So, I bought a house with a koi pond...


Casbah

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Last October. The pond was in such sorry shape I tried to negotiate filling in it in at the closing. That didn't happen so I assumed all winter that I'd be dismantling it this spring. That was before I saw the koi. I doubt the pond has been attended to for at least 5 years. 90% of it was covered in water-plant growth, but I spied a small white koi pop the surface. Now I'm at a point I want to save the pond and I've started to, but I don't know what to tackle next.

The pond is dug into ground with a plastic fabric liner, 9x20 kidney shape about 3 feet deep; 2500 gal. The rockwork is still sound and it has a 5' waterfall that I got working again. Filtration is a 'skimmer' box with 2" of 3M reusable air-filters. 5000 gph pump.

So far, I've removed 80% of the vegetation, drained, mucked, and refilled it (there were 3 koi). I've run the pump almost daily for the last 2 weeks and I'm still pulling a ton of organic material out of the filter. (change about every 12 hours) The water has a brownish hue and has cleared to where I can see the bottom in the right light. Now the string algae have started to grow.

Obviously my goal is a clear, healthy pond. Please recommend some strategies and what steps you might take next if this were your situation.
 

addy1

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Welcome to our forum!

Are you sure it is koi? They grow big. Does the fish have whiskers? If it were mine I would build a bog type plant filter to filter the water. But I love my bog.....................it takes very good care of my ponds.
 
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Casbah

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I honestly assumed they were koi, and didn't look that closely. Now that you say that, they may be Comets... Do they come in black? One was ink black.
 

addy1

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I honestly assumed they were koi, and didn't look that closely. Now that you say that, they may be Comets... Do they come in black? One was ink black.
They can be black.
 

mrsclem

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You want to keep your pump running 24/7. The fish will do much better with the water circulating. Sounds like you are on the right track with restoring your pond. Post photos, we all love to see new ponds!
 
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Sounds great!
You came to the right place. There's a lot of helpful knowledgeable people here. Plus so much information you can read through.
Soon you will be enjoying your new hobby.
 

cas

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And don't get rid of too many of the plants. Every time I think a plant has taken over the pond, I divide it and only put a small amount back. Each time I have done this, I have an algae bloom.
 
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Welcome to the forum! Sounds like your new home came with a wonderful gift. We are here to help.
 

Casbah

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So what I'm picking up is that I should work on the muck first by running the pump?

I was going to buy some bacteria, but the recommended brands are expensive and another article I read said they were unnecessary. Also, are water clarifiers worth using?
 

mrsclem

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Yes, just work on removing muck and debris form the pond. Chemicals may work but as you said they are expensive and can end up making things worse. Elbow grease is the best thing to add to your pond!
 
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I use a pool net to slowly remove the muck, leaves, etc from the bottom.
The bag type pool net, not the flat skimmer type.
I do it in a pattern to cover the whole bottom. When no more comes up, I'm done. Doing this does stir things up a bit no matter how slow I go, but the filter clears it up by the next day.
Your pond and filter are already established, so you don't need to add any bacteria. And don't use any chemicals. Just net the bulk of the muck, run the filter and wait. Nature will do it's job. The plants are nature's filters too. They live on the excess nutrients in the water.
You may have to rinse your filter pads often for now, but once it all settles, you won't have to do it as often.
Give it time.
 
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Whoa, nice pond! Aren't you glad the last owners didn't fill it in? You got a goldmine.
Yeah, I would just clean out the muck and leave the filter running 24/7. Skip the bacteria and clarifiers. By clarifiers, are you referring to using UV or some additive? Personally, I wouldn't use either.
 

Casbah

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By clarifiers, are you referring to using UV or some additive? Personally, I wouldn't use either.
Some type of coagulant additive was what I was thinking.

I was running a 2-stage filter at first with the coarse filter you see in the picture and a finer filter behind it, but it was clogging every 5 hours or so. Changing/cleaning them was a hassle so I stopped using the fine panel and doubled up the coarse.

Now I can pump for about 12 hours before I have to clean the filter again, but I know a lot of material is being uncaptured and circulated. I thought the coagulant would help the coarser filter capture more. (but then I'd be back to changing filters every 5 hours I guess)

I'm a little overwhelmed and don't know what to do next...
 
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No need to feel overwhelmed. You are doing fine. Concentrate on removing the heavy muck first and then take a break for a couple of days and see what happens. Yeah, the filter pads will get gunked up but just clean 'em off using pond water. It will get better. One thing I must have missed is what size is your filter? How many gallons per hour does it pump? If uncertain, post the brand and model number and one of the forum members will help. Sorry, just reread your original post. The pump should be turning over the water twice per hour which is fine but how big is the filter box (dimensions) and see if you can get model information too. I'm wondering if you are overloading the filter box. Can't tell by looking at the picture though. Just a thought.
 
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