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  • Results 1 to 18 of 18

    Thread: Need to quickly convert in ground pool for overcrowded/toxic small holding tank

    1. #1
      Pbgooch is offline Junior Member
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      Need to quickly convert in ground pool for overcrowded/toxic small holding tank

      Hello all. I'm in a very unfortunate situation that was partially self-inflicted, but I am aware of that at this point and need help as soon as possible. My wife and I have been obtaining estimates for a koi pond and the build has not yet begun. Weeks ago we erected a 12'x30" round above ground pool. A local gave us a bio-filter and a few small koi and we cycled the water and the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite readings have been stable at 0. We thought we were ready to obtain a group of koi we negotiated online. The guy gave us the size of his pond as 2,000 gallons and said we would be getting all the filtration. Long story short, we arrived to obtain the koi and they were HUGE. In addition, his koi pond was way larger than 2,000 gallons. Unfortunately, they were tearing down the pond and he had already put the koi in small holding tanks. In short, we had to commit and take the fish. This was Sunday.

      I've hooked up all the filters and put an aerator in the above ground pool. It's now holding close to thirty massive 24"+ koi and several smaller koi that are 12"+. The nitrates are creeping up and the ammonia is between .25 and 0.5. I expect the numbers to get worse, as we did a 75% water change and they were still this high. The weather is getting to 50 and below at night, and so I don't know if adding more biological filter is possible. I've been dosing prime trying to detoxify the ammonia.

      I am sick to think the fish may end up stressing and dying. We have no real room for a larger above ground pool. We have a large saltwater in ground pool. It hasn't had chemicals added in months. I will have to check the salt levels, but they are probably low due to the rain we've had. My instinct is to get help and get our swimming pool water stable and get all the koi in there for the winter. The pool is 20 x 40 feet and probably close to 30,000 gallons. We can drain the pool and deal with the rest in the spring when our koi pond is ready. I am thinking this is the best chance to keep them stable and alive for the winter. I would suspect I could drain the main pool to a point that the salt levels are very low, de-chlorinate and try to get the koi there.

      I know this is the expert place. I really feel like I've got to get this done in the next 2 or 3 days to prevent these fish from having irreversible damage. Any input on a solution or ideas to get the main pond ready are appreciated - I will be reading this all day and contacting local companies that may be able to help.

    2. #2
      ademink's Avatar
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      You definitely need to check all parameters on the pool asap. You'll need to check pH for sure and (obviously) salinity.

      I would think it would be wisest to drain and refill - can you do that? What chemicals do you normally add to the pool that could possibly still be lingering?

      Assuming there is nothing toxic, I would make sure the salt level isn't above .15% (note the decimal). This is the salt level that also protects against nitrite poisoning so could serve a dual purpose.

      You will absolutely want to make sure you have an ammonia blocker that you will add every 48 hours for ammonia. I would recommend Safe by Seachem. It is an economical, powder version of Prime and is available on Amazon in an 8 lb bucket. When using this product, you will get a false ammonia reading on normal test kits so also purchase the Seachem Ammonia Alert to hang in the pool. Super cheap and shows harmful ammonia.
      Andrea
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      Pbgooch is offline Junior Member
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      Thanks Andrea. I could drain the pool, but I am hoping I can do a partial drain, given the volume of water. I have not added chemicals to my pool in many months - and then it's phosphate remover or alkalinity related removers. It's a saltwater pool that has a chlorine generator that converts the chlorine from the salt. I am hoping with all the rain we've had, and since I haven't added any other chemicals in months, I could dilute the remaining water and get it adjusted from there.

      Thanks for the tip on the Safe. I ordered some of the Prime by Seachem last night, that will arrive Thursday. I have some other pond primer that I'm dosing now to try and limit the harmful effects of the ammonia.

    4. #4
      ademink's Avatar
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      With that volume of water, you definitely will want to get Safe. Most ammonia binders cause a false positive on tests so you will also want the ammonia alert disk.

      What are your pH and salinity levels currently on the pool?
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



    5. #5
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      You can always check Walmart (and the like) for an intex pool (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Intex-15-...Pump/770437919) That will be a nice emergency fix for not too much- especially if they are doing end of year sale.

    6. #6
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      If your chlorine test kit is not able to measure the chlorine, then it is probably safe for the fish. If the salt level is below 0.6% then the salinity is not a problem, unless you need to do a treatment for parasites, in which case the most commonly recommended treatment (malachite green with formalin, Proform C or equal) states on the label to not treat in conjunction with salt. I would use baking soda (gotten at Sam's Club or equivalent in 13 pound bags) to increase the alkalinity to a minimum of 150ppm as measured with KH test kit or otherwise to stabilize the pH. If I read correctly, you got their filters with the fish, which should be pretty close to mature for the fish load, which is good. Try to get it installed as soon as possible. As ws noted above, get and use the SeaChem Ammonia Alert Card to measure the toxicity of the ammonia. Water changes and filter cleanings should be performed weekly and the salinity will decrease with these by dilution. Normal recommendations are 10% water change a week. If other chemicals have been used like algaecides, then a treatment with potassium permanganate at 2ppm will kill/neutralize any biological products, making the water safe.

      "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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      Thanks to both of you for the responses. During all of this chaos, I was put in touch with someone about an hour away who could take some of the fish. We managed to do that and it has helped with leaving the fish that are in the pool. I have hardly fed the fish (weather has been in the low 60's and into the 40's at night) to try and help, and I'm doing water changes of 10-20%. Unfortunately, the nitrates are still creeping up to probably 2.0 and the ammonia is very low, but it's not 0, and probably closer to 0.25ppm. Last night I hooked up a brand new Sac Koi bead filter. I left the other filters (that came with the pond) in place. There is a lot of good flow, but I am not experienced on how soon this bead filter may start helping, as the weather is cool and bacteria will be slow to grow. Any thoughts or ideas there? Again, thanks to those who chimed in - its an unfortunate situation.

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      Thank you. I literally do not have a flat space at this point to set up another pool. It has been the perfect storm of problems. I've added a new filter (but it's not cycled), taken 10+ fish out of the existing pool and ordered a ton of the Seachem SAFE. Our terrain, including where our future pond will be built, is simply too sloped to be useful. I thought about putting a pool in the garage, but I don't think my insurance company would like that too much:-)

    9. #9
      ademink's Avatar
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      Do I recall you are using an ammonia binder? If so, How are you measuring the ammonia?
      Andrea
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pbgooch View Post
      Thank you. I literally do not have a flat space at this point to set up another pool. It has been the perfect storm of problems. I've added a new filter (but it's not cycled), taken 10+ fish out of the existing pool and ordered a ton of the Seachem SAFE. Our terrain, including where our future pond will be built, is simply too sloped to be useful. I thought about putting a pool in the garage, but I don't think my insurance company would like that too much:-)
      Actually- they should be fine with it. When we moved to Indiana I built a temporary pond in the garage, and then another in our basement when we bought a house and did not yet have a pond. A lot of folks use their garages for quarantine tanks. My problem is not the insurance company, but a wife who thinks that at least some portion of the garage should be dedicated to a car- go figure...

      -In any event - glad that you are making progress!

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      Thank you. With winter coming, my wife would probably file for a divorce with no place to park her car:-)

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      Yes, I have a couple of different types of ammonia binder. I have the API freshwater test kit that I'm using to measure everything. I did order a Seachem Ammonia Alert and it is being delivered today.


      Quote Originally Posted by ademink View Post
      Do I recall you are using an ammonia binder? If so, How are you measuring the ammonia?

    13. #13
      RichToyBox's Avatar
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      I had a SacKoi 15 for my 4000 gallon pond. Lovely filter and it works very well. Roddy Conrad found from the manufacturer of one of the bead filter manufacturers that because to the design, the filters need a significant amount of alkalinity to cycle and will cycle fairly quickly if the KH is above 200. The acids produced in the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate create a much lower pH at the exit end of the bead pack than the entrance end, which kills the bacteria on those beads if there is insufficient KH, so every backwash exposed good bacteria to poor water conditions, but with good KH all beads top to bottom were protected and cycling improved. If any of the existing filters have sponge type filter media, it may help to squeeze them clean with the dirty water going through the SacKoi to provide some starter bacteria.

      For the SacKoi filter, for cleaning, I would put the valve head in the backwash position with the pump off, turn on the blower and blow some of the water out from under the bead pack, turn off the blower and put the valve in the rinse position and run until the beads were shaking vigorously for up to 30 seconds to a minute, then turn off the blower, put the valve in the backwash position and turn on the pump pushing water through the filter until it ran clear, then shift the valve to rinse position and run until clear before putting the valve back in the filter position. I felt cleaning was thorough and fast.

      "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
      ademink's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pbgooch View Post
      Yes, I have a couple of different types of ammonia binder. I have the API freshwater test kit that I'm using to measure everything. I did order a Seachem Ammonia Alert and it is being delivered today.
      It's highly likely that you are getting an inaccurate reading on the ammonia. Hopefully the Ammonia Alert disk helps!
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



    15. #15
      Pbgooch is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by ademink View Post
      It's highly likely that you are getting an inaccurate reading on the ammonia. Hopefully the Ammonia Alert disk helps!
      I have tested twice tonight for ammonia with the API and itís is 0. I finally tested again next to tap water and there is no difference. Iíve done this before, and you can always see the slight green in the pond water when next to that out of the tap. The Seachen ammonia detector came today and it has been in the water for over 2 hours now and itís showing zero.

      I did add a light dose of Microbe Lift ammonia remover this morning. I am suspecting that may be the reSon for no ammonia on these tests, although other things Iíve used always seemed to detoxify the ammonia but still make it detectable. If anyone knows if Microbe-Lift is different in this regard, please let me know.

      Iíll be eager to test the water tomorrow. The nitrates are around 2.5, nitrites are 0. Ph is about 6.8 and kh is very very low- canít tell but nearly 17 or 35 based on the API test. I just mixed 1.5 cups of baking soda up and put it in the pool, hoping to slowly bring up the kh.

    16. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      I had a SacKoi 15 for my 4000 gallon pond. Lovely filter and it works very well. Roddy Conrad found from the manufacturer of one of the bead filter manufacturers that because to the design, the filters need a significant amount of alkalinity to cycle and will cycle fairly quickly if the KH is above 200. The acids produced in the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate create a much lower pH at the exit end of the bead pack than the entrance end, which kills the bacteria on those beads if there is insufficient KH, so every backwash exposed good bacteria to poor water conditions, but with good KH all beads top to bottom were protected and cycling improved. If any of the existing filters have sponge type filter media, it may help to squeeze them clean with the dirty water going through the SacKoi to provide some starter bacteria.

      For the SacKoi filter, for cleaning, I would put the valve head in the backwash position with the pump off, turn on the blower and blow some of the water out from under the bead pack, turn off the blower and put the valve in the rinse position and run until the beads were shaking vigorously for up to 30 seconds to a minute, then turn off the blower, put the valve in the backwash position and turn on the pump pushing water through the filter until it ran clear, then shift the valve to rinse position and run until clear before putting the valve back in the filter position. I felt cleaning was thorough and fast.
      Thanks for the advice. I just tested and my kh was very very low. The pool is over 1,500 gallons, and so I added about 1.5 cups of baking soda. I will recheck and add more, as I suspect that’s not going to cut it. I didn’t want to add too much too fast.

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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      I had a SacKoi 15 for my 4000 gallon pond. Lovely filter and it works very well. Roddy Conrad found from the manufacturer of one of the bead filter manufacturers that because to the design, the filters need a significant amount of alkalinity to cycle and will cycle fairly quickly if the KH is above 200. The acids produced in the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate create a much lower pH at the exit end of the bead pack than the entrance end, which kills the bacteria on those beads if there is insufficient KH, so every backwash exposed good bacteria to poor water conditions, but with good KH all beads top to bottom were protected and cycling improved. If any of the existing filters have sponge type filter media, it may help to squeeze them clean with the dirty water going through the SacKoi to provide some starter bacteria.

      For the SacKoi filter, for cleaning, I would put the valve head in the backwash position with the pump off, turn on the blower and blow some of the water out from under the bead pack, turn off the blower and put the valve in the rinse position and run until the beads were shaking vigorously for up to 30 seconds to a minute, then turn off the blower, put the valve in the backwash position and turn on the pump pushing water through the filter until it ran clear, then shift the valve to rinse position and run until clear before putting the valve back in the filter position. I felt cleaning was thorough and fast.
      You do not need 200 alkalinity for a bead filter to work. More miss information as usual in the koi world. The number is 80. Below 80 and you can have potential issues with bead filters.

      However this posting well go no where and you all well still see future postings of 200. It is just the nature of man.

    18. #18
      Pbgooch is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      I had a SacKoi 15 for my 4000 gallon pond. Lovely filter and it works very well. Roddy Conrad found from the manufacturer of one of the bead filter manufacturers that because to the design, the filters need a significant amount of alkalinity to cycle and will cycle fairly quickly if the KH is above 200. The acids produced in the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate create a much lower pH at the exit end of the bead pack than the entrance end, which kills the bacteria on those beads if there is insufficient KH, so every backwash exposed good bacteria to poor water conditions, but with good KH all beads top to bottom were protected and cycling improved. If any of the existing filters have sponge type filter media, it may help to squeeze them clean with the dirty water going through the SacKoi to provide some starter bacteria.

      For the SacKoi filter, for cleaning, I would put the valve head in the backwash position with the pump off, turn on the blower and blow some of the water out from under the bead pack, turn off the blower and put the valve in the rinse position and run until the beads were shaking vigorously for up to 30 seconds to a minute, then turn off the blower, put the valve in the backwash position and turn on the pump pushing water through the filter until it ran clear, then shift the valve to rinse position and run until clear before putting the valve back in the filter position. I felt cleaning was thorough and fast.
      I'm glad you drew my attention to the kH levels for the bead filter. Mine was horribly low. I tested my tap water and it was the frequent water changes that were keeping it lower than it should be. I have been adding the baking soda each day trying to get the KH up though, so that it doesn't stall my bead filter and stabilizes the ph. I've read several things now about keeping the KH a bit higher when using the bead filters.

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