Stubborn water chemistry


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My small 300 gallon pond has been going for about 3 weeks or so now and I am struggling with water conditions. The PH of my tap water is around 8 and the PH of the pond itself is at a ridiculously stable 8.2 (6PM test). I would prefer it to be mid 7's for my split fin goldfish but after trying white vinegar and seeing no movement I bought some API PH Down and have been using it for 3 straight days and still seen absolutely no movement.

I know that once the pond is properly cycled the PH should go down some but I have seen zero action on that front either. I have a 35 gallon trash can up-lift filter set up with medium gravel at the bottom, lava rock in the middle, a small water space above that with a platform holding a couple dozen pot scrubbies and a double layer of green scrub pads. These tend to float so I hold it all down with netted bags of bio rings (the white cylinders). After passing through all that it gravity feeds back to the top of the waterfall.

The ammonia level with 9 small starter goldfish is around .25 and I have had zero sign of any nitrate or nitrite despite adding several scoops of the powdered beneficial bacteria over the last couple weeks.

I was content with just waiting it out and letting nature work but last night I found a couple fish with white coverings over the eyes. I know that it could be from injuries (not entirely sure that my medium stone bottom decor is or is not too rough for them and my pond surface is stucco painted with something called "Pond Armor" with is a fairly thick epoxy type paint but still feels kinda rough if you rub your hand across it) or bacteria (find myself wondering if I inadvertently added the bacterial culprits) Everything I read starts with water changes (I use dechlorinator/slime coat with tap water refills) and "Perfect water chemistry" which I can't seem to get.

Any suggestions?
 

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Ok so I have been thinking about it and we have not had any issue with the fish eyes until this week and the last thing we added to the pond this week was the glass inverted aquarium feature. We have noticed that occasionally the fish inside the dome slide down the sides and sort of get trapped at the edge of the glass where it sits on the green PVC pipe stand. When this happens we often see them squeezing through the small gap where the glass overhangs (zoom in on pic to see the area). Is it possible this squeezing maneuver is irritating their eyes?
 

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Is it possible this squeezing maneuver is irritating their eyes?
I suppose it's possible. But you'd think the fish would show signs of abrasion on their bodies too, not just their eyes. I think it's more likely you have a bacterial or fungal infection going on - possibly the fish came with it if they are feeder fish. And if you mean the bacteria that you added infected them - no. You're adding what is alleged to be "good" bacteria. (I say "alleged" because there is a lot of debate as to whether the bacteria in a bottle adds anything at all.)

Can you get a photo of the fish?
 
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It's hard to see from the photos, but my guess is a fungal infection. Although I once read about something I think they call White Eye (clever name!) that's caused from ammonia burns. Did you say your ammonia was high?
 
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She said around .25 maybe she needs to test it again.
Thanks for the responses. It was at .25 for several days. Did maybe 15% water change day before yesterday. last night it was at .5. I am still seeing no signs of any "good bacteria" doing their jobs. Zero reading on Nitrites. I ordered some Epsom Salt and some Wild Oregano Oil this morning.
 

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Can you post pics of the scrubbies and filter pads you are using? There are some on the market that have chemicals that can be harmful.
 

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Ok, those look like safe ones. Your ammonia levels are going up. I would not add any more chemicals at this time. Your ph was fine where it was. Not sure why fish have developed cloudy eye but I would stop adding things to the pond. You need to get ammonia down to zero.
 
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Ok, those look like safe ones. Your ammonia levels are going up. I would not add any more chemicals at this time. Your ph was fine where it was. Not sure why fish have developed cloudy eye but I would stop adding things to the pond. You need to get ammonia down to zero.
Very much understand that and am frustrated as to why I have no bacterial action yet.

To be clear you are saying do not treat those fish? Even in a quarantine bucket or something?
 
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Lets look at this for what it is A MAN MADE HOUSING the epoxy paints? I assume is what you used. is some pretty potent stuff while the can may say it cures in x amount of time. does that mean its fish safe and it does not leach or have a residue on the surface. All in all its a very sterile environment. My suggestion to you is go to a friend or a fish store and try to get a dirty sponge or some gravels etc that has the bacteria you need. add it to your set up and spread it through out. AIR-RATION is key get the bacteria thriving for a few months then try and keep your ornamental fish. those rough sides you have will help to grow bacteria on the walls. also do some water changes to help dilute any possible chemicals.
 
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your filter is the scouring pads submerged or is the water trickling over them ?
 
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Your build is very nicely done by the way i love how you have even corners in and out. and the black granite is a sweet choice. What are you doing to add 02 to the water? if you are using a simple aquarium air pump i'd lean toward using a venturi which is nothing more then say an aquarium power head with a hose attached at the output of the pump that makes very fine bubbles. That will give your underwater filter bacteria be able to thrive better.
 
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Your build is very nicely done by the way i love how you have even corners in and out. and the black granite is a sweet choice. What are you doing to add 02 to the water? if you are using a simple aquarium air pump i'd lean toward using a venturi which is nothing more then say an aquarium power head with a hose attached at the output of the pump that makes very fine bubbles. That will give your underwater filter bacteria be able to thrive better.
I appreciate the compliments. Currently, my aeration is coming from the fountain bubbler dropping into the reservoir and the waterfall dropping into the pond. I was considering some sort of air stone but I read somewhere that too much aeration was bad at this stage of the ponds cycle. I don't remember where or why exactly. Then again I am not sure how much is too much.

Also I have several plants at the bottom just getting started which I had hoped would oxygenate the water well.

Side note...ammonia is back down to .25 today.
 
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