Pond was clear - but bottom was disturbed

Discussion in 'Newbies to Garden Ponds' started by Priscilla, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. Priscilla

    Priscilla

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    I am VERY new to ponds. I have a 2000 - 2200 gallon pond. Its man made with pond liner. I have one tilapia, about 6 gold fish and 6 small fish (maybe guppies?), two bottom cleaner (sucker type fish). The pond is about three weeks old, we are just experimenting at this stage. It has an underwater pump that goes to a waterfall (filter and lava rocks). We do have a larger filter with UV light but have not hooked it up yet. We do not have a substrate on the bottom yet, although I do plan to put one. We have a good amount of plants (considering the fish are so small), water hyacinths, water lettuce, iris and papyrus. Depth ranges from 1 foot to 3 feet. I live in the Caribbean.

    The pond was very clear, to the point where we could see the fish poop on the bottom of the pond. We had a visitor and he decided to 'help' with the ponds edging. For some reason, he decided to get into the pond. The entire bottom was very disturbed. To the point where we can't see the bottom or the fish any more.

    I had assumed the sediment would settle back to the bottom, but 72 hours later, it still hasn't. While its better, its still not clear.

    I'm considering catching the fish and emptying the pond and starting over.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it algae from the bottom of the pond now floating? Should I hook up the larger filter with UV light? I have been using plants and the waterfall for a more natural filtration.

    Please help me clear up my pond so I can get back to enjoying coffee next to it without being upset because I can't see my fish!

    THANKS!
     
    Priscilla, Jan 18, 2014
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  2. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    Quilt batting or something similar to pick up the fine stuff.
    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:53507]
     
    sissy, Jan 18, 2014
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  3. Priscilla

    callingcolleen1 mad hatter

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    I would get a good filter for the pump, I like the filters that come before the pump and are underwater. Any filter will help, even if you have a basket net of some type, with cotton batting to catch the fine particles, that the water pours threw, would help catch the fine sediment that is floating in the water. :)
     
    callingcolleen1, Jan 18, 2014
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  4. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    I also have one of my pumps in a crate with lava rock around the pump .I think it really does help
    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:42761]
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    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:38019]
     
    sissy, Jan 18, 2014
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  5. Priscilla

    callingcolleen1 mad hatter

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    I have two of those big black tubs, might just have to add it to the top pond maybe this year, and make it into another plant filter with big rocks on bottom maybe... I could dig it half down and have the bottom hose pour into the top pond, used to run two together at one time. I want to move some plants into there and free up space for the big koi....
     
    callingcolleen1, Jan 18, 2014
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  6. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    I buy lava rock at the garden center and soak them good in peroxide and water to clean them good , they work great .5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in it or just a cheap bucket works also plus easier to lift out .I put them in flower pots also but no handle to pull them out .
    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:52795]
     
    sissy, Jan 18, 2014
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  7. Priscilla

    Priscilla

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    Thanks! I will try the batting tomorrow. And I think I will also use a crate with the lava rock in it.
     
    Priscilla, Jan 18, 2014
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  8. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    Lava rock maybe old fashioned and people tell me that all the time but if it works don't fix it .It has worked for me for 11 years and I am cheap really cheap .I pay a 1.88 a bag on sale here .
     
    sissy, Jan 18, 2014
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  9. Priscilla

    JohnHuff Friends call me Dr. Sir John Huff

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    Don't ask your friend to come back.
     
    JohnHuff, Jan 18, 2014
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  10. Priscilla

    Lisak1

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    As usual, JohnHuff hits the nail on the head! What kind of friend decides on his own to "help" and actually gets into your pond? Once you get your water cleared up I would work on finding a new brand of riend!

    However, I am also curious as to exactly what created the sediment that was on the bottom of your three week old pond that left such a long lasting mess? I get in my pond on a regular basis and stir things up. The small amount of sediment settles before I am even dry from my pond walk. Is it dirt from your plants? Too much fish food? You mentioned you could see fish waste on the bottom - in our pond it's rare to see any waste at all... could you be overfeeding? I would consider where all the sediment is coming from - if it's from the installation of the pond (dirty rocks, plants with dirt, etc) you'll be able to filter it out and be done. But if you are creating the problem you will want to correct it to prevent the same from happening in the future. You should - if you choose - be able to get in your pond without creating a mess that lasts for days.

    Good luck!
     
    Lisak1, Jan 18, 2014
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  11. Priscilla

    Dave 54

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    Yes I am more than a little cnfused by this build up o sediment on the bottom of your pond, just how much are you feeding these fish ?
    I'm wondering if your filter is passing back detritus that its supposed to be catching ?
    What is your filter what media do you have in it please ?

    Dave
     
    Dave 54, Jan 18, 2014
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  12. Priscilla

    Priscilla

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    I am so happy I joined this group! Thanks so much for all your comments.

    Now that you mention it ...... yes, its very possible I am feeding the fish too much food. I'm scared the pond is so big and the fish are so small they won't find the food so I scatter food all over.

    The pond gets a lot of sun (this is the Caribbean after all), but it is partially shaded by a large fruit tree (fruit bats often eat the fruits and I find bits of fruit in the pond as well - but I can scoop that out). There is stuff on the bottom from my kids tripping and knocking bits and pieces in, my 'friend' also seems to have dropped lots of dirt in the pond as well. I myself have been in the pond before placing plants and never had this problem. But this was slipping and sliding and really messing it up - the entire bottom. Not like a careful walk around. I was so worked up I actually left the house to escape. I thought he knew what he was doing but he didn't. And all the muck didn't even fix the problem he was working on.

    I think if I filter with some finer type material (like the quilt batting) it will really help. After you all asked the right questions, I pulled the lava rock out of the water fall to take a picture of the filter and I can see the silt is just running through the system.

    I've attached four photos. The bottom of my pond, which is a bit clearer today. Type of filter. Color of my water looking across the pond (waterfall still not done) and silt flowing through the existing filter. The waterfall filter with lava rocks are currently my filtration.

    The tilpia is known as quite a messy fish. He's a long story, but basically, he's in there still because he's too quick for me to catch right now, but I'm working on it.

    Let me know your thoughts please.

    Pond bottom.jpg
    Type of filter.jpg
    Color of water.jpg
    Silt flowing throuh filter.jpg
     
    Priscilla, Jan 18, 2014
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  13. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    I only feed my fish 3 or 4 times a week .There is plenty in the pond to eat and they sure don't look starved .I back flush my filters after I turn off the pump I pour a little peroxide in the filter and wait a few minutes and then back flush .I only do one filter at a time .If pic 1 is the bottom then you may need a pool net to catch the stuff on the bottom and remove as much as you can manually .Nice plants also
     
    sissy, Jan 18, 2014
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  14. Priscilla

    Lisak1

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    The question remains - where in the heck did all the silt come from? It almost looks like a sandy bottom.
     
    Lisak1, Jan 18, 2014
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  15. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    Being where they are from if you get high winds it can blow sand in .I know my brother lives in Norfolk VA and he hates high winds since he is close to the beach it blows sand into his inground swimming pool .He thought when he first moved into the house it was his filter going bad and called a swimming pool guy to come out and the guy told him nothing was wrong with the filter and it was just beach sand from the strong storm that came in .He had to buy one of those crawlers for the pool
     
    sissy, Jan 18, 2014
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  16. Priscilla

    Lisak1

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    That makes sense - that's exactly what it looks like. Ponding challenges differ from one area to another, that's for sure!
     
    Lisak1, Jan 18, 2014
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  17. Priscilla

    Priscilla

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    Yes, I think some sand is being blown in. We are trying to raise the edge of the pond a few more inches to cut back on that and once I have plants around it I think it will cut back on dirt/sand being blown in.

    I will not even say how much I feed the fish, because its apparently way too much - but I will say I won't feed them again for the day.

    The guy at the pet store where I buy fish said if I put a substrate on the bottom that would hold the silt from floating around - especially when the fish get big and disturb the bottom.

    Do you think I should just empty the pond and start over. Get all the dirt and muck out.

    I just put some quilt batting in the waterfall filter and I think its helping already.

    My dad will come by tomorrow to help me hook up the larger filter (Laguna Pressure Flo with UV light), so hoping that will solve everything. I will let you know if its cleared up tomorrow.

    On a happy note, I'm attaching some pictures of my flowering plants one of the perks of living in the Cayman Islands, gorgeous flowers all year round.

    can't remember name.jpg
    Iris.jpg
    Water Hyacinth.jpg
    Water lettuce.jpg
     
    Priscilla, Jan 18, 2014
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  18. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    never empty you will be starting over just clean a little each day and besides that a little sand will not harm your fish .They will just root it around and the filter will pick it up so no big deal .Only thing sand will harm is you viewing the fish .Your plants are great and will help too .The quilt batting will also help pick up fine algae cells .I keep it in my filters most of the year .After awhile it needs cleaned less and less.Cleaning the quilt batting with peroxide and water and reusing it will save money .I know things are not cheap there since they have to be imported
     
    sissy, Jan 18, 2014
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  19. Priscilla

    Dave's pond Indiana

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    If it was my pond I would not add anything to the bottom and I would stir up the settlings a little bit about ever 2 or 3 days and it should filter out.
     
    Dave's pond Indiana, Jan 18, 2014
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  20. Priscilla

    sissy sissy

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    fish will stir it also they like to suck it up and spit it out .Rocks on the bottom can look ugly after awhile and make it even harder to clean .Think of a fish tank and how hard they can be to clean with the gravel on the bottom
     
    sissy, Jan 19, 2014
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