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  • #46

    I have a friend with a pond with a submerged filter system where he cleans only once every quarter. I tested his water quality and he had zero nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. Everytime he cleans he gets like a few inches thick of mulm and waste captured in his filter. The problem is despite his zero nitrates he has almost zero growth and many of his koi skin quality has deteriorated.

    On the other hand, I have seen ponds that are not clear with some nitrate levels but the filters unable to capture any mulm because of regular water and cleaning of filters but the koi are thriving and growing with koi having wonderful skin.

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    • #47

      Originally posted by sacicu View Post
      I have a friend with a pond with a submerged filter system where he cleans only once every quarter. I tested his water quality and he had zero nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. Everytime he cleans he gets like a few inches thick of mulm and waste captured in his filter. The problem is despite his zero nitrates he has almost zero growth and many of his koi skin quality has deteriorated.

      On the other hand, I have seen ponds that are not clear with some nitrate levels but the filters unable to capture any mulm because of regular water and cleaning of filters but the koi are thriving and growing with koi having wonderful skin.

      Compare the TDS and ORP between the two sets of ponds.
      Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

      Comment

      • #48

        Originally posted by sacicu View Post
        I have a friend with a pond with a submerged filter system where he cleans only once every quarter. I tested his water quality and he had zero nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. Everytime he cleans he gets like a few inches thick of mulm and waste captured in his filter. The problem is despite his zero nitrates he has almost zero growth and many of his koi skin quality has deteriorated.

        On the other hand, I have seen ponds that are not clear with some nitrate levels but the filters unable to capture any mulm because of regular water and cleaning of filters but the koi are thriving and growing with koi having wonderful skin.
        Without more data to work with, hardly any conclusions can be made. Nitrate readings alone don't make a koi pond.

        Comment

        • #49

          Originally posted by sacicu View Post
          I have a friend with a pond with a submerged filter system where he cleans only once every quarter. I tested his water quality and he had zero nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. Everytime he cleans he gets like a few inches thick of mulm and waste captured in his filter. The problem is despite his zero nitrates he has almost zero growth and many of his koi skin quality has deteriorated.

          On the other hand, I have seen ponds that are not clear with some nitrate levels but the filters unable to capture any mulm because of regular water and cleaning of filters but the koi are thriving and growing with koi having wonderful skin.
          Originally posted by MCA View Post
          Compare the TDS and ORP between the two sets of ponds.
          Originally posted by yerrag View Post
          Without more data to work with, hardly any conclusions can be made. Nitrate readings alone don't make a koi pond.
          MCA and yerrag are right.

          And this goes to the problem faced by too many ponders. We zero in on one set of parameters as though they stand alone rather than viewing the entire system as a whole. If you read through enough threads you'll notice a pattern that is repeated time and again. Chasing a particular set of numbers while ignoring everything else at work in the pond. It will go from pH, kH, gH, O2, ORP, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, TDS, salinity, etc... Even if you take all of those things together (which is a much better way to go), you have still only STARTED to get a good view of the water.

          All of these numbers and all of the biological activity that contributes to them exist in an intricate web of symbiotic relationships that feed on one another. It is possible to achieve a wonderful set of numbers on one side of those relationships while creating a level of toxicity on the other, and that will not bring the good results we are looking for.

          Sacicu,
          Your friends have 2 different types of systems with 2 different results. One has the "appearance" of better water but yields poor results while the other has the "appearance" of poorer water but yields good results. Freedom from any and all nitrogenous compounds does not equal good water. It can be toxic to varying degrees in a multitude of ways that you are not measuring, and that is the trap that continues to plague those who only look as deeply as a color chart can carry them. Your friend with the submerged filter is producing a toxic waste that is not being measured by a standard test kit, and the fish are providing the only evidence you need. It may be easy to maintain a pond that only has to be flushed quarterly, but that is the only good thing about it.
          Larry Iles
          Oklahoma

          Comment

          • #50

            Originally posted by PapaBear View Post
            MCA and yerrag are right.

            And this goes to the problem faced by too many ponders. We zero in on one set of parameters as though they stand alone rather than viewing the entire system as a whole. If you read through enough threads you'll notice a pattern that is repeated time and again. Chasing a particular set of numbers while ignoring everything else at work in the pond. It will go from pH, kH, gH, O2, ORP, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, TDS, salinity, etc... Even if you take all of those things together (which is a much better way to go), you have still only STARTED to get a good view of the water.

            All of these numbers and all of the biological activity that contributes to them exist in an intricate web of symbiotic relationships that feed on one another. It is possible to achieve a wonderful set of numbers on one side of those relationships while creating a level of toxicity on the other, and that will not bring the good results we are looking for.

            Sacicu,
            Your friends have 2 different types of systems with 2 different results. One has the "appearance" of better water but yields poor results while the other has the "appearance" of poorer water but yields good results. Freedom from any and all nitrogenous compounds does not equal good water. It can be toxic to varying degrees in a multitude of ways that you are not measuring, and that is the trap that continues to plague those who only look as deeply as a color chart can carry them. Your friend with the submerged filter is producing a toxic waste that is not being measured by a standard test kit, and the fish are providing the only evidence you need. It may be easy to maintain a pond that only has to be flushed quarterly, but that is the only good thing about it.
            And that is exactly what the message I was driving across. In another board, I had once a heated debate with a hobbyist who was contrary to my belief of flushing the mechanical and submerged bio chambers everyday, using a strong bakki showers and consistent water change based on how much food is given and not employing any UV as opposed to his practice of employing a much more efficient settlement trapping method, submerged chamber, a sand filter to polish and very efficient Uv system to "clean" the water. He says his intention is minimize the need to touch the filter system as much as 3 months and not be a "slave" to the koi and instead just "enjoy the view of the koi." He boast that his dealer have been very impressed to the quality of water he has achieved. He says that his water parameters are just the same as what I have and yet he has better clearer water. I say to him that although my water may not have the ultimate clarity, my objectives in the hobby are clear and that is to bring my koi to the best potential it can have. Months passed and my koi have now grown like weeds having achieve gosanke aka yonsai at around 30 to 32 inches already. A famous japanese breeder recently did a pond visit with several hobbyist and he ranked my water quality as the best among the ones he visited. While it may or may not be perhaps connected, the hobbyist who wished that he could further tweak his filter system to be cleaned only once every 3 months with little water change, one of his koi unfortunately suffered late stage dropsy and he had to PP his very clear pond with "excellent" water parameter readings.

            Comment

            • #51

              I just can't imagine how even a daily 10% water change can overcome a 3-month accumulation of waste on the filter, considering the rate of multiplying of bacteria. Let's just take a very, very conservative daily rate of multiplication of 100% (I know, the more grave and morbid the numbers the more realistic it gets)of pathogenic bacteria, and you can imagine how insignificant the 10% daily water change is, especially after compounding the effects over a 3-month period. If the fish survives, it will be so stressed from battling legions and hordes and swat teams and speznatz of blitzkriegin' bacteria that it will have no energy left to grow much less to colorize itself. Poor, poor koi! Horror of horrors!

              Papa Bear, glad to see you back, hoping bears don't hibernate. Do they?

              Comment

              • #52

                When I hear of situations where there is no detectable nitrate, such as Sacicu mentions, my first thought is that something was wrong with the test kit. We know that nitrification will produce nitrate and that nitrate can be removed through water changes, denitrification processes in anerobic or anoxic conditions, 'chemical' removal with zeolite or (in theory) consumption by plants. In practice, consumption by plants to the point where no nitrate is detectable is simply not going to occur in a koi pond. Zeolite is seldom used, and would be quite expensive to use on a continuous basis, so unless the koikeeper mentions it is being used, it is fair to presume it is not. That leaves us with there being such a degree of anaerobic/anoxic areas in the pond that nitrate gets consumed befor it reaches detectable levels. While there continues to be interest in anoxic filters which seek to control the process of denitrification to prevent the formation of hazardous substances (such as hydrogen sulfide), thus far I am not aware of the concept being confirmed as successful over a lengthy period of time. (Usually it is used to supplement standard water changes.) There have been occasions where reports of zero nitrate levels concern rock bottom ponds, often ones which have not been cleaned in years. (Why do all that work removing the rocks when sludge-consuming bottle bacteria work to reduce the visible filth to 'acceptable' levels?) In these instances, I presume anaerobic conditions are removing the nitrate. By all reports, the cleaning of the rock bottom ponds releases so much hydrogen sulfide that wearing gas masks has even been recommended!

                I think the important point to be understood is that having undetectable nitrate is not the goal per se. The goal is good, clean water. Nitrate can serve as a marker for all forms of contamination. But, the absence of nitrate does not mean that no contaminants are present. If there is no nitrate due to anaerobic conditions in a substrate of rotting waste, there are far greater problems than having some nitrate present. Perhaps the hydrogen sulfide is not released at a rate that offends when near the pond, but hydrogen sulfide is still terribly negative for the fish in any concentration.

                Comment

                • #53

                  Originally posted by yerrag View Post
                  I just can't imagine how even a daily 10% water change can overcome a 3-month accumulation of waste on the filter, considering the rate of multiplying of bacteria. Let's just take a very, very conservative daily rate of multiplication of 100% (I know, the more grave and morbid the numbers the more realistic it gets)of pathogenic bacteria, and you can imagine how insignificant the 10% daily water change is, especially after compounding the effects over a 3-month period. If the fish survives, it will be so stressed from battling legions and hordes and swat teams and speznatz of blitzkriegin' bacteria that it will have no energy left to grow much less to colorize itself. Poor, poor koi! Horror of horrors!
                  I am not certain of your point, Yerrag.

                  It is not the bacteria themselves that are a concern (unless pathogenic, of course). It is their waste products. A 10% per day water change gives roughly a 50% reduction in contaminant levels over the course of one week. So, over the course of a month or two, the contaminant level drops to a small percentage of what it was. Of course, waste products continue to be produced, but only to the extent of available food sources.

                  If the point was to encourage cleaning of filter mats more frequently than every 3 months, I heartily agree.

                  Comment

                  • #54

                    There is a reason some of us talking about self cleaning pond systems. The greater the emphasis on manual cleaning....the less it tends to get done. As we know the Aquascrape type of pond is a cesspit waiting to go off on the least experienced/prepared pond owner. But chambers of with sheets/cartidges of foam or matting aren't lots better if the prior mechanical stage is not very good (i.e. simple vortex, brushes...or even static K1 bed). Start the filter design work for a koi pond system with a great mechanical stage. Gently capture and remove (frequently) the mulm/detritus that will otherwise decay and drive down water quality. If the mechanical stage can be automated (i.e. RDF) great, if the mechanical stage can do the separation but still needs to be manually cleaned (i.e. sieve) that is also very good. But leaving mulm in the water column to break down into smaller bits (that are harder to capture) that will decay.....is never spot on system design.

                    Give the bio and aeration stages of the filter system a fighting chance at success. Capture AND REMOVE organic mulm ASAP. Don't leave in the water column for weeks....and never for months.
                    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

                    Comment

                    • #55

                      First we need to differentiate between cleaning mechanical filters, cleaning biological filters, and water changes. Biological filter detritus is less of a concern for me than trapped solids in mechanical filtration. A little detritus, that is not clogging a biological filter, can be beneficial IMO in some filters. The point of frequent water changes is water is an excellent solvent and we need to dilute the dissolved pollutants.

                      Comment

                      • #56

                        Ll
                        Originally posted by MikeM View Post
                        I am not certain of your point, Yerrag.

                        It is not the bacteria themselves that are a concern (unless pathogenic, of course). It is their waste products. A 10% per day water change gives roughly a 50% reduction in contaminant levels over the course of one week. So, over the course of a month or two, the contaminant level drops to a small percentage of what it was. Of course, waste products continue to be produced, but only to the extent of available food sources.

                        If the point was to encourage cleaning of filter mats more frequently than every 3 months, I heartily agree.
                        My point here, Mike, is that frequent water changes cannot be a substitute for cleaning the filter. The waste accumulated, especially those piling up at the filter bottom or floor, easily becomes colonized by pathogenic anaerobic bacteria. One characteristic of bacteria is that they know when they are numerous, and with strong numbers they are naturally and evolutionarily made to become bold and will take over. Of course, if it's good bacteria, it's a good thing, which is why I appreciate the use of beneficial microorganisms such as em1. But when they're bad, they are lethal, but they manage to do it covertly. Such intelligent life, but not better than humans. But only humans that understand their nature fare better. Those who don't have to learn the hard way.

                        As many of you know, I siphon the waste off the sump bottom. When I do it once a week, I can already smell the foul odor coming off waste stand pipe. The smell of the products of putrefecation, pathogenic anaerobic bacteria at work. And this teaches me than even when I put em1 regularly into my pond (weekly), pockets of holdout putrid bad bacteria will thrive in anaerobic areas and the good anaerobic bacteria (fermentative), still have a hard time overcoming it. Which is why I take that as a sign that I either have to increase the frequency of siphoning, and/or increase dosage levels of my em1.

                        This is why I do not encourage the path of least resistance approach to pond keeping. Frequently, that takes the form of just simply turning on the tap and letting new water flow in. I'm not against frequent water changes, I'm against ineffective and wasteful water changes.

                        Comment

                        • #57

                          I'm against ineffective and wasteful water changes.
                          No such thing as inefective water changes unless the water being added is preciously the same as the water being removed. That would be highly unlikely.

                          Wasteful is very subjective and arguementative.
                          Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

                          Comment

                          • #58

                            Originally posted by yerrag View Post
                            My point here, Mike, is that frequent water changes cannot be a substitute for cleaning the filter. The waste accumulated, especially those piling up at the filter bottom or floor, easily becomes colonized by pathogenic anaerobic bacteria. One characteristic of bacteria is that they know when they are numerous, and with strong numbers they are naturally and evolutionarily made to become bold and will take over. Of course, if it's good bacteria, it's a good thing, which is why I appreciate the use of beneficial microorganisms such as em1. But when they're bad, they are lethal, but they manage to do it covertly. Such intelligent life, but not better than humans. But only humans that understand their nature fare better. Those who don't have to learn the hard way.
                            As many of you know, I siphon the waste off the sump bottom. When I do it once a week, I can already smell the foul odor coming off waste stand pipe. The smell of the products of putrefecation, pathogenic anaerobic bacteria at work. And this teaches me than even when I put em1 regularly into my pond (weekly), pockets of holdout putrid bad bacteria will thrive in anaerobic areas and the good anaerobic bacteria (fermentative), still have a hard time overcoming it. Which is why I take that as a sign that I either have to increase the frequency of siphoning, and/or increase dosage levels of my em1.
                            This is why I do not encourage the path of least resistance approach to pond keeping. Frequently, that takes the form of just simply turning on the tap and letting new water flow in. I'm not against frequent water changes, I'm against ineffective and wasteful water changes.
                            Correct. A water change is not a good substitute for cleaning a dirty filter.
                            Most of the people I know who do not clean their filters, do not do frequent water changes.

                            Comment

                            • #59

                              Contrary to belief those who flush their mechanical filter daily might not have clearer water than those who flush weekly. I was one of those who flushed daily till I realized that the accumulated trapped solid waste actually helps to trap fines especially in the filter brush section. So now its just weekly washing and daily 30% trickle 24/7.

                              Comment

                              • #60

                                Originally posted by MCA View Post
                                No such thing as inefective water changes unless the water being added is preciously the same as the water being removed. That would be highly unlikely.

                                Wasteful is very subjective and arguementative.
                                Agree in that a water change is better than none at all. But need to qualify wasteful as using water changes to take the place of the needed filter cleaning. A filter cleaning removes the source of pathogens, while a water change removes a small part of the pathogens in the water column. Progressively more and more frequent and larger water changes begetting larger water changes will be needed to keep up with the progressively pathogenic proliferation until it becomes impractical, or else the koi's development become progressively arrested. I see that situation as being wasteful. A better method exists, yet it is not used because it is easier to turn on the tap.

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