August 27, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

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Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:

- AMMONIA - POPULATION EXPLOSION & HOW DO I CLEAN THE FILTER?

- SAND FILTERS
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Question>

Help! This is going to sound like a stupid question, but I've
never seen the answer anywhere !

We've had quite a problem getting our ammonia under control this
year for our tiny 100-gallon pond. We started three years ago
with three goldfish and three shubunkin, and they enjoyed life
so well that they had families. Huge families.

We've given away 27 of the little guys this year and still have
about 25 (four large ones and the rest about two inches but
growing! (Insert sigh here). We are contemplating another
fish-giving event. At any rate, I do frequent water changes,
add ammonia-removing chemicals and service the bio-filter.

That's my question--when I service the bio-filter, I know I
don't disturb the bacteria-growing media and I only use a bucket
of pond water to clean the filter. But do I clean only the two
layers of mesh-type material in the water? Or do I leave
everything alone? Or do I clean out all the goop within the
entire filter box?

In other words, how do I clean the bio-filter? Any suggestions
on getting our ammonia under control would also be welcomed.

Thanks for your wonderful Q & A--I read each one with
pleasure!

Beverly Herald

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Answer>

Hi Beverly,

I would suggest you clean ALL the goop out of the filter, but
use clean "aged" (or clean pond) water to rinse it rather than
using any chlorinated water from the tap.

I suggest you also cut down on feeding if you haven't already
done so. Ammo Lock and Amquel will help in a pinch, and the
water changes are very beneficial. Either use dechlor (or aged
water) before you refill the pond.

Do you think your local church or girl scouts group would like to
have a benefit "raffle" of your extra goldfish? Unless you
consider doubling the filtration on that 100-gal. pond, you have
way too many fish in there.

- Carolyn

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Question>

Hi Carolyn,

I have a question for you. I have a 900 gallon pond that is 3
years old. when I first set up the pond I put a Fish Mate box
filter, with a 1800 gal per pump and a 25 watt UV sterilizer
light. The pond is sun almost all day and the water was never
clear in fact it would get full of algae all the time. I had
about 40 % plants with goldfish and 4 koi. I looked at several
different kinds of filters and the one I wanted were out of my
price range.

Someone told me to get a Pool sand filter. I could afford one of
those. I got it last year around august and once i put it in
there the water was crystal clear. It ran all year and I changed
the sand in march and then again in June.

Now I saw an email at this site not sure if it was written by
Brett, but it said that sand filters are not good and that they
can be harmful for the fish. So my question to you is why is
harmful and if it's because of the sand could you replace the
sand with another bio media?

I would greatly appreciate an answer as I cannot afford the high
priced filters for the pond.

Thanks, Mary

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Answer>

Hi Mary,

Good question. The reason sand filters are not recommended is the
bacteria will colonize rather quickly in the sand and before you
realize the system will become toxic. Clear water isn't
necessarily healthy water. Those filters are meant to be used
with chlorine and other chemicals, as in pools. The media (sand)
doesn't allow enough oxygen and can quickly become anaerobic,
which is toxic to fish.

I checked with Brett and was told that many have tried to replace
the media but it has not worked. There isn't enough room for
other media in there to do the job. If you continue to replace
the sand religiously, perhaps you can make do.

It is the absence of oxygen in there that causes the problems.
Did you ever see a fishtank with undisturbed fine gravel on the
bottom and notice the darkening layer underneath, darker as you
go deeper? And when cleaning the sand/gravel, if you did this, do
you remember what it smelled like? That smell is the presence of
anaerobic bacteria making hydrogen sulfide. Deadly to fish. And
as it is formed, it comes up in bubbles from the sand, into the
water, and into the pond.

Hope this helps.

- Carolyn

==

Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens
www.macarthurwatergardens.com

MacArthur Water Gardens
PO Box 3628
Alpharetta, GA 30023-3628

Posted by bfogle at August 27, 2005 12:08 PM
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