Salinity suddenly 859 and I do NOT add salt to my koi pond...help!


Joined
Jul 11, 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
Yesterday, I put GreenClean granular algaecide on my waterfall and on some of the rocks around the perimeter of my pond. I've used this product since I established the pond in 2018 and never had an issue.

It was time for regular chemical treatment of my pond. So, this morning I put the following into the pond (approx. 1,500 gallons):
Microbe Lift Barley Straw Extract 1x/month 1.5 oz. (3/8 C)
Microbe Lift PL Bacteria 1x/month 6 oz. (3/4 C).
Microbe Lift Sludge Away 1x/month 15 oz. (1 7/8 C)

I also tested the pond and here are the results:
Ammonia 0.00
Nitrates 0.00
pH 9.00
Phosphates 1.00
Salinity 831ppm
Temp 81.4

I then added pH reducer and Phosphate Remover. I have NEVER had such a high salinity reading.

So, this afternoon, I noticed one of my koi died and the others looked pretty listless. This evening, I rinsed the basket and filter pad on the skimmer and measured the salinity again and it was 859. I also added Defoamer because the water had a lot of foam, which is now gone. I added some water into the pond as a desperate attempt to dilute what might be causing this.

It's important to note, I have NEVER put salt in my pond. Back in 2020, I had a couple high readings 06/16/2020: 615, 07/05/2020: 499, then 07/19/2020: 176; but then it came back to the normal range without really doing anything but regular chemical maintenance.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Jhn

Joined
Jul 3, 2017
Messages
1,672
Reaction score
1,572
Location
Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
7b
Country
United States
How many fish do you have in your pond? I ask because it is sized for about 1-2 koi at best.

Is your salinity test any good. Salinity will not drop on its own you have to do water changes or have a lot of rain to do a water change for you. Does your source water have salt in it? Salt doesn’t just appear in your water it is added somehow through all the stuff you are putting in there.

Also, stop with all the chemical additions to the pond they are completely unnecessary at best and can kill your fish at worst. Your pond sounds like a soup of chemicals with all the stuff you added. Ie adding an algaecide will kill the alga, but if you do not remove the dead algae it can not only add more nutrients for more algae to grow but can consume oxygen as it dies killing the inhabitants of your pond. Unfortunately adding all the

Try to balance your pond naturally with plants, proper circulation and properly sized biofilter for your pond and it’s inhabitants.
 
Last edited:

brokensword

...and not every pond in Michigan has a loon!
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
4,144
Reaction score
3,247
Location
Michigan
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
jhn said it well; heed his advice!
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
11,619
Reaction score
11,710
Location
Northern IL
Showcase(s):
1
My first thought - is this a pond or a chemistry experiment? You have been extremely diligent with your testing and chemical pond treatments, but where has it gotten you? Perhaps it's time for a different approach to pond keeping... and the bonus is, you will save a boatload of cash!

By constantly altering the chemistry of your pond you have created a situation where you have to constantly alter the chemistry of your pond. Maybe you find that level and type of care enjoyable, but that would drive me crazy. Your pond should be a refuge, a sanctuary, a peaceful place of rest and relaxation... not a weekly chore. Would it be helpful to know that most of us here don't even know what any of that stuff is that you mentioned? And that we don't keep regular records of our testing results? And yet we have lovely ponds with healthy fish and thriving plants... so there is another way.

As has already been stated, salinity won't change without external forces - in other words, you adding salt, or you removing water. Perhaps your tests are reading salinity from one of the other products that you are using. I really have no idea, but that's just one thought.

I do know what GreenClean is - it's sodium percarbonate in extremely expensive packaging. I do use SP in my pond from time to time, so I am very familiar with it. It's safe and effective. Does it read as salinity in the pond? No clue, as I never test my pond water anymore. But SP
rapidly breaks down into SODIUM, carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, so that would make sense.

Tell us a bit more about your pond - how many fish, what type, what kind of filtration?
 

Jhn

Joined
Jul 3, 2017
Messages
1,672
Reaction score
1,572
Location
Maryland
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
7b
Country
United States
My first thought - is this a pond or a chemistry experiment? You have been extremely diligent with your testing and chemical pond treatments, but where has it gotten you? Perhaps it's time for a different approach to pond keeping... and the bonus is, you will save a boatload of cash!

By constantly altering the chemistry of your pond you have created a situation where you have to constantly alter the chemistry of your pond. Maybe you find that level and type of care enjoyable, but that would drive me crazy. Your pond should be a refuge, a sanctuary, a peaceful place of rest and relaxation... not a weekly chore. Would it be helpful to know that most of us here don't even know what any of that stuff is that you mentioned? And that we don't keep regular records of our testing results? And yet we have lovely ponds with healthy fish and thriving plants... so there is another way.

As has already been stated, salinity won't change without external forces - in other words, you adding salt, or you removing water. Perhaps your tests are reading salinity from one of the other products that you are using. I really have no idea, but that's just one thought.

I do know what GreenClean is - it's sodium percarbonate in extremely expensive packaging. I do use SP in my pond from time to time, so I am very familiar with it. It's safe and effective. Does it read as salinity in the pond? No clue, as I never test my pond water anymore. But SP
rapidly breaks down into SODIUM, carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, so that would make sense.

Tell us a bit more about your pond - how many fish, what type, what kind of filtration?
Learned something new didn’t know that green clean algaecide is sodium precarbonate, I see the word algaecide and it usually makes my eye twitch, like oh boy this isn’t ending well. since it rapidly breaks down into sodium, if the OP is using it a lot that could be where the salt is coming from.
 

brokensword

...and not every pond in Michigan has a loon!
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
4,144
Reaction score
3,247
Location
Michigan
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
5b
Country
United States
My first thought - is this a pond or a chemistry experiment? You have been extremely diligent with your testing and chemical pond treatments, but where has it gotten you? Perhaps it's time for a different approach to pond keeping... and the bonus is, you will save a boatload of cash!

By constantly altering the chemistry of your pond you have created a situation where you have to constantly alter the chemistry of your pond. Maybe you find that level and type of care enjoyable, but that would drive me crazy. Your pond should be a refuge, a sanctuary, a peaceful place of rest and relaxation... not a weekly chore. Would it be helpful to know that most of us here don't even know what any of that stuff is that you mentioned? And that we don't keep regular records of our testing results? And yet we have lovely ponds with healthy fish and thriving plants... so there is another way.

As has already been stated, salinity won't change without external forces - in other words, you adding salt, or you removing water. Perhaps your tests are reading salinity from one of the other products that you are using. I really have no idea, but that's just one thought.

I do know what GreenClean is - it's sodium percarbonate in extremely expensive packaging. I do use SP in my pond from time to time, so I am very familiar with it. It's safe and effective. Does it read as salinity in the pond? No clue, as I never test my pond water anymore. But SP
rapidly breaks down into SODIUM, carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, so that would make sense.

Tell us a bit more about your pond - how many fish, what type, what kind of filtration?
Lisa, you say you use SP from time to time; I'd be curious to HAVE you test for salt and see what the reading is. If you're not doing water changes, it might have accumlated. Just a thought.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
2,029
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
How many fish do you have in your pond? I ask because it is sized for about 1-2 koi at best.

Is your salinity test any good. Salinity will not drop on its own you have to do water changes or have a lot of rain to do a water change for you. Does your source water have salt in it? Salt doesn’t just appear in your water it is added somehow through all the stuff you are putting in there.

Also, stop with all the chemical additions to the pond they are completely unnecessary at best and can kill your fish at worst. Your pond sounds like a soup of chemicals with all the stuff you added. Ie adding an algaecide will kill the alga, but if you do not remove the dead algae it can not only add more nutrients for more algae to grow but can consume oxygen as it dies killing the inhabitants of your pond. Unfortunately adding all the

Try to balance your pond naturally with plants, proper circulation and properly sized biofilter for your pond and it’s inhabitants.
We are a very friendly bunch here. So, don't take all this criticism the wrong way. Stick around and we'll get you back on track so you can stop wasting your time and money and instead enjoy your pond.

We strive for a maintenance free, all natural way of ponding.

We want you to step back and rethink how you manage your pond so that it doesn't become a chore. You want to be able to sit back and enjoy it. It shouldn't be a daily task, that's no fun. My pond/bog combination runs itself. The only thing I do is relax, toss a bit of food and enjoy seeing all those colorful fish scoop up their meal.

Agree, agree, agree with @Jhn !!!!
Well put.
STOP PUTTING CHEMICALS IN YOUR POND! YOU ARE KILLING YOUR FISH!!
Sorry for being harsh, but yes, that pond is a soup of chemicals!

The only thing you should be using is dechlorinator if your home's water is treated...PERIOD.

Algaecide, algeafix, whatever you want to call it, is hazardous for your fish. Don't listen to employees at your local pet store that are either ignorant or are there to empty your wallet.

You don't need store bought bacteria. No pond bombs.
Defoamer? What the heck is that? Throw that out too. Save your money and buy lots of plants instead.

Sudden swings in your water parameters are very bad, especially with your Ph. Ph changes need to be gradual. It's more important to have a steady reading than to have sudden swings by adding chemicals.

Most of us here don't add anything to our pond.
I don't even test my water anymore.
I never do water changes. I let nature do that when it rains.
The only thing I add to my pond is plants and more plants.
A lot of us don't use store bought filters or UV lights either. We use an upflow bog with lots of plants to filter our water naturally. My water is crystal clear. It looks like you could drink it. Seriously! And I'll admit, my pond is way overpopulated due to the fish multiplying. Even with all that fish waste, the water is still clear.

So, I hope we don't scare you away and you stick around so we can get it all straightened out for you.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2013
Messages
11,619
Reaction score
11,710
Location
Northern IL
Showcase(s):
1
Lisa, you say you use SP from time to time; I'd be curious to HAVE you test for salt and see what the reading is. If you're not doing water changes, it might have accumlated. Just a thought.

Not a bad thought... if I had a test kit I just might do it.

I use it maybe once or twice a year. Some years not at all. It cleans the waterfall rocks with ease. Since losing all of our koi we no longer get string algae - I believe those two things are connected - but I used to use it on string algae. It's also the same thing that they market as Microbe-lift - the stuff you sprinkle on the pond surface and it literally brings the debris to the surface. When I have a whole lot of leaves in the pond in spring that have broken down into tiny bits I'll use it for that. It really is a useful product.

Chemically it breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and soda ash, which is like one molecule of sodium away from baking soda.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
I appreciate your insight. I believe I did not have the salinity meter calibrated correctly. I've reached out to the company that made the meter to be sure I'm calibrating correctly.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2009
Messages
3,253
Reaction score
2,029
Location
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
Hardiness Zone
6a
I have a digital TDS/Temperature meter that I normally just use to test the pond temperature.

I took a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) reading just to see.
The reading I got was 51 ppm.

According to my notes [that I jotted down on the package] 1,000 ppm = 0.1% of salt.

I don't know if this helps.

I also don't know if you are testing for the same thing (TDS) or using a different type of tester.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
131
Reaction score
60
Location
Carlsbad, CA
Showcase(s):
1
Hardiness Zone
10a/sunset zone 23
Country
United States
I appreciate your insight. I believe I did not have the salinity meter calibrated correctly. I've reached out to the company that made the meter to be sure I'm calibrating correctly.

Agree with all that the mysteriously fluctuating salt measurements with the fact that you had rapidly decreasing salt readings last year without doing an almost total water change makes me think your salt meter is wonky (I've been managing a salt water pool for years). Regardless, I was under the impression that the amount of salt you are talking about is well within the comfortable tolerance range of koi, and shouldn't have any negative impact on them or be a particular worry? Oh, and I don't know what kind of salt meter you have but mine can tell the difference between NaCl and other products with sodium in them (otherwise, it wouldn't be of much use with a saltwater chlorine generator, which produces sodium hydroxide as a bi-product) but I don't think they all can, so it might be worth revisiting the manual to see what it is actually measuring.

I'm sorry to hear about the fish that died, and hope you don't lose any more. Though I'm new to ponds, I've been keeping fish for several years indoors prior to starting a pond and I would have to wonder if the Ph reducer might be responsible for the death and the listlessness in the others. Changes of more than 0.2 ppm in 24 hours are very harmful, and using chemical reducers can create a yoyo effect where they temporarily drop the Ph, and then within less than a day to 1-2 days, it goes back up again, and that especially is really hard on fish. It's far better to have a pond that is always at a ph of 9 (which while a little high is not considered harmful unless you also have an ammonia problem, which you don't, and if you did you would still fix the ammonia, not the Ph) than one that is yoyo-ing around and causing a lot of stress for the fish. What is the ph of your tap water? Has the Ph been steadily rising in your pond over time, or has it just always been around 9?

I was curious, if you don't mind me asking, you mentioned your water is 81.5 degrees. Is it in full sun, and does it get a lot hotter than that? I assume you know about the issue of less dissolved oxygen in warmer water? Some chemical water treatments also reduce dissolved oxygen in water so the warm water plus the chemicals plus the sudden algae die off from the algaecide all each causing lower dissolved oxygen would probably be my second guess as to a reason for the fish death. I wonder if getting some shade cloth over your pond might kill 2-3 birds with one stone - lowering temperature and therefore increasing dissolved oxygen, while also reducing algae blooms which can cause ph to increase (if it is actually increasing and not just high stable ), and making it so you don't feel like you need to use algaecide with all its negative aftereffects. I agree with everyone else regarding building up a more balanced natural ecosystem in your pond, but that's not something you could do overnight, whereas putting up a shade cloth actually is something you could do in one day.
 
Ad

Advertisements


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Similar Threads


Top