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    Thread: Ph Fluctuations

    1. #1
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      Ph Fluctuations

      I'm starting this post to help us better understand the pH and how it reacts in our ponds. Steve Childers suggested in another post that Tweet maybe flashing because the pH was fluctuating and Blam agrees that even though I have a kh of 140 that the pH can be mvoing enough to bother the fish.

      This can be caused by plants and algae in the pond. Well I do have plants but not very much algae at present!!! Can a few lilies really move the ph that much?

    2. #2
      Terri&Ian Guest - Time to Register
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      Hi Jackie, I think you might find this interesting http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/water/pH.ht...0affects%20pH? .

      I'm not sure how much a couple of lilies might upset the pH balance, the shift would be slight if at all in your system... but there are other factors involved, for example nitrification.

      I'm not a great writter so maybe Steve or JR or Blam (or even lukie) could pop in here and give a more detailed indepth explaination of the balance(synergy) of a good healthy pond system and what one should expect to be happening along with what can go Oh So Wrong

    3. #3
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      From Fishdoc site:

      """For ponds that have a high pH – that is the water is too alkaline, first check whether the temporary water hardness is OK. This can be measured using a simple test kit for either kH, carbonated hardness or alkalinity, which are all the same. If the water is too soft use agricultural lime as detailed above. If on the other hand the hardness is fine use either gypsum (plaster of Paris) or calcium chloride. This will improve calcium, or general hardness and stabilize pH. Substantial amounts may be needed. Some experiments in 10 litres of water will give some indication, and agricultural gypsum is available if you need large quantities. Make the adjustments over a period of several days. """


      This is the part that confuses me. It says if my pond is buffered it should be ok.

    4. #4
      schildkoi is offline Inactivated
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      Jackie, one more time

      You need to re-read the site mentioned above. Although I may not have a clue in your mind, here's the appropriate Part from "fishdoc":

      "All submerged plants and animals, including algae, are constantly removing dissolved oxygen from the water and excreting carbon dioxide during normal respiration. The release of carbon dioxide has an acidifying effect. In addition to respiration, during daylight hours all plants, which include all algal forms, actively photosynthesis. They absorb carbon dioxide from the water and use the sun’s energy to convert it to simple organic carbon compounds – clever!

      As we have already said, carbon dioxide in solution is slightly acidic, so as the plants remove it, the water becomes more alkaline. The more sunshine and algae – the more alkaline the water will become.

      These two processes, respiration and photosynthesis, carry on alongside each other, with photosynthesis being the dominant during the day. Thus during daylight hours plants have a net alkalising affect. However, during the night plants stop photosynthesis but normal respiration continues, so now they only remove oxygen from the water and excrete carbon dioxide as part of normal respiration (so much for ‘oxygenating plants’), with a net acidifying affect. In poorly buffered water this can cause significant diurnal swings (over a period of 24-hours) in pH.

      Even reasonably well buffered water may have a moderate variation in pH during the day - being more alkaline in the evening. Therefore the time of day that you take you reading is important. It is also advisable to check the degree of fluctuation on a typical hot, sunny day."


      Like I said before, its not uncommon (even in a well buffered pond) to have a Ph swing of .2 to .3...and believe it or not, even in ponds without plants.

      Did Tweet falsh any this evening or not?

      Steve

    5. #5
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      Steve for some reason you think my being confused is your fault.... not

      I posted the part of the article that confused me, the rest seems straight forward enough.(I'm lying here) I am not doubting your word or knowledge but knowledge only comes from understanding - not parroting.

      SoIf on the other hand the hardness is fine use either gypsum (plaster of Paris) or calcium chloride. This will improve calcium, or general hardness and stabilize pH. Substantial amounts may be needed.

      This is the part that confuses me.

    6. #6
      schildkoi is offline Inactivated
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      Jackie

      I think you are confused with your definition of "stabilized". I believe you think that stabilized means that the Ph will not fluctuate at all.....it will, within the same range though on a consistent basis...again, more than likely a .2 - .3 range but will not drop/crash. Think of your cruise control on your vehicle. It stabilizes your speed....except when going up and down a hill where it will fluctuate 2 - 3 mph....still "stabilized" though. Less confused?

      Steve

    7. #7
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      Yes, thank you. Although being a lead foot cruise control is not something I use much :D

      Oh forgot to tell you no flashing in the pond at all today. All fish are very very hungry. Thanks again for your help.

    8. #8
      koiingaround is offline Extra Special Memberness....our favorite
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      ok...

      So is the use of a ph "pill" a good or a bad thing???


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    9. #9
      schildkoi is offline Inactivated
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      KA

      Its better than BS since at least the pill will disolve slowly and not bump the chemistry like BS will. I prefer Oyster shells myself for those that need it. Nice and stable. But, here in Wisconsin the water is hard enough and nothing is needed.

      Steve

    10. #10
      koiingaround is offline Extra Special Memberness....our favorite
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      Thankie Stevie!!!


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    11. #11
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      Ok just to make life perfect Tweet has decided to flash in the morning

      I keep the kh at 120 or 7 drops. Would I be better off to raise the buffering or would there still be fluctuating. Is there a recommended level of kh. I know those with bead filters need to keep it higher but what about the rest of us.

    12. #12
      koiingaround is offline Extra Special Memberness....our favorite
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      Jackie!!!

      I am starting to wonder if Tweet does this to upset you???!!!???!!!


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    13. #13
      schildkoi is offline Inactivated
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      Jackie....

      Its normal...don't sweat it. The swing occurs late afternoon/early evening AND back in the early morning. You've scraped, scoped and bombed the pond for all known parasites (or just about). If you can get a Ph meter you can verify the swing easily and then sit back and not worry. A good/cheap meter (I know, usually a contradiction of terms) rus about $70 US and is available through AES, Eastern Nishikigoi and other assorted places. While you are at it, get a salt meter (Koi Medic), they are about the same price.

      Steve

    14. #14
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      Well I have the salt meter $100.00 Cdn plus tax at 15%... things are just not as inexpensive here as there. Having spent the budget on meds... I'll have to wait for the next budget committee meeting Right now I'm saving for a new pump $500.00.... The current one is four years old now and I need a bigger one. This one is 3,000 gph and the new one would be 4

      I guess its drving me crazy becaue it didn't happen before all this started. Yes a fish would flash now and again, one fish once but now I have 3 or 4 fish flashing. Maybe those new smaller pellets stick in their gills but one was flashing in the middle of the afternoon with no food from me.

      I'm trying not to sweat it but when you are used to having your fish flash once a week its hard to see it every day and not want to fix it. Sorry I'm driving you crazy trying to fix this Steve.

    15. #15
      Lynda is offline Senior Member
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      Sounds like they see you and flash for you! Probably gets them some goodies like shrimp so you can check them out. I think the fish are training you Jackie!

      It's ok I have dogs like that - one trained me to give her cheese when she rang a bell. The bell was to be used for them to let me know when they had to go out, instead it let me know when they wanted cheese! Which was pretty much all the time.

      I really hope they are all doing better and not making you crazy - you are going to make yourself sick from worry! Go have a drink. :D Relax.
      Lynda #6B
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    16. #16
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      Drink in hand

      :D

      Well other than the flashing they are all fine. Hungry enough to have uprooted plants today... something they haven't done in weeks. Thought I was safe fnally. And why is it always the plant you are babying along!!! A friend in florida sent me seeds for the southern water hibiscus and I expect it to finally bloom this year except not only did the pull the thing out they pulled most of the leaves off it as well!!!!

      Well it did get them more food :D :D :D so I guess I am being trained

    17. #17
      JgR Guest - Time to Register
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      So last night we had rain!!! Yes that lovely rain full of ammonia. This morning I have trace ammonia and Hurray!! nitrites of 0.25.... there is still salt at 0.09 in there so the fish should be ok.

      Now the PH is 9 or higher!!! (test only goes to 9) and the kh is over 10 drops or 175... So I'm finally seeing the pH move but not in a good direction IMO. The rain water itself pH is 7.0... so why is my pH higher than it was before. Shouldn't the rain have lowered the pH???? We didn't have all that much rain either.

      No one flashed but no one was that hungry either.... maybe they are full of plants.....

    18. #18
      lindan is offline The President's Boss
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      Jackie, you're sure having a time of it!

      Here's our experience with pH swings -- even though our pond is concrete (7 years old now), when the algae is thick and/or the water plants spreading (hyacinth, lilies), the pH does tend to fluctuate by .3 or .4 from morning to night. We get fairly high readings, from maybe 8.6 down to 8.2 or thereabouts. We do sometimes see mild flashing in the evenings... maybe 2 or 3 fish will flash once or twice in an hour. It worries me a bit (I'm a world-class worrier), but I know that the water params are good and the fish are in good general health, so as long as the guys aren't doing damage to themselves, I'm trying not to overreact. Things only seem to get worse when I do that! We had an ulcer outbreak one year, but the flashing preceding the ulcers (due to flukes) was much more frequent and frenzied. That episode did not end well. Most of the "flashing" we see now is the more lazy type, just kind of a big slow dip on the bottom of the pond, and we had the same scenario last summer as well, with no resultant problems.

      STILL... I know you've had other contributing factors to your situation, what with the ich & ammonia rain and all, but you've scraped & scoped and found nothing recently. Maybe I missed it, but how much does your pH fluctuate on a daily basis? Is Tweet still scraping himself up? The poor sensitive soul... I know it doesn't help to hear someone else say it, but please try not to let this make you crazy!

      Linda

    19. #19
      JPR is offline Inactivated
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      JR1 said something very wise regarding this subject of pH and alkalinity in one of the posts on this thread-
      " I am not doubting your word or knowledge but knowledge only comes from understanding - not parroting."

      This is one topic that must be UNDERSTOOD as there is no way to understand its relevance in a koi pond until you do.

      And there are three 'off ramps' in the subject of pH and alkalinity that have derailed the subject entirely. They are:

      * PH and alkalinity for the biofilter.
      * pH and alkalinity for the fish.
      * alkalinity for pH stability.

      So depending on WHO you talk to and WHAT topic of these three they are talking about, you will get different answers! This is because bits of information, like the ones at the website that was posted here ( koidoc) are taken as literal instructions instead of lessons of understanding the big picture.
      Koi can survive in water with a pH ranging from 6.5- 9.5. They 'like' water with a pH range of 6.8- 8.5. Show fish look best in water with a pH of 7.0- 8.0. Purists tend to keep koi at levels of 7.2- 7.8. So you can see how the range narrows as the goals become more refined- survive- flourish- shine!
      It is truly a shame that the pop literature emphasizes the higher pH range for nitrifying bacteria in our filters. The truth is that most of that comes from the scientific literature regarding Nitrosomonas bacteria in farming soil! The species that dominate aquatic environments are cells that operate best in neutral to slightly alkaline conditions- That means a pH of 7.0- 8.0.
      The issue of stability of pH is strictly a conversation about the limits of a closed system. Koi breath like we do- they produce carbon dioxide. This lowers pH. Koi and the biofilter produce acids from other normal metabolic activities. These acids tend to pull the pH down over time.
      One fish in a 10,000 pond can not produce enough carbon dioxide and acid to pull the pH down. 380 koi in the same pond can! 100 koi ‘might’ depending on the alkaline reserve naturally existing in that pond’s source water. Aeration, proper water turn over and water changes will remedy this issue for 90% of all koi ponds.
      I’m running long- sorry. JR

    20. #20
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      Linda

      It was driving me so crazy I stopped testing the darn water. I look at the fish and I watch what they are doing. If them come to be fed or ask for food I am happy. There is still the occasional flash but it is getting less and less as each day goes by.

      The problem with the drop kits is that its hard to see the swings at that level. I can certainly see a difference in colour between 8 - 9 but guess at 8.5 and 8.8 is out of the question. My understanding was the if the KH was maintained the pH would look after itself... and apparently it does but not the consistancy I had hoped for Am currently kicking myself for not bidding on the meter at the koi club... oh well, life is learning.

      In the meantime the fish are happy and pulling at the plants, eating the algae and begging for treats. Tweets wounds are healing although slower than I would like. The chagoi's eye scrape is completely healed - younger fish...

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