Think I'm having an algae bloom?


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Hello,

My 2200 gall pond is officially one month old. I live in the Cayman Islands, its hot and sunny all the time. The pond is always partially shaded,= and about 1/3 is covered in water hyacinths. I don't have a water testing kit yet, because I live on a small island and the one pet shop is out of them. The last time I had the water tested at the store, everything was in normal levels. I think the pond is healthy, I have a few baby fish already and yesterday when I cleaned the filter I found blood worms (which scared me at first, but after a quick google, it seems they are fine and found in healthy ponds).

For the last few days my pond has little bits of something floating on it, they disappear overnight and reappear around lunch time.

Right now I am using a waterfall filter, which has the very stiff white filter and lots of quilt batting. It had been working great, until today. The pond is quite green. I wouldn't call it pea soup yet, but its getting harder to see the bottom.

I do have a large UV filter, but unfortunately the hardware store is out of the size hosing I need to hook it up, so I'm just waiting. I called the pet store, they have one package of the barley (for 1200 gall pond, my pond is 2200 gall).

Will this phase pass? Do I need to hook up the UV filter with some how using a smaller hose? Should I get the one bit of barley and see if it helps? Help!

Thanks for your thoughts,
Priscilla
 

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addy1

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I don't use a uv filter, just plants bog type filter, they suck nutrients out of the water the algae needs to live on. Grasses, rush, day lilies, and tons of other plants. With your pond only a month old it most likely is still cycling, most new ponds go through a green stage. You could pump some water through some plants see if that helps. Give it time to cycle too.

I have been diving in the caymans a few times, they used to have a dive called the wall, you go down to 125 feet in a canyon, end up coming out over a drop off that goes down 2000 feet. So neat!
 

crsublette

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Yep, the blood worms are detritivores, that is critters that eat complex organics, and are often found in plant and filter medium. Also, they are a good treat for the fish when they get loose into the water.

As far as I am aware, patterns of water temperatures is a main determinant in fish reproduction. So, baby fish is not the best indicator of the pond's healthiness.

The "bits of something floating [and] disappear overnight and reappear around lunch time" might be algae. There is a type of algae I have read about that is quite fragile, sinks into the water during night, floats during the day, and can be tough to scoop out since it easily falls apart. Installing a skimmer with some quilt batting in it would likely due the job at removing it.

Assuming it is the pea green water algae.... Be sure to follow the directions for proper usage on the UV filter. If the pea green water, that is a single cell floating algae, is still present after a week with the UV turned on, then you will need to slow the water flow through the UV device. You can do this by simply installing a valve before the UV filter and I would install the valve about 6~8 inches before the UV. Then, only close the valve a little to slow down the water flow, wait a week, if still there, then close valve a little more. However, the pea green floating water algae should collapse, that is essentially kill itself momentarily, on its own within a couple months or so.

Your quilt batting will help and be sure to clean it when it is needed.

Unfortunately, this "phase" is a cyclical occurrence, even in mature ponds. The frequency and density of occurences all depends on the ecosystem created in your pond. Fish, the plants, the region's climate and general environment, water chemistry, and many other variables contributes to each individual's pond.

A bog can help and, due to your location, I am guessing your water is quite acidic (low pH) and probably quite soft (low in minerals). In building your bog, if you decide to do this, use an aragonite, crushed coral, crushed oyster shells, or some other type of crush calcium carbonate product. The pond store can sometimes be an expensive place to buy these products in high quantity, but this really depends, since in your location, you might have easy, cheap access to crushed oyster shells from livestock feed shops or even the pond stores. The products I mentioned will improve your pond's minerals and help to stabilize your water (to an extent), but, irrelevant to the extent, these products improves the water's health. Bog can also be any size and in any container.

Due to your area, rain might be all that is needed to conduct your water changes. If this is the case and no additional water change system is involved, then plants will try to help to control alga's presence due to a couple reasons, as mentioned in the thread String algae on plants.


Hope this helps. :)
 

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I have very soft acidic well water, the bog with pea gravel, tons of plants and added crushed oyster shells does help a lot. My hardness stays around 100, out of the well it is down near zero, ph around 7.6 instead of 5.5, which is what comes out of the well. It took me a summer to get the ph to balance out and the hardness up.
 

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I never use UV Light either, just lots of hardy pond sedges, they work well for cleaning the pond, but sometimes extra pumps and filters can help lots, just keeping the water flowing good in pond, that keeps the loose algae down too.
 
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Thanks so much for the information.

I have hooked up the UV but with a smaller hose, its suppose to be 1 1/4 but right now I could only get 7/8, I will order hosing from Amazon and ship it in. I haven't switched it on yet, the instructions say to let it run 24 hours and then check that the housing is waterproof before switching it on.

I have about 1/3 of the pond covered in water hyacinths, a few water lettuce, one small iris plant and one other potted plant. So all in all, there's not that many plants in there. I've been a bit scared of putting too many plants because I read at night they pull oxygen from the fish. Because I don't have the correct sized hosing I was worried the waterfall wasn't producing as much oxygenation as it should. Do you guys think this is a valid concern? I have a few more plants I could add in. I plan to add in a bog, but I need to order more liner and I need an aerator in that area, as mosquitoes are a major problem here.

Here is a picture of my PH water test they did at the pet store, the blue test is mine, and the yellow test is the pet stores water. I looked it up in my pond book, and mine looks like the ideal PH for fish and the pet stores looks like its on the more acid side. Yet he's telling me I need to add city water to mine to make it harder (I think that's what he said, there is a major language problem, his English is not very good) . I don't really trust the pet store because a lot of their fish seem to die in the tanks there. My water comes from a well, this is a lime stone island. My water testing kit will be here on the weekend, so until then I am blind.

Thanks for any input you have. I'm stumbling through this as best I can, trying not to make any fatal mistakes as I'm quite attached to my fish! Its just very difficult on a small island that often runs out of supplies or doesn't sell what you need or its too expensive to buy.
 

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Mine is yellow from the well, ph is around 5.4 or so, but bluish from the pond, ph around 7.6 or so Bluish is good. I don't have the kit in front of me, so doing best to recall.
 

crsublette

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Thanks so much for the information.

I have hooked up the UV but with a smaller hose, its suppose to be 1 1/4 but right now I could only get 7/8, I will order hosing from Amazon and ship it in. I haven't switched it on yet, the instructions say to let it run 24 hours and then check that the housing is waterproof before switching it on.

1) I have about 1/3 of the pond covered in water hyacinths, a few water lettuce, one small iris plant and one other potted plant. So all in all, there's not that many plants in there. I've been a bit scared of putting too many plants because I read at night they pull oxygen from the fish. Because I don't have the correct sized hosing I was worried the waterfall wasn't producing as much oxygenation as it should. Do you guys think this is a valid concern? I have a few more plants I could add in. I plan to add in a bog, but I need to order more liner and I need an aerator in that area, as mosquitoes are a major problem here.

2) Here is a picture of my PH water test they did at the pet store, the blue test is mine, and the yellow test is the pet stores water. I looked it up in my pond book, and mine looks like the ideal PH for fish and the pet stores looks like its on the more acid side. Yet he's telling me I need to add city water to mine to make it harder (I think that's what he said, there is a major language problem, his English is not very good) . 3) I don't really trust the pet store because a lot of their fish seem to die in the tanks there. My water comes from a well, this is a lime stone island. My water testing kit will be here on the weekend, so until then I am blind.

4) Thanks for any input you have. I'm stumbling through this as best I can, trying not to make any fatal mistakes as I'm quite attached to my fish! Its just very difficult on a small island that often runs out of supplies or doesn't sell what you need or its too expensive to buy.


1) I have about 1/3 of the pond covered in water hyacinths, a few water lettuce, one small iris plant and one other potted plant. So all in all, there's not that many plants in there. I've been a bit scared of putting too many plants because I read at night they pull oxygen from the fish. Because I don't have the correct sized hosing I was worried the waterfall wasn't producing as much oxygenation as it should. Do you guys think this is a valid concern? I have a few more plants I could add in.

As long as water is circulating, for example through your water fall, fountain, bubblers, etcs, then you should not have problems. The only time I have seen plant covering majority of pond's surface area is when the water in the pond is relatively stagnant. In certain areas of the world, water hyacinth and water lettuce have been seen to completely choke rivers causing major aquatic kills and there are mechanical aquatic shredders on hovercrafts to combat this, but I think the aquatic kills is due to the majority of water is relatively stagnant in these rivers, with alot of organic decay, and the plant coverage was just the "spark that ignited the fire".


2) Here is a picture of my PH water test they did at the pet store, the blue test is mine, and the yellow test is the pet stores water. I looked it up in my pond book, and mine looks like the ideal PH for fish and the pet stores looks like its on the more acid side. Yet he's telling me I need to add city water to mine to make it harder (I think that's what he said, there is a major language problem, his English is not very good) .

Yeah, that is a major discrepancy. Was the water taken from the pond at different times of the day?

You might be experiencing a pH swing. If the water's alkalinity is low, then it is more likely there will be a pH swing. A pH swing is when the water's pH numbers noticeably, or dramatically shifts, from the early morning to the early evening. Alkalinity is what gives water its buffer ability to reduce the pH swing; in other words, if the Alkalinity is high, then there is no pH "swing" or makes the swing more narrow.

The crushed oyster shells, or other products mentioned in my previous post, is what well help improve your water's alkalinity. If you can spread this product on top of your bog or in an area where there is alot of water movement, then this will help your pH to be steady. The grocery store product called Baking Soda also helps, but there is more measuring involved with Baking Soda and you have to be careful since it is a fast acting product and a KH test kit is required; if you are interested to know more about baking soda, then just ask.

If you want to test for the water's alkalinity, to see if it is high or low, then look into the KH test kit. I would recommend this test kit. Honestly, the only tests I think are important are pH, KH, ammonia, nitrite, and chlorine/chloramine (if the city treats your well water).

Personally, as long the pH is relatively steady, I think the ideal pH for koi and goldfish is anywhere between 7.4~8.5, but I have seen the fish do "well enough" outside of this range. Most important the pH is relatively steady, that is anywhere from a .2~.4 point pH difference from early morning to early evening. The range to be considered " relatively steady " is debatable between who you ask, but this is what I have come to experience to be fine.


3) I don't really trust the pet store because a lot of their fish seem to die in the tanks there. My water comes from a well, this is a lime stone island. My water testing kit will be here on the weekend, so until then I am blind.

To make sure the pH test does not become contaminated, do not touch the lips of the test vial with your fingers and be sure the vial is rinsed several times in the pond water before filling the vial with pond water to test.

It would be a good idea to also test the pH from the well water spigot, that is from the spigot used to add water to the pond, but first agitate the faucet water before testing it. Faucet water is known to have an accumulation of carbon dioxide in it, which can cause the water's pH to be temporarily lower. Since you are on a lime stone island, your alkalinity might be high enough so that carbon dioxide will not impact the water's pH. So, just to be safe for accuracy, put the faucet water in a container, shake it, let it sit for a few minutes, and then pH test the water.

It is a good idea to test your faucet water pH, since every time water is added to the pond from this water source, then the pond's water will be adjusted closer to the pH of the source water (or faucet water if that is the source).


4) Thanks for any input you have. I'm stumbling through this as best I can, trying not to make any fatal mistakes as I'm quite attached to my fish! Its just very difficult on a small island that often runs out of supplies or doesn't sell what you need or its too expensive to buy.

Your options might be limited, but this is ok. A bog, with a good layer of carbonate product (as mentioned in my previous post), will do quite fine. You might also could look into building a simple "skippy" biological filter, as described in the sticky threads found in the DIY section of this forum, and these "skippy" filters can be made from anything. Also, quilt batting works great for particulate filtration, but might have to clean it alot so it might be a better idea of have a layer of foam pads in front of the quilt batting.

The above filtering techniques should be all you need as long as you do not have too many fish and do your best to not allow trash to buildup in the pond. Although, there are better techniques to filtering, but, due to potential difficulty of installing or to build and local availability of materials, these other techniques might be much more expensive and less reasonable, dependent on your circumstances.


Hope this helps. :)
 
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Wow! Thanks for taking the time to send such a detailed response!

All noted and appreciated.

The picture of the test tubes: My water is the blue. The Pet Store water is the yellow.

I think my water is pretty steady as far as the PH goes. I turned on my UV yesterday and there was no algae floating in the pond today, but its still green water. Hoping it will clear up in a day or two. Continuing to put plants in the pond. I think I will add two more elephant ears tomorrow - I love those! I will add the iris tomorrow as well I think.

I guess green water is good right now, I've lost more than half my fish to a heron.
 

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Wow! Thanks for taking the time to send such a detailed response!

All noted and appreciated.

The picture of the test tubes: My water is the blue. The Pet Store water is the yellow.

I think my water is pretty steady as far as the PH goes. I turned on my UV yesterday and there was no algae floating in the pond today, but its still green water. Hoping it will clear up in a day or two. Continuing to put plants in the pond. I think I will add two more elephant ears tomorrow - I love those! I will add the iris tomorrow as well I think.

I guess green water is good right now, I've lost more than half my fish to a heron.


I would still pH test once at dawn and once at dusk to ensure your pH is not bouncing too much. pH swings stress fish to the point of making fish weak, susceptible, and death only due to minor secondary infections. pH swings, due to a low alkalinity, is one common problem that kills fish for beginners.


Second common problem, that kills fish for beginners, is the presence of ammonia. Ammonia is the waste excretion from fish, due to digesting food and respiration, and organic decay creates a small amount as well. This is why it is important to not start with too many fish in the pond. Ammonia becomes toxic to fish at lower pHs and safer to fish at higher pHs, but still, even at high pHs (at 8.5 or higher) ammonia can still kill the fish. The lower the pH then the much easier it is for even a very small amount of ammonia to poison the fish.

The green water algae might be saving your fish right now. Green water consumes ammonia and, if you remove it without your plants and biological filtration (such as a skippy) ready, then your ammonia will increase. Good growth of algae on the waterfall functions well at consuming ammonia as well.


Third common problem is feeding fish too much. If you feed your fish too much, then your ammonia level can quickly rise, dependent on more variables that you will later learn due to your experience with the pond. For beginners, better to just measure how much the fish will eat within the first 5~10 minutes, that is slowly feed until there is food left uneaten, floating on the water. Once you know this, portion the measured amount into small bags. Each day only feed the amount of fish food that is in the bag and, rather than feeding all at once, try to separate it through out the day; in other words, feed half of that bag in the morning and remainder in the evening or split up the bag of feed multiple times through out the day.

Fish also feeds on bug larvae and different types of algae and aquatic plants. So, you do not always need to give the fish a feast, that is larger than the above measure portion, with the human made fish food. Some owner's pond are so large that they do not have to feed their fish due to the pond's larger area, but it is different for smaller ponds.


Fourth common problem is high nitrites poisoning fish. The biological filtration and good bacteria formation on plants is what keeps nitrites low by oxidizing the nitrites into nitrates. If you register any nitrites present or growing, then the cheapest solution is a slow, steady, major water change of around 40%. In other words, for a slow, steady major water change, first remove 40% pond water, then set your hose on a trickle and slowly add the new water over a period of a few hours.

Major water changes can shock fish, potentially making them sick that could lead to death, due to fast pH changes or fast water temperature changes; this is why major water changes should be done slow and steady. Be sure to add the dechlorinator (if necessary) before, through out, and after the process.

However, if your freshwater's salinity is high enough from your spigot, you might not need to be concerned. When it comes to combating nitrites beyond water changes, this is where it gets complicated in that talking about freshwater's salinity to combat nitrite fish poisoning. If the water's salinity is 0.15% (1.5ppt) or higher, then you will not have to worry about a small presence of nitrite. If the pond store is able to test your water's salinity, then this would be good to know. You can dose the water to increase salinity (stay away from the expensive pond store salts), but this involves measuring, a salinity meter, and careful attention to instructions and patience. If interested, First Time High Ammonia, would be a good thread to read.


If you have problems growing aquatic pond plants in your pond water, then this means your pond's salinity may likely be above 0.10% (1ppt). Most fully submerged freshwater aquatic plants cannot tolerate or grow poorly in a salinity above this concentration.

Honestly, I would be surprised if your well's water salinity is that high, but it would be good to know.


For me, it took about a month for the plants to finally fully transition into the pond. Personally, I would probably turn off the UV filter for a month or so, to stop it killing the green water, that is so to allow your plants to get established and the bacteria to get established in your biological filter and in your pond surfaces. Right now, the green water might be your saving grace, but green water is a two-edged sword in that, while it is consuming ammonia from the water, it will also cause a pH swing if your alkalinity is low. So, it would be good to place some carbonate product (as mentioned in previous posts) to help increase your alkalinity and water's health.


Hope I am not stressing you out with this information. I am just being blunt with you rather than being too careful. If there is something you do not understand, then ask away.


Hope this helps.
 
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addy1

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We all fight mr heron, netting, fencing around the pond, fishing line around and or across the top of the pond. You need to make it hard for the bird to stroll up and strike.

They like to slowly walk up to the pond, study it, wait until a fish comes by and strike! They need to be able to strike at the water to get the fish.

I put wide weave gill fish net, 4 inch weave about 3-4 feet over our pond. The heron can not strike at the water through that netting, but other critters don't get caught in it.
 
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Thanks, I've unplugged the UV light. I'll have my water tester on the weekend, so I'll be able to monitor it.

My current filtration is a Laguna pressure flo 2100 UVC - it has bio balls and some sponge like filters in it. From the pressure flo 2100 it then goes a water fall bucket (another sponge, lots of quilt batting and lava rocks. We had assumed this would be sufficient for our pond. With those two filters, do you still think the skippy is necessary? I know the more the better, but I don't want to keep spending if I don't have to. I suppose I could do a skippy and use it like a water fall, if it was still necessary.

I added several more plants in the pond today. Its starting to look great. Unfortunately the heron got my white koi with a red head :( I have strung up a bunch of fishing line around and over the pond. I'm praying he or nothing else get caught up in it, although its strung tightly. I will also try a radio out there as well, I've read the noise fools them into thinking people are around.
 

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1) Thanks, I've unplugged the UV light. 2) I'll have my water tester on the weekend, so I'll be able to monitor it.

3) My current filtration is a Laguna pressure flo 2100 UVC - it has bio balls and some sponge like filters in it. 4) From the pressure flo 2100 it then goes a water fall bucket (another sponge, lots of quilt batting and lava rocks. We had assumed this would be sufficient for our pond. With those two filters, do you still think the skippy is necessary? 5) I know the more the better, but I don't want to keep spending if I don't have to. I suppose I could do a skippy and use it like a water fall, if it was still necessary.

I added several more plants in the pond today. Its starting to look great. 6) Unfortunately the heron got my white koi with a red head :( I have strung up a bunch of fishing line around and over the pond. I'm praying he or nothing else get caught up in it, although its strung tightly. I will also try a radio out there as well, I've read the noise fools them into thinking people are around.



1) Thanks, I've unplugged the UV light.

Good show. I am just mainly concerned that, if you take away the green water algae, then there will be a spike in ammonia since your filtration system seems to rely heavily on plants and it takes time for plants to transition to their environment. After you think your plants are established, due to seeing new growth, and your pond is a couple months old, then it should be ok to turn on the UV light if the green water algae is still present.


2) I'll have my water tester on the weekend, so I'll be able to monitor it.

Good to test on occasion while starting a pond to be one step ahead rather than doing the "wait and see if a fish dies" approach, that is testing at least once a week or every couple days. No need to be paranoid about it, but, as your pond is young and small, then these ponds tend to experience more changes when compared to much larger ponds. As pond gets older, then testing once a week is ok or even once a month might be ok once the pond gets older.

I'm not for sure what tests you have access to, but the API Freshwater Master Test Kit (pH, ammonia, nitrite specifically) and API KH Test Kit is an example of all a beginner will ever need and these two kits lasts for a good long while, just be sure the expiration date is ok if buying directly from a pond store.


3) My current filtration is a Laguna pressure flo 2100 UVC - it has bio balls and some sponge like filters in it.

Going to be blunt and honest with you... That laguna filter is not good at all for biological filtration. The foam pads are great. The bio-balls will help but no where near to the extent most beginners need. I started out with one of these type of filters and it did not end well. So, I mainly just used it as a particulate filter due to the foam configuration and how water pushes into the foam in those filters are quite nice and the UV light works quite fine. That filter is an excellent particulate filter for beginners, but it is below decent for biological filtration.

Biological filtration is what converts the fish poisonous ammonia and nitrite into a "more" fish safe plant fertilizer (called nitrates), but, as with anything, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing except it will be quite a long time until this (nitrates) will ever be a concern, that is it sometimes it is not a concern. I doubt nitrates will be a concern to you due to all of your plants.

If this is your system, which is quite fine for a beginner, then your plants and any extra surface area added to the system and in the pond will serve as a surface for your biological filtration to grow.


4) From the pressure flo 2100 it then goes a water fall bucket (another sponge, lots of quilt batting and lava rocks. We had assumed this would be sufficient for our pond. With those two filters, do you still think the skippy is necessary?

That should be good enough. You essentially built a "skippy" filter. There is an actual technique to a "skippy" filter, but I call any type of filter with static medium (that is like sponges not moving) with water upflowed or downflowed through the medium as a "skippy" type filter.

You might be able to do some modifications on your water fall bucket so to reflect the "skippy" filter technique so to make the bucket function better, but I bet the waterfall bucket as it is will be fine enough.


5) I know the more the better, but I don't want to keep spending if I don't have to.

What you did and with the plants you have and the desire to build a bog... You should be good... Just need time to allow all the "stuff" to mature.

However, this type of a basic filtration system can be easily overpowered depending on the number of fish. So, with this system and you are keeping the pond "relatively" clean of trash, then only the fish number is what will harm you. This is no problem. This is true for all filtration systems.

Filtration systems are built to be served by and for the fish. Fish are what feeds the system and the size of your system determines on what it can "digest". Again, this is no problem and true for everyone.

This is why number of fish is so extremely important. Eventually, if the fish breed, then there will be more ammonia created, potentially stressing your filtration system, and you will need to think about how you will catch the fish so to give them away or, as the devil in me would say, a kitty cat snack. :) Again, this is no problem and true for everyone

When the number of fish increase in a small pond like yours, then this is another example of when the ammonia test kit is important.


6) Unfortunately the heron got my white koi with a red head :( I have strung up a bunch of fishing line around and over the pond. I'm praying he or nothing else get caught up in it, although its strung tightly.

Yeah, I was about to suggest that as well. Many koi farmers use a grid of fishing line over the pond.

You can also attach some shiny, sparkly, strips of material from the line. I am told the glistening material can really scare the birds.
 
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crsublette

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Now, there are better filtration system options available, but, with what you already have and your desire to build a bog, then this is quite fine for beginners. Just be mindful of the precautions that I mentioned above..

And never be afraid to ask questions, even if you must ask the same question multiple times, and don't be offended if the question is not answered. I generally pop on here once and a while so i am usually available, easier to catch me with a forum private message, if you have not had a particular question answered.
 
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Great information!

Thanks!

The pond really doesn't seem to have that many fish now, thanks to Mr. Heron. I have 13 total (only one is 8 inches), rest are below 3 inches.
 
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Yeah, it would be nice if we could do a Dr. Dolittle trick on Mr. Heron so we can tell them which fish to eat and which not to eat. ;)
 

addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
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Yeah, it would be nice if we could do a Dr. Dolittle trick on Mr. Heron so we can tell them which fish to eat and which not to eat. ;)

I could get the heron to remove a few of the plain old orange ones, but then again they are pretty too. I rather protect them all
 
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Hi All,

I finally got my water testing kit! Yes!

Here are my results:
PH 9
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Phosphate - 0

Still green water and it seems to be getting worse. I can barely see my fish - but I guess that means the heron can't see them either. There is lots of algae growing on the sides of the pond liner.

Any thoughts? The UV light is still off. I'm going to continue adding plants. I hate the green water ..... I know, I know, but I hate it. I want a nice clear pond.

Question - I've heard the word cycle being used a lot, does that mean that after a few weeks, my pond could, on its on own, cycle into a clear phase?

Thanks,
 

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