evtubbergh
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Location: South Africa

Very green water

Help! I have the worst case of algae I have ever seen. This is floating algae, not the string kind, which I find fairly easier to deal with.

My pond water is pea-soup green, and no amount of cleaning or treatment works.

I have used PhosphateMinus then Algorem. There was floating brown stuff after the Algorem but no improvement to the water. I have vacuumed and replaced large amounts of water.

It does rain but I try to treat the water as often as is safe according to the instructions.

I have 2 fish (I killed my most beautiful 3 fish by replacing too much water!), a frog or 2, waterblommetjies and a pot of arums.

It is a small pond with a small filter that has never been a problem. We clean it out regularly.

valley
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Location: ranches in sierra nevada mountains California & Navada high desert

Re: Very green water

Hi, I was wondering how small is the pond and how large is the filter.

Richard

Koilady
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Location: London, Ontario Canada

Re: Very green water

Hi EVG. Here are a few questions for you.
How old is your pond?
How many gallons is it?
What size and type of filtration system do you use?
Do you make water changes from the bottom of the pond?
If so, how much and how often?
How many fish do you have in your pond?
What is the first five or six ingredients of the food you feed?
When was the last time you cleaned the bottom of your pond?
Do you have a lot of plants in your pond?
Are there any stagnant areas in your pond?

I had the same trouble you had years ago and once I was able to make my bio-filter and got it going, in no time my water was crystal clear. In this bio-filter there are large, natural colonies of good bacteria to remove toxins from the water, to keep it clear and my fish healthy.

Your's Koily, Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Hi Koily

Thanks for your reply. I didn't see it but I hope you see mine and can help.

The pond is more than 2 years old.
It contains about 120 litres.
We have a simple water pump with a mesh filter.
We vacuum the bottom of the pond when changing water.
We don't do more than 1/3 of the water but usually only 1/4.
We had 5 fish for 2 years and it was stable all the time but now only 2.
I will check the food ingredients but it is Tetra Pond Sticks.

We clean it about every 6-8 weeks and have done it several times since it went green, which gives temporary relief.

We do have quite a few waterblommetjies that seeded themselves directly in the space between pebbles. They were small but plentiful and now we have only a few but they have grown. We have considered taking some out and will at some point. There is also a pot with arums.

We don't think there are any stagnant areas as the pump moves water from the whole pond. Except that behind the pot may be quite still. I did take the pot out for a while and there was no change.

Thanks for taking the time!

Elizabeth

Koilady
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Location: London, Ontario Canada

Re: Very green water

Hi Elizabeth, so good to hear from you. Doesn't it drive you nuts when you've been doing something the same way for a while and then all of a sudden one year,
it all goes to the dogs. LOL


The pond is more than 2 years old.

Did you build this pond yourself?
Did you put gravel, stones or rocks at the bottom of your pond?

It contains about 120 litres.
We have a simple water pump with a mesh filter.

Do you have a filter on the outside of your pond?
If your filter is attached to your pump, it means that you have only a mechanical filter. This means that the filter has to be cleaned so often that a good strong colony of good bacteria has to start all over to start removing toxins from the water.
The water changes from the bottom of the pond area excellent because it helps to remove some of the toxins.

We vacuum the bottom of the pond when changing water.
We don't do more than 1/3 of the water but usually only 1/4.

A one third water change from the bottom of the pond is good and should be done monthly.

We had 5 fish for 2 years and it was stable all the time but now only 2.
I will check the food ingredients but it is Tetra Pond Sticks.

We clean it about every 6-8 weeks and have done it several times since it went green, which gives temporary relief.

We do have quite a few waterblommetjies that seeded themselves directly in the space between pebbles.

What kind of plant is this? I've never heard of it before.

They were small but plentiful and now we have only a few but they have grown. We have considered taking some out and will at some point. There is also a pot with arums.

The water seems to be working fine if there are no dead areas. If you want to make sure that the area behind the plant is not a dead area, just spray the hose there to move the water around and this should remove any dead areas that might have been.

We don't think there are any stagnant areas as the pump moves water from the whole pond. Except that behind the pot may be quite still. I did take the pot out for a while and there was no change.

Hope to hear from you soon.
Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

evtubbergh
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Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Hi Lorraine

Yes it really is annoying! We have always had a problem with algae but that was always string algae that we could control by removing it and with phosphate removal stuff if we had to. And the fish ate it but this is something else altogether!
Did you build this pond yourself?
Did you put gravel, stones or rocks at the bottom of your pond?
Yes we built it ourselves and we put pebbles in the bottom. I would send a picture but I am not sure we can get one.
Do you have a filter on the outside of your pond?
If your filter is attached to your pump, it means that you have only a mechanical filter. This means that the filter has to be cleaned so often that a good strong colony of good bacteria has to start all over to start removing toxins from the water.
The water changes from the bottom of the pond area excellent because it helps to remove some of the toxins.
No we don't. Can we buy a separate filter and attach it to the line from the pump? We can't have more than one power cable.

What toxins are you referring to? Will bacteria remove thing like phosphates that the algae like?

The fish have been fine, even in green water. They only died because I put the hose in the fill it up then forgot about it and ended up flushing the water out several times over. Needless to say they suffered from that.
What kind of plant is this? I've never heard of it before.
It's a water plant endemic to the Cape in South Africa and the name means 'little water flowers'. They're beautiful and grow so easily. They're a bit like water lilies but not related. And you can eat them.

Image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aponogeton_distachyos
The water seems to be working fine if there are no dead areas. If you want to make sure that the area behind the plant is not a dead area, just spray the hose there to move the water around and this should remove any dead areas that might have been.
We do clean behind there and we fill up to that the water stream floods behind there. The fish love it.

I think that maybe the waterblommetjies have reached critical mass and perhaps are trapping to much debris in the pebbles. We also have a problem in spring and summer with millions of little blossoms clogging up the filter from our Viburnum but we can't help that except to empty the filter twice a week.

Koilady
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Re: Very green water

Hi Elizabeth. I sure hope you're having better weather than we are here in Canada. LOL Our gardens are a mess and I have only been able to clean out two ponds due to the cold wet spring we have been having. LOL
Anyway, those flowers are gorgeous. I don't think I've seen anything like them.
As for the pebbles in your pond, it is not a good idea to have them. In the beginning, the pebbles or rocks work great to hold colonies of good bacteria but after a while, with uneaten fish food, fish faeces, dying plant material falling on the pebbles, the good bacteria will start to die due to lack of oxygen, so you end up with an unbalanced pond.
Making your own bio-filter will be a lot cheaper than purchasing one but because your pond is relatively small, purchasing one might not be too expensive and possibly easier to hide. If you get a filter which is attached to the pump, it will only work mechanically because it has to be cleaned so often so good bacteria doesn't have a chance to grow strong so that it can remove the toxins from the water. A bio-filter should be outside of the pond so that it can easily be backwashed when necessary. Hiding the outside filter should be quite easy.
Good bacteria will break down ammonia, the end result being nitrites. Another bacteria will break down the nitrites and nitrates are the end result. Nitrates are removed by plants and water changes from the bottom of the pond. Water changes are invaluable to any garden pond.

Your's Koily, Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

evtubbergh
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Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Hi Lorraine

Of course I remember now about the ammonia but is that the reason for the algae? I am looking into the bio-filter now but will that help the algae?

This is not going to be easy because we built it right up against the fence and drive way. It would have to be small and inconspicuous.

Koilady
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Location: London, Ontario Canada

Re: Very green water

Hi Elizabeth. Yes, a good bio-filter will allow healthy colonies of good bacteria to grow in the filter. This good bacteria will remove ammonia and nitrites from the water which then starves the bacteria and it dies off.
I've sent a copy of the diagram of the bio-filter we help people make, let me know if you have received it. I've never done this before. It will be much cheaper than purchasing one but if you prefer to buy one, it may work for you.
Just remember this very important thing. If the filter you purchase has to be cleaned every couple of weeks, or if there is not enough room for a good amount of bio-media to hold the good bacteria, the water will remain green or have long hair algae. If you have to use a u.v. light to get rid of the algae, you are just masking the real problem which is that the toxins are high in your pond, even if test kits say that they are fine.

Your's Koily, Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Hi Lorraine

I am going to build my own bio filter because I think we have most, if not all, the materials.

We could buy this : https://shop.superpumps.co.za/ProductDes ... ?id=673554 but it's a little expensive and since we have the stuff...

I want to cut a pvc tube about 25cm long, paint it black and seal with silicon. It needs an exit pipe at the bottom leading to where the water currently goes back into the pond.

The pipe that currently takes water out the pond from the filter will go to the top of the tube where either there is a screw cap or another inner tube with a screw cap.

The main tube can either be packed with medium, stopped at the bottom by a sponge. Or the inner tube can be packed with medium and drilled with lots of holes for water out.

Either way the water will run out the bottom pipe back to the pond, partly by gravity and partly by the pressure that the pump creates.

Image

Can I use perlite as a filter medium? I reckon it has great surface area and is actually used as a filter medium in many applications. I will wash it thoroughly to remove the fines.

We want to buy https://shop.superpumps.co.za/ProductDes ... ?id=673534 to inoculate the pond and get things going.

In the mean time we have removed most of the pebbles and started vacuuming, tomorrow when the sediment has settled we will vacuum more. Then we have to replace the water slowly. At the moment the water out the mechanical filter/pump is fairly clear but quite green.

Once the filter is in place we should be able to put the pebbles back.

This is where we will install it; above the current pump so we can use the set up already installed and attached to the gate post so it can be covered by the grass.

Image

Koilady
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Location: London, Ontario Canada

Re: Very green water

Wow, first of all, I am very impressed with how you were able to put the filter diagram graphic above the pond to show me how it looks. I wish I was that talented. LOL
Your pond is beautifully done and I love the rocks, nothing makes a pond more appealing then large rocks.

As for your filter, would it be considered a mechanical filter?
If you have a biological filter, is it inside the pond or outside?

It looks to me like the filter you have made would be mechanical. As for the perlite, I don't see why not. From what I remember, it is supposed to be safe to use for human water consumption but my fear would be that it would clog very quickly if used for a filtration system in a Koi/Goldfish pond.

The filter you are showing looks to me to be a mechanical filter because it would have to be cleaned so often that colonies of good bacteria wouldn't be able to take hold on the bio-media before being hosed off. It also takes about four to six weeks to get a colony of good bacteria growing in a bio-filter to start removing ammonia and nitrites, nitrates being removed by water changes from the bottom of the pond.

I suggest that you try it and see what happens.

How long have you had your pond?
How many fish are in it?

Your's Koily, Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Hi Lorraine

I used https://draw.io, try it :)

We have a mechanical filter in the pump. The large particles will definitely be filtered out there and in fact the water that comes out at the moment is clear, just very green.

I have a feeling that the fines and algae will start to come out at first but that is the point of the removable section, if we clean it after the first batch of gunk is removed then start again with clean perlite I don't think there should be a problem for quite a while.

We will definitely inoculate the water with bacteria though to get things going.

I have a question though; what volume does this need to hold? In the end the only rate of flow will be what the pump does but there should probably also be a size to get the best benefit.

PS I never actually got anything from you regarding the design of your filter.

Koilady
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Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:29 pm
Location: London, Ontario Canada

Re: Very green water

Hi Evtu. Not sure what you mean when talking about volume but if you are asking how large the filter should be, I usually go by what I heard years ago and that was that for every 1,000 gallons of pond water, you should use a 45 gallon drum at least three quarters or more if possible, full of bio-media. This also depends a lot on how many fish are in the pond. I was a breeder of Koi for 26 years. We had 14 ponds, many of them full of fry so I used these calculations because of how much I fed the fry each day. I also did weekly water changes from the bottom of the pond to get rid of excess toxins. For a normal pond, monthly water changes from the bottom of the pond should suffice.
I'm not sure how to get the filter diagram I use on this site but if you send me your e-mail address, I'll get a copy off to you. Mine is: koilady@execulink.com

Your's Koily, Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

evtubbergh
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Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Ok so we tried to work on 4.5% of the volume of the pond, which in our case would be 4.5% of 120 litres or 5.4 litres. Unfortunately we can't accommodate such a large volume so we maximized the size of the pipe we have. and got just over 1.8 litres. To be honest the filters available are for much bigger ponds and start at 5 litres so I think we might be ok. We can always go start over and make a bigger one if it doesn't work.

Since we had the pipe, paint, silicon, etc. I thought I'd just get on with it. I forgot to take pictures of the parts but here we are painting it after which I attached the tubes. When the silicon is cured tomorrow I will add the perlite. I sifted it to get the fines out, and wow there is a lot, then I will wash it too.

The only thing is it's a very long skinny pipe because we were planning on a much smaller piece. I hope it helps. At least the gravity effect will be fairly high :)

Image

Image

Koilady
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Re: Very green water

Hi Evtu, I can't wait to see how this works. Keep us all posted as to the results. This could be great for other people who have small ponds.

Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Hiya

Things didn't go as planned and so our poor pond is still waiting.

I had drilled holes for the tubing but they didn't stay attached with just a little bit of silicon, especially because as it turns out the silicon gel doesn't stick to the silicon tubes. We went yesterday and bought tube connectors and installed those instead. The input we didn't seal because the water will simply pour in but we had to seal the output, which was difficult because the pipe is curved and the connecter has flat edges. We eventually melted it on a flame and moulded it to the curve.

Image

Image
Messy but hey it works.

Image

Image
We simply connected the tubing, which holds the connector in place without having to seal it.

Now that the silicon has cured enough to start I filled it up. First I used a mesh bath sponge to keep the perlite in. I got a small one for free with some soap and it's better because it's so small. I pushed it in with a stick and then poured the perlite in with a funnel and made a mess everywhere.

I tested it now by pouring water in the top and it runs out, albeit slowly. Perhaps this is too narrow? The perlite floats so I need another small mesh sponge to keep it in the top.

Image

I will connect it all up later with the pump but right now I really have to get some work done.

Koilady
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Location: London, Ontario Canada

Re: Very green water

Make sure that your silicone is safe for fish which was why we suggest aquarium silicone. I can't wait to see your filter working. Keep us all posted.

Hugs, Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

Greener-Garden
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Re: Very green water

Sounds like you have some serious algae problem, mainly green water. Your pond is getting too much sunlight and contains too much nutrients, basically you pond if out of balance. Filters won't help much because the minerals will still remain solvent in the pond ad the algae grows too fast. Also, sometimes thoroughly cleaning your filter or changing it does more harm then good because you are removing the good bacterias needed to stabilize the pond. Try these methods below, some may sound impractical but they work:

* UV Sterilizer (if you got a big pond, get a sterilizer that moves water rapidly)
*50% water change
*Introduce nano algae eating fish (Siamese algae eaters are really good as long as your pond doesn't get too cold)
*Introduce more plants to absorb and recycle excess nutrients in your pond

I treat my pond like I treat my fish tank.

evtubbergh
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Location: South Africa

Re: Very green water

Thanks Greener-Garden. The point of the filter is not to remove the algae by physical means but to introduce an environment where bacteria flourish and remove the nutrients so that algae cannot thrive in the pond itself. We have to clean our pump filter because it is a physical filter and would otherwise get blocked, hence why we built this one.

If you use a UV light to kill the algae then you don't actually remove the nutrients in the water and eventually you get an algal bloom anyway.

Our fish do eat algae but I think they prefer larger varieties and they definitely can't keep up with this algae. Remember for all the fish you add you also add waste, which in turn adds nutrients.

@ KoiLady. The filter was too skinny and too tall! The pump could not handle the height but if we got a new pump then the pipe filled with perlite would not have been able to handle the flow.

Funny enough the algae just died off one day. Probably over a week or 2 but we just didn't realise. I think it reached critical mass. So instead of thick green water we had thick brown water. We have been clearing it our off the bottom in bits because when we scoop and vacuum it up it all goes back up into the water. The good news is the water is fairly clear :)

We built a new filter out of a wider pipe anyway but now it is acting like a physical filter too and getting chocked. We have to go buy lava rock (cinder in the US) I think because the perlite is too fine.

So frustrating but we're almost there and almost ready for the summer algal bloom!

Koilady
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Location: London, Ontario Canada

Re: Very green water

Hi EV, so good to hear from you. I figured that the filter wouldn't work as well as you had hoped but, we all have to learn and we've certainly had our trials and tribulations with water clarity or way too much hair algae.

Over the last few years, I've been having my own troubles with water quality. I've been having trouble with the clarity in one of my ponds and for the life of me I couldn't understand what the heck was going on. In my defense, Hubby and I have gone through 4 knee replacements and I suspect that due to the pain I was in, I wasn't really paying attention to the quality of the water. So, this year I made it my goal to find out what the heck was going on.

The first thing I noticed was that the water level in this filter was only half of what it should have been. Again, what is going on. So, I decided to drain the filter and tilt it backward by placing a piece of foam there. What that did was to bring the water level up so that it is now back to where it used to be. Also, it dawned on me that the reason for the water lowering in the filter was due to the pipe which was taking the water back to the pond. Because there was too much of a drop from the filter to the pond, I inserted a 2" wide piece of abs piping, then an elbow, then an 18" piece of pipe and then another elbow. Now it works perfectly.

That certainly didn't get rid of the poor water quality in this pond though so I decided to look at my scrubbies and what I found was that because these scrubbies are 27 years old, they have started to break down so that long strings of plastic had become entangled, causing dead areas which was sucking the oxygen out of the filter.

So, I removed the scrubbies, cut out the tangled areas and now the water quality is perfect and those fish with ulcers have started to heal. It's always so much fun when you learn something new so that you can pass it along. This is the best filtering system we have ever used and if someone would like a copy, just let me know.

Hugs, Lorraine
I've been in the Pond Hobby since 1982 having knowledge on how to heal Koi and/or Goldfish, clearing pond water and getting rid of hair algae through good filtration. We make our own bio-filters and help others to do the same.

imafan26
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Re: Very green water

I know this might seem silly but what if you put some plecostomus in the pond to eat the algae. I would think you have to do the same kind of thing with ponds as you do with aquariums and balance the pH, and balance the different types of fish that occupy the space.

Does the pond get a lot of sun. I get green algae when there is a lot of light and the water is not running fast enough for the volume of the pond and if a lot of the vegetation that is either in the pond or falling into it is decomposing. Putting up a cover that shades the pond and keeps leaves from falling in stops feeding the algae and green algae will die off when it does not get enough light.

Has anyone tried the bokashi balls to clean ponds? I heard about them but I never tried it.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Greener-Garden
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Re: Very green water

Plecostomus aren't very good algae eating fish. Otocinclus are the best algae eating cat fish. They're hardly and can stand pond conditions without a heater.

Detritus is also a huge problem when trying to create a self sustaining pond that requires little maintenance. Fortunately for me, all my pond fish are nano fish and my pond if fully planted underneath the surface. My ratio for plant to fish is 40 stem plants to 1 fish. I wish I had a good picture of what my pond looks lie underneath the surface, but unfortunately I don't. However, it should look similar to my aquarium below.....KIND OF SIMILAR!

Image

I hope you get your pond crystal clear! I love ponds.

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