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Thread: 8 week old 18,000 gal pond question

  1. #1
    Tosai
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    Nov 2009
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    8 week old 18,000 gal pond question

    I have an 18,000gal pond that's about 2 months old. Tested the water:

    Ammonia - 0
    Nitrite - 0.50
    Nitrate - 5
    Ph - 7.6

    Is the high nitrite reading normal for a new pond???

  2. #2
    Daihonmei
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    Your nitrIte should actually be higher. But with a pond that size it may take a while. How long ago dis you seed it and How did you seed it? And did you have an ammonia reading initially? JR

    Oppss, I see it was two months ago ( 8 weeks) so how and at what temperature and was there ammonia a few weeks ago?

  3. #3
    Tosai
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    i read that a 0.5 reading is quite dangerous. so this is normal for a 2 month old pond? nothing for me to worry about? thank you

  4. #4
    Daihonmei
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    Your pond is in what is called 'New Pond Syndrome' This is limbo condition between start up and equilibrium ( equilibrium being when toxins created are instantly converted to less toxic forms of nitrogenous waste because fish output is equal to bacteria biofilm ability to convert).
    In a normal cycle the process takes 21 days at temperature ( 68- 80 F). But many ponds can take up to 45 days to cycle.
    you are in step two of the cycling process where your ammonia reading has disappeared but your second stage bacteria is not present in adequate numbers. This can be normal or a sign of struggling depending on the details.

    You haven't provided any detail as to what you did to seed, if you have fish in the pond or if you are feeding them, so I can't tell you much more at this point. If you can describe what you did to date, fish load and filter design I can give you some more feedback. JR

  5. #5
    Tosai
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    yes i have fish in it, about 10 small ones and 5 medium sized ones. what distress signs should i watch out for? did a water change and i tossed in a bottle of bacteria from the fish store this morning, measured again tonight, nitrites are down to 0.25. i'm not sure if this is the good bacteria or the water or both. and yes i feed them, thanks for the replies.

  6. #6
    Daihonmei
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    Ok, Let me ask again-- how did you start this pond? and what is the filter like?

    Did you seed the pond with material from another pond or did you start a virgin system?
    Did you just fill the pond, add bottled or packaged product and then introduce fish?
    Did you get an ammonia reading and if so, for how long?
    what is the current water temperature?

    For now don't do water changes unless the fish show signs of brown blood disease ( breathing distress and sunking and in extreme cases, skin change). DO add salt ( one and a half to two pounds per 100gallon). Add extra aeration. And DO STOP feeding the fish. Feeding produces extra ammonia which is then converted to more nitrIte.
    JR

  7. #7
    Tosai
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    no seeding, virgin pond, tossed the fish in after about a week of stagnant water. decided to do a water test yesterday, found out about the nitrites. this is a 18,000 gal green pond with just aeration and DIY barrel filters.

    is there any way i can fast track the balance that i am after? thanks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 8 week old 18,000 gal pond question-dscf2699.jpg  

  8. #8
    Oyagoi Eugeneg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Ok, Let me ask again-- how did you start this pond? and what is the filter like?

    Did you seed the pond with material from another pond or did you start a virgin system?
    Did you just fill the pond, add bottled or packaged product and then introduce fish?
    Did you get an ammonia reading and if so, for how long?
    what is the current water temperature?

    For now don't do water changes unless the fish show signs of brown blood disease ( breathing distress and sunking and in extreme cases, skin change). DO add salt ( one and a half to two pounds per gallon). Add extra aeration. And DO STOP feeding the fish. Feeding produces extra ammonia which is then converted to more nitrIte.
    JR
    NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS THAT SHOULD READ PER 100GAL
    Regards
    Eugene

  9. #9
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugeneg View Post
    NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS THAT SHOULD READ PER 100GAL
    Regards
    Eugene
    Yep. Typo.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    Thanks guys ( it takes a forum to build a koi pond! ) I corrected it. Nice save--

    So here is the likely course of events--

    Your had stagnant water ( usually great for heterotrophic bacteria specis so were likely present in large numbers as they are quick producers and reproducers).

    You added fish and fed them. This increases organic content of water. Meanwhile they are shredding ammonia which is an energy source for BOTH heterotrophic bacteria forms AND nitrifying bacteria ( autotrophic species).
    Your water is then loaded with with the competing species to the one you want and although the nitrifiers still grow , they grow at a much slower rate than the heterophic forms.
    So your 21 day cycle is set back in it's ability to establish itself due to the high heterotrophic and more successful species.
    This is what is extending your cycle time. In the worst case scenario the pond is still being 'run' by the dominating form of bacteria ( heterotrophic) and they are converting ammonia to nitrIte and then that is the end of the conversion process. This is uncommon in aquariums ( controlled parameters and limited organic content) but very common in new ponds started as virgin ponds.

    Right now you need to do intervention for the fish's sake. But some of these inventios will be counter productive in getting your ond to cycle. So you need to plow thru the present crisis but also keep a mind on the need to cycle.
    I'd keep the sumps ( hope you have a sump or some prefilter) or DIY ballel filters VERY clean, NOT feed the fish much for a week and then only twice a week ( your not in winter were you are right? This is important to know. And I still don't know your water temperature).
    Do keep the salt up as it will protect your fish from nitrIte poisoning effects. If you have a UV, keep it on ( this is the OPPOSITE recommendation of a normal cycle where you keep the UV off).
    You want to discourage the free bacteria forms and encourage the nirtrifying forms. This means keep the organic content to a minimum and favor the biofilter ( seed it if you can with transferred media from an established keepers filter or from your dealers filter if you trust that source). And keep the extra aeration going both for fish with nitrIte threats and for the budding nitrifying film.
    If your temperatures are relatively warm, 68-80F you should cycle in 10 more days if you do as I suggest. Your nitrites might actually go higher ( a deep wine purple red on most color kits) and then all of the sudden, one morning, be absolutely clear or light pink for a day more.

    JR

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