Serious Newbie with Low (0!) Alkaline

freedam

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I am very new to "ponding". I enjoy it tremendously. This year, something must be up with my water as the koi are "flashing". The test kid shows that everything seems fine except my Alkaline level is at 0! It also shows that I have very soft water. I have lost 2 fish this week! My pond is about 60 gallons (both containers together). Is there something that I can add to raise the Alkaline? I'd really appreciate any advice. I've attached a picture just so you can see the setup. Thanks in advance.
 

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Welcome @Dina Herman , I'm sorry to hear that your having problems with your fish. "Flashing" in fish often times indicates poor water quality and/or parasitic infection. Please post all your test kit results instead of saying "everything seems fine" because others may see something that is not fine that you may have missed. Are these results from a strip based test kit or a liquid/drop test kit because they can show drastically different results and the liquid/drop based test kits are way more accurate than the strip kits. Most of the members here use the API freshwater (or pond) master test kits which can be obtained through most aquarium stores and/or the internet.

https://www.amazon.com/API-FRESHWATER-800-Test-Freshwater-Aquarium/dp/B000255NCI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1528993938&sr=8-2&keywords=api+freshwater+master+test+kit&dpID=51FQhbpfB0L&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch OR
https://www.amazon.com/API-POND-MASTER-Water-500-Test/dp/B0002DJNN0/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1528993959&sr=1-1&keywords=api+pond+master+test+kit

Also, exactly how many koi do you have in 60 gallons? Koi can get up to 36 inches (3 feet) in length and I wouldn't put more than 3-4 goldfish (which can get up to 12 inches in length) in 60 gallons let alone multiple koi.
 
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freedam

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Thank you for that information.

Yes, I agree about too many koi in too little a space. This little pond is actually an intermediary pond. I am estimating how many gallons there are. The bottom one is 30 gallons but I can't find information on how many gallons in the top one. We are moving and our new house has a natural pond which is about 40 x 15 x 4' deep. The koi will be moved there before the winter. I have two 4" koi in the top and 6 3" ones in the bottom.

I used an Imagitarium 5 in 1 aquarium test strip kit.
PH 6.5
Alkalinity 0
Very soft water 0
Nitrite 1
Nitrate 20
 
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I would definitely get a liquid test kit as soon as possible. Even without one I would bet my money that the problem you’re having is a water quality issue. Your pH is low (acidic) and your alkalinity is 0 which makes sense since your pH is low. Alkalinity is the opposite of acidity and you wouldn’t have both at the same time. The acidic pH is most likely caused by the pond being overstocked and the ecosystem (beneficial bacteria and plants) isn’t able to keep up with the waste products (CO2 and Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, etc.) The only way I can see you being able to successfully keep that many koi in such a small water volume before more of them become ill and/or die is to do very frequent and very large water changes.

How long have you had this pond set up and did you add all the fish at once or introduce them a few at a time?
 

freedam

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I added them pretty slowly. So would it be better for me to be cleaning the waste out of the bottom and cleaning my filter much more often as well as water changes? There's also a lot of algae on the sides, should I leave that? (I think I need a link "Ponding for Dummies"). Thank you for explaining the different issues so clearly. The pond has been going since about April (doesn't sound so long, right?).
 

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Hello and welcome! What do you mean by “the alkaline level is at zero?”

Yes, too many fish! That size pond would be good for a couple of goldfish......but not koi! One single koi needs at least 1000 gallons.
 

freedam

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That's the color of the box that I matched from the tab to the bottle.
 
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Welcome and what others said are correct
You need to get an ammonia test kit ASAP, they don't make strips for them. I suggest doing a major water change, at least 50% immediately with treated water. I also suspect ammonia poisoning which will irreversibly harm your fish.

Second, you need a way to clean your water, goldfish create a lot of waste including ammonia, but koi even more so. 3rd, consider a much larger pond or consider rehoming the koi to a larger pond. Someone here maybe able to help you and trade you for equally beautiful goldfish more appropriate to your setup.

Please keep us up to date on your progress, you must act fast to save your fish.
 

freedam

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I will move the koi to the large pond. Thank you for all your advice. Last year I had a setup with no problems but realize it's because I had goldfish in it.
 

addy1

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Our well water is very acidic and soft, zero and 5.4. I added crushed oyster shells every year, where water flowed over it, now my hardness in just a bit under 100 ph stabilized at around 7.6.
 

freedam

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So I'm just going to put a few goldfish in this 60+ gallon pond. I'm cleaning in out firstand I'm wondering if the algae on the sides and the water lettuce and hyacinth are contaminated?
Thanks for all your advice. Clearly lots of experience here.
 
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