spring start up problems—help needed

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Come spring start up, I realized my old filter was completely shot: uv light shattered, canister split, unfixable. I replaced it with a new pressure/biological filter, but of course that means my system needs to completely cycle all over again. I have 3 air pumps going and the pressure filter is running, so I have plenty of circulation. Recently, some ammonia started registering on the test results. I've stopped feeding the fish and I've done two 50% water changes over the past 2 days. I've also been adding in beneficial bacteria to help start up the system. My biggest koi, about 19 inches, flashes occasionally. She's not rubbing against the floor or sides. She just swims through the air pump and flashes. In addition, the poor things all really want food. Any advice? I'm thinking maybe I should move the two biggest fish into my 300 gallon quarantine tank until the pond finishes cycling.
 

Smaug

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After winter your system is mostly in need of a complete restart anyway. Some beneficial bacteria survive but most of it is gone. Your fish can come through this fine if you keep up the water changes and add a quality ammonia detoxifier like seachems prime for ponds. Don't feed till you see know more ammonia then feed lightly something wheat germ base for pond fish. Use the ammonia remover and do water changes. If your qt tank is cycled then by all means move the bigger fish.
 
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Qt tank isn't cycled, but it would help cut back on the ammonia in the main pond for a little bit to make it easier for it to cycle...I don't know.
Fish don't flash when hungry, correct?

How long can I go without feeding the fish? They seem really hungry.

Also, I've noticed the flashing is worst at night. Could that possibly signal a pH problem or is it more likely that it's been more time since my last water change because I do the water changes at night.
 
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Interesting update:
I just did 2 ammonia tests and both came out very barely above 0. pH on the other hand is at 8.2. I'll test pH again in the morning, as now I'm concerned it may be fluctuating, causing discomfort at night. I guess I'll still follow ammonia reduction regiment, as it's only a matter of time before that's causing problems.
 

Smaug

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No they don't flash unless they are stressed. What reading ammonia are you getting and what type test kit is it? How about nitrites ? PH change isn't usually very drastic from morning to evening in an established pond. What is the pH of the pond water and the water change water? If that vary much more then .5 then it can be a problem. Really the best thing at the moment is a quality ammonia removing Chem lile seachems prime. Water changes are good but if the ammo is netralized then it's not necessary. The thing about using a neutralizer is that it doesn't remove the ammonia from showing up on a test kit so dosage is important and it's not a once and done thing. When I redid my pond years ago I kept over 100 inches of koi and comets in a 55 gal tank for 2 weeks. I lost no fish and none were even sickened and I only had a small hang on back filter with a handful of viable media. Watch your fish close,look for lethargy and or gasping at the surface. If they are active and swimming midwater and coming up for food when they see your then all is well. If they are acting well and yiur ammo is under .25 then feed some wheat germ foods but do it sparingly.
 

Meyer Jordan

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Interesting update:
I just did 2 ammonia tests and both came out very barely above 0. pH on the other hand is at 8.2. I'll test pH again in the morning, as now I'm concerned it may be fluctuating, causing discomfort at night. I guess I'll still follow ammonia reduction regiment, as it's only a matter of time before that's causing problems.

Refresh some basic information for us. Where are you located? What is the capacity of your pond? How many (types and sizes) fish do you have in the pond? What is the present water temperature?
 
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My koi have on occasion "flashed" while playing in the air stream from my more powerful aerator in the summer. There was nothing wrong with them, they were just enjoying the current. I'm certainly not saying this is the case with your koi, just sharing my experience.....I did keep a close eye on mine.
 
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Refresh some basic information for us. Where are you located? What is the capacity of your pond? How many (types and sizes) fish do you have in the pond? What is the present water temperature?

Northeast. My 1200 gallon pond is the one in question, though I have another far bigger pond. In this pond I have:
-6 comets in the 6-8 inch range
-1 comet who's 3 inches
-3 koi in the 8-11 inch range
-1 13" koi
-1 15" koi
-1 19" koi
I know it's overstocked, but the good news is I'm upgrading to 8000 gallons in about a year and a half. The pond did cycle completely last year, so I know it's possible even with the amount of fish in there.

Present water temp: 62°
 

Smaug

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You aren't any more overstocked then I am but that bigger pond can't happen soon enough!
 
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Don't forget my favorite most important test which I never hear mentioned ... kH !!!

btw - @Smaug ... For many years, I've used Fritz Pond Ammonia Remover and what I find interesting is within minutes of circulation, the ammonia tests 0 ... Most say binders bind, so to speak, but this always gives a 0 level when testing. JUST AN FYI ... nNot sure what it means.

I think we agree from what you've written ... the advantage of an ammonia binder vs doing constant water changes is this ... You don't disturb the biofilm as much by using a binder giving the nitrosomonas a better chance of establishing more quickly. When you bind the ammonia, it can still be used by the bio-filter, but when doing constant water changes, I feel you're not helping the BB multiply as fast ... being redundant.
 
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pH in the morning is 8.0, so there's no real swinging problem happening there. I really don't think it's parasites, but I have no idea what it could be.
 
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None in the morning. Occasional in the evening, and mostly when they all come up to ask for food. Doesn't even seem like they're rubbing on anything, just flashing in mid water.
 

Smaug

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It doesnt sound especially troubling just watch for ammonia and maybe back off the water changes.
 
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Do you have a microscope? Did you get a good close look at them. No anchor worm? Also, Costia, Flukes and Trichodina also cause flashing. First guess is also water parameters, though. You're sure there's no large pH fluctuation, greater than .3 ... ?

So, the fish look fine, no signs of parasite infections brewing and they're flashing? No chemical irritants could have gotten in the water from lawn wash off, etc... Since it's spring, fertilizers, etc?

Keep a close eye out, just in case it is parasitic ...
 

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