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    Thread: Koi Gulping Air at Bubblers

    1. #1
      Alfastud75 is offline Junior Member
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      Koi Gulping Air at Bubblers

      Hi everyone!
      New to the forum, but Iíve inherited a koi pond with the house I bought and Iíve been struggling with it for 3 years. Right now, my major problem is the koi are crowding the bubblers and gulping air. Last night I performed a backwash on my Aqua Ultaviolet Ultima II filter, then added new water, 2 cups of microbe lift bacteria, and a cup Vanish dechlorinator plus stress reducer. This morning the koi were at the bubblers gulping air so I added a cup of Amquel thinking the ammonia was too high.
      When o came home from work, they are still at the bubblers and here are the water test results:

      Ammonia - 0 - 0.25
      Nitrite - 0
      pH - 7
      Phosphate - 10

      Iíve always struggled with ammonia issues, but now I believe to have the ammonia under control. Iíve been trying to backwash and do a water exchange twice a week. Ammonia levels seem low but I am not sure if the pond has cycled yet.

      Does anyone have any suggestions? Any and all are much appreciated. I lost 1 fish last year and donít want that to happen again. Please let me know if any other information is needed and thank you in advance for all your help.
      Rob

    2. #2
      fly4koi is offline Senior Member
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      Add baking soda, your KH is low and nitrification cycle will crash, and when it crash it's another 6 weeks to get it back up. There is something called ammo lock that you can add to make the ammonia less toxic.
      100ppm on the KH is probably a good starting point, in the mean time test the water daily and do water change as needed.
      You want to see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and < 80ppm of nitrate.

    3. #3
      Alfastud75 is offline Junior Member
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      Ok, I have read about adding baking soda to bring up the pH. I read that you shouldn’t add too much at one time because that will drastically change the pH. How much should I add to a 1200 gallon pond?

      Also, how do I measure kh?

    4. #4
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      A bubbler sounds like a piddle.

      Buy another air pump with matching air stones,

      A 40,60 or 80 liter air pump, to match the volume your pond

      A 200m flat bed cylindrical air stone delivers about 20 liters of air.

      Correctly matching numbers of air stones to the air pump capacity assures you, you are not wearing out your new air pump with over heating

      and higher than designed operating delivery pressure.

      Place the stones at the bottom and middle of the pond,to get the oxygen depleted water turning over to absorb the oxygen rich surface air.

      Water pumps and waterfalls alone, cannot do the work of air pumps.

      Browse the real professional fish keepers ponds and you will see mountains of air rising in the center of all their ponds.
      Find more about Weather in Durban, ZA

    5. #5
      Alfastud75 is offline Junior Member
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      Sorry for the confusion, but I call my air stones bubblers. I already have 4 air stones in my pond hooked up to an air pump. 3 smaller circular ones and a large rectangular air stone. The koi crowd above the air stones and gulp air.

    6. #6
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      There is insufficient oxygen, for them to remove and feel comfortable in the pond water.
      Find more about Weather in Durban, ZA

    7. #7
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      Picture of the pond will help.
      Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. ---- Marthe Troly-Curtin

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    8. #8
      Alfastud75 is offline Junior Member
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      Here are some pics of the pond. You can see the 4 locations of bubbles where the air stones are located.
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    9. #9
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      For the baking soda, I would add 1/2 cup in the evenings until the KH is above 80ppm, 4 drops, then I would add enough to bring the KH to 150ppm. The calculator at the top of the page https://www.koiphen.com/forums/koicalcs.php?do=calckh will give you the amounts of baking soda needed to bring the KH up in weight.

      The reason for the baking soda to be added in the evening, is that the ponds pH is always highest in the evening, so the increase in pH should be minimal. You probably need to check the pH evening and first thing in the morning. If the KH is extremely low, the morning pH could be very low, ie pH crash, which will destroy the filter bacteria and put you back in the cycling phase. Acid water in the mornings can burn the gills causing issues with the ability to uptake oxygen.

      As for the fish hanging over the bubblers, I would also like to know if there are any other strange behaviors, like isolating, clamping, flashing, etc.


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    10. #10
      fly4koi is offline Senior Member
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      Do you have waterfall?
      Some people think the point of the bubbler is to create current so it rotates the deeper water to the surface, and not so much on the air bubbles themselves.
      How big of a pump and how much air you are pumping into it? In this picture it doesn't look like much air is being pumped.

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      I would run at least a 25Liter/min airpump for your pond. I have 30koi housed in a 1600 gallons pond at 80į so oxygen is extremely valueable, so I run a 45L/m pump, turning over the pond 2x an hour into a 2ft wide waterfall. For ammonia wise, I have 16cu ft (120gallons of ceramics) of media in my bakki shower and one of the layer is empty, and I dose baking soda daily. Also have 10% flow through daily. Hoping to post 30" koi by the end of this season, at 3 y/o.
      Is what I'm doing recommended or plausible? Nah. I have rdf and huge shower and closely watches the koi.
      Last edited by NaturalK; 06-12-2022 at 02:51 AM.

    12. #12
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      From the picture your water looks nice and the koi seem healthy. I hope your koi are fine now. Could be some strange prespawning behaviour. Try backwashing less often.
      Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. ---- Marthe Troly-Curtin

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    13. #13
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      Hi everyone, thank you for the responses and suggestions, they are much appreciated.

      The koi are still hanging by the bubblers at night and in the morning. During the day they seem to swim around, but still moving their mouths.
      I’ve been adding small doses of baking soda for the past couple days and the pH seems to be a little more than 7 but not quite 7.5. I have a kh test kit on order.

      The koi have no other strange behaviors, just seem like they need oxygen. I also do not have a waterfall.

      My air pump is putting out 2900 cu in/ min which is 47.5 liters/min.

      Here are my water test results:
      Ammonia- 0-0.25
      Nitrite - 0
      pH - 7
      Phosphate - 10

      I will backwash and water exchange once a week instead of twice.

      Please let me know if any other information is needed.
      Thank you everyone!

    14. #14
      NaturalK is offline Senior Member
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      Odd behavior, then. I really wanna say it's the low KH so keep dosing. I dont really suspect parasite until they flash a lot

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      Hey everyone, the koi seem to be doing better. They are swimming around and not hanging by the bubblers. I also got new stones which seem to be putting out more air/bubbles.
      I will take water readings tonight and probably dose again with baking soda.
      Will update later.
      Thank you everyone for your help!

    16. #16
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      My KH test kit came and I am in the 140-200 range (11 drops). I stopped adding baking soda. The koi were doing well, but after a few rain storms and a water exchange, they seem to be reverting. I checked the KH and I am still in the 140-200 range (9-10) drops).

      Should I continue to add baking soda?

    17. #17
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Alfastud75 View Post
      Hey everyone, the koi seem to be doing better. They are swimming around and not hanging by the bubblers. I also got new stones which seem to be putting out more air/bubbles.
      I will take water readings tonight and probably dose again with baking soda.
      Will update later.
      Thank you everyone for your help!


      The air stones are more efficient in the depths of the pond to lift the stale bottom water to roll over in the air above the pond to interface with

      the soluble oxygen in the air.

      A 20 liter air pump might not deliver to the desired depth of your pond.

      They need oxygen in the water to separate out of the stale water.
      Find more about Weather in Durban, ZA

    18. #18
      Alfastud75 is offline Junior Member
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      Hello, I believe I have a 45 liter air pump. The label on the side said 2900 cu in/min. I did a calculation and it came to.47.5 liters/min. Did I do my calculation right?

      Koi seem pretty good this morning, swimming around, not hanging by the bubblers. What should the KH level of the pond be? Can anyone recommend a more accurate test kit or is the API one ok?

    19. #19
      fly4koi is offline Senior Member
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      What's your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate level? My suspicion is that the pond is not fully cycled.

      API one is fine. KH looking for 120ppm or above.
      Last edited by fly4koi; 06-24-2022 at 03:15 PM.

    20. #20
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Alfastud75 View Post
      Hello, I believe I have a 45 liter air pump. The label on the side said 2900 cu in/min. I did a calculation and it came to.47.5 liters/min. Did I do my calculation right?

      Koi seem pretty good this morning, swimming around, not hanging by the bubblers. What should the KH level of the pond be? Can anyone recommend a more accurate test kit or is the API one ok?
      Sounds like a 40 liter should be good.

      Did you lower the air stones to turn over the water?
      Find more about Weather in Durban, ZA

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