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Thread: Does Vinegar Do Any Good?

  1. #1
    Nisai
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    146

    Does Vinegar Do Any Good?

    Hello everyone,

    I just finish completed my pond construction two weeks ago. At that time the pH reading was above 9. My dealer told me that is expected from a new pond as materials from the cement wall seeps into the water causing the rise.

    He poured some vinegar and the pH came down to about 8. He says the vinegar will 'cure' the wall of the pond. Now two weeks later the pH is 8.8 and he ask me to pour in some more vinegar yesterday which i did. I am yet to do a pH test.

    My question is "What does the vinegar actually do?" I know it is acid and obviously it will bring the pH down but isnt this just a temporary measure? I read some where that it is quite hard to change a pH of a pond because each pond is different and each has its own pH. Also the realy danger with pH as i know is drastic changes. If thats the case would it not be better to leave it at 8.8 or even 9 for that matter? The kois seem very active and healthy to me. However my dealer told me that one of his customer's koi died and when they check the pH it was 9.2. I am actually skeptical if it was the high pH alone that kills it or something else.

    Please help enlighten me.
    Mark

  2. #2
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    Posts
    6,693
    Will vinegar bring down the ph? Short answer YES.
    Is it the best way to solve the problem you have? NO.

    We really need a little more info about your new pond, as in what is the ph, kh, gh, and Ammonia (after adding dechlorinator) of your source water, straight from the tap, and then after a few hours of aeration. Then the ph, kh, gh, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate of the pond water after 24 hours with no vinegar additions or water changes. That way we know a bit more about your real water chemistry. The size of your pond and a description of your filtration would be most helpful too.

    Since you already have the fish in the pond you are kind of stuck with treating the pond as is, unless you have a temporary pond you could use for a few weeks. The cement should have been acid washed several times and thoroughly cleaned BEFORE the fish were added to minimize this issue at the least. Sealing the concrete would have been even better to prevent the lime and other caustic minerals from leaching into the water column in the first place.

    You can use vinegar or better still small amounts of muriatic acid to lower the ph of the pond, as they will slowly acid wash the leachate from the concrete as it slowly seasons, but I prefer not to do it that way. It de-stabilizes the ph too much unless you are very careful with monitoring your water. Fish can safely live in water with a high ph (9.0-9.2) as long as it is stable and you do NOT have ammonia. If a ponder has fish deaths at 9.2 ph it is almost always due to ammonia toxicity, as it is far deadlier at high ph and warm temperatures than at lower ph and temperatures.

    Here is a calculator/chart that helps to explain that part.
    CNYKOI - Ammonia calculator

    It would be safer to use regular water changes and ph/kh buffering from a stable source (Lithaqua, Oyster shell, Coral, Baking Soda, in order of my personal preference) to stabilize you ph/kh levels, but first we really need to know the info about your pond and source water...

    Your turn
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  3. #3
    Nisai
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    146
    Hi Larry

    Thank you. That is quite helpful information. I cant give you information about the source water as i am currently at work. Once i get back home i will get the relevant info.

    However i have another problem. The test kit i have might not be accurate However the pH values are those tested not me but my dealer. Refer to my other thread on tests.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Nisai
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    146
    I went back home and tested the water again. I am not sure how useful this is because my test kit as mention on another thread is not dependable. I am still in the process of getting a new one soon.

    I only check the pH. Source water was high about close to 9 and the pond water post vinegar treatment is about 8.0 This is a bit scary for two reasons. Firstly from my previous experience my test tend to show a lower reading by about 0.5-0.8, that would mean the pH is higher than i thought. Secondly if the source pH is high that would mean the pH rise has nothing to do with the new pond and i am face with an ongoing problem of always having to fight with high pH.

    What should i do now?

    Back to you Larry
    Mark

  5. #5
    Nisai
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    146
    After reading some more materials i am beginning to see the disaster approaching. My source water is hard and high in pH. Some sites i read says that it is not cunducive to rear kois Supposedly there is no way to bring it down on a permanent basis.

    At this stage i am pretty down. One option is to monitor pH as strictly as i can and keep using vinegar when necessary and hope that pH will not change to drastically. I have heard that kois can survive in pH 9-9.2 but at that level or any level for that matter ammonia has to be zero. That means i need to keep koi numbers really down and filter at full power and monitor ammonia like crazy. This can work for an experience koi hobbyist but for a beginner like me i foresee some death trap coming up.

    Is there a second option? Is there something i can fix in my water mains and treat the main water so that it will be soft and low in pH. I am not trying to be lazy but i think the water foundation is important. Is there such a thing?

    I need help before it is too late.... my wife and i now love the two kois so much that i hate to see it fall sick. I want to take quick permanent action before it gets nasty.

    Regards,
    Mark

  6. #6
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
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    6,693
    This seems odd, so before making any major decisions verify everything with the Lamotte test Kit you said you located a source for. (very good choice by the way).
    Once you have verified the ph, kh, gh, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate of your pond water and source water with the new kit we'll have better information to work with. None of the ponders in your area I'm familiar with have such high ph readings, so your test kit may well be bad. Even if it turns out to be true, there are some relatively easy steps that can be taken to bring it under control without breaking the bank (or your back), so relax a bit

    There is another website I'd like for you to check out.
    http://www.freewebs.com/koifun123/index.htm

    The owner of the site is a very nice guy who enjoys his Koi very much, isn't far from you, and is also a retired Chemist. He knows water in your area better than I, and can give you some good advice.

    Keep us posted on the new tests when you get the Lamotte kit and enjoy your Koi

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