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  • Results 1 to 11 of 11

    Thread: What killed the green algae and possibly also nitrifying bacteria?

    1. #1
      SimonW is offline Junior Member
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      What killed the green algae and possibly also nitrifying bacteria?

      I would like to know if anyone has encountered similar problems as I did just for about 5 days ago:

      I had not turned on the UV-light this year, so the water was very green, though the koi were all happy and fine with it.

      Until last week I decided to increase the pH of my pond, from around 6.5 to 7.5 with baking soda. A big mistake!

      To my big surprise just overnight all the green color vanished. The water turned clear, though brown due to tannins.

      In the beginning the koi were all fine. But 2-3 days later some of they started to jump/flash, and I tested the water, and found that ammonia was very high!

      Obviously something killed the green algae and the nitrifying bacteria as well when I increased the pH, but what?
      Thanks a lot if anyone could give me an explanation.

      Water temperature: 19 C (66 F), filter: DIY (I have no reason to suspect that the filter was not good enough as it had worked all the time). Volume: About 90 m3 (about 25 000 gallons?), 40 small fishes: 15 koi 15-20", 25 koi 10-15".

    2. #2
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      The filter is not doing what it should. The green water algae needs ammonia to survive, thrive. When the green water algae is present, it consumes the ammonia, so the filter is not needed. When it dies, and the filter is not up to the task, the ammonia will build. I don't know what killed the green water algae, as it should be thriving. Using baking soda should make the pH more stable, as it raises the KH. The KH should be over 100 and preferably 150 to 200ppm to provide a stable pH, which will be around 8.3. With a stable pH, morning, afternoon and evening, the filter bacteria will kick in and the population will expand to consume the ammonia, but it does take time. If the pH is too low, or fluctuating during the course of the day, those filter bacteria cannot thrive. In the mean time, I would get an Ammonia Alert Card to show the toxicity of the ammonia and get Prime, Safe or Cloram-X to bind the ammonia. The Ammonia Alert Card will show if there is any toxic ammonia and the binder will neutralize it.

      "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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    3. #3
      SimonW is offline Junior Member
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      Is it ok to reduce feeding koi with commercial koifood while feed them more bread

      Thank you so much for your reply! It makes perfect sense, as the nitrifying bacteria did not have a chance when the green algae was there and consuming the ammonia. Therefore the filter had never worked.

      I had always thought that the algae (even plants) could only absorp nitrats, not ammonia or nitrite, therefore I had all the time thought that the filter was working fine when the water was green. I have read that it may take up to 2 weeks before a filter to mature, is it correct?

      By the way, do the nitrifying bacteria consume NH3 and NH4+ equally effective?

      These days I have reduced feeding them with commercial koifood. Instead I feed them with bread. Can it be any long time issue except that they grow less fast which is tolerable for me?

      Of course it would be nice to know what killed the green algae overnight. Such efficient algaecide! One week later still no green algae. Everyone else find it difficult to get rid of green algae, while I have such difficulty in getting them. (I prefer it slightly green, not cristal clear)

      Thanks and kind regards!

      Simon

      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      The filter is not doing what it should. The green water algae needs ammonia to survive, thrive. When the green water algae is present, it consumes the ammonia, so the filter is not needed. When it dies, and the filter is not up to the task, the ammonia will build. I don't know what killed the green water algae, as it should be thriving. Using baking soda should make the pH more stable, as it raises the KH. The KH should be over 100 and preferably 150 to 200ppm to provide a stable pH, which will be around 8.3. With a stable pH, morning, afternoon and evening, the filter bacteria will kick in and the population will expand to consume the ammonia, but it does take time. If the pH is too low, or fluctuating during the course of the day, those filter bacteria cannot thrive. In the mean time, I would get an Ammonia Alert Card to show the toxicity of the ammonia and get Prime, Safe or Cloram-X to bind the ammonia. The Ammonia Alert Card will show if there is any toxic ammonia and the binder will neutralize it.
      Last edited by SimonW; 4 Days Ago at 05:29 AM.

    4. #4
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      Bread is a very poor diet. It is likely to make the fish fat, but has no protein to build muscle. You would be better off stopping the feeding until the ammonia is back to zero. The fish can go for extended periods of time without any food, living off the body stores.

      As for the question of ammonia versus ammonium, I don't know. I did research the preferred food source for green water algae many years ago and was surprised to find that it needed ammonia, but I don't remember if it distinguished between NH3 and NH4.

      I would be working on getting the KH up. It is important for the pH stability and is consumed by the bacteria chemically during the bio conversion, so needs to be maintained. The reason for me recommending the addition in the evening is that the photosynthesis during the day will raise the pH by consuming the carbon dioxide which is an acid. Over night the process goes into reverse when there is no light to support photosynthesis and the plant life produces carbon dioxide and consumes oxygen, thereby lowering the pH. This diurnal swing makes the morning pH lower than the evening pH and the addition of baking soda will raise the pH to about 8.3 and hold it there. You don't want much change at one time so if the pond is approaching the 8, then the addition of the baking soda will not cause a large shift at one time.

      "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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    5. #5
      SimonW is offline Junior Member
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      Nitrite is now detectable

      Thanks a lot again för your much useful reply!

      Firstly I have problem in getting all the good stuff you mentioned: I am living in Sweden and nowhere I can find these ammonia-binders or the Ammonia Alert for sale. The koi-hobby is still very small here.

      I know that pH-value slightly over 8 would be best for the fishes and the nitrifying bacteria, but I don´t dare to do it as I learned that at pH 7 the most ammoria is in NH4-form. So I have been keeping the pH at that level. Ammonia-binders would be really helpful to increase the pH!

      I changed some water, but ammonia level is still high. Judged by the behavior of the fishes it seems for me (novice) that they are tolerating it quite well: Though the fishes are jumping more often than they did before, but still only about 2-3 jumps for 40 fishes within one hour (is that much?) compared to 1-2 times a whole day when the green water algae was there (they may have jumped more often as I was not watching them as carefully as I am doing now), and they still have good apitite and are relatively active. They are looking for food all around the pond. They are not flashing at all now. Another abnormality is that they stay at the shallow place of the pond, close to the air outlet, and swim slowly against the stream when it is getting darker. Due to photosynthesis during the daytime therefore higher pH and theerefore more free ammonia as you said? I will test pH then today when sun is set.

      Anyway, the new thing is that today I finally get reading of nitrite, at the lowest detectable level, though still no nitrate. Earlier I have never got any nitrite nor nitrate detection. I suppose that it is a good sigh right? Nitrifying bacteria are on their way?

      Best regards!

      Simon




      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      Bread is a very poor diet. It is likely to make the fish fat, but has no protein to build muscle. You would be better off stopping the feeding until the ammonia is back to zero. The fish can go for extended periods of time without any food, living off the body stores.

      As for the question of ammonia versus ammonium, I don't know. I did research the preferred food source for green water algae many years ago and was surprised to find that it needed ammonia, but I don't remember if it distinguished between NH3 and NH4.

      I would be working on getting the KH up. It is important for the pH stability and is consumed by the bacteria chemically during the bio conversion, so needs to be maintained. The reason for me recommending the addition in the evening is that the photosynthesis during the day will raise the pH by consuming the carbon dioxide which is an acid. Over night the process goes into reverse when there is no light to support photosynthesis and the plant life produces carbon dioxide and consumes oxygen, thereby lowering the pH. This diurnal swing makes the morning pH lower than the evening pH and the addition of baking soda will raise the pH to about 8.3 and hold it there. You don't want much change at one time so if the pond is approaching the 8, then the addition of the baking soda will not cause a large shift at one time.
      Last edited by SimonW; 2 Days Ago at 11:12 AM.

    6. #6
      SimonW is offline Junior Member
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      More details

      I have now tested the pH when the Sun has set, and the reading is just slightly higher than that I got this morning (around 7) if not the same: Difficult to be accurate with the color comparason chart.

      And not all the koi behave in the same way either. Only some of them (always only the bigger ones but different individuals) start to stay motionless or with very little motion at the shallower place when the Sun is going down, about 5 meters from the air-pump outlet and water return (waterfall of about 30 cm) from the filter. They could stay closer, but they always keep this distance. Since water flows (not fast though) there they have to swim all the time.

      In my previous reply I called it abnormality, and it may be wrong, because I actually never checked if they used to be there in the evening when the green water algae still were present. It is possible that they always have behaved like this. Maybe they just have chosen this favorite place to sleep? I guess koi sleep when it is dark?

      Anyway they do not appear to be weakened. When I come close too suddenly they dash directly away as they used to do (my fishes are shy, I have not trained them to eat from my hand). Only sure abnormality is that they jump more (40 fishes 2-3 times per hour).

      Judged by their behavior do you think they will survive until the filter starts to work or the green water algae come back? Is it true that at pH 7 the ammonia is so much less toxic (mostly as ammonium ions) that koi can survive a very high total ammonia-level? And when people talk about the high toxicity of ammonia do they always suppose that pH is 8 or more?

      The most important lessons I have learnt:

      1. Next spring when the ice has gone I must choose: Either let green water algae come and keep them alive all the time, or kill them with UV-light and meanwhile let the biofilter to mature.

      2. Never change the pH-value too quickly. This time I adjusted pH from 6,5 to somewhere between 7 and 8 during a matter of several hours, and that somwhow killed all the green water algae. Lucky that I did not kill any koi!

      3. I don´t know how to make KH up: JUst adding baking soda? Sorry that I mixed up the words. I used Na2CO3 to increase the pH, not baking soda NaHCO3 which is less alkaline.

      Thanks a lot again for your thoughts!



      Quote Originally Posted by SimonW View Post
      Thanks a lot again för your much useful reply!

      Firstly I have problem in getting all the good stuff you mentioned: I am living in Sweden and nowhere I can find these ammonia-binders or the Ammonia Alert for sale. The koi-hobby is still very small here.

      I know that pH-value slightly over 8 would be best for the fishes and the nitrifying bacteria, but I don´t dare to do it as I learned that at pH 7 the most ammoria is in NH4-form. So I have been keeping the pH at that level. Ammonia-binders would be really helpful to increase the pH!

      I changed some water, but ammonia level is still high. Judged by the behavior of the fishes it seems for me (novice) that they are tolerating it quite well: Though the fishes are jumping more often than they did before, but still only about 2-3 jumps for 40 fishes within one hour (is that much?) compared to 1-2 times a whole day when the green water algae was there (they may have jumped more often as I was not watching them as carefully as I am doing now), and they still have good apitite and are relatively active. They are looking for food all around the pond. They are not flashing at all now. Another abnormality is that they stay at the shallow place of the pond, close to the air outlet, and swim slowly against the stream when it is getting darker. Due to photosynthesis during the daytime therefore higher pH and theerefore more free ammonia as you said? I will test pH then today when sun is set.

      Anyway, the new thing is that today I finally get reading of nitrite, at the lowest detectable level, though still no nitrate. Earlier I have never got any nitrite nor nitrate detection. I suppose that it is a good sigh right? Nitrifying bacteria are on their way?

      Best regards!

      Simon
      Last edited by SimonW; 2 Days Ago at 07:03 PM.

    7. #7
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by SimonW View Post
      Thanks a lot again för your much useful reply!

      Firstly I have problem in getting all the good stuff you mentioned: I am living in Sweden and nowhere I can find these ammonia-binders or the Ammonia Alert for sale. The koi-hobby is still very small here. I don't know if they use chloramine for water treatment or just chlorine in Sweden. If they use chloramine, then the fish stores should have some form of treatment that neutralizes the chlorine portion and binds the ammonia.

      I know that pH-value slightly over 8 would be best for the fishes and the nitrifying bacteria, but I don´t dare to do it as I learned that at pH 7 the most ammoria is in NH4-form.True So I have been keeping the pH at that level. Ammonia-binders would be really helpful to increase the pH! True

      I changed some water, but ammonia level is still high. Judged by the behavior of the fishes it seems for me (novice) that they are tolerating it quite well: Though the fishes are jumping more often than they did before, but still only about 2-3 jumps for 40 fishes within one hour (is that much?) compared to 1-2 times a whole day when the green water algae was there (they may have jumped more often as I was not watching them as carefully as I am doing now), and they still have good apitite and are relatively active. They are looking for food all around the pond. They are not flashing at all now. Another abnormality is that they stay at the shallow place of the pond, close to the air outlet, and swim slowly against the stream when it is getting darker. Due to photosynthesis during the daytime therefore higher pH and theerefore more free ammonia as you said? I will test pH then today when sun is set.

      Anyway, the new thing is that today I finally get reading of nitrite, at the lowest detectable level, though still no nitrate. Earlier I have never got any nitrite nor nitrate detection. I suppose that it is a good sigh right? Nitrifying bacteria are on their way?

      Best regards!

      Simon
      I would continue to not feed, and do 15 or 20% water changes to try to reduce the ammonia. They keep producing the water changes are just diluting it, so the level does not go higher, but comes down some during the rest of the cycle. I would also add solar crystal salt at about 1 pound per 100 gallons US (1.2 kg/m3) to protect the fish from the nitrites as you go through the higher nitrites.

      "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."

      Zone 7 A/B
      Keep your words sweet. You never know when you may have to eat them.
      Richard

    8. #8
      SimonW is offline Junior Member
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      The green water algae is back

      Now the green water algae has finally come back, strongly, and I noticed that it takes much longer time for the ammonia test agents to show green color. There is still some nitrite, but nitrate has started to show up. I think that when the green water algae has reduced the amount of ammonia further there will be no nitrite left. So I believe that my koi have made it this time.

      I have not yet started the UV-light, so I will drop the idea of making the biofilter work this year. I believe that you are right: When the green water algae is there the biofilter is not needed and it will not work either as there will be no enough ammonia left for the nitrifying bacteria to live on. I also found this kind of information on the Internet, and it sounds perfectly logical.

      Anyway it is a really useful experience with the biofilter. It takes so long time (about 1o days with water temperature of 19-21 debefore nitrite to show up, and even longer för the nitrite to be converted to nitrate.

      For your information: The tape water is very good here and the water company told me that they dont add any chlorine or chloroamine into it.

      I will let you know if something unexpected happens!

      Thanks agian for your replies and best regards!

      Simon



      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      I would continue to not feed, and do 15 or 20% water changes to try to reduce the ammonia. They keep producing the water changes are just diluting it, so the level does not go higher, but comes down some during the rest of the cycle. I would also add solar crystal salt at about 1 pound per 100 gallons US (1.2 kg/m3) to protect the fish from the nitrites as you go through the higher nitrites.

    9. #9
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      How long have you had this pond? What kind of filter? Why did you decide to increase your ph in the first place? Can you provide a picture of your pond?
      Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. ---- Marthe Troly-Curtin



    10. #10
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      About my pond

      The pond was made last year, and the size: 33X27 ft, depth (when it is full): half 3,3 ft, half 6,7 ft (except the edge which is a step that is 2 ft wide and 2 ft deep), and volume (when it is full): approx 25 000 gallons. No 1 on the picture is where the water leaves the pond, no 2 is where the water returns to the pond, and no 3 the wall that separates the lower bigger koi pond and the upper smaller goldfish pond (these two ponds are not connected) is the DIY-filter, filled with filter brushes, filter media, worn fishing nets (floats and plummets removed), small stones, and other porous things. I have small flow right now, 4500 gallons per hour.

      I have so much to do so I have not had time to finish the pond. Also becuase that I have not felt the need as the koi are still relatively small. In the future I will also have 3 separate commercial filters along the side of the pond ( I have already put one there though it is not installed yet) and greatly increase the flow.

      I often need to increase the pH as the water is from rain and snow solely and is often acidic. For about 10 days ago I got tired of adding small amounts of Na2CO3 many times. So I added 4-6 pounds Na2CO3 twice within 5-6 hours, and the pH jumped from 6.5 to 7.5. Earlier I used to make it to 7. And somehow the sudden pH-increase killed all the green water algae and caused the trouble.

      Quote Originally Posted by KoiRun View Post
      How long have you had this pond? What kind of filter? Why did you decide to increase your ph in the first place? Can you provide a picture of your pond?
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    11. #11
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      Great looking pond and great questions.
      Ammonia and ammonium are both reduced form of notrigen (no oxygen) however only the ionic form is used in nitrification. This is also the form that algae prefers.
      At temps of 10c to 20c and ph of 7-8.5 approx 95% of reduced forms of nitrogen is in the ammonium form.
      Bacteria in bio-filters dont like sudden changes in Ph. Something to do with gene expression. That they cannot express genes fast enough to produce alternate biochemical pathways to adapt to a new level of ph.
      Of all the nitrogen states algae/bacteria will use available ammonium first as this form is the easiest (least energy required) to assimilate.
      Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. ---- Marthe Troly-Curtin



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