October 06, 2005

Today's Pond Q&A

Today's Pond Q&A

In this issue:




My 14000 gallon pond has gotten very dirty this summer I changed
the water twice so far. Is it OK to change it again just before
winter so my koi have clean water to winter in? I plan on
getting a different filtering system for next summer. I have 2
very large Green Machine biological filters that are not doing
the job they were sold to me for.

I also use 2 ultra violet lights and do not have any alge just
dirty water. There are only 20 fish in the pond now and they
winter very well as the pond is 4 1/2 feet deep. What chemical
do you suggest I use to take the chlorine out of the water when
I fill the pond again?

Thank You

- Joe

PS- One other reason for my water change is a suggesting from
one of Brett's previous tips that there should not be and stones
rocks or anything on the bottom of the pond. Well, when I had my
pond built 3 years ago they dumped in about 3 ton of gravel and
dirt and not the cobble stones they said they would. I now want
to take it all out.

I will take my koi out of the pond and put them
in a holding tank with a very good oxygen supply and clean the
pond to the very bottom. I also will power wash the sides. Then
refill with clean water. With a couple of men this job will take
one day to clean and 12 hours to refill.

I lost all my big koi last winter as they were eaten by a otter
that went through the large air hole in the ice. The koi I have
now are the fingerlings that hatched during last winter. They are
now 8 inches long already and come to the top to eat when they
see me walk to the edge of the pond. As I said before the pond is
so dirty that I can't see the fish 6 inches from the top.

Thanks again

========== @SK Carolyn =============
Have a pond question? Just send it
in to: Carolyn@macarthurwatergardens.com
and our own in-house pond expert will
try and answer it for you! Write "POND" in
the subject line for immediate attention!


Hi, Joe,

The suggestion here is to do partial water changes at 10% weekly
throughout the spring/summer/fall and 10% monthly during the
winter. The primary reason for these water changes is not to
clean the pond, but to remove built-up phosphates. Filters do
not remove phosphates in the pond. Filters should remove debris
and chemicals such as ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Rather
than doing drastic water changes, I recommend using another
tactic- why not try Microbe-Lift Autumn/Winter Prep? It contains
enzymes and bacteria that are cold-weather strains and will keep
working on dirty water through the winter months.

For dechlorination, most de-chlor products on the market would
work, or you can use a spray (above the pond) to refill it, and
let the air take out the chlorine. I had occasion to set this
up for a friend this week and it works great. In this case, the
friend was away and the pond had an ammonia spike. I did the
water change by leaving the water spray for two days. I call
this a gentle, gradual water change. It won't work if there is
chloramine in the water, so find out what you have first.

It is so sad that people who bill themselves as koi pond builders
do not have a clue as to what is required! But as to the otter,
I would see about installing low-voltage wiring. Nothing else
will stop it from returning for the rest of the fish.

I wouldn't power wash the sides or bottom. It's okay to remove
all the rocks and rinse it, but to power wash it would remove all
the bacterial slime layer which is part of the ponds "maturity".
It is part of your biological filtration. Everytime you do that
you set back the whole thing. Clean the water, not the liner.
Whatever bacteria has become established already you will want to
keep. If you scrape a fingernail on the side you will come up
with some black stuff, which is the important slime layer of
which I am speaking. And any algae that exists in the pond is
needed through the winter for the fish to nibble when they are
not being fed.

- Carolyn



I have just put my first pond in the ground. It's very small -100
gallon, hard liner. The shelf around the pond is about 8" deep &
the center of the pond is about 18" deep. I intend to have a
small waterfall coming off natural rocks (about 3 feet high) on
one side. I have purchased a pump & tubing for this.

I guess I'll have to wait til spring to add plants but I'd like
to enjoy the water now. I'm anxious to get the thing up & running
as the weather here (north Alabama) is getting really nice in the
evenings. I can't wait to be able to sit relax (there's a nice
sitting area around the pond) by my little pond & listen to the
water sounds!

I am ready to place rocks to hide the lip of the pond which rises
about 2" above the ground & to stack the rocks for the waterfall
(OK, maybe it will be more of a large trickle than a waterfall).

Anyway, will I need to add anything to the water to keep it clean
& clear? Any suggestions and/or comments would be greatly
appreciated! I have enjoyed reading the Q&A's about other ponds.
Mine seems like a tiny project compared to all the others I've read
about. Guess you have to start with your little piece of Heaven
somewhere though!


- Susan



Hi, Susan,

Congratulations on your new pond! I see no reason why you can't
enjoy a waterfall this year. When building up a waterfall be
sure there is a liner under all the rocks or the water will leak

A waterfall probably would have to be shut off for the winter if
your temperatures go below 32F, otherwise the hosing might freeze
and break but you should have plenty of time to enjoy it this
year before it freezes.

Plants can go in now, if they are hardy varieties. Are you putting
fish in there? Although fish are not a necessity in a water garden,
some people want to add a goldfish or two. I would hold off until
next season for fish.

- Carolyn


Happy Pondkeeping!

MacArthur Water Gardens

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

Posted by bfogle at October 6, 2005 03:28 AM