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Further Pond Water Quality Troubleshooting

Solutions and helpful advice for common problems with fish or garden pond water quality.

Problem: Unwell and dead fish, Milky-cloudy water

What has happened? 
Often pond owners complain about unwell fish shortly after a new pond has been built. In the first few weeks of a pond's life it has not yet biologically fully established itself. That means plants and micro-organisms cannot cope with all the toxic substances because they take at least 4 weeks to be able to do so.

What can happen?
The worst case scenario: The pond 'dies' and with it all the living organisms in it.

What has to be done?
First of all it needs to be established whether nitrite is the cause. The presence of nitrite as well as ammonia proves that the vital biological processes have not yet or only partly started. The a suitable test kit allows the pond owner to determine in minutes in his own home whether the water is ready to cope with fish. In any case new ponds (and also old ponds which have been refilled with fresh water) can be immunised with Starter Bacteria. This speeds up the biological processes and the level of nitrite will cease to be dangerous. 
The question, when fish can be introduced to the pond is hereby answered: Only once the nitrite level is not dangerous anymore. Of course the pH-value should also be in the optimal range between 7.5 and 8.6. In case of the pH-value being well above 9.0 already a ph adjuster can help to lower that level.

Will the pond stay stable?
A regular addition of "Starter Bacteria" during the warmer months of the year combined with a sufficient lime content of the water will ensure great plant growth and little algae. The pond is then in a stable condition.


Problem: Muddy Pond

What has happened?
Dead leaves, food remains, pollen, dead plant bits, fish excrement and so on sink to the bottom of the pond. Although the ever-present micro-organisms in a pond decompose this Silt, they cannot cope with the amount. The result is mud, that extracts oxygen from the water but enhances algae growth in spring immensely.

What can happen? 
The lack of oxygen causes the development of toxic gases. Especially in winter under a closed layer of ice the fish suffocate together with other living organisms in the pond. In spring the underwater "muck heap" and the superfluous nutrients contained within will cause the before mentioned increased algae growth which doesn't leave a chance for the pond plants.

What has to be done?
The sludge must come out of the pond. That sounds easy but it is much harder than cleaning the living room carpet. Even the best pond vacuum cleaner cannot remove every trace of silt from a pond. The rest must be decomposed by a suitable sludge removing bacteria. They work as an addition to a pond vacuum cleaner and reduce the level of silt significantly.

Will the bottom of the pond stay clean?
Only if these bacteria are used regularly and the rest of the silt is removed by a suitable device such as the Pondovac pond vacuum cleaner.