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Thread: what is oxygen 'at saturation' mean to a koi?

  1. #1
    Daihonmei
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    what is oxygen 'at saturation' mean to a koi?

    In an unusually short response for a JR Sunday Morning ramble-- "everything"!! oxygen saturation means everything to a koi!

    Carp are sturdy sturdy animals! They can survive oxygen levels in muddy water down to 1ppm. That would outright kill most fish. EVEN man made koi!
    But koi are blessed with the 'intent' of carp if not their actual legendary survival skills in wild form.

    As most of the readers already know, as water warms it holds less oxygen. This is important as the entire ecosystem of a koi pond runs on oxygen. Things like pH and ORP was diretly linked to oxygen levels. And most importantly, your koi's metabolism is like a musical key board that is 'wound' by a foot peddle or crank that is oxygen ( bad analogy I know but you get the point).

    So it is important to know that there is oxygen at saturation and then there is the 'available' oxygen for the koi. And they are NOT the same thing. It is easy to get water to saturation at temperature levels. The trick however is to make as near as 100% of that oxygen molecule available to the koi. We can talk about this in terms of ambient DOC content in your particular system or in terms of an equation of reductive reactions Vs Oxidative reactions. Whatever you envision or measure it by, remember that that your ambient water parameters will all be influenced by oxygen saturation and then the 'need' of your pond-- JR

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    MCA
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    DO is not just for koi.


    If the bacteria colonies suffer from low DO, up comes the ammonia and nitrites...and down go the koi. So DO is critical to the entire koi pond system, vertebrates and invertebrates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    DO is not just for koi.


    If the bacteria colonies suffer from low DO, up comes the ammonia and nitrites...and down go the koi. So DO is critical to the entire koi pond system, vertebrates and invertebrates.
    right that's what I mean by reductive and oxidative biochmcial reactions. But don't fall into the trap of thinking about bacteria as also 'isolated' like some do the fish. Their needs are also both physiology based and also at the hands of others in the ecosystem. The three tiers of the ecosystem will be bacteria, plant life ( algae) and fish. ( and then a host of supporting cast players). All take some oxygen in their metabolic needs and of course, eutrophication, mineralization, ammonification all require a bit of saturated oxygen levels.
    The greatest step a hobbyist can take when keeping any ornamental fish is the epiphany of ORP. Intimately linked to pH and oxygen, an ORP reading will net out almost all of the 'steps along the way' in terms of microbiology. What is left is what the koi must live on- or not. In most cases, G.A.S. is a real indicator of oxygen limits on a koi's comfort level. JR

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    Nisai cookcpu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    right that's what I mean by reductive and oxidative biochmcial reactions. But don't fall into the trap of thinking about bacteria as also 'isolated' like some do the fish. Their needs are also both physiology based and also at the hands of others in the ecosystem. The three tiers of the ecosystem will be bacteria, plant life ( algae) and fish. ( and then a host of supporting cast players). All take some oxygen in their metabolic needs and of course, eutrophication, mineralization, ammonification all require a bit of saturated oxygen levels.
    The greatest step a hobbyist can take when keeping any ornamental fish is the epiphany of ORP. Intimately linked to pH and oxygen, an ORP reading will net out almost all of the 'steps along the way' in terms of microbiology. What is left is what the koi must live on- or not. In most cases, G.A.S. is a real indicator of oxygen limits on a koi's comfort level. JR
    Hello JR, what is an acceptable reading for ORP? Example pH 7.8, pond temperature around 27.3 C/around 81 F, ORP 287. Is such reading consider good parameter. I don't have a DO meter so I can't post the DO measurement.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookcpu View Post
    Hello JR, what is an acceptable reading for ORP? Example pH 7.8, pond temperature around 27.3 C/around 81 F, ORP 287. Is such reading consider good parameter. I don't have a DO meter so I can't post the DO measurement.
    Good Morning!

    ORP is THE very best picture one can get of what is actually going on on the most basic level of the pond. And the goal is to have a HIGHLY oxidative environment. Have you ever seen a natural body of water that looks 'dead'. No life at all in it to the naked eye? This is because you are looking at a highly reductive environment.
    There are two basic problems with ORP however and they account for the reason WHy the average hobbyist usually abandoms the reading as a hopeless cause.
    Problem one is - the fact that ORP is not like say a pH reading. It is a moving number that rises and falls based on pH, Temperature and the NET effect of a series of reductive and oxidative 'tug of war' numbers. This means that there is no 'right' one answer. To say for instance that the number 300 is an ideal is too simplistic. At what pH and temperature and at what oxygen levels would be the next question. Indeed, a reading of 300 might be low in some ponds and 'ideal' in others. And 260 in some ponds might actually be better than 300 in other ponds as a comparison ( when taking the temperature, pH and oxygen into account).
    But this thing can be nailed down. Years ago now I created a series of pond charts that would allow a person to look up the range of ORP based on their pond pH and temperatures. It will be in the book I'm writing.

    The second problem is- ORP , like pH shifts from day to night. it is normal and tells you that your pond is naturally more oxidative during the day and late afternoon than during the night or at dawn. This has to do with pH shift and oxygen/carbon dioxide shifts.

    GENERALLY speaking, an ORP reading above 240 is acceptable and suggests that when your pond is running at a high metabolism, the net effect is an oxidative environment. At 310 you are humming and at 140-180, your pond is likely too reductive and needs water changes, lower stocking, less feeding, filter cleaning time, poor circulation or a plain old dirty system.

    the can often be physical looks to a low ORP system. Yellow water, dead looking water, suds on the surface ( especially at dawn and dusk).
    Once you have gotten good at 'seeing water quality' you can almost guess the ORP range if you see good aeration and know the pH.

    JR
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    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I read an article in Rinko some years ago in which one of the researchers at the Japanese Inland Fisheries Research Institute wrote that nitrate interferes with oxygen availability. Just what was meant was not clear, as so often is the case in the old translated articles. Nonetheless, the notion has stuck in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    I read an article in Rinko some years ago in which one of the researchers at the Japanese Inland Fisheries Research Institute wrote that nitrate interferes with oxygen availability. Just what was meant was not clear, as so often is the case in the old translated articles. Nonetheless, the notion has stuck in my mind.

    Morning Mike! I think what they mean was a high level of nitrogenous waste is an oxygen killer. As you know, in a real wild pond, ammonia doesn't start from inorganic ammonia released from fish gills. It tends to come from macro organics and mineralization and autotrophic heterotrophs are first lines of defense. That to us, is new pond syndrome.
    One simple way for folks to remember this lesson is to think-- harmless forms of bacteria are more numerous than nitrifiers And they can and do break down ammonia from organics. They need a moleucle of oxygen to turn that organic molecule into energy. So when we have teeming organics , we have teeming nitrogen waste products. If we have teeming nitrogen species we have teeming bacteria-- bacteria that need oxygen to survive and gather energy.
    There is a simple BOD test that illustrates this dynamic very well. If you collect pond water in a bottle and measure pH and oxygen level and then cap it and put it in a dark place for 24 hours, you will see a massive drop ( or not) in oxygen over night. It doesn't escape! It is 'used up' by the bacteria in the sample and the organics and nitrogen waste it holds. JR

  8. #8
    Nisai cookcpu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Good Morning!

    ORP is THE very best picture one can get of what is actually going on on the most basic level of the pond. And the goal is to have a HIGHLY oxidative environment. Have you ever seen a natural body of water that looks 'dead'. No life at all in it to the naked eye? This is because you are looking at a highly reductive environment.
    There are two basic problems with ORP however and they account for the reason WHy the average hobbyist usually abandoms the reading as a hopeless cause.
    Problem one is - the fact that ORP is not like say a pH reading. It is a moving number that rises and falls based on pH, Temperature and the NET effect of a series of reductive and oxidative 'tug of war' numbers. This means that there is no 'right' one answer. To say for instance that the number 300 is an ideal is too simplistic. At what pH and temperature and at what oxygen levels would be the next question. Indeed, a reading of 300 might be low in some ponds and 'ideal' in others. And 260 in some ponds might actually be better than 300 in other ponds as a comparison ( when taking the temperature, pH and oxygen into account).
    But this thing can be nailed down. Years ago now I created a series of pond charts that would allow a person to look up the range of ORP based on their pond pH and temperatures. It will be in the book I'm writing.

    The second problem is- ORP , like pH shifts from day to night. it is normal and tells you that your pond is naturally more oxidative during the day and late afternoon than during the night or at dawn. This has to do with pH shift and oxygen/carbon dioxide shifts.

    GENERALLY speaking, an ORP reading above 240 is acceptable and suggests that when your pond is running at a high metabolism, the net effect is an oxidative environment. At 310 you are humming and at 140-180, your pond is likely too reductive and needs water changes, lower stocking, less feeding, filter cleaning time, poor circulation or a plain old dirty system.

    the can often be physical looks to a low ORP system. Yellow water, dead looking water, suds on the surface ( especially at dawn and dusk).
    Once you have gotten good at 'seeing water quality' you can almost guess the ORP range if you see good aeration and know the pH.

    JR
    Thank you JR for the explanation. The last time I see a dead looking water is about 30+ years ago, that is Singapore River.

    Thanks god, my pond water don't look yellow or have suds on the surface. I am still learning how to maintain good water. By the way, when your book is publish please give me a tinker, hopefully it is available in Amazon.com. Thank you.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookcpu View Post
    Thank you JR for the explanation. The last time I see a dead looking water is about 30+ years ago, that is Singapore River.

    Thanks god, my pond water don't look yellow or have suds on the surface. I am still learning how to maintain good water. By the way, when your book is publish please give me a tinker, hopefully it is available in Amazon.com. Thank you.
    You sound like you are well on your way and kinda 'get' what good water looks like. I always tell hobbyits interested in such things that water is first 'raw' then mellow and eventually stale. the ONLY remedy to this, dispite thousands of products, chemicals and techniques, is the humble water change.
    I've don't conservatively ten thousand water changes in my ponds, aquariums and quarantine systems. And over a fifty year old period I can say with confidence-- they are mandatory, cheap and the very best thing you can do for a closed system. But the art of the water change is the thing-- never too large as that is raw water * not mellow water. 10% a week is better than 30% a month. And 50% a month is reckless and counter productive.
    respect the balance and stability of a pond. A pond also has a life cycle of new, mature and sickly old. Some things to think about. best, JR

  10. #10
    MCA
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    Can a pond be too oxidative with a routine ORP value that is too high? As I remember years ago Tom Blischock (sp) proposed that around 350mV was starting to get too oxidative for koi in situ. While the organic waste were handled quickly in such a system...the skin quality was starting to show signs of being stressed. As I remember to get ORP up to the 350mV range without oxidizers (PP, O3, ..etc.) you have to have pristine pond, DO at max, and neutral to slightly acidic pH.

    So can ORP be too low or too high for long term optimum koi health? Yes. Like so much in koi keeping, the devil is in the details.
    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

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