copper won't release or it'll release too much and kill all the fish. In a pool you might be able to keep the water in the needed range if you really worked at it. In a pond...forget about it. The effort needed to keep water parameters in the needed range would be difficult short term and impossible long term imo.

Now for the danger...ionizers work by releasing copper, and some release silver, into the water. Copper is toxic to fish. Whether it kills the fish today or harms them enough that they died down the road, or they hang on for many years, depends on many things. But toxic it is without any doubt. Many studies.

Most important is the level of copper and how long the fish are exposed. Your ionizer should have come with a way to test kit for for copper. It's up to you test and adjust the machine on order to keep the copper level below lethal levels. It would be very expensive I think for these units to ever self relate and even then I think they would need to be calibrated often.

If this sounds like skating on ice with a loaded gun to your temple, finger on the trigger and safety off, I'd say that sounds about right.

Because the copper kills some bacteria as well as well as algae and fish, there is also a concern about how well bio filters would work. There's no data on this because no one who knows what a bio filter is and how to measure effectiveness would ever allow an ionizer within a 100 feet of their pond.

I'll also bet the installer didn't mention how much replacement anodes cost... like $100-150 a pop.

Ionizers are much better at killing fish than they are at killing algae. Because they haven't worked for you I would insist the installer refund their cost. Get what you can. He wants to be a pond professional, let him step up and eat it.

Now for what does work...A properly sized and installed UV filter will clear a pond in less than 5 days 100% of the time. However, the flow rate does have to be turned down sometimes if the pond doesn't clear in a few days (that's the "installed correctly" catch). So it can take a couple of weeks to dial them in.

You have to be measuring ammonia and nitrite. The algae is acting as your bio filter...when that goes away ammonia and nitrite can spike and has to be handled right away. Unless you want new fish. This is one reason why fish do well in green ponds. They love it.

Interestingly once the UV cleared the pond the ionizer could take over and keep the pond clear...unless water parameters got out of bounds or a bit too much algae grew...then you're back to the UV. Maybe better to just have the UV?

In many cases, with the UV, a few weeks after the pond is clear you can try turning off the UV and seeing if the pond stays clear. Sometimes it does, sometimes not and you repeat the process.

Vote with your dollars...if you buy a UV check to see if the retailer is also selling ionizers. Don't give them your business if they are. They don't care about you or your pond, just your money.

you're all probably thinking I should be kicked out of the pond owners club if there was one
You've just paid your dues to be in the club. Most of us have. Only a few have perfect ponds all the time.
 
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i'm not sure how to do a new post so this is what i've figured out so far, replying to my own post yesterday in my initial post i told of a sad story with my pond guy and stuff, well it got worse, last night all my fish 3 big koi and about 50 gold fish died don't know why pond guy says it was the shock from going from pea soup to fresh water. i guess my user name is not too good but who knows things might get better. he's going to replace the fish and fix the pond and make it all better he says, in the meantime i've bought a test kit, and have figured out that the pond is pretty well in good shape as far as the water is concerned. fishin has asked for specific values for the various test, my kit just does colors but the numbers attached are nh3and nh4=omg/l, no2
 

brandonsdad02

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The good bacteria lives on your filter media. A uv light will only kill the single cell algae which causes the pea green water. The uv light won't hurt the good bacteria. If you are going to use q uv light you will have to rinse your pre filter media at least once a day because it will clog up more while the algae is dying off.
 

pondlover

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Pond luck, I'm so sorry about your fish. Hopefully you will get things in order and be able to enjoy your pond.
 

sissy

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sorry about you fish but once he replaces your fish give the old good by and hope i never see you speech .He has no clue what he is doing by the looks of it and if i can have a pond for 8 years and not loose a fish then you can also .I bought my koi and fish when they are a couple of inches long and now around 2 feet long .You will have a lot better pondluck with out that guy .
 
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j.w

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So sorry and sad you lost your fish pondluck and hope you can lose that fellow and learn how to do your own pond care. You will get lots of help here to figure it out along the way.
 

fishin4cars

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Pondluck, I hate to hear this but I think some of us kind of saw that coming. Pondluck might be a very good screen name, sounds like you didn't have luck finding a professional Pond guy. Your Pond guy needs to get on a forum and learn more. I take it you didn't visit other ponds he takes care of? Cleaning that much water out and not fixing the problem was 1 mistake, second mistake was shocking your fish, Yea, he really goofed. I would not only make him replace your fish, replace them with equal size equal quality fish of YOUR PICKING. Don't let him just go out and buy you some cheap fish and think that is ok. those were your babies. Replace them with equal quality equal size fish that YOU choose. Now for your water test. Not reading pretty well in good shape. actually not in that good of shape at all.
1st- your GH and KH are low. this can cause the ph to crash, could have in fact crashed and the large water change brought the PH back up to pretty good shape for the time being. What your seeing is exactly what would happen if the PH crashed and the ammonia went high. I'm kind of short on time this evening and hope maybe Waterbug or someone will chime in and help on this. But they need to come up in the near future or this same problem could happen again. Check out in the search how to balance hardness and buffering your water. Also it would be a good idea to start a journal. You'll need to know what your source/tap water is to start with. that we will call a base line. Then you will have a balance reading, that's what reading you want to obtain and maintain, lastly is what the water is actually reading. keep in mind that these changes can be gradual, but after a rain or water change they can abruptly change. you as a pond keeper needs to know what and when then changes take place. That will help you and all of us.
2nd. your reading .03 the way you posted I'm not sure exactly what your posting. NO2 would be nitrite. nitrite is a by product of ammonia. If your getting a reading now then at some point in the last few days your ammonia would have had to have been high. Your getting a reading, and this is only a day after a large water change, what would it have been then a few days ago. Probably pretty high. So now. Why? how often are you feeding, are the filters being cleaned regularly? How regularly? once a day, a week, a month? How are you cleaning? with a water hose. in a bucket, not cleaning? What kind of filter is it? what kind of media? Green water can easily be caused by high ammonia and nitrites, these convert to nitrates which is the primary souce of food for algae cells. UV lights might help, but again, you need to find the source of the problem first. starting by fixing that will make fixing the rest and finding a solution a lot easier.
 
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