Home | About Us | Contact Us


Koi Forum - Koi-Bito Magazine straight from Japan
Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 57
Like Tree6Likes

Thread: Beneficial Green Water? A beginning of understanding

  1. #21
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    Posts
    6,726
    Hey Mike, long time no see.

    You've just given an excellent illustration of one of my basic notions of Koi health.
    Everything in their environment is a nutrient of some type for some thing. That can be either good or bad for the Koi, but true nonetheless.
    We tend to view Koi nutrition and its impact on growth and health on a Macro-scale, like reading the ingredients list on the back of the bag of food. I'm a firm believer that the micro-nutrient value of the "invisible" life in the water makes a difference, both for growth and general health. Lets face it, there is nothing in their environment that isn't part of their diet on some level as they cannot ingest what we purposely feed them without taking in the dissolved micro-content of the water its floating in. If there is unicellular algae in the mix, they just become part of the process too.
    There is nothing in that water that is not part of an interdependent cycle of life, each one either feeding on or providing a food source for another in some way. The balancing act you speak of is the key as far as I'm concerned, no matter what color the water may be.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  2. #22
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    Hi, Larry. Miss not having you posting. Hope everything is going well.

    You'll recall how JR would so often extoll the concept of 'living water' spoken by Japanese breeders. The concept was usually expressed in contrast to 'raw water', which made it confusing since the best Japanese ponds were (and are) based on a constant in-flow of fresh (i.e., 'raw') water. I have come to think of the idea of living water as encompassing that total 'interdependent cycle of life', from biofilm to algae to micro-biome... plus our koi, all of which interact with, alter and rebuild the water continuously. We tend to focus on isolated aspects, like the nitrification stages, rather than the totality of the forest.

    Anybody know how many gallons of water per hour is 'filtered' through the biofilm and algal cells?

  3. #23
    MCA
    MCA is offline
    Honmei MCA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    2,574
    In the context of biofilm and algae.....exactly what do you mean? Are you talking about:

    capturing and removing insoluble organic (floating algae is part of this problem...not a solution)
    capturing and removing soluble organics (compounds given off by plants are part of the DOC problem set)
    nitrification of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate (plants do it better than bacteria?)
    dentification of nitrate to nitrogen gas (plants do that better than bacteria?)

    I have yet to see green water with ORP levels in the 350-400mV.

  4. #24
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    In the context of biofilm and algae.....exactly what do you mean? Are you talking about:

    capturing and removing insoluble organic (floating algae is part of this problem...not a solution)
    capturing and removing soluble organics (compounds given off by plants are part of the DOC problem set)
    nitrification of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate (plants do it better than bacteria?)
    dentification of nitrate to nitrogen gas (plants do that better than bacteria?)

    I have yet to see green water with ORP levels in the 350-400mV.
    LOL, you definitely will not have high ORP with green water! And, you'll not find many mudponds with high ORP either... which may say as much about ORP being a false god as anything else.

    I think ORP can be a useful tool when considering the hobbyist pond founded on nitrification, if a person knows how to use the information. As you well know, algae do not convert ammonia to nitrite, but instead utilize the nitrogen in ammonia without creating nitrite or nitrate. And, the algae do not engage in denitrification...at least not in the sense of creating nitrogen gas that we usually mean. Until the algae dies, the nitrogen is held captive in the cell structures. The processes are entirely different. If only we could control greenwater in our hobby ponds! But, that is not something anyone has figured out how to reliably accomplish.

    My comment about biofilm and algae 'filtering' the pond water was in the 'living water' context. There are far more interactions than the ones concerning nitrogen. All the comments that get made about 'replenishing minerals' and similar comments touch on the bigger forest, but within the hobby there is no real understanding of what all the interactions are. There is not even a single field of science devoted to the complexity of it all. The science gets divided up among limnologists, phycologists, etc., etc. I certainly have no understanding of it. But, those Japanese breeders who would speak of 'living water' being best for koi did not know the science. They are just farmers, although they could see the results and knew that raw water did not give the same results.

  5. #25
    MCA
    MCA is offline
    Honmei MCA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    2,574
    But which Japanese breeder goes out of his way to create green water in their ponds or greenhouse tanks? The mud ponds are usually too turbid with suspended mud for any serious algae growth. That turbidity likely goes along way in protecting skin from strong summer sunlight. And in the greenhouse you want clear water to show off and sell koi. So if breeders don't need green water.....why do we?

  6. #26
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    I think I have not made myself understood. I am not speaking of pea soup water being desirable, at least not once koi are past the fry stage. I disagree that mudponds are clear water with only the turbidity of stirred up mud. Except during periods of low water temperatures, as a general rule mudponds are definitely green, but not to the point of being pea soup. That would be a dangerous situation. [It does occur (pea soup conditions) from time to time, particularly during hot summers, but is a danger when it happens. Losses due to lack of oxygenation occur during those episodes. While such events are not publicized, they occur every summer. I do not believe any breeder is immune to them.] The greenwater algae give the mudponds a greenish cast that is readily seen. It is simply natural and does not have to be purposefully cultivated. Although, of course, heavy greenwater algae growth is encouraged for fry ponds with Spring fertilization occurring for that purpose. What is positive for fry is not the best situation for large koi.

    The winterkeeping conditions of the greenhouse ponds are not a model for maximizing koi development. I think hobbyists make a mistake if they use winterkeeping practices as a model for how to develop the best in their koi. But, obviously, if you want to see your koi to best advantage (and that is what nearly all hobbyists want!), clear water is required. How to give the best possible environment while having clear water is the rationale underlying our reliance on biofilm rather than the full panoply of processes at work in Nature, or the more nearly natural range of processes in the mudpond.

    In the confines of our hobbyist ponds, greenwater cannot be reliably controlled and is thus a risk factor. But, if we could develop techniques that gave us control without so increasing maintenance tasks as to require obsessiveness, I do think the opportunity would be at hand to do a far better job of husbandry. Perhaps at some future time our knowledge will allow a different approach. although it is difficult to imagine much of a market based on techniques that reduce pleasure viewing. As it is, the only model we have are the enormous greenhouse ponds of Momotaro, Narita and a few others where gallonage per koi, in-flowing fresh water and rates of filtration are beyond the means of all but a very few.


    ...So, we do the best we can with what we have, and seek the balance that suits us individually between maximizing our enjoyment of our koi and maximizing their environment. I still keep 16 koi in 12,500 gallons even though I know I could do a better job of maximizing their potential if I only kept 5.
    Last edited by MikeM; 10-25-2016 at 08:59 AM.

  7. #27
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    Posts
    6,726
    I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but someone new to this conversation might be reading so...

    The hardest part about these conversations is maintaining an understanding of what is going on in the pond and why and not wearing blinders to the bigger picture.

    If life of any form is in your pond it is serving a purpose.

    We feed Koi with pellets, etc... which contain various elements to provide them with energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc... that promote growth and health. 100% of those pellets are consumed by the Koi (and/or anything else that may be capable of getting the leftovers). Most of what is consumed is then sequestered in the bone, muscle, organs, etc... of the Koi. What is not sequestered is released as waste either through the vent, slime coat, or gills.

    Those waste byproducts are now the "pellets" for lower life forms, be they bacteria, algae, plants, various small invertebrates, blah-blah. Their individual populations are driven by the availability of the nutrition and environmental conditions they require for life and growth. All of them likewise sequester most of what they consume, either by physical growth or reproduction. Algal and bacterial blooms are a direct response to an overabundance of bioavailability for their reproduction. Some of what they consume is sequestered, some is excreted as waste which creates food for the next lower life-form in the chain, and on it goes.

    It is the process of consumption, growth, reproduction, and conversion that keeps everything in balance so long as all of those wastes are being captured and either sequestered or converted back to their elemental form. It is when things begin to die off that things go out of balance.

    And then along come the chemicals, UV lights, etc... that people toss in their ponds to make the water "gin clear". The uneducated kill off the majority of their waste management life forms for their viewing pleasure, and then forget that all of those wastes are no longer sequestered and need to be removed from the system immediately. The ponds most of us have are themselves "sequestered", and if those wastes are not being managed by life forms, they immediately become pollutants which disrupt the balance for all of the surviving life forms. The uneducated will enjoy gin clear water and sickly fish because they do not manage those wastes properly.

    The Japanese ponds enjoy a healthy balance because the wastes are managed by lower life forms combined with continual refreshing from flow-through systems.

    Most backyarders in the U.S. don't use that method, and many rarely engage in wisely managed water changes. Wastes are allowed to accumulate, plants are allowed to shed dead leaves, etc... into the water where their "sequestered" contents re-pollute the water with everything they first consumed. Algae is nuked with UV's and chemical treatments, and the dead cells re-pollute the water with their formerly sequestered contents as they settle out. Maybe the pond owner will do a water change in a week or two, or maybe they'll just "top it up" and wait until spring or fall to come along to hire someone to clean the pond for them. After all, their A.S. "expert" told them that is how its done.

    The bottom line for me is health. If the water is healthy, even with a tint of green, my Koi will be healthy. If it gets greener than that I'll increase the flow-through for better waste management. I'll feed the Koi knowing that I'm feeding 100% of the life-cycle going on in the pond, and I'll manage the entire life cycle as one "whole". The entire environment of the pond is for their life and health, and that makes it my responsibility to understand it and respect it for what it is.
    MikeM likes this.

  8. #28
    MCA
    MCA is offline
    Honmei MCA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    2,574
    If life of any form is in your pond it is serving a purpose.
    But is a desirable purpose. What about parasites and other pathogens? What about plants trying to ping pong pH and contributing to DOCs? I don't understand the desirability of every living thing that might like to inhabit my koi pond.

    I guess that is why I am an engineer and not a biologist.

  9. #29
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    But is a desirable purpose. What about parasites and other pathogens? What about plants trying to ping pong pH and contributing to DOCs? I don't understand the desirability of every living thing that might like to inhabit my koi pond.

    I guess that is why I am an engineer and not a biologist.
    Of course, we would prefer there were no parasites or pathogens. We also know that they are always present. If the system is well-managed, they do not cause a problem. Fail to manage the water and things get out of hand. That's when the parasites and pathogens do become enemies.

  10. #30
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    Posts
    6,726
    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    But is a desirable purpose. What about parasites and other pathogens? What about plants trying to ping pong pH and contributing to DOCs? I don't understand the desirability of every living thing that might like to inhabit my koi pond.

    I guess that is why I am an engineer and not a biologist.
    Precisely, which is why I said what I did the way I did. Engineering and Biology are both sciences, and they are not at all at odds with each other. To the contrary, if you have a well engineered environment the biology will be at its healthiest, and vice-versa.

    Another of my favorite JR quotes is "nature abhors a vacuum", and if there is a vacuum in any part of the biology (or engineering) of a ponds environment, nature will fill that void with something. She will NOT ask our permission or give us any options to choose from. We get whatever nature prescribes to take advantage of the void we have created. That is why people like us discourage planted ponds, rocky ponds, etc... Those things are promoted as "natural", but their inclusion creates a biological void nature has to deal with. In a closed system, nature will gladly sacrifice human design on the altar of natural consequences.

    That speaks to things that are badly engineered out of ignorance of biological demands. But, you likewise cannot engineer something that removes biology from the picture if "life" is what you want in your pond. We keep parasites and pathogens in check with a good understanding of biology and engineering principles that support it without trying to defeat it.

    My earliest life lessons in applied science were about water. My father was the manager of a local utility district, so I grew up around fresh water and wastewater management. I was exposed to water treatment, engineering design, and biological science from the time of my earliest memories of "going to work with dad". Making all of those things play well together is 2nd nature to my mindset.

    Perhaps my other problem is that my "day job" is to coordinate engineering, operations, marketing, IT, satellite networks, and federal regulations, etc... to make sure they all shake hands and work well together. I'm a professional juggler of disparate interests, each with their own agendas, all of which are necessary. It makes my desire for a low stress, healthy pond, that doesn't freak me out if it isn't gin clear a nice dream at the end of the day...

Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Green Water
    By Edith in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 07-29-2011, 10:33 AM
  2. Green Water and UV
    By MikeM in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 06-05-2010, 11:03 PM
  3. green water is gone now
    By uncle_gii in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-31-2008, 11:33 AM
  4. Understanding soft/hard water?
    By cman.dc in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 11-14-2007, 06:09 PM
  5. green water
    By julia22 in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 12-15-2006, 01:20 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Articles - Sitemap - FAQs and Rules

KB Footer Graphic
Straight from Japan... For the serious hobbyist!
All content and images copyright of: Koi-bito.com