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    Thread: Newbie here – tried to kill my pond. Help!

    1. #1
      RVAJim is offline Junior Member
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      Newbie here – tried to kill my pond. Help!

      Hi all, Bought a house last fall with a pond, didn’t really do much all winter or even spring other than try to keep it clean. Finally now getting time to dig in and maintain it, etc. (Cross-country move, with kids, so “life” got in the way till now.)

      I’ll summarize: it stayed surprisingly clean all winter, that is water fairly clear (have one huge c. 2 ft. koi, who is 18 yrs old per previous owner). No algae to speak of, etc. although I have not yet got a good test kit. (Old stuff left with the house, fairly sure the reagents are all expired.)

      Couple weeks ago, decided to do (first) water chance, and clean equipment. Imagine my surprise to find out that the pump to the filter was not plugged in at all (since at least last Sept.). So...no water was going thru filter. Other pump, always on, only runs waterfall. Also the UV light and housing where it screws in is broken, so I’ll eventually need a new filter. But put it back together, sans UV. So I now at least have some filtration (that pump was all mucked up too, so it’s clean now and works).

      So for a few days after, all was good, until I decided I needed to “re-seat” or replant one of my lily plants, as the root mass had come out of its pot and was floating. Here’s where I really screwed up: in my infinite wisdom, I put a shovel full of dirt from the garden in the pot to help hold the root mass down.

      Ever since then, my once clear water has now been tinted brown. I took the pot out, used barley clarifier, a LOT, and after several days it’s only slightly better. And way worse than before I even started to do anything to the pond, including plug in the filter pump.

      So as you can see, complete newbie screwup. Ideas? Thanks in advance!

    2. #2
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      The good part is the problem sounds purely aesthetic and the fish isn't in any danger.
      But before you add anything it's essential for you to have a good idea of the volume of water in the pond including
      filters. Did the previous owner know how many gallons the pond is?
      --Steve
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      RVAJim is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      The good part is the problem sounds purely aesthetic and the fish isn't in any danger.
      But before you add anything it's essential for you to have a good idea of the volume of water in the pond including
      filters. Did the previous owner know how many gallons the pond is?
      Hi Steve, I've calculated volume, it's c. 900 gal. And yes, the fish has been noticeably more perky since I first changed water.

      Still...it is brownish. Not nearly as clear as before I stupidly added the dirt. Any ideas on how to clarify? Again, I did a second 60% or more water change, and it didn't help at all. Thanks.

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      Quote Originally Posted by RVAJim View Post
      Hi Steve, I've calculated volume, it's c. 900 gal. And yes, the fish has been noticeably more perky since I first changed water.

      Still...it is brownish. Not nearly as clear as before I stupidly added the dirt. Any ideas on how to clarify? Again, I did a second 60% or more water change, and it didn't help at all. Thanks.
      If it were me, for 900 gallons, I'd try adding 1/2 a quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide. If you've got a way to add extra
      air with the HP I'd do that too. Let it sit for a couple hours and see if it makes a difference... if it does, but not enough,
      you could add the other half of the quart bottle. A quart in 1000 gallons shouldn't present a problem and often times
      will get rid of brown tint caused by tannin.
      You didn't say what type of filter you have, but I'd guess it's a small pressure filter. Be sure to clean it regularly now
      that it's running to keep it from getting clogged and still removing what it can of the discoloration in the water.

      --Steve
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      "It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company." --George Washington

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      RVAJim is offline Junior Member
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      Thanks again, couple questions:

      -- the HP is ok for fish?
      -- adding air: how would I do that? (Stir the water with a stick, or?)
      -- let it sit: assuming turn off pumps?
      -- I have a Tetra pump, likely a UV-1, although as noted the UV housing is completely broken. And the filter was unplugged, since at least last Aug. I'll replace soon anyway.

    7. #7
      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by RVAJim View Post
      Thanks again, couple questions:

      -- the HP is ok for fish?

      Yes. I've used it many times to control algae and never had a reaction. The 3% concentration
      is pretty mild and when added 1/2 quart at a time it shouldn't be any problem. For extra safety you can add the
      dosage to a 5 gallon bucket of pond water and mix that up and then add that to the pond.


      -- adding air: how would I do that? (Stir the water with a stick, or?)

      No, you'd need an air pump and a few air stones. It's not a deal beaker imo if you don't have them. It's
      just nice to add air when you're adding chemicals of about any kind.


      -- let it sit: assuming turn off pumps?

      No, leave the pumps running. You need water circulation 24/7.

      -- I have a Tetra pump, likely a UV-1, although as noted the UV housing is completely broken. And the filter was unplugged, since at least last Aug. I'll replace soon anyway.

      How about the filter itself? Does it have a brand and model number? It's just good to know as much as
      we can in order to try and help.
      Responses in red.
      --Steve
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      Ooops, the FILTER is a Tetra, not the pump.

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      For the clay type fines that are clouding the water, one of the best filters is to use quilt batting. I used some in a milk crate with the water returning from the filter flowing over the batting. In short order the batting will clog with the fines and need to be replaced. Once the fines are out, the batting and crate can be removed. Given time, the foam in the filter will do the same, but it will take longer than adding the batting.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."

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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      For the clay type fines that are clouding the water, one of the best filters is to use quilt batting. I used some in a milk crate with the water returning from the filter flowing over the batting. In short order the batting will clog with the fines and need to be replaced. Once the fines are out, the batting and crate can be removed. Given time, the foam in the filter will do the same, but it will take longer than adding the batting.
      Hey neighbor, glad you chimed in here. So, trying to picture that, you mean an actual milk crate, c. 20x14 hard plastic? I guess I could sort of suspend it over my waterfall or something... Are there photos of such contraptions anywhere?

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      Quote Originally Posted by RVAJim View Post
      Hey neighbor, glad you chimed in here. So, trying to picture that, you mean an actual milk crate, c. 20x14 hard plastic? I guess I could sort of suspend it over my waterfall or something... Are there photos of such contraptions anywhere?

      Example


      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LesYSJmbvD0
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      Ah thanks, interesting, good video. Now, my pond geometry is a bit more challenging than the one in the video. My waterfall area is convex, kind of sticks out. And waterfall is low, only about 7 inches above surface. Only way I could build something would be to use a ten foot main support (2x4 or 1x6) then attach an odd shaped frame for screen and batting. Then try to jam it between some of the rocks behind the waterfall which form the sides of my pond.

      Now all that said, concerned about throwing good money (well, carpentry) after bad, will this really clear my water? Factor in that the UV in my filter is completely inoperable, wouldn't I just be better off to spring for a new filter now?

      Also, how about a major cleanup, more than just water change. How do folks dredge up all the muck and scum on bottom and sides, and basically "start over?" (And can I do this with a fish in it?)

      Again, thanks in advance.

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      I don't have any pictures of the one that I used, but yes, the 20x14 hard plastic. I put in a diverter pipe to discharge over the quilt batting. It could be set in a waterfall basin, though I had mine set on other crates to get elevation above the pond level sitting out in the pond.

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."

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    14. #14
      icu2's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by RVAJim View Post
      Also, how about a major cleanup, more than just water change. How do folks dredge up all the muck and scum on bottom and sides, and basically "start over?" (And can I do this with a fish in it?)

      Again, thanks in advance.
      I wouldn't do a clean out with the fish in the pond when removing stuff on the bottom. It can release toxic gasses
      like hydrogen sulfide that can kill the fish pretty quickly. I'd catch them and move them to a temporary holding tank
      until the clean out was done and the water was stable again.
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      Welcome to Koiphen! You have come to the best site for information about koi keeping. We have excellent members here who have been keeping koi for many years and have a wealth of knowledge to provide you. I hope once your current situation is taken care of, you stay on and reap the benefits of being a member!!! We have many areas that may be of interest to you; one of the first sections you should probably go to is the ER forum and read up about the different diseases and parasites etc. that can affect your fish, and their treatment. It's always good to be forewarned before something happens. Also, if you do plan to update your pond (900 gallons is really a very small volume to be keeping koi in), you can visit the construction forum. If you just want to talk about KOI, the main form where you're posting right now at is perfect. If you just want to talk about your day chitchat is excellent. I just wanted to welcome you, and let you know about how great our site is!

      To clean all the gunk and muck off of the bottom of my pond, I use a pond-o-vac. They are quite expensive, but it is well worth the money. If you are a DIY person, I think there might be a link in the DIY forum that shows you how to build one out of a shop vac. A shop vac can also be used, but it is a PIA to keep emptying it out. Believe me, I know because I used to do it! When I got my pond-o-vac, I was just like "yay!!! It's so fast and easy!!!"


      Just a quick question, how did you calculate your pond volume?

      You should get a master test kit by API, ASAP, along with an additional KH kit, which is one of the more important tests for your pond that you should keep track of. (don't get strips, they are not that accurate). Somewhere down the line, a salt meter should also be purchased, in case you wish to medicate with it.

      Master test kit: https://smile.amazon.com/API-FRESHWA...aster+test+kit

      KH kit: (it comes with a GH kit also, but that's really not that necessary to monitor).
      https://smile.amazon.com/API-TEST-Fr...i++KH+test+kit


      Also, you can reuse your quilt batting I just hose it off to get the gunk off. It makes good fertilizer for your grass or garden if you rinse it over the area. I reuse my batting all the time until it's just a rag!

      One last thing, if you do decide to get more fish eventually, please please please -- don't endanger your 18-year-old fish, you need to quarantine any new fish first. Although with only one fish, it's hard to do a "proper" quarantine because I guess he would be the Canary fish, but that's a topic for another thread.

      Nancy


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      If you're looking for a pressure filter that will help clear up your water, this is a pressure filter with UV lamp combo. The second item has the pump with it. I've had one of these on my pond for many years, in addition to my waterfall filters and another gravity fed system. The more filtration you have the better! My pond is only 2000 gallons so I've added additional filtration over the years. The "solidflo" is the pump.

      https://www.thepondguy.com/product/t...tration-system

      For a better option, this one has a backflush system which allows you to flush some of the gunk out between filter cleaning: https://www.thepondguy.com/product/t...tration-system


      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."






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      @Nancy, thanks much for the welcome. As to: "Just a quick question, how did you calculate your pond volume?" My pond shape is essentially a round part with a small rectangular part attached. (Kinda like an old fashioned keyhole from above.) So I calculated them separately, using the "circle" multiplier then the "rectangle/square" multiplier and added together. Checked depth at several points to make sure that it is consistent, which it is (24-26 inches all around). So I'm fairly certain that I'm c. 900 gallons, maybe a tad more but close.

      @Rich, I think I will do something like you've done with the crates, rather than carpentry. I have located the line from my filter into the waterfall basin and I can "extend" that line to pour over the batting. Thanks!

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      which pumps are used? it sounds like a submersible.

      some activated carbon in the waterfall area would help with tannins as well. I used quilt batting and carbon for my fish tanks, when I was a kid. Fill a mesh bag, and drop it in the waterfall area, as the water flows out, onto the bag, and back to pond.

      you can put it in the same container that you use for the quilt batting. batting->mesh bag with carbon. reasonable crutches until everything is setup and cycled.

      my $0.02.

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      You may be off by a hundred gallons or more with calculations. I was off by 2000! My builder told me 4000 gallons, but when I did the salt method for determining a gallonage, I came up with 2000 gallons. When I did it by metering, I also came up with 2000 gallons, so the calculation method is very unreliable, especially for when you want to medicate. You really need to be very accurate with how many gallons you have, so I would suggest looking into getting a very inexpensive salt meter. It really will pay off in the long run! I'll see if I can find the one I have. I actually have to, I have the koimedic salt pen, which is expensive but reads in percent; I also have a TDS meter which is very cheap but reads in parts per million, which just needs a little conversion factor -- I think you just have to move a decimal point.

      I would recommend either the first or second one. I have the second one, the first also will read the temperature of the pond water.

      Koimedic pen: much easier to use.

      https://smile.amazon.com/Aquascape-K...dic+salt+meter

      You will get an extremely accurate value me for the pond if you use the salt method. We can always provide you with that if you choose to go that route. You should start with very little salt in the pond, although as long as you have a starting point, it doesn't really matter completely on that fact, it just helps.


      Quote Originally Posted by RVAJim View Post
      @Nancy, thanks much for the welcome. As to: "Just a quick question, how did you calculate your pond volume?" My pond shape is essentially a round part with a small rectangular part attached. (Kinda like an old fashioned keyhole from above.) So I calculated them separately, using the "circle" multiplier then the "rectangle/square" multiplier and added together. Checked depth at several points to make sure that it is consistent, which it is (24-26 inches all around). So I'm fairly certain that I'm c. 900 gallons, maybe a tad more but close.

      @Rich, I think I will do something like you've done with the crates, rather than carpentry. I have located the line from my filter into the waterfall basin and I can "extend" that line to pour over the batting. Thanks!


      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."






      Favorite Quotes:
      The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too. -- Samuel Butler.

      My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. -- Edith Wharton.

      I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. -- Gilda Radner

      Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement. -- Snoopy

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      RVAJim is offline Junior Member
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      Nancy, interesting. Now the skeptic in me (and former swimming pool service owner) is wondering how can measuring the salt content in water tell me how large my pond is, in gallons? I don't see the connection, although ya learn something new every day! (Too bad, when I got out of the pool business, I sold most of my stuff, including a very expensive salt meter.)

      That said, this is a very small pond, about 8 ft diameter for the round part, then maybe 3x5 for the rectangular part, although I'll go out and measure again after work. And the bottom is very flat. (Ordered the new filter and test kits btw...thanks !)

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