Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying? - Aquarium Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Hi everyone! BabyMakes3 here.

We recently began converting our swimming pool into a natural swimming pond. The water has been dechlorinated and conditioned and is consistently testing at perfect levels (0 nitrates, nitrites, and chlorine, 7.5 ph etc). We added in koi and various goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image along with 5 Plecos and 5 pond snails. We lost one comet fingerling the morning after the transplant, but all the other fish are active and vigorous. This morning, I found not one but two dead plecostromus. They seemed fine and then they were just dead. I'm hoping to determine why they died to make sure I'm not making some grievous error that will eventually kill my other fish.

The pool is somewhere between 6500 and 7000 gallons. We haven't altered the construction of the pool in any way. The filter still runs twice a day. The only things we did were take out the chlorine, condition the water, and prop the plastic mouth shut off the filter reservoir to make sure no fish would get sucked in. Not counting the stairs, the shallowest part of the pool is 3 feet, the deepest is about 6 feet. The water is still pretty clear but it does look like its starting to have a bacterial bloom. I've not yet added plants, but there will be 20 clusters of water hyacinth by tomorrow night. I've been feeding twice a day. Floating koi pellets and sinking algea discs.

I will likely eventually add some rocks on the bottom but I haven't done so yet and don't have any immediate plans to do so.

Are there any major flaws in what I've been doing that could result in more deaths? I would be happy to post pics if it would be helpful. Thank you all in advance!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 07:06 AM
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

consistently testing at 0 across the board doesn't mean a cycled tank/pool in this case i guess, after adding a source of ammonia, be it fish or straight ammonia, you will see a nitrite spike then normal levels of nitrates(20-40) after several weeks.

I'm curious as to why you only run the filter 2 times a day, why not continuous?

I may be off base here as I have no experience with ponds but that would be my first guess
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Thanks for the response Marshall!

The filter is a full strength pool filter rather that your typical pond filters. Pool filters are generally run once or twice a day for several hours rather than running continuously.

I will continue to test the water in anticipation of the spike you mentioned. Once that occurs do I need to treat the water or will it remedy itself?
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

See, I learned something today about pool filters, thanks

In all honesty, I'm not quite sure how to deal with spikes in a body of water that large, in aquariums we simply change water.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 10:47 AM
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

My suggestion would be to find a big enough pond pump for it or even a couple of ones. The pool filter will filter out junk but it doesn't keep enough bb to do much good. Plecos also need more of a water flow than just a few hours a day from a pool filter.

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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Agreed, get a pond filter instead of a pool filter. They will grow the bacteria needed to hold a cycle. Pics of the pond?

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 11:19 AM
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

I'm curious what you used to "condition" the water.
Often pools have calcium,copper and other things that could be troublesome for fish.
I'll admit that for the gallons the stocking is low but the first thing you should see is ammonia.
You should check out seachem Safe as an affordable alternative to Prime(they are the same thing.
Also like Marshall mentioned waterchanges are basically out of the question so you should learn about Potassium Permaganate.I'll bring a couple links for both.
Potassium permanganate | The Skeptical Aquarist
Read this on the PP but most important is the link near the bottom to roddy conrad and use with kio and goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image(he has an above ground pool (with kio) in his basement!Next link.
Potassium Permanganate
Seachem Safe 1 Kilo



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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Thanks for all of your responses!

Quote:
Originally Posted by susankat View Post
The pool filter will filter out junk but it doesn't keep enough bb to do much good.
What is bb? Sorry

Quote:
Originally Posted by majerah1 View Post
Agreed, get a pond filter instead of a pool filter. They will grow the bacteria needed to hold a cycle. Pics of the pond?
So to confirm, You all think I should get a pond *filter* and not a pond "pump". Do you all think I could just get a pond pump and continue to run the pool filter? That way there is increased water flow and the water will still all be filtered through the pool filter. Sidenote: I'm also planning on building a waterfall to increase oxygenation and water flow. I will take some pics tonight and post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coralbandit View Post
I'm curious what you used to "condition" the water.
Often pools have calcium,copper and other things that could be troublesome for fish.
I'll admit that for the gallons the stocking is low but the first thing you should see is ammonia.
You should check out seachem Safe as an affordable alternative to Prime(they are the same thing.
Also like Marshall mentioned waterchanges are basically out of the question
I treated the water with Top Fin Pond Water Conditioner. It's description is as follows.

"Top Fin Pond Water Conditioner

Keep your pond water conditioned with Top Fin Pond Water Conditioner. Help neutralize ammonia, chloramines and chlorine, while removing heavy metals. Top Fin items can help support the well-being of your aquatic pets and the beauty of their environment. Only at PetSmart. Features: Improves fish slime coat Includes: 1 - Bottle of Pond Water Conditioner Environment: Ponds Caution: Keep out of reach of children. Instructions: Use when adding tap water to a new or existing pond. For best results, mix the appropriate dosage of pond water conditioner with tap water before adding to the pond. If also adding bacteria supplement, allow water to circulate for at least 15 minutes before adding the bacterial product. Directions for Use: 60 US gal (227.1 L) 15 mL 480 US gal (1,817 L) 120 mL"


Full water changes are out of the question, but we lose quite a bit to evaporation, so we do add freshautolinker.com autolinking image water once or twice a week.

I have two different test kits, and I used both this morning. They each gave the same results except for the water hardness.

PH- 7.3
KH- 120
GH- one test said 60, one test said 230
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 20
Chlorine- 0

The conditioner said that it takes care of heavy metals. Is there anything else I should be testing for?

The stock is low, but I will be slowly growing the school over time.
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

bb refers to beneficial bacteria, those guys will convert ammonia (fish waste) to nitrite and then to nitrate, that's the cycle.

A pool filter is just a big sand filter which the water passes through, yes it will keep the water free of particles and such but the bacteria required to manage the fish waste will reproduce poorly in sand, they need a more porous media (ceramic noodles or sponges for eg.) to grow and prosper, the bb are just as important if not more so than the mechanical filtration provided by sand only.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 03:03 PM
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyMakes3 View Post






So to confirm, You all think I should get a pond *filter* and not a pond "pump". Do you all think I could just get a pond pump and continue to run the pool filter? That way there is increased water flow and the water will still all be filtered through the pool filter. Sidenote: I'm also planning on building a waterfall to increase oxygenation and water flow. I will take some pics tonight and post.
Look into SAVIO overflows/filters.They easily accomodate waterfalls and the such.They are a great filter system.
I was going to ask what kind of filter does the pool use;sand/pleated cartridge...?
You need some area that will not clog up quickly to hold the benificial bacteria.
It is good to see a nitrate reading ,but they are only controlled through waterchanges(basically impossible),PP or specific chemicals that will probly be expensive.Just replacing water that evaporates will do NOTHING to improve water quality as NONE of the nutrients will be removed with evaporation.



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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

It's a pleated cartridge filter. I would imagine that this could house a bacterial colony, right?

So basically, the bacteria process the ammonia and turn it into nitrates. The nitrates then have to be removed, and the only way to do that is to change the water or add a chemical (that can harm the fish) once the reading gets about 40. Is that right?

If so, would a partial water change be sufficient? We have a sump pump. I can safely drain off maybe 1800 gallons every now and then when the nitrates get too high.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 03:40 PM
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

The chemicals won't be harmful(check out purigen by seachem) but may be expensive.I''m not clear but check out barley or hay/oats to remove nitrAtes also.
Yes waterchanges are the most efficient method of removing nitrates.The % of water removed is the % the nitrates will be reduced,so if you removed 25% of the water then the nitrates would go down by 25%.
The pleated filter actually could house the bacteria ,BUT if you rinse it with chlorinated water(hose) then you will kill a large amount of the BB.To keep BB alive in full force you need to rinse media (filter cartridge) in water removed from the pool/pond.This will be very diffacult(I know because my pool uses pleated cartridges which I have modified for easier cleaning).



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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyMakes3 View Post
It's a pleated cartridge filter. I would imagine that this could house a bacterial colony, right?

So basically, the bacteria process the ammonia and turn it into nitrates. The nitrates then have to be removed, and the only way to do that is to change the water or add a chemical (that can harm the fish) once the reading gets about 40. Is that right?

If so, would a partial water change be sufficient? We have a sump pump. I can safely drain off maybe 1800 gallons every now and then when the nitrates get too high.
The fish (waste, uneaten food) produce the ammonia which is converted by the bb into nitrites first, then into nitrates. Have you tested for ammonia?
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

I've attached some photos of the pond and the fish. I also have a pic of our filtration system.

This morning I have inexplicably lost two comets, each under 2 inches long. One seems to have died last night, the other died less than an hour ago.

I have spent a great deal of time watching the fish, and I have noticed them scraping their sides on the bottom of the pool. I think this is called glancing? And is considered a display of stress. I looked over the dead fish and there are no spots or sores or any other physical indicator of illness that I can see. What could be causing the glancing and how do I treat it? I've read that adding aquarium saltautolinker.com autolinking image and stress zyme can help. Any advice there?

In every way except the glancing the fish seem really healthy. There are very active, eat well, swim and chase each other. Just every now and then I'll see one flash it's belly and scrape it's side on the bottom.

Regarding Nitrate control, I've read that having a lot of plants can be effective in reducing the nitrates because the plants use it to grow. Have any of you had success with that? That would certainly be much easier than having to drain off and replace almost 2000 gallons every week or so.

My water is still testing consistently. Ph is 7.5. Kh is 120. Hardness is 150. Chlorine is 0. Nitrites is 0. And Nitrates have come down from 20 to 10 since I added the floating plants last night.

I don't think my test strips test for ammonia. But the fact that I even have nitrates indicates that I have bb that is processing the ammonia right?

Should I get more kinds of testers? What else should I be testing for? Should I add a general cure to see if that fixes the glancing?




Good shot of a couple Sankes with the Ginrin Platinum Ogon






A few of the Comets


Filtration System









All the photos loaded sideways. Sorry about that.
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

A little saltautolinker.com autolinking image is good for Koi and gold fishautolinker.com autolinking image, but pleco's and other bottom feeders cant handle it so well. For your size i would look into water softener salt, just make sure its only salt no added junk.

I use about 1lbs for every 100gal, but work your way up to that. so start off 1lbs per 200gal then add the rest over the next few weeks. (SALT WILL NOT EVAPORATE) so don't add more when replacing evaporated water.

The plants will help, but the big helpers are algae, so dont go trying to kill it all off.

I want to swim in your pond hahaha

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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

You should throw out the strips and get a liquid(with glass vials) master test kit(API).The strips have been known to inaccurate.
I seem to the only who mentions this so;"I hope you are not dipping the strip in the pool itself and possibly releasing chemicals from the strips into your system!".
Remove a cup of water dip and dispose of water till you get liquid kit which will never contaminate your system unless you dump the vials and chemicals back into the pond(Who would do that?).
The "glancing" you speak of is more commonly called "flashing" which usaully is a sign of some issue.Fish do itch so it is not always,but if most fish are doing it then something is going on.Meds in a volume that large will break the bank.saltautolinker.com autolinking image is something I would stay away from.
The issue may not have been noticed on outside of fish as most/many issues start in the gills of fish where they too can get as much o2 as possible,and are very hard to see.
I wouldn't count on plants reducing nitrates(I have planted tanks).I'll find a link on barley /oats/hay.It probly is the most cost effective consistent method to go with.
This seemed to be a link right up your alley;
Pond Algae and How to Control Algae?
It deals with nitrates.



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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Thanks to you both!

Ok, so there seems to be a lot of conflicting opinions regarding saltautolinker.com autolinking image and whether or not I should use it. So I may just avoid that situation entirely and set up a hospital tank to treat the flashing fish.

I have a 40 gallon tank and an old fluval 205. I haven't used either in years. I think I might even still have the submerged water heater. I can try to get them set up and running today so I can start quarantining the fish that have been flashing. I think that will be the most effective solution. That way I'm not having to dump 7000 gallons worth of medication into a pool where not all the fish are sick.

SO. Under the assumption that I have gotten the tank up and running, and that the flashing fish are now in this 40 gallon hospital tank... what now. Meds? I have read somewhere that raising the temp to 84 degrees for a couple weeks can help.

I will check to see if my local pet shop has any API water test kits with the glass vials. I used to have one of those but I think it got lost over the years. Assuming I can find one of those kits, are there any extra tests I will need to buy? Or should that test for everything I might need?
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Now your talking(QT!)!
I am a real med for real disease guy.No saltautolinker.com autolinking image or elavated temp needed.As a matter of fact BE VERY CAREFUL using more than one treatment with another.They are all stressful.
If we think it is ich(most common problem) then I'm a rid ich plus guy(KORDON).AP quick cure is the same meds.
Formulin and M.green are the best to treat ich.
If it is ich or you think it is then read this and know your enemy!
Ich | The Skeptical Aquarist
I would really go with meds over salt and or heat as the goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image won't appreciate the heat.And as far as salt goes too many people use it to up the pH and hardeness for g's and livebearers when in fact it has NO PLACE in their enviroment.It is a skin irratant and NOT naturally occuring for them.
I know many use salt,it even works for some,I'm all against it.



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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Ok so I found my filter and got it all cleaned out with a pressure washer. It came clean quite nicely.

Before:


After:


Hopefully it still works. I'll post photos once i get it up and running.
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:33 PM
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Re: Pool to Pond conversion almost complete! But why are my Plecos dying?

Don't use the carbon no matter how you choose to treat.
It will erase the effectiveness of any med and probly is so old and ineffective that it has no real purpose.



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