Friday, July 12, 2013

H2O Chemistry and Ponds.

Quote: From my iBook  

“Growing ponds usually cover an area larger than one million gallons to two acres in size. These ponds will hold no more than 15-50 Koi in them. According to my calculations, a million gallon pond with 50 Koi in it would be about twenty thousand gallons per Koi. This would be more space than any hobbyists would want to contribute to any one animal.” 

Complicated Chemistry.

If you want to compare natural systems to our ponds the two are as different as night and day. In natural systems the bacteria are predominately plant related, 90% are plant related bacteria and 10% are animal related bacteria. In our ponds however, those numbers change dramatically to 10% plant related and 90% animal related bacteria. Most hobbyists will never check their bacteria count in their ponds to see what they have or the dominating type of cells they have. They will only check for a specific type of bacteria that help aid in the nitrogen cycle and are those bacteria doing their job, that’s about as far as it will go. Much like that of bacteria, proteins in natural systems are mainly plant related and safe if they become overly abundant. Nevertheless, in our ponds the proteins that predominate is animal related and becomes toxic if not diluted or eradicated in some way. A lot of these proteins are from the supplemental foods we feed our Koi’s but in natural system these proteins and fats do not exists. 

The number of animals in a natural system is a balancing act of predator and prey but not so in our ponds.  Overcrowded condition related to the waters mass like in our ponds - unlike that of grow-out ponds as stated above- always will brings with it pathogens and parasites that will have outbreaks of sickness or death if man does not intervene in some way and take evasive action or preventive maintenance to prevent it. 

 Yet in natural systems the intersection of topography is always open to ground and water’s surface and will stay that way for hundreds of years. Water is constantly going into and out of the water body 24-7. It’s only when man intervenes do those pathways close; then chemical and biological mediators become disrupted or blocked altogether, this then makes the pond become hypertrophication in nature. The animal mass to plant mass is a balancing act that as hobbyists they do not want to replicate. What fun would it be to have two Koi in 6000-gals of water! Our ponds are closed systems- because of the liners we use, the intersection of topography does not exist, and they are not even artificial facsimiles of the real thing. 

The Claim To Fame.

We have all heard of the Volvo that has lasted over 1,000,000-miles but this is not the norm.  There is always that hobbyist that has the privilege to fame of doing very little and coming out smelling like a Rose, but this too, is also not the norm, it is the exception to the rule. Statistics show that within three years most people into the fish hobby will have lost all their animals or be out of the hobby altogether. Fish are treated as lesser animals to humans and become abused because of that mindset.  The mindset of a serious Koi hobbyist is different and therefore they look at Koi like anyone would look at a domesticated dog or cat…as a pet to be taken care of, not a throwaway animal or just collateral damage to an overzealous chemical treatment. 

Doing Too Much.
Do we intern do too much in caring for our fish? In some circumstances yes! Is it all part of the hobby? Once again, yes! Only because of those words I used earlier, “ Not even artificial facsimile of the real thing.” Our ponds are a complicated chemistry of water and animals that do not exist in nature or in our terrestrial atmosphere but in an aquatic world of H2O different than any other animal we will keep as pets. The complications are so plentiful that 90% of those that try will give up or fail in some way with their ponds. 

Can We Mimic Mother Nature?

The best we can do is make-believe we’re mimicking a naturel system and we do a very poor job at that, too.  That’s why there are so many different ways and kinds of filtration systems out there. Some will goes as far as trying to make a pond look like a natural one with some kind of indigenous medium at the bottom of their ponds. I haven’t seen a natural pond yet that has rocks and small pea gravel like stones at the bottom of them but for some reason that’s what a lot of hobbyist thinks they look like. Natural systems are loaded full of detritus, mulm and smuts (Smuts, is a Germanic word for dirt) but not a lot of stones and rocks at the bottom of them; which is unless someone has thrown them in there at one time. All this is placed on top of the liner that somehow is supposed to let water and oxygen travel through it without hindrance. Unfortunately it just doesn’t work the way it’s presented to hobbyist.  

QUOTE: From my iBook 

“Some hobbyists will even go as far as making their whole pond into a huge filter, by placing rocks, gravel, and small stones on the bottom of their ponds. The same is true for what happens with this way of filtering, as with any other type. The stones will begin to clog, with smut, dead Algae, and detritus. Ammonium producing anaerobic bacteria will begin to leach ammonia upwards, algae then will use this, for this is a nutrient of prime importance, or it has to be converted back to nitrates by the aerobic nitrification bacteria. Nevertheless, as you can see, that the pond will be plagued with the same problems as submergence filtration ponds have.

However, let us use this as an example, let us say you wanted to have a natural pond, and you wanted to cut out a section of 3000 gallon from biotope in a forest preserve. You then cut out a section in this biotope and placed a liner underneath, and then had it dropped into a hole in your backyard. You would think you would have the perfect scenario! Unfortunately, you would not, because once you put the liner underneath this natural ecosystem you interfered with the intersection of topography, which ground water is going constantly into and out of the water body proper at the interface of the ground and water surface. The liner has cut off the movement of water through the soil substrate. The soil substrate/roots/water interface is of tremendous importance and is now disrupted by the liner. Natural ponds constantly have water moving in an out of them on a continuous basis. This is not just from the top to bottom movement but from horizontal and vertical directions, too. This would otherwise be known as the “Z,” “X,” and “Y” movements of water through the substrate.”

Because of what’s been said above hobbyist have no choice than to artificially filter their ponds. Besides the delicate balancing act of chemistry and H2O and all the unforeseen insults a hobbyist has to contend with, it’s no wonder that everyone that tries to have a pond doesn’t fail and give up.

 H2O molecule taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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