Jun 21, 2012

The Koi Pond turned Green!

Oh my....the fight to keep the new pond clear! Well I can honestly say I am losing this battle, but very intrigued by what I am learning in the process! Let's begin with a little lesson in pond ecology :) To start with your  pond needs two kinds of filtration, the first is mechanical, that would be the removal of large and small solids from the water column, the second and most important in terms of a healthy pond is Bio filtration, which is a set up that allows the nitrification process to take hold and thrive creating a happy and SAFE home for our most beloved koi or goldfish friends...well any fish for that matter really,  from the aquarium in our home to the most vast of lakes in nature...a nitrification process is in use if the body of water is the home of life and is healthy!  The nitrification process is the natural biological cycle of breaking down waste in the water, such as plant debris and fish poo! It begins as soon as you add fish to your pond. The fish will eat and then they will poo ALOT! The waste from the fish quickly will start the rise of ammonia in your pond....Which is toxic to our fish! The Aerobic, nitrifying bacteria called Nitromonas will start the first half of the process of your bio-filter by converting the ammonia to Nitrites, which by the way: "ALSO TOXIC" to our fish :(   Thank goodness for the aerobic, nitrifying bacteria called Nitrobactor which will then gobble the Nitrites up and convert them into Nitrates, which in simplicity is just fertilizer! (talk about this later) Then the whole crazy process continues to repeat itself! WA-LA "the nitrifying process"

When I upgraded to the larger pond, I already had an established filter to aid in the conversion so my process was quite painless...but many Koi have been lost due to an un-informed well meaning fish parent! This process can takes 4-6 weeks to settle in, and testing should be done daily during this process to stay on top of harmful levels... Should harmful levels arise to unsafe conditions, there are products out there to aid in binding ammonia and salting can help reduce stress of fish from high Nitrites in pond, along with water changes and perseverance you can establish a healthy system in your pond. My Bio filters are 2, 55 gallon strapping barrels, each barrel holds approximately 7,000 feet of strapping material with lots of surface area to grow all those little bugs that I so desperately need in my pond! Note that I mentioned "Aerobic" bacteria earlier on! Yes they thrive in oxygenated water, so both of my barrels are fed air also to keep my bugs alive and well and thriving! I also have a bead filter which aids in both bio and mechanical filtration....So then why with such a healthy pond atmosphere would it be green with Algae...You see...the water is healthy, it's just green with free swimming algae, you see my UV light broke when I did the new plumbing, and brilliant me thought I could survive in Florida without one...Ha!...As soon as the water warmed up and the sunlight penetrated that water I had a beautiful Algae bloom......yep...all my fish disappeared into pea soup! I quickly out witted the algae, or so I thought.....remember I said the Nitrates were fertilizer...well the algae is a plant....so how do you kill a plant? Starve it!

Water changes were made and Canna Lilies were added in large tubs to the edge of the pond to consume more Nitrates that the algae....and between the algae and the plants, my levels quickly dropped...starving off the Algae and my water started to clear right up! SWEET! I was so happy to too see my babies once again....even though I believe they enjoy the green water better!  Alas....It was short lived, once the water cleared somewhat, the Nitrates built back up and the sunlight penetrated the  water again, the process started all over again! This pond cycles this way about every 4 weeks now....I give in. I am now in search of replacement parts for my UV light to kill the free swimming algae altogether, I would rather not add any more plants. Plants can help balance the process if plated heavily enough to consume your Nitrates altogether and floaters to shade the water, but in a Koi Pond, the injuries of the "xtras" in the pond to the Koi are just not worth the risk. So I will choose mechanics in this case and buy the UV light.  This is just not the vision I had of my pond.....
I want my gin clear water back I did find it so interesting to watch this process continue to repeat itself though! Life is teaching me new things everyday! Got to love it! Well that's my lesson on getting your pond established and understanding the Nitrifying process in a Pond, because truly the most effective way of having a healthy and clear pond is to understand the process, then work with it, not battle it! Nature is wondrous that way! It has a glorious maker that has engineered all this stuff  "perfectly"

John 1:3. Through him all things were made: without him nothing was made 
that has been made.

.....Enjoy some shots of the garden from a beautiful Summer Evening in Florida! and for goodness sake...sow some seed!   -janine
Hibiscus acetosella

Twilight purple Crape Myrtles

I love the woodland look of wedelia!

   My dumpster dive find : a rescued (upcycled) vintage kitchen chair  

The bird garden

Love the warm patina from the newly mopped with "ironite" patio!

A nice coffee spot in the morning shade, chickens cluckin in the background

Native Canna in beautiful bloom!

The Caladium path....

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