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Thread: Rain and Algae

  1. #1
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    Rain and Algae

    Does any body know what the relationship between rain and algae in the pond is? My pond will be going along great with good water parameters and really clear water. It rains and w/n a day or two the small cell algae has gone crazy. I can either put quilt batting in my skimmer to get rid of it or wait it out for 4 or five days and it clears. I will usually do a 10 15% water change in there sometime but if I do the water change the day after the rain the water does not seem to clear any faster than if I wait. What gives?
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    Gloria, it all depends on what the rain contents are. Sounds like it brings in a heavy dose of Nitrates/Phosphates. It might also bring in other things that cause the Ph to drop which could create other issues that could present themselves as an algal outbreak.

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    check your kh
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    Can rain run off get into your pond? Does rain runoff from a lawn or garden get into the pond? The fertilizers from a lawn can last a long time and rain can dilute it and cary it into the pond.
    Need more Koi

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    These are my current water parameters(after several days of rain):
    pH 9.3, KH 72, GH 88, NH3 <0.05, NO2<0.05, NO3 26
    I am doing 5-10% water changes qod.
    I have a flagstone patio around my pond but it is sealed. I am pretty sure my pH is a result of the heavy aeration I am using in this ultra hot weather, my pond temps have been ranging from 84-88 degrees. 8800 gallon pond; 100 lpm pondmaster airpumps x 4- one on e each of two moving bed filters and one on each of two aerated bottom drains. I am using that size on my bottom drains b/c when I tried the 40 lpm pumps no air would come out of the diffusers.
    My fish load is a little high 17 koi from 15-25 inches most in the 18-20' size. Picture below.
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    Well, Gloria, how long ago was the flagstone installed/sealed. You do know that it requires regular treatments to keep it sealed, just like granite or any natural stone used on a countertop or in a bath/shower.

    Yes, I would suspect that your source water has a lower Ph than your pond with the heavy aeration. I do see a lot of unbroken bubbles on the surface. This could be due to the harder water or a concentration of DOCs which could be brought in from the rain and combined with your system DOCs. It's a wild goose chase to say the least. I'm merely speculating out loud and hopefully providing some food for thought.

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    I will recheck the pH again once the water clears, but I suspect that the pH will remain high as long as I continue this level of aeration. There are some DOC's in the water for which I am building a shower w/ PhPh, but again I don't see a big change in the level of bubbles before or after a rain, just an automatic change to pea green w/algae. Once the rain stops the water becomes clear again in about a week.
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    I do get tons of needles from the cedar/juniper trees around the pond, but the skiimers are cleaned daily and I will usually dump the bottom drains w/n a day or two of a rain.
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    pine needles might contribute to your higher ph too. we have a couple of club members who have the same problem with algae and rain. one guy's pond goes green and you can't see six inches into the water every time it rains. no ground runoff, just rainwater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff reiter View Post
    pine needles might contribute to your higher ph too. we have a couple of club members who have the same problem with algae and rain. one guy's pond goes green and you can't see six inches into the water every time it rains. no ground runoff, just rainwater.
    Actually Jeff, pine needles cause a somewhat acidic condition which would lower Ph. Pine straw is used quite often as a bed cover over plants such as Azalea, Camelia and Rhododendrum as they prefer an acidic soil. This is partly why these varieties grow wild in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

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    I noticed the same affect of rain water in my pond. algae grows out of control after rain season. last rain season, nature dumped 16 inches of rain water into my pond.

    btw, your pond water need more changing. whenever the bubbles took a second or more to pop, it's time to change the water.

    Steve

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    thanks koiman. you are right. had it backwards. that just begs the question of why her ph is 9.3 since pine needles might bring the number down. does that mean the water might be worse, even higher ph, with no pine needles?

  13. #13
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    Gloria, your kh and gh are too low. I pulled some information from Roddy on gh/kh and put it in ER, one of the best explanations I've seen

    http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showth...notes-on-ph-kh

    There are two causes of the high pH with these measured values.

    The KH is too low as others said, and needs baking soda addition to stabilize pH at a better value.
    But the GH is way too low for acceptable pH control.

    GH is a measure of dissolved calcium and magnesium. When there is enough dissolved calcium and magnesium, AND when the KH is in an acceptable range (meaning between 80 and 300 ppm), if the pH drifts above 8.5, the calcium and magnesium will precipitate the carbonate ions that are causing the high pH and drop the pH value.

    So if you want the pH to stay below the 9 value you have measured:

    1. Get the KH into the 80 to 300 ppm range by adding two pounds of baking soda per 1000 gallons of pond water.

    2. Get the GH in the 100 to 250 ppm range by adding one pound of calcium chloride flake (which is calcium chloride dihydrate, with 77% calcium chloride content, 23% water) per 1000 gallons of water. You may want to also add a pound of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfuate heptahydrate) per 1000 gallons of pond water for sufficient dissolved magnesium also.

    Taking those two actions should stablize pH at a value of 8.3, which is ideal for 99% of ponders

    The pH typically reaches the 11 to 12 range when the GH and KH are so low. There is nothing to stabilize pH in the absence of reasonable values of both KH and GH.

    There seems to be a big push for getting rid of GH by softening the water or using reverse osmosis to get really low TDS (meaning low salts as measured by conductivity). One of many problems with low TDS is inadequate GH to stabilize the pH.

    There are many ponders who run their ponds at pH values of 10 or so because that is what their water chemistry gives them. I don't like pH values that high for keeping koi. pH values above 10 is okay for goldfish and golden orfes, but it is hard on koi.

    Calcium chloride flake is widely available in Charleston, WV for a variety of reasons.

    Swimming pool stores carry it in 50 pound bags for increasing the hardness of swimming pools, since the local water is so soft the pH of swimming pools can go sky high without the addition of some calcium chloride flake.

    Farm stores, Lowes, and Home Depot carry it in winter months since it is the no 1 product to melt snow and ice in driveways and walkways - the calcium chloride flake melts ice at a lower temperature than sodium chloride, the calcium chloride won't tear up the concrete, the calcium chloride does not damage plants. The farm stores and swimming pool stores stock it year round, Lowes, Walmart, and Home Depot stock it in Fall and Winter months for the ice melting purpose.

    The usual price range locally is between $10 and $20 per 50 pound bag for calcium chloride flake.

    It it is not available locally in Columbia, SC, the freight to bring it in will cost more than the material.

    Obviously you may not need a 50 pound bag for ponding, but if you have it and experience a rare ice storm in Columbia, SC, then you will have what you need to melt ice on your sidewalks around your house.

    I am sometimes in Columbia, SC, visiting one of my chemical tolling suppliers (Weylchem). Lovely place...
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  14. #14
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    Although her kH and gH may be considered a tough low by some, they are no means out of whack. If I had your numbers I would not add anything to try and chase kH and gH numbers. You can make things worse by doing so. I would however suggest a larger than normal water change following a rain storm.

    The question at hand is why an algae bloom following a rain storm: I think Mike hit the nail on the head with post #2

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