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Please educate me.

 




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cometress
Novice

Sep 18, 2002, 9:00 AM

Post #1 of 25 (17429 views)
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Please educate me. Can't Post

I read with tremendous interest in this forum. Many members have found ingenious way of making their water crystal clear mainly by using more effective biological filtering system. But how can bio filtering make water clear? I thought bio filtering function is to covert toxins into less toxic (ie nitrates only) or in some instance get rid of nitrate almost completely. Isn't it clearer water is the function of a good mechanical filter?

Please educate me. ThanksPirate


dttk
Veteran

Sep 18, 2002, 9:38 AM

Post #2 of 25 (17419 views)
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Re: [cometress] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Smile, interesting question! You're right about the mechanical filtration though...Wink. If you're referring to the TC (TurboCleaner), I guess it does not qualify as a biological filter. Neither is the UV. So koi forum members, how do you do it! Laugh. Seriously, many keepers do agree that a good biofilter could prevent green water. Cheers!
Always friendly :)



HWONG
Veteran

Sep 18, 2002, 10:31 AM

Post #3 of 25 (17416 views)
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Re: [cometress] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Bio filter make water clear? Which thread may I ask?Crazy I have tons of suspended solids to rid of.The members here refer to the whole thing as the Biofilter which happens to have the mechanical and the bio sections. Where we are, green water is a constant pain, so top on the list for us is to rid of the nitrate. You may have also noticed that we are also talking about removal of solids using brushes, izeki nets, long and deep settlement chambers, turbo cleaners/ foam fractioners and now the answer. As electro-mechanical systems are relatively very expensive here, we tend to stick with cheaper alternatives. Perhaps in the future we should be more specific so as not to cause confusion. Cool


SMW1
Veteran

Sep 18, 2002, 10:31 AM

Post #4 of 25 (17416 views)
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Re: [dttk] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, there are three type or unclear water.

A) Green water - algae particles, which thrive in direct sun light, this give the water a green tinge to it and visibility is very limited.

B) dirty water - This is not green but has lots of DOC and debris hovering around in the water. This is usually present in a pump fed filter. i.e a pond without a bottom drain.

C) Algea bloom (not green) - Blanket weed, a big problem for a lot of people, but a good sign for healthy water.

Solutions to get rid transfer A, B or C into clear water.

A1) UV, a UV lamp will fry the small algea particles removing the green tinge from the water. The visibility will increase and the water will become clear. Although this is a favourite among a lot of people most people can turn the UV lamp off after their filter has matured.

A2) A good bio filter will help reduce a large amount of the nitrates, then tend to increase algae growth. This is the ultimate goal for any filter system.

A3) A trickle tower is a dry filter than will eliminate a vast amount of nitrates in the pond. Algae is a plant. Nitrate is food for plants. No food - no growth.

A4) A pergola will decrease the direct sunlight which is also a high factor in the bloom of algae, a process of photosynthesis no sunligh - no food.

With no bottom drain and a flat bottom you will almost always get debris hovering around in the water.

B1) Fit a bottom drain and bench the bottom of the pond toward the drain. All the waste will go directly to the mechanical filter rather than being minced up by the pump and creeping through the gaps in the filter.

B2) Improve your mechanical filter, more brushes and foam will cut down the amount of debris that gets through to your bio filter and back to the pond.

B3) Vaccume the bottom of your pond once a week, it should only take 30 mins or so depending on your pond (based on my 3,000 gal). Oase Pond Vac is very good.

B4) jap stones. A lot of people put their japenese air stones at the bottom of the pond. Not only does this restrict the air flow. It also stirs up the debris at the bottom. Japenese air stones should be hung about 1' - 2' from the surface unless you are using a ceramic disc or bottom drain diffuser.

C1) Again a pergola will decrese the growth of blanket weed. The moe sun the more growth. Blanket weed tends to grow in shallow areas.

C2) Electronic blanket weed controlers, these will fit around your pond inlet and create a magnetic disturbance which elimitaes the minerals blanket weed needs to survive. It will not kill existing weed but will prevent growth.

C3) Chemicals. I can not remember the name but cerain crystals kill all blanket weed for upto 8 months. However this is dangerous as rotting vegitaion casues hi ammonia and a PH flucuation.

C4) use your hands pull the blanket weed out once a week, through this on your compost heap if you have one. IT works miricles for the plants when it starts to rot.

There are loads more but these are the main ones I could think of.

Stuart




johnson lee
Veteran

Sep 18, 2002, 12:14 PM

Post #5 of 25 (17408 views)
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Re: [cometress] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi cometress

A very interesting question! Hmm...let me see how we took for granted certain koi jargon and expect everyone to understand!Crazy

OK, here goes. When we talk about clear water, it is clear (pardon the pun!Wink) that what we put in ie. the tap water or well water or spring water etc. is what we get! If the source of the water is clear, then naturally we expect to have clear water in the pond.

However, because bodies of water consists of other living microorganisms which cannot be seen by the naked eye, the clarity of the water will not stay as it is without some artificial filtration. Yes, in theory the mechanical filter does its job if it filters out the larger pieces of dirt and debris but that does not automatically mean a pond will be clear therafter. Other factors come into play like amount of sunlight, efficiency of the bio-filter, usage of UV etc.

As Stuart has mentioned in his post, there are other factors that can cause the water to turn green, murky etc. No matter how well the mechanical filter works, if the bio-filter does not do its job of breaking down the waste efficiently, then green water is the result. I will not go into detail because Stuart has covered all these. If the good bugs did not do its job of breaking down the waste into nitrates which is subsequently removed by a TT filter, then there is no way we can have clear water. Therefore, it is not wrong to say that a bio-filter does have a major role in creating clear water.

JohnsonSmile


cometress
Novice

Sep 18, 2002, 4:50 PM

Post #6 of 25 (17400 views)
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Re: [cometress] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi everybody,

Many thanks for the tremendous education. I was just quoting the remarks from some members in this forum that after their discovering in particularly using the TT, their water suddenly becomes clearer. So it appears the magic formula boils down specifically to the TT.

But I buy the reasons there are other "gadgets" that assit to clear the water. Last but not least, I'm more clearer now.

Thanks.


Chingbee
User

Sep 21, 2002, 4:05 AM

Post #7 of 25 (17378 views)
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Re: [SMW1] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Stuart,

Mine is the no. 1, now installing a TT Unsure problem is the direct sunlight, so after more than a month, the water is still unclear, could only see my koi from the surface to about 2-3 feet deep. What else could I do but to keep on waiting as I don't want to install a pergola. Any other more suggestions??


KevKoi
Koi Kichi


Sep 21, 2002, 4:39 AM

Post #8 of 25 (17376 views)
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Re: [Chingbee] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

UV steriliser?


SMW1
Veteran

Sep 21, 2002, 9:40 PM

Post #9 of 25 (17365 views)
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Re: [Chingbee] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Chingbee,

I take it you mean A) rather than 1.

So it's been amonth already , how time flies. What are your readings like ?. If your filter has matured I guess you are only seeing high nitrates and 0 ammonis and nitrite, am I right ?

A TT should zap the nitrates for you or as Kev says you could always try a UV lamp. If the TT fails.


Chingbee
User

Sep 22, 2002, 7:50 AM

Post #10 of 25 (17361 views)
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Re: [SMW1] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Stuart,

Still 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates, water turns more unclear as the sun shines brighter.


ctong9889
User

Sep 23, 2002, 6:11 AM

Post #11 of 25 (17345 views)
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Re: [Chingbee] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Chingbee, My 5000gal pond was completed on 6/1/02, under 100% sunlight in Florida summer, my water paras were same as yours (every readings were zero) but pond was completely green untill 8/15/02. It took 2.5 months for my pond to clearup, of course it's crystal clear now. I guess that's how long it takes for the bio filter to kick in, one more thing, the faster water flow may help it kick in sooner, I use an external pump, runs at 3300 gph. i also have a small TT with 4 cu ft of lava rock in it, nitrate level is very low ( I guess the TT works well, even small size). You may need to wait for a few more weeks to get clear water, unless usine UV.
Good luck to your new pond.
Chang


Chingbee
User

Sep 23, 2002, 7:32 AM

Post #12 of 25 (17337 views)
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Re: [ctong9889] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Chang for your experience, I'll be installing a temporary cover on top of pond which when water becomes clear I'll be removing it.

Ching


SMW1
Veteran

Sep 23, 2002, 10:08 AM

Post #13 of 25 (17332 views)
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Re: [Chingbee] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

We have seen this quite a few times in this forum.

Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0 or very low. Origionally it was thought that green water stems from Nitrates, so we spend money and times bulding or installing filters, UV's, TT's etc to recude the Nitrates.

Thinking about it. Tap water in UK, contains about 20ppm or nitrates. Yet it is crystal clear.

Iguess the only other element that could have an effect on the colour o the water is sunlight ?.

Any other suggestions ?



KevKoi
Koi Kichi


Sep 23, 2002, 3:50 PM

Post #14 of 25 (17324 views)
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Re: [SMW1] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Chlorine?


SMW1
Veteran

Sep 24, 2002, 12:55 AM

Post #15 of 25 (17318 views)
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Re: [KevKoi] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Chlorine is suppose to stop the water going green is it not ?

It's just a shame chlorine and koi don't like each other very much.


KevKoi
Koi Kichi


Sep 24, 2002, 3:09 AM

Post #16 of 25 (17314 views)
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Re: [SMW1] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Have you seen a public swimming pool that's all green? Have you seen a public swimming pool that doesn't have chlorine?.... and have you ever seen a public swimming pool with a TT? LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Chlorine does a great job of killing algae....... It also does a great job killing koi as well.Pirate

UnsureCrazy


johnson lee
Veteran

Sep 24, 2002, 5:11 AM

Post #17 of 25 (17309 views)
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Re: [KevKoi] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Exactly! The authorities put chlorine into our tap water to kill bad bacteria and make it safer for drinking.

Therefore, it can be said that chlorine is potent. Kev's example of a swimming pool os appropriate. No algae there and no necessity for a TT filter!!Wink Whenever there is too much chlorine in the pool, I always have eye and skin irritation. Overdose of chlorine in drinking water causes severe stomach upset as well.

That is why, chlorine is a no no for kois!


SMW1
Veteran

Sep 24, 2002, 9:05 AM

Post #18 of 25 (17301 views)
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Re: [KevKoi] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry Kev, When I read your post that just said Chlorine, I thought you were saying Chlorine causes green water.


dttk
Veteran

Sep 24, 2002, 9:20 AM

Post #19 of 25 (17299 views)
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Re: [SMW1] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Stuart and others, that's a very interesting question! Why is it that inspite of the presence of high nitrates and even max exposure to sunlight in ponds, there is no green water problem?. Could it be that high nitrates and sunlight are not the causes of green water as we have always thought. In other words, water with zero nitrates and indoors can also turn green. The explaination was offered by Norm Meck from his article, Pond Water Chemistry.

GREEN WATER



Although it is sometimes called an algae bloom, normally the names it is called are unprintable. For some, it seems to happen every Spring (also sometimes in the Fall). For others, it is almost a way of life. A limited number of pond keepers have never or rarely experienced this "wonder" of nature. It is said that the Koi thrive in it, but you cannot see them to tell if they are thriving or not. You have heard many reasons why your water turns green and tried assorted mechanical wizardry and various chemical concoctions to clear it, (which may or may not have been harmful to your Koi), but it is still green. There is a lot of "snake oil" out on the market to clear green water.

Green water is caused by an excessively large number of tiny organisms in the water. Called phytoplankton, these minute plants are part of the algae family that has thousands of distinct species found in water (and ice) throughout the world. These organisms are very small, with the most common ones found in our ponds being around 15 microns (0.0006 inches) in diameter. All pond water contains large numbers of different kinds of these plants and other microorganisms. Water that appears to be crystal clear just doesn't have as many.

Some of the statements that follow are somewhat controversial, but they are based on several years of research and experimentation dealing with the subject. From this research, I have concluded that
within our biologic converters, a third group of bacteria exist. When these heterotroph bacteria consume dead algae in an aerobic environment, they release an enzyme, possibly used to help them digest the dead algae. The flow of water through the media carries surplus amounts of this enzyme back into the pond where it kills off the other algae.

This enzyme appears to be effective against many species of string algae as well as the bloom algae. It does not seem to have as much effect on the string algae which is only partially submerged or within a high flow area, i.e. in a splashing brook or around a waterfall. This may have to do with contact time requirements. The
short blackish-green mat algae found on the walls of a "healthy" pond is composed primarily of dead string algae which is also believed to be a result of control by the antibiotic. Further, this mat area may also be providing a portion of the enzyme as it is being broken down by the heterotroph bacteria.

This seems to explain what we see in our ponds much better than many of the traditional myths which I believe arise from invalid extrapolations and application of true scientific findings based on studies of large lakes and oceans. Most of these findings just simply do not apply to the essentially closed environment of an established, circulating Koi pond. We will discuss only two of the myths here. For more and a detailed description of the experiments leading to these conclusions, see my article in the Mar-Apr 1998 issue of KOI USA.

MYTH
:
Pond algae blooms are primarily related to various nutrient concentrations in the water such as nitrate and/or phosphate.

FACT
: There is no evidence to substantiate any relationship between nutrient levels and the inception or termination of the common algae blooms in most Koi ponds. Quite to the contrary, the measurable nutrient levels are normally so high, most questions should be why the algae bloom is not continuous. Commercial laboratory analysis consistently show very high concentrations of all required nutrients. These concentrations are much higher than could be expected to prevent such an event. Further, most of these levels actually show a slight increase after a heavy bloom subsides.

MYTH
:
Providing shade over the pond will prevent an algae bloom.

FACT
: It is true that algae needs light to grow and reproduce. But what is interesting is the small amount of light that is actually required. Controlled experiments using reduction in sun light of 90% still show significant algae growth. There are many examples of ponds that are heavily shaded but quite green and just as many others with direct sun exposure that have no algae bloom problems at all. There have been positive results reported of completely covering a pond suffering from green water with an opaque plastic cover for 5-10 days. I'm not too sure what the Koi think about this but it is obviously not an acceptable permanent solution. I do recommend providing shade over a pond, but more for temperature stability than for algae control.

So, what is the solution? It seems to be simply a
properly sized biologic converter and a proper flow rate of oxygenated water through it. The bio-converter must be large enough to support the heterotroph bacteria colonies which need considerably more space than just the nitrification bacterial colonies. This has led to two rules of thumb. The first is that the amount of water in the pond and filter system should be circulated through the bio-converter at least once per hour. Second is that a flow rate of approximately 150 gallons per hour per square foot of media should be used. As an example of a 1500 gallon pond, we should be moving 1500 gallons of water through the bio-converter each hour and the bio-converter cross sectional area exposed to water flow should be 10 square feet. The thickness of the media is determined by the media selection.

Bubble bead or similar type pressurized filters do not generally have sufficient internal surface area to support the heterotroph colonies necessary for the enzyme production although they can provide the area necessary for the smaller nitrification colonies. They do an excellent job of capturing the dead algae and other solids. During the frequent backwashing processes, however, the dead algae and much of the heterotroph bacterial colonies are removed from the system giving insufficient time for the enzyme to be produced. This is why ponds using these type filters almost always require an ultraviolet system to handle the green water problem. A properly sized UV system will do a good job on eradicating the bloom algae. It will not affect the string algae, only the phytoplankton that actually pass through the unit. There are also some indications that the UV radiation may destroy or at least weaken any enzyme action.

SmileSmileSmile

Always friendly :)

(This post was edited by dttk on Sep 24, 2002, 9:28 AM)


johnson lee
Veteran

Sep 24, 2002, 9:36 AM

Post #20 of 25 (17293 views)
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Re: [dttk] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Mmmmm....very interesting! Seems like if what this guy Norm's saying is true, then we got some of the facts quite wrong!Crazy

However, I still believe that sunlight do play a part in causing green water albeit a smaller part. I for one do not experience green water simply because of the stability of the filter system in coping with the nitrogen cycle. I also think that why new ponders go through the dreaded green water is because the good bugs have yet to settle down to help in the breaking down of algae as well.

I have not come across any established pond to have a problem with green water. But if the colony of good bugs are altered/disturbed, then the green water problem will recur.

I've got to print out Norm's article for a further reading/understanding.


SMW1
Veteran

Sep 24, 2002, 9:49 AM

Post #21 of 25 (17291 views)
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Re: [dttk] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for this post Dr Tan, I have learnt loads form it.

Heterotroph bacteria, wow. So we have three main types of bacteria as opposed to the origionally thought two. Thats very interesting, the producion of enzyme acts like an antibiotic to the pond. Shocked. Sounds like the human body, we get a cold suffer a bit as our body fights it off, then we build up an antibody to protect us from that cold 0 only problem is no two colds are the same (correct me if i'm wrong Doctor Blush).

So basically in summary this article is saying that we have a three goups of bacteria along with nitrosomonas and nitrobacter we now have Heterotroph.

To generate Heterotroph we need to filter the entire volume of water once per hour and for each 1500 gal of water we need to expose it to 10 sq feet.

Its seems as though although most of our filters may be big enough and had a quick flow rate, some of our unlucky forum members that don;t have clear water without the UV, need to increase their flow rate and/or filter size.


dttk
Veteran

Sep 24, 2002, 10:29 AM

Post #22 of 25 (17285 views)
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Re: [SMW1] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah Stuart and Johnson Smile, this may come as a shock to some keepers. But it does explain the tough-to-answer issues on green water very well. Yup, hence the 30% filter size ruling still holds and is strengthened! As for the flowrate of one cycle per hour, that's abit hard to achieve for larger ponds. Mine only does abt 2-3 hours per cycle. At least when I start getting green water in the future, I'll know where the problem lies.Wink
Always friendly :)


KevKoi
Koi Kichi


Sep 24, 2002, 2:00 PM

Post #23 of 25 (17276 views)
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Re: [dttk] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

very interesting read.....Smile


mattloui
User

Sep 25, 2002, 4:20 AM

Post #24 of 25 (17265 views)
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Re: [KevKoi] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

WOW DR DTTK
AFTER READING YOUR TEXT, I NEED TO GO BACK TO THE STOREROOM AND LOOK FOR MY 6TH FORM CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY BOOK-WELL IF I EVER CAN FIND THEM.
ANYWAY, ONCE IN A WHILE IT IS GOOD TO READ SOME THESIS ESPECIALLY SOMETHING WE CAN RELATE TO.
PL CONTINUE TO FEED US ON KOI INFO
CHEERS


dttk
Veteran

Sep 25, 2002, 7:08 AM

Post #25 of 25 (17258 views)
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Re: [mattloui] Please educate me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Matt Smile, glad you liked it. Don't worry, will continue to "hand-feed" all my wonderful "koi-friends" when the need arises. LaughSlyWink Cheers!
Always friendly :)

 
 



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