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Thread: Need help with water quality - new growing pond

  1. #11
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Akai-san, I am bothered that there has been no change. I would expect some change even if things had not yet settled in. I am not familiar with the Optima II. Who makes it? I'd like to do a search on it and see if there is something about it that might explain the situation.


    Doing large water changes when establishing a new filter does not affect the process of establishing the biofilm community, but will limit the population of nitrifiers to the level of the ammonia and nitrite in the system. It is like having the volume of the pond increased without increasing the stocking. There is dilution of ammonia and nitrite, but it is still there. The potential problem is in abruptly ceasing the water changes when the nitrifiers seem to be established. The population of nitrifiers needs some time to expand to match the available nutrient.

  2. #12
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Akai-san, I am bothered that there has been no change. I would expect some change even if things had not yet settled in. I am not familiar with the Optima II. Who makes it? I'd like to do a search on it and see if there is something about it that might explain the situation.
    Maybe they mean Ultima II filter.

  3. #13
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Yeah, 'optima', 'ultima' ... you'd think product manufacturers would be more creative.

    If it is the Ultima II, I know it is wide use and much liked by those who have it. Pressure filters like it can be slow to mature. (I include bead filters in the group, although the folks at Aqua emphasize that theirs does not use beads.) The media has a film on it when new that can take a week or so to wear off, which is why some folks dip new plastic media in PP for a few minutes and then rinse before using. At this point, however, there should be progress in reaching full nitrification. There is a lot of nitrate being produced, but still nitrite is present at undesirable levels, despite 15% water changes every other day. This does not make sense to me. I would not expect nitrate to be that high with such a water change routine in place, and definitely would not expect detectable nitrite with that much nitrate being produced. Since I'm dumbfounded, I'd start over by verifying that the nitrite and nitrate test kits are not expired, that test tubes are clean, test source water again, etc. I don't think you said what kind of test kits you were using. If it is the strip tests, go get new test kits that use drops of reagents in a test tube. (The paper strip tests are notoriously unreliable for precise measuring.) Make sure you follow all instructions carefully. If you get the same results, all I can say is to be patient and feed lightly.

  4. #14
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Ultima II

    Sorry Mike and all, it is the Ultima II 4000 system that I am running with the WLim Vortex and matala mat/JMat combonation media stacked 6 high right now. I have more JMat so I've been thinking about adding another layer in there as well to increase the media volume. This situation has got me confused as well. Just yesterday evening, my Nitrates jumped to 60ppm from 40ppms and worst yet Nitrites bammed to 2+ and yet the ammonia is practically zero again. The one thing is that my pH levels have been reading 7.4 the past week. My test kits are the reagent type and still current. I do also have those strips test just to see if I get similar reading from my test tube kits. Dates on the strips is still good as well. In my desperation to get the pollutants out of the system, I did backwash the system again this weekend. The backwashing of the Ultima media did clear out trapped dead matter in the filter itself. captured the spoils for my further investigation on what is in the filter itself. Monday morning, although my water has always been clear (not cloudy or discolored), the tank water had a different clear shining off the surface. The fish seemed even more playful and lively and really wanted to feed. I fed them of course, but not too much. Made me wonder if the filter itself is the culprit in holding on to the debris and matter we try so hard to separate from the system.

  5. #15
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I'll be hoping this indicates you've turned the corner. Keep us updated. It's a curious situation.

  6. #16
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Nope...still here...

    Wow, I let the system cycle for two days hoping that I would see some sort of change in my numbers after the backwash and vortex drain..but NOPE! I'm still getting high Nitrate and Nitrite numbers with ZERO ammonia readings. pH has been holding at 7.4. I just made a 20% water change on Sunday and did the salt regiment as suggested. Question: Instead of rock salt, I have started using the saltwater-aquarium ready salt product because I read on several other forums that it was better for fish. Good? Bad? I haven't found something that said this was a bad product for salinity. Hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot with this. I'm still holding on and hoping the system will kick in. I'm down to feeding very sparingly once a day to get this balanced out.

  7. #17
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akai-San View Post
    Wow, I let the system cycle for two days hoping that I would see some sort of change in my numbers after the backwash and vortex drain..but NOPE! I'm still getting high Nitrate and Nitrite numbers with ZERO ammonia readings. pH has been holding at 7.4. I just made a 20% water change on Sunday and did the salt regiment as suggested. Question: Instead of rock salt, I have started using the saltwater-aquarium ready salt product because I read on several other forums that it was better for fish. Good? Bad? I haven't found something that said this was a bad product for salinity. Hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot with this. I'm still holding on and hoping the system will kick in. I'm down to feeding very sparingly once a day to get this balanced out.
    Weird. But, your pH has dropped from 8.2 to 7.4. Why? That would indicate a lot of biological activity, but seems out of line given the water changes you were performing.

    The aquaria salt is fine, but more expensive. Rock salt does what is needed for less.

  8. #18
    Oyagoi kntry's Avatar
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    Are you sure your ammonia kit is good? What is your water temp? Maybe the water is a little too cool for the bacteria to really populate.

  9. #19
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kntry View Post
    Are you sure your ammonia kit is good? What is your water temp? Maybe the water is a little too cool for the bacteria to really populate.
    Haha. Zipcode 96821. Honolulu Hawaii. Water temps are at 78-80+ degrees. Temperate climate so we really dont have temperature swings. We get growing season 12 months out of the year.

  10. #20
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Update on Numbers

    Well early this morning, I did check ALL the labels on the test kit and all the liquid agents and they were all good until 2017. I didn't know these agents lasted that long. Anyway, I did go ahead and get a test done on the pond water and the source water (ONE MORE TIME). Source water checked out with zero, zero, zero and pH of 8.4+ The shocking thing to me this morning was that my Nitrites and Nitrates numbers have gone down some. Not sure if its due to the early morning cycle (less sunlight exposure). Ammonia is ZERO, Nitrites at .5, Nitrates at 10ppm and pH holding at 7.4. I hope the system is starting to turn in my favor, but I will keep a very close eye on this. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. On a more interesting note: My dad gave me a small 2'x2' Biotech Box Filter with round sponge type filter material. I decided yesterday to try and grow some good bacteria in a separate environment. I just started running water through the filter with one of the in-pond pumps I snagged in my "deal of the year". I'm really finding this water quality stuff quite interesting.

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