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    Thread: Nitrate levels too high

    1. #1
      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Nitrate levels too high

      Hi all - checked my water parameters and nitrates are about 20 after performing a 25% water change 2 days ago - doing another water change now to try to get the number down as my large adult koi are acting stressed and hanging out in the bottom. Is there anything I can put in the pond to cut down on the nitrate levels or do I need to do a series of small water changes? I have cut back on feeding them to try to ameliorate the problem somewhat.

      My pond is 2000 gallons - 5 adult koi and 4 fry. KH is 9 - all other readings including ammonia are fine. Thinking the nitrate levels are causing them to lurk in the bottom.

      Thanks for your suggestions!

      Editing to add that I treated the pond with Proform C about a month ago which wiped out the algae but cured my koi's parasite issue. Thinking this messed with the nitrogen cycle causing the levels to get out of whack.
      Last edited by Koifancinci; 1 Week Ago at 10:29 PM.

    2. #2
      OCkoiFan's Avatar
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      Try flow through if you can afford it will help control nitrate big time
      M.Nguyen


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      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      Parasites?

      Costia or trichodina?
      Last edited by coolwon; 1 Week Ago at 03:38 AM.
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      JoaoM is offline Senior Member
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      My pond is 2000 gallons - 5 adult koi and 4 fry. KH is 9 - all other readings including ammonia are fine. Thinking the nitrate levels are causing them to lurk in the bottom.
      In my opinion a reading of 20 in nitrates does not harm the koi (or practically any other fish, excepting the extremely sensitive ones) and cannot be responsible for that behaviour.
      It is more likely another issue as @coolwon suggested

    5. #5
      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by OCkoiFan View Post
      Try flow through if you can afford it will help control nitrate big time
      Thanks for the suggestion. Wouldn't a flow through approach require reconstruction?

    6. #6
      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
      Parasites?

      Costia or trichodina?
      They did have flukes but I treated them a month ago with a full course of Fluke M and prophylactic doses of Proform C. I'm saving for a microscope so am guessing re: parasites at this point - no one available near me to help out with a scrape and scope, unfortunately. I'm not seeing the flashing that I did before - they are just lurking at one end of the pond in the deepest part. Temps are warm and steady so it's not water temp related - the pond is also netted so I don't think the behavior is predator related. I did move a plant basket from the area they won't enter. They always seem to be freaked out by change - could that be it?

    7. #7
      OCkoiFan's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Koifancinci View Post
      Thanks for the suggestion. Wouldn't a flow through approach require reconstruction?
      If you can determine the amount going out to waste and close enough amount that comes in from the garden hose
      1gallon per minute is all you need
      My nitrate was 80-100ppm and some of the koi start to show problems
      I start flow thru about 2-3 weeks ago and nitrate went down to orangy/reddish zone at least out of red zone
      M.Nguyen


    8. #8
      kdh is offline Senior Member
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      Forget about your nitrates. That is not your issue. Many would love to have just 20ppm nitrate. As mentioned. About 80 and up you well see some changes in koi behavior. 20 ppm they are perfectly healthy.

    9. #9
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      My experience is that my nitrates tend to climb in the fall. I'm guessing with lesser and lesser sunlight the nitrifying bacteria will tend to outcompete algae for ammonia (algae is always there even though it's no apparent). So more ammonia is converted to nitrates. If you have rapid and high temperature swings these colder days it could be a reason why some koi will flash and hang out at the bottom more. Large and sudden water changes will also bring about rapid temperature swings which can agitate koi and cause them to flash; that as well as residual chlorine that is not inactivated by dechlor. We get water from the Great Lakes and our KH is 5-6 drops. Just wondering what your tap water PH and KH is compared to your pond water.
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    10. #10
      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by KoiRun View Post
      My experience is that my nitrates tend to climb in the fall. I'm guessing with lesser and lesser sunlight the nitrifying bacteria will tend to outcompete algae for ammonia (algae is always there even though it's no apparent). So more ammonia is converted to nitrates. If you have rapid and high temperature swings these colder days it could be a reason why some koi will flash and hang out at the bottom more. Large and sudden water changes will also bring about rapid temperature swings which can agitate koi and cause them to flash; that as well as residual chlorine that is not inactivated by dechlor. We get water from the Great Lakes and our KH is 5-6 drops. Just wondering what your tap water PH and KH is compared to your pond water.
      Temps have been warm and steady so I don't think temperature variation is causing the behavior. A month ago I treated the pond with Proform C which wipes out the algae so I think that may have something to do with the water parameters/increased nitrate. The good news is that I have not seen any flashing yet. I typically do 10% change per week and treat with Prime - the change is done over a period of hours with spray to minimize any shock. I did a 25% change to try to see if that would help perk them up but the behavior hasn't changed. That 25% water change was also done over time with Prime. We have hard water out of the tap and I add 1 cup of baking soda dissolved in pond water when the KH is too low in order to stabilize PH swings - KH is maintained around 8-9 drops. PH in the pond is normal at 7.6.

    11. #11
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      Have you ever tested your source water? Often times you'll be surprised at what you're adding
      during water changes.
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    12. #12
      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Have you ever tested your source water? Often times you'll be surprised at what you're adding
      during water changes.
      I tested my tap water a long time ago - the pond has been up and running for about 10 years and I've never had a health issue until this past summer - I've been really lucky! Just retested the tap water to get a current reading - KH is 6, PH is 7.8, high PH is 8.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5.

    13. #13
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      Though you think that the temperature is not the problem, take a temperature reading at the top and at the bottom of the pond. It is fall, the sun is moving south making the daylight hours shorter, and the sun strength lower, so i would be surprised if the temperature has not started to fall. The bottom of the pond is more stable as it is in contact with the soil that has been absorbing the higher temperatures all summer and should now be warmer than the surface temperature, and the fish will tend to go there. There could be warm days that the surface warms significantly and the fish will come back up, but unless there is some other issue than them just staying at the bottom, I wouldn't be particularly worried. The problem is not your nitrate levels.


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    14. #14
      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      Though you think that the temperature is not the problem, take a temperature reading at the top and at the bottom of the pond. It is fall, the sun is moving south making the daylight hours shorter, and the sun strength lower, so i would be surprised if the temperature has not started to fall. The bottom of the pond is more stable as it is in contact with the soil that has been absorbing the higher temperatures all summer and should now be warmer than the surface temperature, and the fish will tend to go there. There could be warm days that the surface warms significantly and the fish will come back up, but unless there is some other issue than them just staying at the bottom, I wouldn't be particularly worried. The problem is not your nitrate levels.
      I hope that is it. I am such a paranoid koi mom!

    15. #15
      Roddy Conrad's Avatar
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      I agree that 20 ppm nitrate is not a significant issue and something else is the problem if the koi are not doing well.
      Your koiphen chemist and environmental scientist.

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      My first thought was water temperatures might slow down your KOI’s metabolism and, absent other symptoms, they are slowing down to begin the long winter. What is on your water temperatures?

      Also, Koi do not like changes in their environment. Have there been any other changes, like removing plants for the winter, that might have upset them and cause them to shelter at the bottom?
      Last edited by KingstonKoi; 1 Week Ago at 12:57 AM.

    17. #17
      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by KingstonKoi View Post
      My first thought was water temperatures might sloe down your KOI’s metabolism and, absent other symptoms, they are slowing down drop to begin the long winter. What is on your water temperatures?

      Also, Koi do not like changes in their environment. Have there been any other changes, like removing plants for the winter, that might have upset them and cause them to shelter at the bottom?
      Yes - I did remove a plant basket. I hope it is something that simple and not a parasite issue.

      Edited to add water temp is 70 degrees Fahrenheit

    18. #18
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      You had a parasite issue,is it not possible you have another parasite issue?

      Have you scraped for parasites?
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      Koifancinci is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
      You had a parasite issue,is it not possible you have another parasite issue?

      Have you scraped for parasites?
      I don't have a microscope and unfortunately there is no one around me that can assist with scraping and scoping. The shotgun parasite treatment was a month ago - Proform C and Fluke M. The fish did really well afterward and I've only noticed the lurking behavior in the last few days. No flashing yet. I have not added new fish/plants before or after the shotgun treatment. It seems strange that there could already be another parasite issue - have you experienced that before?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Koifancinci View Post
      I don't have a microscope and unfortunately there is no one around me that can assist with scraping and scoping. The shotgun parasite treatment was a month ago - Proform C and Fluke M. The fish did really well afterward and I've only noticed the lurking behavior in the last few days. No flashing yet. I have not added new fish/plants before or after the shotgun treatment. It seems strange that there could already be another parasite issue - have you experienced that before?
      No matter what do the Roddy´s PP-treatment, the previous protocol, once a week.

      Since I started with PP-treatment I don´t even bother to do scraping.

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