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     Bio Filter Maintenance
  During Power Outages

 


In this article, we'll highlight some of the important steps to take immediately after and during a storm to preserve the health of the pond.

The first thing we'd recommend is to net out and remove all of the leaves, tree limbs, and other debris that have fallen in the pond during the storm.

The reason is that these will quickly start to decay and add to the organic load that pond has to carry. If the power is out and the filter is off - this can cause problems with water quality very quickly.


One of our readers also sent in this tip about shingles: "After a storm it's important to look for any roofing tiles that may have blown into the pond and remove them immediately because often times roof tiles contain harmful chemicals that may be harmful to fish."

During a storm, or any other situation when your pond loses power for more than several hours to several days, it's also vital that your bio-filter gets fresh oxygenated water every 12 hours or so (more often if the filter is exposed to direct sunlight or high heat).

If not, the beneficial bacteria will start to die off and you could lose your entire bio-filter. Worse yet, if the good bacteria population goes bad and then you start up your pump and filter, all the toxic waste from the dead bacteria goes right back into your pond. This can create a huge Ammonia spike, which be very detrimental to your fish.

so, here are a couple steps you can take to preserve your bio-filter (good bacteria) when your power is out.

In our case, we covered the filter by a large tarp to prevent any damage caused by falling tree limbs, or by wind and rain - also to keep it cool and out of direct sun. As we uncover the filter after the storm, it's dry underneath the tarp with no apparent damage.



Then we opened out drain plug and drained the filter, while at the same time we opened up the top of the filter to inspect the beads and filter media while it's still at the top. Now if you have a different type of filter, that's ok - what we want to do here is just give it the 'smell' test. Open up your filter and give it a quick whiff to see if you notice any 'rotten egg' smell. If not, you're in good shape. If yes, that smell is hydrogen sulfide and means that your good bacteria have started to go bad...



In our case, it smelled nice and fresh with no odor at all. So, after we drained out all the old water that had been sitting for 12 hours or so, we then replaced the drain plug and re-filled the filter ** using water from the pond **. It's important not to use hose or tap water, as the chlorine/chloramine in the water will surely kill the good bacteria we're trying to preserve. So it's important to use 'seasoned' water from the pond.

It's best to pour the new water in from high up enough to oxygenate the pond water going back into the filter. This will help the good bacteria survive until the next water change, which should be done in another 12-24 hours by repeating this sequence.




Here's another quick tip:

An experienced KOI keeper I know recently sent out this tip for oxygenating the pond water during a power outage. Take a spray bottle and fill it with hydrogen peroxide, then squirt one to two sprays per 10 gallons of water into the pond every day. This can also be used for indoor aquarium fish, or for koi brought indoors. Be careful not to add too much however, as it can be toxic in high doses.

And just to show how dedicated I am to sharing my pond knowledge with all my readers, as I was getting water from the pond to pour into my filter for this sequence, I was standing right smack dab on top of the biggest fire-ant hill you've ever seen! It was more like a mini-city, with hundreds of tiny fire-and workers running all about...

               
                        (Those little red things are ants, mean little buggers too...)

                           

Needless to say they weren't too happy about me planting my big ugly foot right on top of them, so they got me pretty good.. The next day, this same foot swelled up like an eggplant for a few days ;-)

Bit it was well worth it if everybody learned something from this article.

In tomorrows article, I'll be sending out pictures of the Tropical KOI Club's Meeting that I attended today at my good friend Charles Lewis' house in Miami. He's the president of the Tropical KOI Club down here, and he's got a beautiful pond the size of a swimming pool, with some of the nicest KOI you've ever seen!

We'll have lots of nice pictures from that, and maybe a few from last month's meeting...

Happy Pondkeeping!

Brett Fogle
MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

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