View Full Version : Dr. Roddy seminar Pond Chemicals

11-07-2005, 10:21 AM
Great :thumbsup:

11-07-2005, 10:22 AM
He seemed to be a busy guy at the show N! :D:

11-07-2005, 10:25 AM
He did a wonderful seminar... great printout info

very lively conversations

Roddy Conrad
11-07-2005, 09:48 PM
Ponding Chemicals Uses

Alkalinity adjustment and pH control
Trace minerals for coloration and biofilter
Algae Control
Parasite Control
Water “Refreshment and Recovery”
Snail Control
Protection from nitrite poisoning

Basic Needs for koi health, coloration, growth

Good water source!
Good filtration system with regular cleanouts
Water Alkalinity Control (KH) to maintain biofiltration
Water Hardness (GH) and trace minerals in preferred range
Control of green water and stringy algae
Control of fish parasites
Quarantine of new (or returning) fish for viruses, parasites, and bacteria
Rapid repair of any ulcers, mouth rot, fin rot
Protection from the hazards of winter weather
Back-up power system of some kind
Reasonable stocking density and pond depth

Usual” Water Source Issues

Alkalinity below 100 ppm
High pH meaning above a aerated value of 9.5
Phosphate above 2 ppm creating algae blooms
GH below 50 ppm, low trace mineral content
High hardness or high GH

Sodium thiosulfate (pentahydrate)
Baking soda
Small water exchanges and/or baking soda
Small or no water exchanges and plants to consume phosphate
Add equal amounts of calcium chloride and Epsom salt
Water softeners or RO (Reverse Osmosis) System or don’t do anything


ST or Sodium thiosulfate (pentahydrate) is cheap and effective
5 pound jar of ST for $15 will dechlorinate 200,000 gallons city water at a cost of 8 cents per 1000 gallons
50 pound bag ST for $35 will dechlorinate 2 million gallons city water at a cost of 2 cents per 1000 gallons.
Dry AmQuel at $99 per 5 kg will treat 40,000 gallons at a cost of $2.50 per 1000 gallons
Dry ChlorAmX at 5 pounds for $44 will treat 18,849 gallons at a cost of $2.30 per 1000 gallons
I prefer to pay 2 to 8 cents per 1000 gallons versus $2.30 to $2.50 per 1000 gallons for dechlorination
Ammonia binding of Amquel and ChlorAmX not required for dechlorination or normal ponding

Why fish ponds “eat” alkalinity from the water from Aquacultural Engineering by F. Wheaton

Fish food generates 0.03 pounds of ammonia per pound of fish food
For each pound of ammonia converted, the bio-filter produces sufficient acid to consume the equivalent of 14 pounds of baking soda
So for each pound of fish food thrown in the pond, 14 times .03 = ~0.5 pounds of baking soda is needed to maintain the alkalinity at a constant value
Bio-filtration of the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate stops at a pH value of approximately 6.5 since there is “no alkalinity left”

Roddy Conrad
11-07-2005, 09:53 PM
Rate of alkalinity drop

In my own highly stocked koi ponds that get virtually no water exchange with high feed rates, the drop in alkalinity averages 20 ppm (about 1 drop!) per day.
With high rates of alkalinity drop and low water exchange, the only practical way to maintain alkalinity is the use of baking soda. I drop in a 12 pound bag of baking soda for each 25 pound bag of koi pellets fed
At very low stocking densities and high water exchange rates, the drop in alkalinity with time may not be noticeable.
With high alkalinity source water, the usual practice to maintain alkalinity in the pond is simple water exchange.

The Great Baking Soda Debate about koi color loss

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate
Practically all alkalinity in the pH range of 7 to 9 is in the form of bicarbonate no matter what is added to provide the alkalinity.
Therefore the baking soda itself cannot cause koi color loss
Allowing the GH to fall below 50 ppm causes hi or red coloration loss – use of baking soda without keeping GH in the right range will cause color loss
“Bouncing” the pH between 6.5 and 8.5 with baking soda will also cause koi coloration loss

Roddy Conrad
11-07-2005, 09:56 PM
Algae Control

Installation and maintenance of UV lights is the usual green water algae control for most ponds
More filtration is also effective without UV lights for algae control in warmer climates
Shower and trickle tower filters deny algae the nitrate it needs to grow
Large koi help to control string algae
Salt will help control algae
High phosphate in source water makes algae control much more difficult

Water guidelines to maintain optimum coloration

Keep pH very stable at some value in the 7 to 9 range
Maintain alkalinity (KH) above 80 ppm for good bio-filter function
If you do not want to check the pH/alkalinity often, consider keeping the pH stable at 8.3 with baking soda by maintaining alkalinity in the 150 to 500 ppm range (best for bead filters anyway)
Keep GH in the 60 to 200 ppm range, preferably 80 to 150 ppm target
Add some kind of calcium bentonite clay for trace minerals

GH or Hardness Control

If the supply water GH or hardness is dependably above 60 ppm, use the hardness in the source water and don’t worry about addition of anything
If your source water (like mine) had no detectable GH, add equal amounts of calcium chloride and Epsom salt to bring GH to the 80 to 150 ppm range
One pound of either calcium chloride or Epsom salt increases the GH of 1000 gallons by 50 ppm.
Epsom salt adds soluble magnesium as magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, while calcium chloride adds soluble calcium. Both calcium and magnesium are needed for good fish health.

Cautions when adding baking soda to increase alkalinity

If the pH has dropped significantly, check ammonia levels by measurement before adding baking soda, since a large pH increase with ammonia present will make the ammonia into its more toxic unionized form.
If the ammonia is below 0.5 ppm, go ahead with baking soda addition
If the ammonia is above 0.5 ppm, add an ammonia binder such as ChlorAmX or Amquel before adding baking soda
If the pH is below 7.5, add only a half pound of baking soda per 1000 gallons per day until the pH is above 8

KH or total alkalinity control

One pound of baking soda increases the alkalinity of 1000 gallons at a pH of 7.5 by 71 ppm
My practice for our 4000 gallon koi ponds is:
Measure alkalinity once per week.
When the value is in the 150 to 225 ppm range, drop another 12 pound bag of baking soda over the side all at once into the pond to increase the alkalinity ~210 ppm to the upper 300 or lower 400 range.
For our 1000 gallon ponds, I drop in 2 pounds of baking soda anytime the alkalinity drops below 200 ppm

Roddy Conrad
11-07-2005, 10:00 PM
Parasite Control Strategies

Parasite control strategy depends on situation
Ulcers normally caused by lack of parasite control or water quality issues
Can use one of three strategies successfully:
Identify parasite by sedating many fish, look at skin scrape and gill snip in microscope, treat for specific parasites
Use PP and salt, both cheap, usually effective
Use “shotgun” parasite control strategy that does not hurt fish and controls all varieties of parasites, my personal preference

Parasite Control Difficulties

Pond water temperature must be above 60F, preferably above 70F, to be able to effectively end the life cycle of several koi parasites
Lower temperatures require more and longer treatments spaced further apart to kill the life cycle of some parasites
Many parasite chemical dosing instructions depend on water temperatures above 80F which is not possible during the normal Spring problem period
Important to control parasites BEFORE start of winter to avoid the spring problem period
Many parasite strains have developed resistance to salt and even Potassium Permanganate treatment
Complete kill very difficult to achieve

Ich (Ichthyophthirius) Life Cycle

Life cycle is:
encysted tomite stage on bottom of pond
free swimming tomite – this is the only stage we can kill
Attached to fish
Complete life cycle 6 weeks at 50F, 15 days at 59F, 5 days at 75F
Treatment dose schedule temperature dependent to kill the free swimming life stage, Proform C bottle directions only effective at pond temperatures above 80F

Preferred shotgun preventative or “for cause” treatment strategy in late Spring and late Summer

Clean up pond with low dose potassium permanganate so the lifetime of the chemicals in the water is adequate to kill parasites
Dose 4 times 3 days apart 100 ml per 1000 gallons with either Proform C or Argent Chemicals 37% Formalin – kills costia and most other parasites, dose schedule is to kill life cycle
If the pond is only koi, treat twice, a week apart, with standard Supaverm dose. If goldfish are present, use two doses of Praziquantel a week apart. This step is for gill fluke control since their life cycle is not predictable
Treat with 1 gram 25% Dimilin per 1000 gallons twice, a week apart, for anchorworm and fish lice control

During Parasite Shotgun Treatments…..

No activated carbon OR bentonite clay since either can absorb the chemical to make it ineffective
Measurement for ammonia meaningless during either Proform C or Formalin treatments since the Formalin in both tests as ammonia on all test kits. Either is an effective ammonia binder so there should not be any real ammonia present
All fish must be in the pond and all the chemicals must be run through the filtration system,
Plants can not be removed and added back later
If the pond is dirty, the parasites will not be killed.

Snails and Parasite Control

Killing parasites harbored by snails is almost impossible unless the snails are killed first
Problems with snails harboring fish parasites has put many fish farmers out of business from the poor appearance of fish flesh riddled with parasites
Effective snail control strategies in koi ponds limited
Most effective snail control method in my ponds has
been normal cheap salt at 5 pounds per 100 gallons with plants removed
I kill the snail on the plants in a separate “fishless” container with copper sulfate at 10 ppm – which is sure death to koi since even 0.3 ppm “free”copper will kill koi

Roddy Conrad
11-07-2005, 10:05 PM
Most controversial subject, regular pond cleanup with low level potassium permanganate treatments

Don’t do this if it makes you uncomfortable
Practice is to treat pond and filter system regularly with 0.2 ppm to 0.5 ppm PP (potassium permanganate)
Can accomplish the following positive things without hurting the fish at carefully controlled conditions
Better fish health through better water quality and improved parasite control
No algae problems
Clearer water with no brown color
Better water quality with less water exchange, saving major dollars when using city water

Cautions with frequent low level PP treatments

Do not confuse the dose for low level regular PP treatment with the higher doses used for parasite eradication
The 0.5 ppm dose for regular water conditioning is a teaspoon of PP powder per 4000 gallons. The 4 ppm dose for parasite treatment is 2 teaspoons per 1000 gallons, a factor of 8 higher dose rate.
If the water stays purple or pink longer than 30 minutes during a low level water conditioning PP treatment, the dose is too high or the amount is too much for the purpose
Have sodium thiosulfate (pentahydrate) at hand to immediately kill the PP if an overdose is obvious

“Normal” things with regular PP maintenance

A brown scum usually forms on the surface from initial PP treatments, skim it off with a bucket of pond skimmer
Water clarity improvement is not immediate with the low level treatment, normally that takes repeated treatments for a week or more
If the purple or pink color is gone in less than 15 minutes, treat again right away since all the PP was quickly consumed, up to 5 treatments per day
If using a calibrated ORP meter for PP treatment, the preferred ORP readings during low level PP treatment is in the 400 to 475 range (not to exceed 500)

The “normal” comments/my reply about regular PP treatment

It will kill the fish
It is too dangerous
You are using chemicals!
Use a better filter system instead
Use water exchange instead

It has not killed any of my fish in 9 years
Not in my hands
So I am a chemist…

It will improve the water regardless of the system
That would cost me another $5,000/year

Note: I left out half the presentation dealing with trickle tower and shower biofiltration, since that needs to be a separate discussion thread, with lots of pics and instructions, and done at a time when Griff Thomassen is available since he is much better at the subject than I ever can be.

11-07-2005, 10:15 PM
It was definately one of the best seminars that I've
been to!!!
Thanks Doc Roddy!!! :yes: :yes:

11-10-2005, 08:56 AM
Very usefull info here, this should be a permanent clip up :)

11-10-2005, 09:19 AM
Da thread has been copied to Da Library where it will stay.. Hopefully forever.
Or until Koiphenator starts collecting carnivorous plants and starts a new forum

11-10-2005, 09:33 AM
The seminar was excellent! :cool: :cool:

Thank you again Roddy. It's wonderful of you to take your time to share with us all.


11-10-2005, 12:51 PM
Thanks Blamm

11-10-2005, 01:05 PM
Wow ! A lot of subject matter. How long was this seminar ?
Hope I get the opportunity to catch a repeat performance in the future.

11-10-2005, 01:21 PM
Not long enough for all the discussion :rofl:

Griff talked some on Trickle Towers which might make a good seminar in itself... "How to build a TT and how it works" :D:

11-10-2005, 02:27 PM
Can we repeat as a live chat sometime?

Roddy Conrad
11-10-2005, 06:07 PM
The seminar lasted two full hours and was then shut down because someone else had been promised the room.

What I copied and pasted here was only about half the slides, I left out the slides on TT and shower filters because without real live discussion the slides are relatively meaningless.

Griff WILL have his own seminar presentation on DIY shower and trickle tower discussion at the AKCA seminars next June at Niagara Falls. We are doing a back to back set of two seminars there. I think anything I might do here would pale so much compared to Griff's talk that I don't want to embarrass myself by discussing it further.

Griff is quite busy moving from the house under contract to sell to someplace in the Greensboro/Raleigh area, and does not have time for the discussion presently. So we will leave that topic alone until it can be done competently later.

Griff and I together did lead a good discussion of the topic during the Charlotte seminar, but he will do a much better job in Niagara Falls June of next year.

11-13-2005, 07:21 PM
I'll be there if I pass all my tests!