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Thread: Water Changes

  1. #101
    Nisai
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    In an old post Roddy Conrad said: “Well, now we have it! An overcharge of sodium thiosulfate can decompose the thiosulfate to make too much hydrogen sulfide, which will definitely kill the fish. One on line reference says, "Hydrogen sulfide at 0.5 PPM causes hyperpnea, apnea, and respiratory arrest (death) in catfish."

    That got me thinking – and worried. I had a “deep” well installed for irrigation, over ten years before the first koi took up residence in the pond. That well, installed in the early 80’s, began pumping sand in 2006 and was replaced with another well at 95 feet deep. The fish have thrived in the water from both wells. I have grown complacent in tolerating significant leaks from the added-on waterfall area and from two homemade upflow filters, to get what amounts to a modified flow-through system. (The main pump and filters don’t leak a drop, though.) Now, the volume of the well water is gradually decreasing. The pump guy came last week, cut the well pipe and pulled it up for several feet. The whole pipe was coated with a several-inch deep layer of deeply red-colored slimy muck! He said this muck (maybe “iron bacteria”?) was clogging the intake at the lower end of the well.
    I asked about a permanent fix and he began talking about an artesian well at 500 feet deep, drawn from the Floridan aquifer. He said that the only problem with this solution might be “sulphur” in the water. The well company has been in business for over 100 years, so they are well experts. But, they are NOT koi experts. Their web site speaks of hydrogen peroxide injection systems to treat hydrogen sulfide (“sulphur”), but the very next paragraph says that such a system is not suitable if large volumes of water are needed. (I use a LOT of water!) I don’t mind spending money, but I would really hate to tear up the yard with another new well and then find that there was no way to make the new water suitable for koi. One of the managers of the well company is supposed to call me soon, to set an appointment and discuss the issue.
    Any ideas or suggestions?

  2. #102
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Shirley, sulphur can show up in shallow wells, too. Some lawn irrigation systems in my neighborhood draw from their own well and the smell is strong. (The iron in the sulphurous water does make the grass green.) I wouldn't want the smelly stuff in the pond even if the fish were not harmed. You've gone 7 years with this well and know the water is good. I'd just replace the pipe and stay with the water I knew was good and did not need pre-treatment. ...I've seen a pre-treatment pond where water was stored/aerated to remove sulphur and precipitates. It looked awful with mineral build-up, and smelled terrible. I'd not want my koi pond to be like that. I think you'd have to come up with your own mini-water plant, which would be expensive and require maintenance, etc. But, water from the deep aquifer will vary. I don't think there is a way to know just what is 500 feet below your property until they've drilled down to find out. In the end, you are going to have to rely on the well experts.

  3. #103
    Tategoi semi skilled keeper's Avatar
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    Hi Shirley, these are problems I don't have to deal with ! I live in Nottingham England. We have bunter sandstone under us and or water is very clean , very few impurities. Water is cheap .
    You have several layers of water to aim at, take the advice of the experts and keep your fingers crossed !
    I have been talking to Sanjay about his wells in India , he is having PH fluxes , so you're not on your own !

    Brian

  4. #104
    Nisai
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    Thanks for the advice, Mike and Brian. I will discuss what the well company's web site calls "water well rehabilitation" with the company manager, when he calls.

  5. #105
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Before we wrap up this year's repeat on this subject, for the benefit of those not yet convinced, let's look at the impact of doing 10% weekly water change. Assume that your feeding regimen, natural leaf-input etc. results in 10 units of water pollution per week. You have condemned your koi to a year of deteriorating conditions. Huh???.... Perhaps the following will help you think through it.

    Week 1: 10 units of pollution, less 1 unit per 10% water change, leaves 9 units in the pond.

    Week 2: 9 + 10 = 19 pollutant units, less 1.9 per 10% water change, leaving 17.1 units.

    Week 3: 17.1 + 10 =27.1, less 2.7, leaving 24.4 units.

    Week 4: 24.4 units + 10 = 34.4, less 3.4, leaving 31 units of pollution.

    Week 5: 31 + 10 = 41, less 4.1, leaving 36.9 units.

    Week 6: 36.9 + 10 = 46.9, less 4.7, leaving 42.2 units.

    Week 7: 42.2 + 10 = 52.2, less 5.2, leaving 47 units.

    Week 8: 47 + 10 = 57, less 5.7, leaving 51.3 units.

    Week 9: 51.3 + 10 = 61.3, less 6.1, leaving 55.2 units.

    Week 10: 55.2 + 10 = 65.2, less 6.5, leaving 58.7 units

    Week 11: 58.7 + 10 = 68.7, less 6.9, leaving 61.8 units.

    Week 12: 61.8 + 10 = 71.8, less 7.2, leaving 64.6 units.

    Week 13: 64.6 + 10 = 74.6, less 7.5, leaving 67.1 units.

    Week 14: 67.1 + 10 = 77.1. less 7.7, leaving 69.4 units.

    Week 15: 69.4 + 10 = 79.4, less 7.9, leaving 71.5 units.

    Week 16: 71.5 + 10 = 81.5, less 8.2, leaving 73.3 units.

    Week 17: 73.3 + 10 = 84.4, less 8.4, leaving 76 units.

    Week 18: 76 + 10 = 86, less 8.6, leaving 77.4 units.

    Week 19: 77.4 + 10 = 87.4, less 8.7, leaving 78.7 units.

    Week 20: 78.7 + 10 = 88.7, less 8.9, leaving 79.8 units.

    Week 21: 79.8 + 10 = 89.8, less 9, leaving 80.8 units.

    Week 22: 80.8 + 10 = 90.8, less 9, leaving 81.8 units.

    Week 23: 81.8 + 10 = 91.8, less 9.2, leaving 82.6 units.

    Week 24: 82.6 + 10 = 92.6, less 9.3, leaving 83.3 units.

    Week 25: 83.3 + 10 = 93.3, less 9.3, leaving 84 units.

    Week 26: 84 + 10 = 94, less 9.4, leaving 84.6 units.

    Week 27: 84.6 + 10 = 94.6, less 9.5, leaving 85.1 units.

    Week 28: 85.1 + 10 = 95.1, less 9.5, leaving 85.6 units.

    Week 29: 85.6 + 10 = 95.6, less 9.6, leaving 86 units.

    Week 30: 86 + 10 = 96, less 9.6, leaving 86.4 units.

    Week 31: 86.4 + 10 = 96.4, less 9.6, leaving 86.8 units.

    Week 32: 86.8 + 10 = 96.8, less 9.7, leaving 87.1 units.

    Week 33: 87.1 + 10 = 97.1, less 9.7, leaving 87.4 units.

    Week 34: 87.4 + 10 = 97.4, less 9.7, leaving 87.7 units.

    Week 35: 87.7 + 10 = 97.7, less 9.8, leaving 87.9 units.

    Week 36: 87.9 + 10 = 97.9, less 9.8, leaving 88.1 units.

    Week 37: 88.1 + 10 = 98.1, less 9.8, leaving 88.3 units.

    Week 38: 88.3 + 10 = 98.3, less 9.8, leaving 88.5 units.

    Week 39: 88.5 + 10 = 98.5, less 9.9, leaving 88.6 units.

    Week 40: 88.6 + 10 = 98.6, less 9.9, leaving 88.7 units.

    Week 41: 88.7 + 10 = 98.7, less 9.9, leaving 88.8 units.

    Week 42: 88.8 + 10 = 98.8, less 9.9, leaving 88.9 units.

    Week 43: 88.9 + 10 = 98.9, less 9.9, leaving 89 units.

    Week 44: 89 + 10 = 99, less 9.9, leaving 89.1 units.

    Week 45: 89.1 + 10 = 99.1, less 9.9, leaving 89.2 units.

    Week 46: 89.2 + 10 = 99.2, less 9.9, leaving 89.3 units.

    Week 47: 89.3 + 10 = 99.3, less 9.9, leaving 89.4 units.

    Week 48: 89.4 + 10 = 99.4, less 9.9, leaving 89.5 units.

    Week 49: 89.5 + 10 = 99.5, less 10, leaving 89.5 units.

    Week 50: Equilibrium reached.

    Now, run through the numbers based on 35% fresh water each week and see the difference.
    Mike, the point is well made. More frequent water changes, the better for the koi.

    But what can be considered being obsessive-compulsive overkill? What is the basis for saying this is too little? What is too much?

    Is it a subjective matter where one says his neighbor is just unnecessarily throwing away water while the neighbor says this guy should just raise cats and dogs?

    Is there any way to reduce the subjectivity in it and increase the objectivity, even as we wax eloquently on it being both an art and a science?

  6. #106
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by almostgeorgia View Post
    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the bump up on this critical topic. It seems so basic to many of us, but like HenryC in the attached quote pointed out years ago, you can meet any number of 'experienced' koi keepers at any function to whom significant water changes are a totally foreign concept. I've come to believe for many of the 'non-believers', however, it's really more an issue of time and work than just lack of understanding.

    As HC states here, many just don't want to 'fiddle' with it, and when I probe further, I invariably find out the real problem is they have no easy way to drain and refill their ponds. To many, a water change means digging out the old submersible pump hiding somewhere in a dusty corner of their garage, running down an extension cord, throwing the pump in, snaking the outflow tube all over the garden, continuously moving it around to prevent flooding, etc. Then standing around (hopefully, anyway!) waiting patiently for the garden hose to refill the pond back up. It's simply an investment in time and effort many are just not willing to make, at least on a regular, disciplined basis.
    Me likewise. My sump isn't the vortex type, only square, and too small for it to have significant retention time. After using the sump pump to drain the sump, I still have to manually remove the solid wastes left. Such is the difficulty with not having a standpipe to drain out the solids.

    A lot of waste ends up in the next filter chamber - mechanical brush filters. In fact, most of it. A stand pipe to drain exists- but the drain leads back to the sump. So I have to empty the sump before I can flush the brush filter chamber.

    Granted it is good that it forces me to drain both sump and brush filter chamber. But I still have to manually scoop out the waste solids from the sump bottom.

    A bad design, but me I just have to live with. And adapt to.

    I now simply use bentonite as a flocculant, and put two shubunkins to stir up the sump bottom, thereby causing all the waste to go to the brush filter chamber. It gets trapped more easily and settles into the bottom in an area before the first row of brush filters. I use a fine rectangular net to retrieve the solid wastes, which have been rendered into fluffy agglomerates and easily scooped out.

    Of course, I still clean all the filter brushes and I do twice weekly 10 percent water changes, but I bypass the laborious sump cleaning.

    Of course, I welcome criticism of my approach.

  7. #107
    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Me likewise. My sump isn't the vortex type, only square, and too small for it to have significant retention time. After using the sump pump to drain the sump, I still have to manually remove the solid wastes left. Such is the difficulty with not having a standpipe to drain out the solids.

    A lot of waste ends up in the next filter chamber - mechanical brush filters. In fact, most of it. A stand pipe to drain exists- but the drain leads back to the sump. So I have to empty the sump before I can flush the brush filter chamber.

    Granted it is good that it forces me to drain both sump and brush filter chamber. But I still have to manually scoop out the waste solids from the sump bottom.

    A bad design, but me I just have to live with. And adapt to.

    I now simply use bentonite as a flocculant, and put two shubunkins to stir up the sump bottom, thereby causing all the waste to go to the brush filter chamber. It gets trapped more easily and settles into the bottom in an area before the first row of brush filters. I use a fine rectangular net to retrieve the solid wastes, which have been rendered into fluffy agglomerates and easily scooped out.

    Of course, I still clean all the filter brushes and I do twice weekly 10 percent water changes, but I bypass the laborious sump cleaning.

    Of course, I welcome criticism of my approach.
    I know Yerrag . It can be tedious . I lived with a somewhat similar kind of design for 4 years. The fortnightly clean out took almost more than half the day of the Sundays. Of course the design was bad in the first place, since it was not a gravity fed filtering unit. And the 4 stage barrel filtration were all above ground .

    After renovating the old pond , i have used gravity fed settlement with brushes in it . The settlement is fed by two bottom drains ( 4 and 3 inches ) . I have also used bypass valves between the bottom drain plumbing lines and the vortex settlement. This helps me in purging the bottom drain pipes every fortnight ( and quickly managing any air lock that comes in the sewage pump , when its intake begins to suck in the last few bits of slurry from the settlement vortex ) . The vortex settlement chamber of 2 m3 is purged twice a day , for about 10-15 seconds , when brushing my teeth in the morning and the night. Once a month , i empty 2/3rds of the water from the settlement back to the pond , and the remaining 1/3rd is flushed away to the graden . The brushes hanging in the settlement are hosed with a jet of water and the sewage motor once again flushes out the small pool formed in the settlement chamber . Every 6 months i used KMNO4 , and bombard the settlement chamber ( i know the benefical bacteria dies ) . But since there is the established and seeded BHM after the settlement , in the bakki shower , i am ok with it. Moreover new beneficial bacteria to rejuvenate the pond is added once this bi-annual clean out is done.

    Problems do happen still....... nothing can be perfect ...like getting a perfect koi can be relative. That is life ! However , what you said earlier in one of your posts , stays within my heart " seeing your koi happy and healthy is satisfying enough " . I couldnt agree more.

    Warm regards,
    Sanjay

    PS : Read about a recent typhoon hitting northern Philippines . Hope it did not wreck as much havoc.

  8. #108
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Yes Sanjay, it can be tedious. Good that you learned from it and made a better design.

    It's monsoon season. We just have to be prepared.

    On the subject of water changes, I'm afraid I may have earned the idiot monicker in the late comedian George Carlin's telling: "Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"

    We each know our own ponds and its own peculiarities. Principles may be shared and agreed upon, but in actual practice a "one size fits all" approach doesn't apply. I totally get that there is a need to employ that approach in the interest of brevity and to make things simpler to understand. Pond keeping is not easy, and the least a beginner wants is for it to get more complicated.

  9. #109
    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Yes Sanjay, it can be tedious. Good that you learned from it and made a better design.

    It's monsoon season. We just have to be prepared.

    On the subject of water changes, I'm afraid I may have earned the idiot monicker in the late comedian George Carlin's telling: "Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"

    We each know our own ponds and its own peculiarities. Principles may be shared and agreed upon, but in actual practice a "one size fits all" approach doesn't apply. I totally get that there is a need to employ that approach in the interest of brevity and to make things simpler to understand. Pond keeping is not easy, and the least a beginner wants is for it to get more complicated.
    Whatever approach one applies Yerrag. The proof is in the pudding ! And in the case of koi keeping , this proof should be evaluated after, say a minimal time period of 6-8 years . Then and only then , will we come to know , the totality of our efforts and their fruits.

    Warm regards,
    Sanjay

  10. #110
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    More frequent water changes, the better for the koi.

    But what can be considered being obsessive-compulsive overkill? What is the basis for saying this is too little? What is too much? ***
    When I started this thread I focused on weekly percentages of changed out water. That is how most of us think of water changes. However, it is not the best way to approach the question. It is just an easy way to think about things. A person with 50 60cm koi in 4500 U.S. gallons is going to need to do much more than a person with 5 60cm koi in the same pond set-up.

    I have commented before that I use nitrate as a 'marker' for the level of total contaminants in a pond. I do so because it is easier to determine with a test kit. My goal is to have nitrate not in excess of 5ppm. If I was fixated on this, I would vary the size and frequency of water changes to keep nitrate at 5ppm or lower. [I picked 5ppm as being very low and within my capabilities to achieve. Someone else might pick 10ppm or some other level.]

    However, I am fixated on keeping nitrate below 5ppm, and I do not accomplish my goal year round. Most of the time I do, but there are times when nitrate levels rise due to pollen, leaves and such entering the pond. I will increase the weekly water change somewhat, but I do not want to go so far that pH and other parameters are significantly impacted. Since my schedule only permits me to do water changes once per week, maintaining stability becomes the limiting factor.

    I also do not test the water obsessively. Over the years I have gained a sense of the water without testing every week or month the way I did when the pond was first built, but I still test occasionally to simply check on things, and when the water does not 'look right'. And, I'll test frequently if I am trying to determine the impact of a new food, etc. Whenever I test, if nitrate is above 5ppm, I will move toward larger water changes. If nitrate is below 5ppm, the water change will be somewhat smaller.

    A continual in-flow trickle would be the best way to go, but it is not practical with my set-up. I usually change about 5% during the course of the week through dumping a settlement chamber daily, and then change between 25% and 35% once per week. So, the total per week is 30-40%. That's a lot of water, but with mainly very large koi consuming a lot of food daily, it is what is needed to keep the water close to the goal on a fairly consistent basis... and I know I can do this much without causing pH shifts.

    The key thing to remember is that water changes are about maintaining stable conditions in a pond where conditions are perpetually deteriorating.

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