water hyacinth and green water

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Talk' started by hawk2110, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. hawk2110

    hawk2110

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    these are great plants to get in your pond. Just want to let anyone know if you are curious, my pond was very green for weeks. I used a product called algaefix from drfosterandsmith.com and it worked to clear up the algae a little, but didnt quite get it completely clean. I was using that for about 2 and a half weeks using it every third day. Just last week I bought 5 water hyancinths (and one water lettace) from the local grocery store and within three days my pond cleared right up. My pond is about 1000 gallons and it has been in the mid 80s to low 90s during the day. I am always giong to buy these plants from now on because they worked wonders. Also, I do not have a UV light and was really looking at them before buying these plants. It is the easy way out to clear up your pond (and some people say its the only way), but if you need to save money, like myself, use lillies and buy a small amount of water hyacinths. I say buy a small amount because they spread rapidly in warm conditions. also, i do have a few different types of plants but not very many of them.
     
    hawk2110, Jun 11, 2012
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  2. hawk2110

    Waterbug

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    AlgaeFix
    For those with fish and other pond creatures...AlgaeFix is "Harmful to aquatic life". You won't find that info on Dr Foster & Smith's site. You have to go to the manufacturer's site. Healthy fish normally can survive the toxicity, but can kill fish that are less than healthy, too much is used, or water quality isn't good like low O2 in particular. Lots of examples of people adding AlgaeFix and finding a pond full of dead fish, lots of examples of no fish dying too.

    Water Hyacinth
    It is very common to kill an algae bloom with either chemicals or UV and the water to remain clear after the chemicals or UV are removed. There are only theories on why but the common denominators seem to be bacteria and macroalgae. Attributing to different things, like water hyacinths, is pretty normal logic. A little research will show water hyacinths are added to many green ponds every year and many stay green.

    Not saying water hyacinths shouldn't be added to a pond or that your pond won't be clear some time after adding water hyacinths. Just saying if you add them and your water stays green you shouldn't think you're doing something wrong. Also, in many ponds, goldfish will nibble new root shoots and the water hyacinths won't grow and slowly decline. So again, if your water hyacinths don't grow great, you're not doing anything wrong. Goldfish don't always do this, it may be related to how much they're fed, the number of fish, number of water hyacinth plants added...unknown.

    Toxic clear water
    When a pond goes from green to clear you can see a big increase in ammonia levels which can kill fish. Algae take up ammonia directly and so act as a bio filter. Losing that filter can change water quality.

    There can also be a spike in hydrogen sulfide just because there's such a sudden mass of dead microalgae which can decompose fast. Normally not a problem but can be if water quality already wasn't great. Adding an air pump for a couple of weeks can out gas the hydrogen sulfide faster and increase O2, decompose the organics faster.

    In ponds with green water nitrates are almost always zero. When water clears the algae is no longer removing nitrates and as the dead algae decompose the nitrates they bound are released back into the water. So measuring nitrates would be more important. Water hyacinths can reduce nitrates if they're growing well.
     
    Waterbug, Jun 11, 2012
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  3. hawk2110

    sissy sissy

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    algae fix should be banned in every state .The first time I read the label on it in pet smart I cringed
     
    sissy, Jun 11, 2012
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  4. hawk2110

    Mucky_Waters

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    I understand water hyacinth are already banned in many states.
     
    Mucky_Waters, Jun 11, 2012
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  5. hawk2110

    Shoestring Ponder

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    I, otoh, have about 16 Water Hyacinth plants in my above ground pool turned pond and have the greenest water! ;) But that does not bother me because we had have a Great Blue Heron visiting the pond and he is unable to see the goldfish as well. The fish do not seem to mind and neither does the resident Bull Frog. This GBH just started visiting the middle of last week. I am not happy w the green water...although I do hope it clears up at least enough for me to see the fish other than when I feed them. LOL For now, it is giving the fish and my bullfrog cover. I also have a bunch of other floating plants in floating planters as well as 4 areas with lily plants, Lizards Tail and Pickeral Rush in addition to "sea weed" and recently added some Duck Weed. The water level is about 3 1/2' deep and DH estimates the volume to be about 10,000 gallons. I have a small homemade filter which does not do near enough to clean the pond, although last August, when D:H assembled it, it worked super. I do see the fish eating the algae from the sides of the pool liner and we have a few snails that also work on the algae. I am hoping, once the GBH fully gets disinterested in my "little pond" that the water will begin to clear a bit. :goldfish:
     
    Shoestring Ponder, Jun 11, 2012
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  6. hawk2110

    Waterbug

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    Issues like this could be remedied in short order if pond owners ever decided to stop doing business with retailers who sell these kinds of products. Even a hint of a boycott would change practices in short order. But that's not going to happen in my lifetime. Pond forums are full of people saying these things are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Always have been, always will be I think. Definitely a buyer beware market.
     
    Waterbug, Jun 11, 2012
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  7. hawk2110

    hawk2110

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    I just want to first say I under the plants weren't the only thing that cleared it..but helped. On another note I have koi and all of my fish are totally fine after using algae fix. One of my friends has been using it for over 5 years with koi in his pond, and all of his fish are totally fine. As long as you use it as the label says, it is not harmful to fish or plants. He or I have never killed any plants or fish. The label on the bottle states not harmful to aquatic plants or fish. As long as you have good aeration and use it as it says, it will dilute it and not harm them.
     
    hawk2110, Jun 11, 2012
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  8. hawk2110

    hawk2110

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    First as long as you use algaefix as directed..it is not harmful to your fish. I know multiple people who use it and the label specificaly says "not harmful to aquatic plants koi or goldfish." Next, I have made a floating net that I put the hyacinth in so that the fish cannot get to them. also I have an upper pond where there are no fish where i put them too. Also, I have tested my water and everything is well in range of what it should be. I have a large biofilter that takes care of that.
     
    hawk2110, Jun 11, 2012
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  9. hawk2110

    hawk2110

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    plus i read that website you posted..and it says right on the container "do not use with crustaceans, including shrimp, crabs, and lobsters." that is the aquatic life that it can kill. it is safe with plants koi and goldfish.
     
    hawk2110, Jun 11, 2012
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  10. hawk2110

    Mucky_Waters

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    I like water hyacinth too Hawk, but I doubt 6 plants could have that much effect, especially in just 3 days. Likely you pond had something going on and was clearing up on it's own anyway, that sometimes happens without any plants, UVs, or chemicals.
    I really like water hyacinth because they grow quick and offer a lot of shoreline cover for my fish turtles and frogs. Plus they do filter the water pretty good too, if you got enough of them.
     
    Mucky_Waters, Jun 11, 2012
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  11. hawk2110

    hawk2110

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    the reason i thought this was because two of the plants have already started growing two plants off each and all the others have already gotten one new growth on them. They are growing so fast so I figured they pulled a lot of the excess nutrients out of the water
     
    hawk2110, Jun 12, 2012
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  12. hawk2110

    Mucky_Waters

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    Check out this thread Hawk, and see how fast they can grow given the right set of conditions.
    It's still too cold in my pond for them, but I have been putting them in there anyway. I think I'll update that thread with a picture of how many I now have in my pond.

    BTW the only time that water in that greenhouse pond ( with all the hyacinth) was ever not green, was when I first filled it up.
     
    Mucky_Waters, Jun 12, 2012
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  13. hawk2110

    Waterbug

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    @hawk2110 I think it's fine you're happy with your research and the conclusions you've drawn. We all use whatever cognitive skills we have or choose to use in our hobby. My post was more for others reading the thread who might want to research a bit deeper, not to try and change your mind.

    Too those other people...

    Google "algaefix killed my fish". I generally don't like anecdotal evidence, but in many cases the stories of fish deaths have been so close to the time AlgaeFix was added it seems compelling. If someone says they did something and a week later fish died I'm generally skeptical. Adding something and within an hour fish act strange and within a day all fish have died I start to wonder and start checking out the thing added a bit closer.

    In the case of AlgaeFix it doesn't take much checking. Checking the MSDS required by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other countries, for potentially harmful substances (to humans) anyone can see the substance they consider potentially harmful is dimethyliminoethylene dichloride, ethoxylate. The other 95.5% of the product they don't consider potentially harmful to humans. Whether any of the that 95.5% is harmful to fish or not you have no choice but to take the manufacturer's word for it because they won't say what else is in the product.

    Way back in the olden days when AlgaeFix first came out and people started seeing problems the MSDS put out by the company included "kills 100% of certain fish at 1% of the recommended dosage". When people called the company they said it was "game fish" and said it shouldn't be used with game fish. When asked about carp the company claimed that was proprietary information (I get this second hand from a couple of sources, so for what that's worth). That MSDS was dated Oct 14, 2005 and is no longer available.

    On Dec 13, 2005 the company issued a new MSDS on dropped the "kills 100% of certain fish at 1% of the recommended dosage". They can do this because the MSDS is only required for substances potentially harmful to humans. OSHA isn't in the business of protecting fish so companies aren't required to tell consumers whether or not a product will kill fish. The FDA would would require disclosure if this product was to be used on or in humans, but it isn't. USDA would regulate this if it were used for food fish, but it isn't and probably why the company added "safe for Koi and Goldfish" as they don't want to bring in the USDA.

    If we research dimethyliminoethylene dichloride, ethoxylate, or more specifically it's full name Poly(oxyethylene) (dimethylimino) ethylene (dimethylimino) ethylene dichloride we can find in the PAN Pesticide Database tests on some fish.

    Sheepshead minnow - Not Acutely Toxic
    Channel catfish - Moderately Toxic
    Bluegill - Highly Toxic
    Rainbow trout - Highly Toxic
    Fathead minnow - Highly Toxic
    Harlequinfish, red rasbora - Highly Toxic

    I can find no tests for carp, Koi or goldfish. For me something that is highly toxic to some fish, and without an independent report clearing Koi and goldfish, I have to conclude it is at least somewhat toxic to Koi and goldfish at some level.

    So going back to what I said earlier....it is safe if used exactly as directed. Underestimate your pond volume and you have dead fish. Not the manufacturer's fault. Have poor water quality or fish not in perfect health, you can have dead fish. Not the manufacturer's fault, at least according to them.

    How high a dose before you see fish deaths...don't know. The manufacturer certainly did this test but will not disclose the information.

    If a person thinks this is perfectly safe for their pond super. Not my pond, not my problem. But I do think people should consider information beyond what's on a product label. Backyard ponds are not regulated by any government agency. Manufacturers and retailers can pretty much say and sell whatever they like and it's perfectly legal.
     
    Waterbug, Jun 12, 2012
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  14. hawk2110

    Waterbug

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    Many people figure the same thing. It's certainly a logical enough theory. And a theory that has been stated as being fact for many years, by many people, in many forums. Also a theory that has been tested and proven incorrect many times.

    A green pond generally has zero ammonia and nitrates because the algae is consuming all there is as it becomes available to reproduce. When an algae bloom dies and water goes clear there is generally a spike in ammonia short term and increased nitrates longer term. Very simple for anyone to test and many papers written on the subject.

    However, many people can't be bothered to do any testing and prefer to just look at a pond and draw conclusions based on imagination and can't wait to tell everyone of their "findings". Online forums are a perfect place for this because it's rarely challenged.
     
    Waterbug, Jun 12, 2012
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  15. hawk2110

    Shdwdrgn

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    My hyacinths always did fantastic in my old pond... By mid-July I was giving them away by the buckets, and I only had about 250 gallon of pond. Last year with my new pond was the first time ever that I had hyacinths fail. I didn't know those things could be killed by anything other than the cold, but they simply did not grow. This year is a whole different story though! Not only are they doing well, but this is the first time I have ever had hyacinths blooming in my ponds. I've been getting 1 or 2 plants blooming every week since I got them, and they've already started sending off new shoots. Between all the new lilies I planted, and the explosion of hyacinths that I'm sure I will be getting, I don't think I'll be able to see the surface of my pond by the end of Summer. :)
     
    Shdwdrgn, Jun 12, 2012
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  16. hawk2110

    hawk2110

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    waterbug..."So going back to what I said earlier....it is safe if used exactly as directed. Underestimate your pond volume and you have dead fish. Not the manufacturer's fault. Have poor water quality or fish not in perfect health, you can have dead fish. Not the manufacturer's fault, at least according to them."

    This is all I am trying to get across to you. I understand that it can be toxic to the fish and plants if it is toxic to humans and other fish. but you also just said "it is safe if used exactly as directed"...if you dont want dead fish dont be dumb and use it incorrectly. if you have good areation (my pond has one large waterfall and one small) and over 1 full turnover per hour...you wont have a loss of oxygen. This is what the manufacturer is hoping that you have. They dont say that on the bottle but you should be smart enough to know before using it that you need good areation and good filtration and you should not by any means use more than directed. but there are some of you saying it is such a terrible thing to use then go on to say that it is safe if used correctly.

    shdwdrgn...this is what i love about having a pond. plant lillies and in a few years they are exploding and have flowers and big pads and then the floating plants explode and cover your pond. you can start giving them away and helping fellow ponders. also, they do have a nice pretty little flower on them but i wish it would stay longer. Also, this year I am getting my pond to be a koi only pond. I have two large ones and 4 small ones. it will be fun to watch them grow also. (there are 3 mud fish. they are koi goldfish offspring. i just call them mudfish because they are brown. I have already caught 3 but they are fast little buggers.)

    also mucky_waters...that is a cool expiriment. I wish that there was a really easy and cheap way to keep hyacinths over winter. I dont like having to wait so long in order to buy them.
     
    hawk2110, Jun 12, 2012
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  17. hawk2110

    CometKeith

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    hawk, I think that's way to small amount of plants to turn your water clear from green. If you read up on pond cycling it's very typical that a pond turns clear after being green when it is cycling. I don't think it had anything to do with the plants. Also I agree with waterbug that most of the chemicals you add to a pond are useless and do more harm than good.
     
    CometKeith, Jun 12, 2012
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  18. hawk2110

    Waterbug

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    Yes, I know, I'm the one who said it. I agree with you. I was posting to warn others about the dangers only because you left that part out of your original post.

    No, it's not that it can be toxic, it's definitely is toxic to fish and plants. You may be confusing toxic and deadly. Arsenic is toxic, but everyone consumes some everyday.

    The unanswered question is how toxic is it to the specific fish and plants a person has in their pond, given the condition of the pond and fish at that moment. Certainly possible it's toxic enough to cause death in the short term. Many people report that very thing and the company won't release their studies so there's little data. I'm going to go on a limb and guess the company's studies showed it was deadly to Koi and Goldfish at certain levels...but that info doesn't help sell product which is why they won't release it. If it were safe at 2x, 3x, 4x the needed dose they'd be telling everyone. They no doubt used that info to set a dose that was high enough to sometimes kill algae (many poeple report it didn't work for them) but low enough that most Koi and Goldfish would survive. I would like to know those levels and test results rather than just trusting the "safe for Koi and Goldfish" label. But that's just me.

    That's an interesting way to look at it. I wonder if your perspective would change if your fish had died? Based on the accounts I read of people contacting the company when their fish died I assume the company's position would be that you didn't have enough aeration. They don't give any specific O2 level, just that the pond has to be well aerated. If your fish die your pond didn't have enough aeration by definition.

    IMO turning over a pond once per hour would be standard aeration. Any kind of treatment that lowers O2 would warrant increased aeration. But your fish lived so obviously you had enough aeration on that day. I hope your luck holds.
     
    Waterbug, Jun 12, 2012
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  19. hawk2110

    hawk2110

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    I no that wasn't the entire story why it cleared but they reproduced so quickly and the water turned around as they reproduced so that's why I said it. I only wanted to start this because of how amazing those plants arje and how quickly they reproduce. I no websites say it also but I wanted to tell my account of them.
     
    hawk2110, Jun 12, 2012
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  20. hawk2110

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    My hyacinths never did well, maybe not enough fish poop yet or the bog is sucking the pond dry. I am skipping them this year. My lilies go crazy though
    Glad yours are doing great!
     
    addy1, Jun 12, 2012
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