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Thread: Up and Running

  1. #1
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    Up and Running

    So I just got the outside pond up and running again for my 3rd season. Feels really good to just connect the plumbing back up (disconnected for winterizing) and plug in the pumps and she fires right up to life after being filled.

    I'm wondering though... We often hear/talk about "seasoned" or "mature" ponds. With me draining my pond every year for the winter and then cleaning it up again... am I in a perpetual "new pond" cycle and will never have that seasoned thing going on? I don't pressure wash it or anything, but it does sit dry for the whole winter so I brush off the dead carpet algae before filling it and flush out all the plumbing to get rid of any stagnant water that may have collected over the 6 months...


    Grant

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Why do you empty the pond and shut off all filtration? ...I thought your area has relatively few sub-freezing days, although staying chilly for a long period.

  3. #3
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcuss View Post
    So I just got the outside pond up and running again for my 3rd season. Feels really good to just connect the plumbing back up (disconnected for winterizing) and plug in the pumps and she fires right up to life after being filled.
    I'm wondering though... We often hear/talk about "seasoned" or "mature" ponds. With me draining my pond every year for the winter and then cleaning it up again... am I in a perpetual "new pond" cycle and will never have that seasoned thing going on? I don't pressure wash it or anything, but it does sit dry for the whole winter so I brush off the dead carpet algae before filling it and flush out all the plumbing to get rid of any stagnant water that may have collected over the 6 months...
    Grant
    When I think of "seasoned pond", I am thinking more about the bio-filter media and the concrete walls of a concrete Koi pond.

    If you are not pressure washing the pond walls and the pond filter media, even though it has dried out, you should not experience the same new pond cycle you did when everything was new.

  4. #4
    Sansai tranquility's Avatar
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    I didn't realize just how much that green carpet of algae plays in the pond till I moved all mine over to the new pond--Even though I moved the bio filters over with them and I added no new fish-they had at least 4,000 gallons more water--- within a few weeks time I was seeing ammonia....I didn't take into account that I no longer had that carpet of algae helping me along..I figured I'm moving their bio with them so all will be fine-but, it wasn't....I started feeding again a few weeks ago and was feeding lightly just like I always do but, on Saturday I'm seeing the ammonia start to creep back up...the one and only thing I can think of is not having that carpet of algae established yet...So now I'm having to walk that nice fine line....I firmly believe that the algae helps keep things in balance....of course now I set back and wait for someone to correct me ....
    and it has been my experience once its dries out then it falls off--leaving a heck of a mess behind--so I would say NOT to let it dry out...
    Lawanna

  5. #5
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    Hi Mike, yes. My area was sub 20 degrees for over 3 weeks straight with high winds that made it even colder with the chill factor this winter. In fact, one of my "frost free" hose bibs split!

    I'm taking steps this year to have my pond run year round so this might have been my last winter with it shut down.

    I'm trying to remember last years start up and I don't recall any real issues with ammonia but I moved the fish out into 54 degrees so feeding was very light and I think the bakki shower cycles up rather quickly.

    I guess I was wondering if the bacteria colony has any ability to go dormant or if seasoned media, though thoroughly dried out cycles up quicker.

    Grant

  6. #6
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
    it has been my experience once its dries out then it falls off--leaving a heck of a mess behind--so I would say NOT to let it dry out...
    Lawanna
    Not to let "it" dry out is better, but "seasoned" pond walls, plumbing, bio media that has dried out will "recover" faster than brand new, never used, clean pond walls, plumbing, bio media.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
    ....I firmly believe that the algae helps keep things in balance....of course now I set back and wait for someone to correct me ....
    I very much agree. Some day I'll assemble 'stuff' from my reading and experiences for a thread. But, the basics are clear. The carpet algae consumes a great deal of nitrogen. It can draw some nitrogen direct from the water column. (Nitrogen dissolves into water just as oxygen does, but not as readily. I have tried to find studies on filamentous algae consumption of dissolved nitrogen gas, but keep getting bogged down in scientific literature of minimal comprehensibility that leads in tangential directions. I believe the reason hair algae grows so well on waterfalls and in fast currents is because that environment gives greater exposure to available dissolved pure nitrogen, but have not found studies supporting/contradicting my belief.) Algae can also take in nitrogen by metabolizing nitrogenous compounds. Of these, the first preference is ammonia, which is a comparatively simple compound to 'digest' to release nitrogen. Secondary and tertiary preference is nitrite and nitrate. So, the algae is 'grabbing' ammonia before the nitrifiers get it. But, because the carpet algae are limited to surfaces, there is still plenty of ammonia in the water column for the bacteria. And, obviously, the algae are not as efficient in consuming ammonia as the specialized bacteria. [But, the algae are also pulling other substances from the water, such as traces of metals, etc., so they do some things in transforming water that bacteria do not do to the same degree or in the same manner.]

    When algae die, nitrogen is readily released back into the water column through decomposition in forms which are not fish-friendly, including ammonia. When the pondkeeper removes the algae glarf from settlement chambers and filters, nitrogen is removed from the system. The sooner this is done, the less nitrogen released through decomposition.

    I think the beneficial aspects of algae are little appreciated, but are very much a part of the 'big story' of what makes for healthy water in a mature pond. We are so dependent on the nitrifiers and biofilm in the inherently high stocking loads of any koi pond (compared to Nature) that it is understandable that we focus on the bacteria. Long time koikeepers know that a pond takes a year or three to mature and gain a resilience that is forgiving of our stupid errors. Algae are an integral, important part of that maturity, but not so well understood.

  8. #8
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    Hi grant, I've not started up my outside pond yet. Won't do that until this time next month. Since i built my inside pond I have turned off my outside pond mid october, winterized the Bubble bead and filters, removed the pump and let the pond set all winter. Then it's a day of clean up in spring and restart.

    Is it a perfect system? Nope....but the water temps in winter outside get in 30's too harsh to keep koi in. No way to afford to heat the outside. Frequent power loses due to storms and plumbing and pipes come into danger from freezing and splitting.

    To me it's critical that i can control what the koi go thru in the winter time, so they come inside.We had several good snow episodes this past winter and over the decades have learned that protective PVC frames covered with plastic do NOT stand up to the punishment.

    To be honest I have NOT noticed a set back in the spring when I move my Koi outside. This year was the first year with koi in the inside pond now under a poly roof to get what sun is available. What a difference in beni quality.

    So I wish you well as you attempt to develop a system where you can control mother nature and keep your Koi in the same pond year round. I think Mike has the right idea.....find yourself in central florida
    Dick Benbow

  9. #9
    Sansai tranquility's Avatar
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    I would love to have a greenhouse I could sit over the pond during the winter........My small hoop style gh is small enough to move easily but, 2' too short and 2' too narrow.....And it holds up to snow and winds like a champ..I may have to talk to the guy who built my small one about building me one a bit larger....
    Lawanna

  10. #10
    Oyagoi gcuss's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the insight guys.

    Mike, I agree with you. I believe the carpet algae plays a significant role in our ponds ability to maintain a healthy balance.

    Coach, I did a "trial run" this winter as I covered my pond with a 6 mil poly over top of a triangle frame I constructed out of PVC. The snow shed well and I didn't have any problems despite nature's best efforts this year. I think the size of my pond, and the rectangle shape lend to a more manageable structure that your outside pond would perhaps?

    I'm hoping to keep a heater running through winter next year and that combined with shutting off the bakki shower I might be able to keep the temps in the 50's without spending a fortune on heating. I'll still have the inside pond up and running with a couple koi so if things go sideways I've got an immediate solution ready to go.

    Grant

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