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    Thread: New Pond Problems

    1. #1
      ChagoiLover is offline Junior Member
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      Exclamation New Pond Problems

      Hello people of Koiphen!
      I am having a serious issue right now. I built a new pond about 4 weeks ago and put in some koi we had in an old pond that was getting too small for them. I know about cycling your tank and the beneficial bacteria. I had recently passed the ammonia portion of the cycle and now I am at the nitrite. My nitrite readings are very high according to the API master kit, it's hard to distinguish between 2 ppm and 5 ppm, but it is in that range. My pH is at around 8 and I can't get it any lower. I dose with Pond Prime at around 1800 gallons because my pond is about 1600 gallons. I also dose with beneficial bacteria. Any advice on how to lower the nitrite reading or things I should be doing besides my water changes? Also, I am having a problem with murky water. It is not green water it is more of a murky brown. What is up with that? Any advice will be helpful!
      Thank you so much!

    2. #2
      ademink's Avatar
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      You don't want your pH lower - it's not high. The key is not what number your pH is...it's that it remains stable. Do you have a KH kit? That reading tells you how stable your pH will remain and is very important.

      As for your nitrite: You are in the nitrite part of the cycle...it has to run its course. If you are using Seachem Prime and dosing every 48 hours, your fish are protected from nitrite poisoning. It is imperative that you continue to dose every 48 hrs. Water changes can help with lowering nitrite numbers but ultimately, it's just a waiting game for nitrates to kick in.

      Do you have leaves in your pond? Walnuts? Usually tea colored water is indicative of dead leaves in the pond.
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



    3. #3
      Fishmover is online now Supporting Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by ChagoiLover View Post
      Hello people of Koiphen!
      I am having a serious issue right now. I built a new pond about 4 weeks ago and put in some koi we had in an old pond that was getting too small for them. I know about cycling your tank and the beneficial bacteria. I had recently passed the ammonia portion of the cycle and now I am at the nitrite. My nitrite readings are very high according to the API master kit, it's hard to distinguish between 2 ppm and 5 ppm, but it is in that range. My pH is at around 8 and I can't get it any lower. I dose with Pond Prime at around 1800 gallons because my pond is about 1600 gallons. I also dose with beneficial bacteria. Any advice on how to lower the nitrite reading or things I should be doing besides my water changes? Also, I am having a problem with murky water. It is not green water it is more of a murky brown. What is up with that? Any advice will be helpful!
      Thank you so much!
      You best bet right now is to do daily water changes to get the Nitrite lower. Nitrites are very toxic to finish and you are running the risk of losing them.
      It would also be a good idea to salt the pond, check the calculations for salt on this site.


      Been ponding for a while, with lots of successes, and lots of failures.

    4. #4
      ademink's Avatar
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      Prime blocks the harmful effects of nitrites so there is not a risk of losing the fish. That is why I indicated that the OP needs to re-dose every 48 hours. Salt is unnecessary if prime is being used.
      Andrea
      Koi Health Care Committee Member



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      Quote Originally Posted by ademink View Post
      Prime blocks the harmful effects of nitrites so there is not a risk of losing the fish. That is why I indicated that the OP needs to re-dose every 48 hours. Salt is unnecessary if prime is being used.
      Agree it does help with Ammonia and Nitrites, but water changes are a wonder drug. I would have way more confidence in changing out the water versus using prime, but to each their own.


      Been ponding for a while, with lots of successes, and lots of failures.

    6. #6
      ademink's Avatar
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      As stated above, Prime already blocks nitrites so SALT is unnecessary. I never said anything about water changes and, in fact, did suggest water changes could lower nitrite levels.

      Not sure why the "to each their own" comment.....
      Andrea
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      Quote Originally Posted by ademink View Post
      As stated above, Prime already blocks nitrites so SALT is unnecessary. I never said anything about water changes and, in fact, did suggest water changes could lower nitrite levels.

      Not sure why the "to each their own" comment.....
      nothing was meant by it. I was just calling out that my go to for lowering Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate is to do water changes. My preference is not to rely on additives like prime to bind or lower levels, except if I am using them as part of my water change.


      Been ponding for a while, with lots of successes, and lots of failures.

    8. #8
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      Both water changes and prime may be needed when cycling a new pond, but the prime is more important . If the source water contains Chloramines / Amonia , adding it Untreated to any pond will be harmful to the fish and bio filter.

    9. #9
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      And I will add my 2 cents. Water changes may help but if the nitrites are say 4, and a 50% water change is done, the level drops to 2, and unless another 50% is done immediately, the nitrites will climb over the next 24 hours and may be back to the same level, and that is still in the danger zone. My preference is to use salt at 1 pound per 100 gallons as it will prevent the uptake of the nitrites and protect the fish and it is much cheaper than Prime. With salt or Prime, the test results will not mean anything except to track the actual nitrite values up and then down.

      "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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    10. #10
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      Hold off on doing anything until it cycles. Minimal feed if any.

    11. #11
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      At this point doing nothing is incredibly dangerous for the short and long term health of the fish.

      NitrIte levels above .5 ppm will begin to affect the fish and "brown blood disease" will begin without any additional saline in the pond. The ions in the salt attract the NitrItes and bind them up within the water column. If salt is not added to the pond, then the Nitrite is attracted to the saline within the koi. This is the equivalent of carbon monoxide poisoning in humans. The NitrIte binding to the hemaglobin prevents the up take of oxygen and thus the dark color of the koi's blood: brown blood disease. The fish are very lethargic (sufficating) and the gills look very dark instead of red.

      As Rich points out a 50% water change only reduces any toxin by 50%. In this case the amount of NO2 would still be dangerously high especially going into Winter. The OP has not provided a temperature. However ponds must be above 62*F to even think of cycling. At mid seventies the usual 28 day cycle we read about might happen. But going into Winter and cooler water the NitrIte part of the cycle is very "ify" and will certainly be longer than the 28 days. Using Prime is great to bind the NO2 but is short lived as Andrea points out. Water changes might get expensive in California. So Salt (especially at those levels) would be my choice and then water changes to remove the salt once the pond has cycled. So the OP will have a water bill eventually. The cost will be lower by using salt and certainly be less than using Prime for a month (or more).

      I have seen "brown water" in many new pond start-ups. My own upper pond was brown for about a year without fish in it. Then after adding the fish (and PP before the fish) it finally began to cycle and the brown algae has not returned. The OP's pond may be doing something similar. New ponds and uncycled ponds are "funny" compared to what we are normally use to looking at

      Continue using Prime if you choose as it will prevent the NO2 from hurting the koi and you will not have to use a lot of water to get rid of the salt.
      Use salt at 1# per 100 gallons as noted above and other KP threads. Knowing that after the pond cycles it would be best to get it out of the system. High levels of salt may in fact slow down the cycling further.
      These are the two choices I see. Simply changing water will be as costly as using Prime (potentially in CA.)
      The source water itself may also be a consideration as Catfish Whiskers points out. You may be forced into doing both.

    12. #12
      ChagoiLover is offline Junior Member
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      Hey thank you so much! I don't have a KH kit... but I will get one! I do not have leaves or really sort of foliage that is able to get in, I did check the bottom and nothing was there.

    13. #13
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      Hey! I did add salt just as a safety measure. I tested my salt level in the pond and its about 1.5%. I think you're supposed to raise it to 3% for high nitrite, but I don't want to raise it too quickly.

    14. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by montwila View Post
      At this point doing nothing is incredibly dangerous for the short and long term health of the fish.

      NitrIte levels above .5 ppm will begin to affect the fish and "brown blood disease" will begin without any additional saline in the pond. The ions in the salt attract the NitrItes and bind them up within the water column. If salt is not added to the pond, then the Nitrite is attracted to the saline within the koi. This is the equivalent of carbon monoxide poisoning in humans. The NitrIte binding to the hemaglobin prevents the up take of oxygen and thus the dark color of the koi's blood: brown blood disease. The fish are very lethargic (sufficating) and the gills look very dark instead of red.

      As Rich points out a 50% water change only reduces any toxin by 50%. In this case the amount of NO2 would still be dangerously high especially going into Winter. The OP has not provided a temperature. However ponds must be above 62*F to even think of cycling. At mid seventies the usual 28 day cycle we read about might happen. But going into Winter and cooler water the NitrIte part of the cycle is very "ify" and will certainly be longer than the 28 days. Using Prime is great to bind the NO2 but is short lived as Andrea points out. Water changes might get expensive in California. So Salt (especially at those levels) would be my choice and then water changes to remove the salt once the pond has cycled. So the OP will have a water bill eventually. The cost will be lower by using salt and certainly be less than using Prime for a month (or more).

      I have seen "brown water" in many new pond start-ups. My own upper pond was brown for about a year without fish in it. Then after adding the fish (and PP before the fish) it finally began to cycle and the brown algae has not returned. The OP's pond may be doing something similar. New ponds and uncycled ponds are "funny" compared to what we are normally use to looking at

      Continue using Prime if you choose as it will prevent the NO2 from hurting the koi and you will not have to use a lot of water to get rid of the salt.
      Use salt at 1# per 100 gallons as noted above and other KP threads. Knowing that after the pond cycles it would be best to get it out of the system. High levels of salt may in fact slow down the cycling further.
      These are the two choices I see. Simply changing water will be as costly as using Prime (potentially in CA.)
      The source water itself may also be a consideration as Catfish Whiskers points out. You may be forced into doing both.
      Yeah I've been doing 25% almost every 3 days and I don't even want to look at the water bill. I always dose with Prime every time I add new water as well. Just this week my pond temperature was a stable 62 degrees and during the afternoon it raises a degree or two. For the brown water, was this gone after your pond was cycled?

    15. #15
      ChagoiLover is offline Junior Member
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      Just as a question, I have read a bit about pond clay. Do any of you have any experience with pond clay? Right now, I am just trying to make sure everything is cycled in time before it gets too cold and to make sure my fish stay alive

    16. #16
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      On top of everything I am doing right now, is turning on a UV sterilizer going to help? Or should I turn it off when cycling?

    17. #17
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      I am glad that your pond is in the low 60's. Cycling at that low of a temp is going to take a long time. If you are doing a 25% water change, it may be hard to tell when you start to get NitrAtes. The fact you have such high NitrItes shows it is trying to cycle. In my ponds each Spring I have to add a lot of baking soda to help the filters catch up. Springs are cool and can be very long here in the Pacific Northwest. I usually will have a NitrIte spike each year even though the ponds have been running continuously for years. I add a lot of baking soda (BS). This comes from Roddy Conrad about "assisting" ponds that are stuttering in the nitrogen cycle or starting a pond from scratch. 1 cup of BS will add approximately 70 ppm to 1000 US gallons of KH. I would add 1 cup of BS to your pond to make sure it has some KH while you are waiting for your test KH kit. Then keep the KH at 180 or above to get the filters to cycle. After that has happened it is up you, where you want your KH to be, as it does affect pH. However a stable pH is much more important than WHAT the pH is. Andrea points out that 8.0 for most ponds is not too high and she is correct. Many using BS "lock" it in at 8.3. But that is another topic.

      Yes, my brown "algae" water did disappear after the fish were added and the filters had cycled the first year and has not returned. Again I have only seen this in uncycled ponds or ponds with filters that are so dirty they are none functional. Organics in the pond as Andrea points out can cause tannin's in the water. This will give the water a brown color and the fish appear to be dull/change color the deeper they swim. However you can usually still see the bottom in a shallow pond. Algae obscures your vision. That is about the best I can describe it.

      At this point I probably would not use the UV light as it can slow the nitrogen cycle. With your low temps, the filters need all the help they can get to become established. I do not believe the brown Algae will hamper their process. However koi clay: One of its uses and probably the reason you bring it up, is it can act as a floculant. Then it and the particulates it has trapped are removed when the filters are cleaned. First off cleaning your filters (other than very lightly if extremely needed) is not going to help your nitrogen cycle. Most filters have a small set back each time they are cleaned. Second is a floculant now takes space on the filter medias surface. So the good bacteria are competing for space. Again something you do not want to do at this point.

      I do have to agree with Uncle Tom (other than adding salt) that people try to do too many things to their pond "to get them to behave" the way they think they should.
      Given the low temps your pond is going to take a long time to cycle.
      Salt will prevent danger from NitrIte poisoning to the fish
      UV can hamper ponds trying to cycle.
      Koi clay will take up space on the filter media.
      BS provides carbonates that the filters need to perform their task. It should be kept higher than "normal" until they become established. Calcium might also help but you probably have that already in your Californa source water.

    18. #18
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      Salt level should be at .15%

      Note where the decimal is. POINT one five. The level you have it at is fine and isn't harmful but stop adding salt.

      Don't worry about the UV and don't throw in koi clay...that isn't going to do a thing for cycling.
      Andrea
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    19. #19
      ChagoiLover is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by ademink View Post
      Salt level should be at .15%

      Note where the decimal is. POINT one five. The level you have it at is fine and isn't harmful but stop adding salt.

      Don't worry about the UV and don't throw in koi clay...that isn't going to do a thing for cycling.
      When you say don't worry about the UV, do you mean leave it off? Thanks

    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by ChagoiLover View Post
      When you say don't worry about the UV, do you mean leave it off? Thanks
      The UV is not going to add much value right now, no need to run it.


      Been ponding for a while, with lots of successes, and lots of failures.

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