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Thread: Copper Toxicity

  1. #1
    Tosai Fishdentist's Avatar
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    Copper Toxicity

    My pond builder placed a master valve for my bottom drain in my filter pit. It is a 4" brass valve. His worries were reliability and longevity.


    Now, my worries are possible etching of brass and exposing copper. I like, and have really soft water. From the city, it is a trace to 1 drop of KH. I use baking soda (BS) to maintain 3-4 drops of KH. I use a carbon filtered flow through of 20-22% a week. Along with that, I do two, 5% water changes per week. Afterward, I add about 2 cups of BS, witch usually keeps it at 3-4 drops of KH.


    Has anyone had personal or known of situation where brass can leak out copper? I think it is possible, but how probable?


    Thank you

  2. #2
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    My 4" Valterra knife valves have been in service for 10 years. They are not even the stainless steel version.

    No way I would put a brass value in a pond system. I would not want any risk of copper leaching when there are so many options for relatively inert plastic valves.

  3. #3
    Tategoi bobbysuzanna's Avatar
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    I am sure you will find lots of opinions, but not so sure where you will be able to find facts. There are several commercially available test kits which do a very good job of checking for copper. You may want to consider purchasing one of those just to see if this is a issue or not.

  4. #4
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    It is very common for houses to be plumb with copper pipe. Some people drink the tap water and/or fill their Koi ponds from copper pipe plumbing.

    Fishdentist; Do your patients rinse with water from copper pipes? Is copper pipe a problem with your city soft water?

  5. #5
    Oyagoi dizzyfish's Avatar
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    How many gallons of water in your pond? I don't see it as being much to be concerned with if you do regular water changes. I'd be surprised if it ever leached enough to be detected with a copper test kit unless it is an extremely small pond. Copper at levels that are probably higher than you will ever experience are frequently used to treat for parasites in fresh and marine aquariums.

  6. #6
    Tategoi powerman's Avatar
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    I wouldn't use a brass or copper valve or any brass or copper piping for the pond... I made sure to get a stainless steel heat exchanger... Jim North lost some koi to copper toxicity in the pond water... The symptoms as I recall were a lowered immune system leading to lots of various ulcers and lethargy and gills not functioning properly and mortalities.. no parasites, all other parameters in the normal ranges and finally the problems were traced down to copper in the water...

    You could get a test for copper and test periodically and just leave things as is until there is a reading, maybe it will never be an issue especially if your ph stays in the 8 range... or you could replace the valve with something else and not have any worries... (I know you like to worry) Me too, I over think lots of things to do with the pond...

    In my opinion the copper piping in our houses doesn't usually effect the water because the water doesn't stay in there long enough... in our recirculating ponds the water goes through the same pipes over and over and if copper is going to leach out , it will have plenty of chances... I don't know where the copper that Jim North had in his water came from, perhaps the pipes in the house or maybe just in the source water already...

  7. #7
    Jumbo jnorth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerman View Post
    I wouldn't use a brass or copper valve or any brass or copper piping for the pond... I made sure to get a stainless steel heat exchanger... Jim North lost some koi to copper toxicity in the pond water... The symptoms as I recall were a lowered immune system leading to lots of various ulcers and lethargy and gills not functioning properly and mortalities.. no parasites, all other parameters in the normal ranges and finally the problems were traced down to copper in the water...

    You could get a test for copper and test periodically and just leave things as is until there is a reading, maybe it will never be an issue especially if your ph stays in the 8 range... or you could replace the valve with something else and not have any worries... (I know you like to worry) Me too, I over think lots of things to do with the pond...

    In my opinion the copper piping in our houses doesn't usually effect the water because the water doesn't stay in there long enough... in our recirculating ponds the water goes through the same pipes over and over and if copper is going to leach out , it will have plenty of chances... I don't know where the copper that Jim North had in his water came from, perhaps the pipes in the house or maybe just in the source water already...
    Its in the source water. Not even close to being toxic for humans but very bad for koi if left on its own. I just treat with Novaqua.
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  8. #8
    Tategoi powerman's Avatar
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    Thanks Jim, just read about Novaqua and it sounds like good stuff...

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