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Pond water quality and feeding questions

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Hi, long time member but have been away for awhile.  I know a fair amount about tanks but have never had a pond. My stepson and dil just moved into a house with a 5000 gallon pond that they know very little about. It did not come with fish (prev owners took their koi) so my stepson put two 4 in koi and about 15 small feeder/comet goldfish. ***Does pond water quality work the same way as tank quality?*** I tested the water today with an API Master kit and got the following results:

Ammonia: .25 PM

Ph: 7.4

Nitrites: half way between 0 and .25 ppm

Nitrates: est 3 ppm color 1/2 between 0 and 5

Not sure what else you need to know, the pond has a waterfall in it and big garbage cans full of Bio balls for filtration, and there is some sponge filters in the actual pond. No lighting yet. I attached a few pictures if that helps. I know the previous owner was using Pond perfect bio additive weekly...is that necessary?

I suspect my stepson is overfeeding the fish, ***I recommended like a tablespoon of pellets every other day***, does that sound about right for 20 small fish? I saw some I need some food floating around so I know that means they're getting too much. The size of the pellets is also pretty large for the size of the fish.

Thank you, and thank you for answering my question about filling with the hose the other day.




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Posted (edited)

What are those things in the last picture?

How deep is the pond?

Is the net above the water or on the surface?

I use this food  (from Drs Foster and Smith) and have for years.  It grows big goldfish.  The small koi pellets have just the right size for small to medium goldfish.  Big goldfish easily consume the medium koi pellets.   The sale price is excellent.  I going to order some more before the sale ends.

Don't get pond fish food from the pet store.  It costs much more than the high quality food and contains mostly cereal.

I'd start out feeding a teaspoon of food twice a day.  I suspect the food you saw floating around wasn't more than they could eat, but rather the huge pond surface made it too hard for the fish to find all of the food.  

I wouldn't worry about the trace amounts of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate unless they increase.  

They might consider putting some water lilies in that pond.  The fish love to have something to hide under.


Edited by shakaho

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The things in the last picture are filters I think with sponges in them. It is about 5 feet deep and the net is stretched above the surface. He has had several fish die this week even though water quality remains good so not sure what is going on. Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 5, ph 7.6

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Water quality includes many factors besides the nitrogen parameters.  Just to give one example, 5 or 6 years ago I noticed that our water was cloudy.  The water department said everyone had that and it was not a problem.  Then I began to get fish deaths.  The most impressive were in fry.  I kept the fry that appeared in waste water from my ponds.  The ones I thought I might want to keep, I kept in small tubs that got 100% water changes every other day.  The rest went into a large stock tank with some duckweed on the top of the water which got no water changes.  I observed regular deaths and little growth among the fry with the large water changes, while those in the stock tank thrived as expected. I also noted that all of the adult fish that died had also experienced a recent large water change.  

Enough people complained to the state about the bad water, that they tested it and found TTHMs (total trihalomethanes) far above allowable levels.   I started storing the water I used for water changes with carbon filtration to remove these organic contaminants.  I do roughly 10% daily water changes with stored water which keeps the fish happy.

The fish deaths in your situation probably came from disease/parasites.  Healthy fish carry parasites and pathogens to which they have developed immunity.  Typically all of the fish in a pond will carry the same parasites and pathogens and stay healthy.   However, if healthy fish from this pond are mixed with healthy fish from another pond the fish will not have immunity to the pathogens carried by the strangers.

Does the pond have aeration?

I'll repeat an earlier recommendation.  "I recommend they join the local Koi Club    Check out this one.  Koi people love to give advice." 

An experienced ponder who actually sees the pond and can talk to the owner can quickly identify problems.

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