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Thread: Using Ozone

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Using Ozone

    The use of ozone with koi ponds has been a controversial subject. Over on the KP board an old thread has been brought up for renewed discussion. One post is as thorough an explanation of what is involved in having a safe use of ozone as I have seen, so I am re-posting the central point here:

    "***
    As far as incorporating the unit... you need a reaction chamber of some sort, this is just a place where the ozone can be safely introduced into the water to be treated and then have some dwell time to do its thing. The methods of injection are as many as there are for aeration... venturi, fine mist airstones, etc. Finally you'll need a way to completely destroy all ozone before returning the treated water back to the pond. How this is done can also vary widely... half-life of ozone in distilled water (where there's nothing for it to react with but itself and water molecules) is 20 minutes @ 20C, so it would take hours for it to completely dissipate on its own BUT pond water has lots of things to oxidize and will use up a lot of ozone quite quickly (reactions are almost instantaneous, 3000X faster than chlorine) so if anything is left coming out of the reaction chamber you can speed up O3 destruction by bubbling air through it, tumbling it, passing through activated carbon or my favorite, passing slowly through a strong UV containing a spike at 254nm (the wavelength that destroys ozone)... careful not to choose a UV unit that also allows the spike @185nm (this wavelength is use to actually create ozone) and any combination of these methods. An example: In my current implementation, I'm using one side of a 6"dia. U-shaped protein skimmer (my own design) to introduce the ozone through fine mist ceramic airstones (it only gets about a 20 sec dwell time), then it slowly (350 gal/hr) flows into the other half of the U where I have 4 airstones blowing out ~30L/min of air in a counter-flow set-up and from there it goes into a pressurized plastic container filled with lava rocks and bio-balls to introduce turbulence and from there it passes through a 25watt UV (straight-thru design rated for a 2400 gal/hr flow) and then finally through 3 feet of activated carbon before re-entering the pond. I doubt you'd need anything that elaborate but I already had almost all the components in my system to begin with and this "ozone obsession" drove me into over-kill (I'm REALLY protective of my koi). Remember this is for an 1100 gallon pond (a little closer to 1300 gallons if you include ALL the water in the whole system) and this circuit is only flowing 350 gal/hr, giving it a 3 hour turn-over rate.

    In the beginning you'll want to run it 24/7 since there will be a lot for the ozone to react with but as the pollutants in the pond get cleaned up you may find you have to reduce the "on" time eventually... this is where true ozone output comes into importance, in your case you might be able to continue to operate it 24/7.

    Oh, and one last thing... its very important the materials you select your components out of as ozone is such a strong oxidizer that components made from the wrong materials will degrade quickly (within days depending upon concentration levels) and that could be disastrous! Silicone for the tubing and stainless steel for the fittings and PVC will do for the plumbing, though its not the best you can get by with it... there are even Viton/Kynar air check valves on eBay if you decide to go with ceramic or sintered glass airstones. In this same vein, you don't want to have any mechanicals inserted along its path (ie pump) because ozone will destroy natural rubber (as in seals and O-rings) in short order."

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Old regulars will know that I have a strong bias against use of ozone because of the dangers involved. It is something that requires a real understanding of the essential necessity of safety measures being in place and safe practices being assiduously followed. Not only will ozone degrade rubber, but it will degrade plastics, including most pond liners. Air line tubing goes quickly. Exposure to concentrated ozone can cause lung damage. Exposure to very low levels for extended periods is well known to cause headaches, which are just a symptom of more serious potential problems if the exposure continues. All of that said, it is possible to use ozone beneficially if one makes a full investment in what is needed and is careful to never forget the danger involved. ...Not the ordinary pondkeeper.

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    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Mike, as a new hobbyist I was always told that Ozone in ponds is bad, bad, bad... yet I've not heard of any 'bad' stories. What happens that causes the deaths of koi? Does the unit or some component of the units system fail? And this allows too much ozone too quickly and kills the koi through what process? I don't have any interest in experimenting with Ozone, but I am curious on how it kills and what lead to failure. Thanks-

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    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    I had a close friend who had a pump house next to his pond. held all his electrical, food extra pumps etc. When he got ozone and didn't vent the building, all his pump's rubber seals, air pump bladers, the rubber nets all the rage at the time all disintegrated after while. LOL, never had fish issues
    tho.

  5. #5
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appliance Guy View Post
    Mike, as a new hobbyist I was always told that Ozone in ponds is bad, bad, bad... yet I've not heard of any 'bad' stories. What happens that causes the deaths of koi? Does the unit or some component of the units system fail? And this allows too much ozone too quickly and kills the koi through what process? I don't have any interest in experimenting with Ozone, but I am curious on how it kills and what lead to failure. Thanks-
    I think oxygen is O2 and ozone is O3. Too much O3 is bad because it is is a powerful oxidant.

    Wikipedia says high ozone can damage mucus and respiratory tissues in animals.

  6. #6
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    In a typical O3 system there is a ORP controller that measures the water ORP and causes more or less O3 to be produced and mixed into the water (in a venturi, factionator, or other type of reaction vessel. The ORP monitor/controller should prevent water headed back to the pond from getting above something like 400mV. If the controller gets out of calibration or malfunctions, the risk is that the water headed back to the pond could have ORP well above 400mV with active O3 molecutes that will burn anything organic (like fish) on contact.

    Using any oxidizer O3, PP, chlorine/bromine, to maintain a "healthy pond" is counter intuitive. The pond system can never achieve a balance between the load (fish and their food) and the engine (filtration bacteria and aeration). It is almost like intentionally creating a routine mild case of new pond syndrome. Oxidizers also pose a risk for pond owners. You definitely don't want to ingest or inhale any or get any in an eye or other orifice.
    ricshaw likes this.
    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    The direct risk to the koi is ozone getting into the pond. What I liked about the set-up described above was the emphasis on having multiple steps in place for removal of residual ozone. Sometimes you'll see comments that 'a little ozone won't hurt'. That's no different than saying adding a little potassium permanganate (or chlorine) every day is nothing to worry about. If a person has a really dirty pond it might not matter until the exposure is prolonged, but I doubt someone going to the expense and effort of using ozone is going to have a dirty pond. And, it is actually more destructive than PP or chlorine. You'll not hear about air lines feeding bottom drains disintegrating from use of PP. Nylon nets turn to dust if exposed to vapors or left in water containing ozone.

  8. #8
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
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    When younger and newer to keeping koi I thought about using ozone. After a bit of research I decided it would be way too much trouble and also too big a risk to everything exposed. Everything fails at some point and when a ozone system fails to properly regulate the amount of O3 delivered it will kill everything in your pond. This has happened to many public aquariums and zoos but for those organizations it is considered part of being able to keep some of their exhibits clean and clear. When the occasionally accident happens they can clean out that system replace the equipment and start over.

    Almost as important is the reality of getting older and needing a simplier system to maintain and more time to just sit and enjoy the koi and pond. Ozone would require almost daily cleaning and regular replacement of orp sensors, ozone testing of pond water, back up systems with additional orp testing and probe cleaning, etc. etc. etc.
    Disclosure:These opinions are based on my experience and conversations with persons I consider accomplished koi keepers and do not reflect the viewpoint of any organization.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Bumping up for Alexandre.

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