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Thread: Need help with water quality - new growing pond

  1. #21
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Do you know the general hardness and alkalinity readings of the source water and the pond? ...I'm wondering about the lower pH in the pond and whether that gives a clue to why nitrite is still showing up.

  2. #22
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Do you know the general hardness and alkalinity readings of the source water and the pond? ...I'm wondering about the lower pH in the pond and whether that gives a clue to why nitrite is still showing up.
    Thanks Mike. I only have the strips for the GH (good till 12/2014). The GH on the source water is between 30-50ppm with pH high and low end at 8.0+ The GH on the pond is similar 30-60ppm, the pH this morning is in the 7.8+ range. May I ask where should the water quality be? In relation to the pH and GH levels. I can understand why folks are saying it is the test kits that may be the culprit (I thought I got a good one $$$). Does water quality fluctuate as much as what I am seeing? I can read about what the ideal ranges are for the water, but how does one gain the knowledge to address those items that you are picking up on Mike? I understand that it is truly a natural environment that we are trying to mimic in our manmade creations. As long as I can remember 9-10 years ago, I wanted to test a shower system, maybe I'll try one for my recent QT setup. I've always had all the parts, just no real masterplan.

  3. #23
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Although your source water has a relatively high pH, the general hardness level is low. You have soft water. That's good for the skin of koi. It is a bit unusual to have that high a pH reading with water that soft. With such water, it is common to have low alkalinity. So, I'd guess that is your situation. If it is, it might explain things. Low alkalinity allows the pH to fluctuate more widely with comparatively small changes in dissolved CO2. Low alkalinity can also retard development of the biofilm. That, in return, would explain why you continue to get nitrite readings despite nitrate production occurring.

    To see if these thoughts are correct for what is occurring in your pond, get an alkalinity test kit. Test both the pond and source water. That will give you an indication of the alkalinity being consumed in the nitrification process. If it turns out the alkalinity is low and significantly reduced in the pond compared to the source water, then you can gradually increase alkalinity by adding oyster shell. 'Chicken grit' is cheap if available at an agriculture supply store in your area. Or, you can use any sort of seashells as long as thoroughly rinsed, not exposed to contaminants, etc. Search for 'chicken grit' on this or other forums and you'll find how much folks use, how they place it in their filter systems, etc. Or, maybe someone will come along with recommendations that fit your filter set up.

    Now, all of this is guesswork on my part. So, don't get too optimistic that the mystery is solved. It's just an idea of what may be going on. BTW, my entire fishkeeping experience since I got my first aquarium as a kid has been with hard water and high pH. If I had soft water, all of my aquaria would be devoted to Discus and Apistogramma.

  4. #24
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Although your source water has a relatively high pH, the general hardness level is low. You have soft water. That's good for the skin of koi. It is a bit unusual to have that high a pH reading with water that soft. With such water, it is common to have low alkalinity. So, I'd guess that is your situation. If it is, it might explain things. Low alkalinity allows the pH to fluctuate more widely with comparatively small changes in dissolved CO2. Low alkalinity can also retard development of the biofilm. That, in return, would explain why you continue to get nitrite readings despite nitrate production occurring.

    To see if these thoughts are correct for what is occurring in your pond, get an alkalinity test kit. Test both the pond and source water. That will give you an indication of the alkalinity being consumed in the nitrification process. If it turns out the alkalinity is low and significantly reduced in the pond compared to the source water, then you can gradually increase alkalinity by adding oyster shell. 'Chicken grit' is cheap if available at an agriculture supply store in your area. Or, you can use any sort of seashells as long as thoroughly rinsed, not exposed to contaminants, etc. Search for 'chicken grit' on this or other forums and you'll find how much folks use, how they place it in their filter systems, etc. Or, maybe someone will come along with recommendations that fit your filter set up.

    Now, all of this is guesswork on my part. So, don't get too optimistic that the mystery is solved. It's just an idea of what may be going on. BTW, my entire fishkeeping experience since I got my first aquarium as a kid has been with hard water and high pH. If I had soft water, all of my aquaria would be devoted to Discus and Apistogramma.
    Thanks again (as always) for your expertise and willingness to help with my learning. I will get hooked up with an alkalinity test kit and start reading about low and high alkalinity. I'm not sure that our water is soft here, but with a better test kit in my hands (I only used the strips yesterday), I will definitely find out. I always thought hard water required the oyster shells to help balance and soften the water bringing the pH levels down. I guess I missed the boat on that one. FYI. From day one, I have always had a basket (8lbs) of Oyster shells spread out in the system. Mahalo! (Thank You!)

  5. #25
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Sunday morning I did a good 20% water change (no backwash) and got the system running full steam ahead. (Just got home tonight) Tuesday night and I just took a water quality test and to my surprise...for the first time the numbers are favorable (not perfect) but I was happy to finally see a change in the higher numbers that I have been getting on this start-up filter. Ammonia = Zero, Nitrites = 0.25, and Nitrates = 5 ppm. It probably was the water change, but few weeks before, even with the heavy water changes I was getting some high numbers. Aquaponics system is cycling now

  6. #26
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Fast update on my water quality. Ammonia =Zero, Nitrites = Zero, Nitrates = 1.5 ppm & pH = 7.4 Water is crystal clear and residents are awaiting move.

  7. #27
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    At last!! ... It sure took a while.

  8. #28
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    At last!! ... It sure took a while.
    Thanks Mike! Appreciate all your GREAT advice and mentorship in my learning process. Now we're really having fun with water!

  9. #29
    Tategoi semi skilled keeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    At last!! ... It sure took a while.
    MikeM, GREAT bit of mentoring !talked through each step, reasoned and explained every action !

    Brian

  10. #30
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    I have been noticing a slow decrease in pH levels. I have been holding to my water change ritual 10% twice a week and over the past 2-3 months have noticed slow decline in the pH. When I started, my pH was relatively high at 8.0 and slowly it has been getting lower and lower. Until this morning, my test showed a drop from 7.0 to 6.0. I do have oyster shells in my filter chamber and the water quality has been a solid zero, zero, zero with my weekly testing. I'll have to do more research on how to bring up the PH back to 7.0-7.5 but thought I would ask about any dangers associated with low pH in the 6.0 range. Thanks is advance.

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