Summer heat and hight ammonia levels.


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My pond is 2years old, 1100gallons 3.5 feet deep. I have way too many fish. The five original 18-24inch butterfly koi and about 23 4-7inch 2year old butterfly koi that hatched right after I built this new pond. Nevertheless my pond has been self balancing with lots of plants until this week. We have had 7 days of 102-108F heat waves. Yesterday the fish stopped eating and last night they were all huddled under the water fall gulping at the surface. I did a water test last night. PH=7.2 Ammonia=4.0 NO2=0 NO3=5.0. Last night I did a 240gallion water change and added a prescribed amount of Pond prime. When I went to bed the fish had dispersed and seemed to swim more easily around the pond. This morning I wake up again to them sitting under the waterfall and gulping at the surface. Today water test PH= 7.2 Ammonia=2.0 NO2=0 NO3=0. The ammonia test is most definattly a lighter green than it was last night but not as low as I had hoped after the water change.

Do I do another water change today? Should I add aeration to the pond? I know I should reduce my fish numbers, but I am not willing to cull them. I have not lost a single fish in two years. I had hoped a family member would build their own pond and take some of them but that has not yet happened. I can raise the pond taller by about 8inches, which should give it more gallons but same surface area. Any ideas are appreciated.
 
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addy1

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You need to get the ammonia down, it will burn their gills. People here have used something to lower the ammonia, I have never used it so just can't recall the name of it.

do at least a water change
 
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I use Prime by Seachem. I believe most products only bind the ammonia for 24-48 hours, so yes, you will need to keep up with water changes. Adding aeration is always a good thing!

Do you have any plants in the pond? Could you set up a separate space for some, like a livestock tank to alleviate the high fish load.

Unfortunately you will have to either reduce your fish load or enlarge your pond....or add exceptional filtration...like RDF's ( very pricey ) and shower filters.
 

mrsclem

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If you can add the extra depth, do so. It's hard to give up fish you have gotten attached to but would you rather rehome them or have them suffer and die? Adding the Prime is only a temporary fix. What type of filtration do you have?
 
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I am running a the pond guy solidlfow g2 pump model 2000 split to two Fish mate 600 pressure filters with uv light and one 850 pump from lowes going to a third fishmate 600 pressure filter. I clean those every week. I had those from my prior ponds so I did not buy new ones when I strated this pond up two years ago. I have plants all along the shallow sides and two large lilys in the center. The plants are thriving.

I was just at the pond changing the water and looking at ways to raise the bricks up, I have enough liner to go up 6 inches not sure about 8.. So I will do that. And by the by, I just saw a whole slew of tiny baby fish fry, and they do not look like the misquote fish. Gads, I need my family to make their own ponds and take some fish.
 
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I would love to give an update. My pond is doing wonderful, the fish are happy and for the first time in two years the water is crystal clear. I had enough liner all the way around to add two rows of 4in tall blocks to raise the pond level 8inches total. I added in a Axiom skimmer 5000 GPH with the 24inch extension tube. I put in a two inch filter pad behind the debris net and a 2000 pump with a fast waterfall and an aeration pump. I am cleaning out the filter pad every other day. It took about six weeks and then I can see the bottom of the pond. Also my sister has made her own pond and taken six fish. Now I just need to find the best top stones for around the pond. I love my pond. Thank you for your continued advice.
 

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Yay! I love when we hear good news after a bit of a crisis!

If you're looking for a natural way to edge your pond, dig another shallow shelf all the way around, just wide enough for whatever rock you choose. Set the rock on the shelf, in the water. Bring the liner up behind the rock (on the land side) and back fill behind the rock to keep the liner pressed up against the back of the rock. I'd draw you a picture, but I'm terrible at that!
 
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Here is a little video to show off my fish. Those baby fry from two years ago are getting big. My pond is a third below ground and 2/3 above ground. I have a 20 inch retaining wall holding the liner. I thought of either getting red bricks or flagstone to go over the top edge of the liner to keep it out of the sun and hold it in place. I could buy more of the same retaining block for the top, but then the top would be another 4in and I was hoping to keep the top to only 2 inches tall to see the fish better will sitting next to it.
 
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