PH level for temparary tank different than the pond.

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Laurnarose, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. Laurnarose

    Laurnarose

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    Hello, I found this forum yesterday and so far I have read some valuable information. I have 2x 260gallon preformed ponds. I have had them for 20 years. I have grown tired of patching the cracks and so I decided I would jump whole-heartily into a single pond with an EPDM liner in the same location. Each pond has 4 butterfly-koi ranging from 14" to 24" long and many mosquito fish. I set up a temporary 200 gallon tank(aka horse water tank-rubber) to put the fish in while I work on the new pond. I will be using the same pump and pressure filters that I already have. The temporary tank has been set up for 3 days using "stress coat" for the water. The PH level is currently 7. The cracked fishpond that will only hold half the water (this only happened 2 weeks ago when a tree limb fell on it), that PH level is currently at 8.5. Is it safe to move my fish to the temporary tank. Or should I add baking soda to the temporary tank to raise the PH? Your wisdom in this would be helpful.
     
    Laurnarose, Apr 23, 2018
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  2. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    Welcome!
    PH levels will vary during the day, so it's more accurate to measure KH and GH levels instead. It's also easier to match KH and GH instead of chasing a moving PH value.
    Measure the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels as well. Once you've made the transfer to the temporary tank, measure those levels daily. Have some Pond Prime on hand in case something goes wrong.
    http://www.seachem.com/pond-prime.php
    Don't add any more stress coat. It's more important to have a viable population of nitrifying bacteria.
    Can you move your existing filter over to the temporary holding tank, or do you have a pressure filter that you can use and just place some existing filter material in?
    How long to you anticipate having to use the temporary tank?
    What size are you planning on making the new pond? Your fish have certainly outgrown the current ones.
     
    MitchM, Apr 23, 2018
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  3. Laurnarose

    Laurnarose

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    I am currently using the API test strips 5 in 1. This morning the:
    broken pond is reading GH= 180, KH=120 Ph=8.0 No2=5 No3=20.
    Good pond is reading GH=180, KH=80 Ph=7-7.5 No2=0 No3=0.
    Temperary tank is GH=120, KH=80 Ph=7-7.5 No2=0 No3=0.
    I live in southern California so we have hard water here.

    Thank you, I ordered some on line, hope it arrives tomorrow.

    I had a third older pressure filter(Fishmate 600) and a new pump that I put on the temporary pond. I added some of the existing filter material to it. I can switch it out with the good pond system today. I have two weeks off, stay-vacation. I have the lining and I have the undermatting already. I have some rocks, but need gravel. The new pond will be 15 feet long by 6 feet wide and 2-21/2 feet deep with a shelf on the back and sides in a slight crescent shape. Hopefully, I will not have to dig out too much more once I pull the old ponds out. Fortunately I have a couple friends to help for that. My largest oldest fish are about 8 years old. with a few added two years ago from my fathers old pond, no idea on their age but they're the small ones. I really want to get started on this today. but I still worry about the initial fish move to the temporary tank.
     
    Laurnarose, Apr 23, 2018
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  4. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    Test strips are not very accurate, but since that's what you've got and you're using the same strips for all measurements, well have to go with that.
    My main concern is that you have 4 large koi in the cracked pond with only about 130 gallons of water in it.
    I can see the ammonia levels rising quickly.
    Make sure to obtain a liquid ammonia test kit, and it would be best if you also purchased a liquid master pond test kit from API.
    Your KH is low, it should be minimum 100 ppm so you could see some PH swings which will cause your fish stress.
    Because of the situation with your broken pond, I would say go ahead and transfer the fish now but at the same time hook up the existing pond filters to the temporary tank (without cleaning them) so they can handle the fish waste.
    Once you get a liquid KH test kit, measure again and adjust the KH with baking soda if needed.
    Also be sure to measure the water temperature.
    Add the appropriate amount of Prime as soon as you receive it. The effects will only last for 24 - 48 hours, but that should give you enough time to get more reliable test kits.
     
    MitchM, Apr 23, 2018
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  5. Laurnarose

    j.w I Love my Goldies

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    j.w, Apr 23, 2018
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  6. Laurnarose

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Hello and welcome! Excellent input from @MitchM!

    Though not directly related to your question, I would like to comment on the sizes of your current pond(s) and the number of koi that you have. Wow, you have 8, 14”-24” koi, divided into 2, 260 gallon preforms? And you’ve had this set up for 20 years without any problems? Amazing, and you must have just fantastic filtration — what kind of filters do you have? Just as an FYI, I hope you are going larger with your new pond — those 8 fish would probably appreciate a little more room to move around.

    Be sure to keep us posted on your build, and of course, include pictures! We love to see pictures!
     
    Mmathis, Apr 23, 2018
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  7. Laurnarose

    Laurnarose

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    Quick update: I moved the four Butterfly koi over yesterday morning.(I may have overestimated their size being as they are nearly half the length in tail, I love those long tails). I Put their pump and filter on the temporary tank, I have water splashing out of an urn for airation. I added Two tablespoons of baking soda to be on the safe side. Kh seemed to stay at 80, ph went to 7.5. (I didn't get the liquid test kit until last night.) I will do more testing as soon as my other chores allow me to. The temp pond cleaned itself up pretty fast after the addition of the pond water that came with the fish. This morning all four fish look happier and swimming more than I had seen them do since their pond cracked. So fingers are crossed that all will be well.
    I did a lot of digging yesterday on that half of the new pond. I am thinking that I will move the other pond fish either tomorrow or Thursday, in hopes to have that side cleaned out and dug out for Saturday, when I will have several people to help me place the liner. I will let you know how it all goes.
     
    Laurnarose, Apr 24, 2018
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  8. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    Thanks for the update.

    I was worried about that. Two tablespoons should have raised the KH by 20 ppm, so that could mean that your test strips are no good. The sooner you can get the liquid test kits, the sooner you can have an accurate view of your water quality.
    Be sure to add that Prime as soon as you get it.
     
    MitchM, Apr 24, 2018
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  9. Laurnarose

    Laurnarose

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    Like to give an update and ask about Prime.
    The stats on my Temporary 200 gallon tank with 4 butterfly koi. PH 8.2, KH 125. GH (11drops of tester, didn't write down the #) Ammonia has risen to 1.0 Nitrates are staying at .25. I have been adding 2 capfulls of Prime each day. Is there a limit to how many times Prime should be used. Can I use it twice a day or only once a day or less. I am adding about four inches of water every day as I seem to have a small leak. The four fish are still swimming but are slowing down so I know that they are a bit stressed.

    For the other three Butterfly koi and one goldfish (it turns out), I patched the three inch hole on both inside and outside of the brocken pond that I had already pulled out of the ground. I let that set for a day. I put bricks under the sides to hold the pond upright above ground and then emptied my good pond into it, moving the fish over when both ponds were at the half way mark. I did this on Wed. They seem to be doing much better than the Temporary tank. Today's PH =8.4, KH=125, GH(11drops) Amonnia= .25 and Nitrates = .25. It really helped to have the old pond and the old pond water for their move. Trouble is this pond is not big enough to hold all 8 of my fish.

    So, I have been digging, leveling, setting side bricks, and buying rocks. Today my sister and I set the underlinner, I did two layers, for fear of rodents. and then be set the liner, and filled it full of water. I was so please to see that my leveling efforts were nearly right on. After the new pond was full we spent the after noon tossing in(well placing in the water) round river rocks and gravel. I wanted to be sure of the level before I added rocks, for fear I would have to re-dig out in places, but it appears the pond level is good. I decided not to do the larger side rocks. So now, do I empty out the water tomorrow? or do I let it sit for another day before emptying it? Do I need to fill it again and empty it to be sure the liner is properly leached before I do the finale fill?
    I need to do some more research on the next steps.

    MitchM, I want to thank you so much for your suggestions. I did a search at all my local stores and found no Oasis Prime on the shelves, was glade it came in the mail the next day.
     
    Laurnarose, Apr 28, 2018
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  10. Laurnarose

    Laurnarose

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    Laurnarose, Apr 28, 2018
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  11. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    Sorry I missed your question yesterday.
    There's no limit for how many times you can use Prime, it's effects last for 24-48 hours so you only need to add every day or two. To narrow that down more you would need to have an ammonia alert badge
    http://www.seachem.com/ammonia-alert.php or a sensor setup
    https://www.seneye.com/store/seneye-pond.html

    Since you're using the old filter, I suspect that the ammonia spike was a result of disturbing the old filter media, so the ammonia level should be lower fairly quickly.
    Use Prime in your new setup for at least the 1st 24 hours as you fill the new setup with tap water.
    There's no leaching from an EPDM liner, so there's no reason to empty the pond, there just needs to be a nitrifying bacteria population available that can process the waste which your fish will produce. You have that bacteria population in the old filter material.
    Just make sure you move the old filter over at the same time that you move the fish.
    Measure ammonia and nitrites daily for at least the first week and also use the Prime as soon as you move the fish.

    There's a "catch 22" situation here as well. Basically, nitrifying bacteria consume ammonia, not ammonium, which is what the Prime temporarily converts the ammonia to. So, the bacteria need ammonia to live, but too much ammonia is harmful to our fish. It's a balancing act until the pond biofilm is established.

    Just let us know if you get any unusually high readings. It sounds like it's going well so far.
     
    MitchM, Apr 29, 2018
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  12. Laurnarose

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    @MitchM Doesn’t there come a point, though, where a partial water change is indicated?
     
    Mmathis, Apr 29, 2018
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  13. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    I think water changes should only be done if there is a specific reason to do so, @Mmathis , do you have a specific parameter that you're concerned about?
     
    MitchM, Apr 29, 2018
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  14. Laurnarose

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    No, I was just thinking that a water change would be preferable to continuously adding Prime.
     
    Mmathis, Apr 29, 2018
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  15. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    I think adding Prime is simpler.
    Otherwise, you'll need to match the source water parameters with existing pond water parameters. If the source water is too different, you will cause the fish more stress. You'll also need to add Prime to deal with the chlorine in the source water anyways.
     
    MitchM, Apr 29, 2018
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  16. Laurnarose

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    Mitch, I’m not trying to dispute anything, ‘cause I consider myself still learning. Do you think it depends on the size and volume of the pond, as in for a smaller, temporary holding pond vs a larger, established pond? (I’ve already lost the context of this thread....soooo....., LOL!)

    I used to do frequent water changes, but once my pond became established, I never had ammonia issues (I think I’m under stocked and well planted). Pond is around 3000 gallons. I still do an occasional water change when I flush the Skippy, but not on a regular basis. And with my larger volume, matching source parameters hasn’t been an issue, though I always use a dechlorinator! Now, when I was keeping one of my gold fish indoors for a time, even with good filtration — keeping up with the waste was a big issue (20 gal. tank)! I ended up “Priming” the tank a lot, out of laziness more than anything.
     
    Mmathis, Apr 29, 2018
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  17. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    If you're going to use water changes for supplemental filtration, then you should have a method to determine when a water change is needed, and be able to explain to yourself what you accomplished.
    Do you want to reduce waste buildup by 10%, 50%, 90%? Then you should be able to have something you can measure before and after to establish that that's what you accomplished.
    As long as you have an appropriately stocked pond or aquarium, and an established biological filter, I don't think you're accomplishing anything and possibly causing the fish unnecessary stress.
    I think it's easier and causes the fish less stress to ensure that you have good water quality, movement and aeration.
    Let the biological/mechanical filter deal with the waste, and plants deal with the resulting nitrates.
    I know some people like doing water changes, I just think fish and other inhabitants are safer and healthier if we focus on water quality by testing the water and adding whatever components are missing so the biological filter can do it's work.

    *edit - I should mention that how you measure when you do a water change doesn't have to be a chemical test, it could be a visual test. With an aquarium, maybe you do a water change to remove detritus until you can't see any more being removed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
    MitchM, Apr 29, 2018
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  18. Laurnarose

    Laurnarose

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    Thank you MitchM.
    I emptied the pond, refilled it, and put in the pond primer. I purchased enough Rock-on-- roll to go over the edge. I am thinking of using that with a layer of blocks on top and then fill the outside with a steep dirt, covered in gravel that I can plant with flowers. We shall see how that part goes. Still not 100% about the final finish. I will let the pond sit with a single pump in it for a day or two before I add one or two of the smallest fish and more prime. LOL. Thank you again.
     
    Laurnarose, Apr 29, 2018
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  19. Laurnarose

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    @Laurnarose Please post some before, during, and after pics with the Rock on a Roll. I’ve been interested in using some myself!
     
    Mmathis, Apr 29, 2018
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  20. Laurnarose

    MitchM

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    If you're going to add soil to your pond, make sure it is organic.
    Sometimes commercial mixtures can contain herbicides and added fertilizers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
    MitchM, Apr 29, 2018
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