Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pond filtration systems are specifically designed solely for the purpose to slow the rate of water quality declined “ not prevent it.

Four years ago, we had a professionally installed pond and beautifully landscaped yard. The first year we did all the maintenance as required on the pond. However, after that, my husband realized it was just too much work and skipped a couple of years. The pond looked great until this year when all kinds of string algae and hair algae developed all over the bottom on all the rocks and the clarity of the water became murky and now Ammonia is showing up on our test kits. How can we solve this problem, without all the maintenance?

I get this question asked of me at least once a year. Moreover, it always seems to be exactly the same problem, maintenance was more than the homeowner bargained for, so therefore they omitted it for a year or two. The soi-disant professionals that installed the pond adumbrated as if their systems were the apotheosis of filtration and that the maintenance was very undemanding and would only require a few minutes of their free time to perform. However, it turns out that after having the pond for sometime (this usually would happen within the first season or two), it was a lot more work than what was originally explained and/or deliberated to them.

The one thing you must remember regarding these particular ponds is because of so much particulate matter such as fish waste, smut, uneaten fish food, dying algae and the decomposing of plant matter. Not to mention the metabolic byproducts that has accumulated under the rocks and gravel, which now has become the ideal conditions for Trichodina Parasites (these parasites enjoy dirty ponds and the rocks and gravel make a perfect home for them). Because of the increase in, organic and inorganic byproducts clogging becomes imminent, anaerobic zones begin to form and nitrogen is then reduced back to ammonia/ammonium and no further. This is called Ammonification process or assimilatory denitrification (reassembly of ammonium, i.e., Ammonification).

Because of this, another nitrogen product is produced, the bacteria’s inefficient use of phosphorus for energy results in an abundant amount of phosphates leaching into the surrounding rocks, gravel, and small spherical boulders. So in essence, all these rocks, gravel, and small spherical boulders are no more than a never-ending circle of cycling of oxidizing the same nutrients repeatedly!

Unfortunately, this mass of oxidation becomes greater with the time the pond maintenances were allowed to lapse. Because of inconclusive studies, understanding how long it will take for parts of the “mass” to leach into bulk water is not fully understood completely by scientists. With phosphates leaching into the surrounding area, cyanobacteria (aka: Blue-green algae) begin to proliferate on and in-between the rocks, gravel and boulders.  Therefore, you must follow the directions for spring cleanout, which the contractor had instructed you to do to a “Tee,” this is irrefragable. Once you relax on the maintenance procedures with these particular ponds, the balance of the pond will unquestionably disintegrate. Because of organic decay and the build up of detritus, the ponds ecological balance warps and therefore will become eutrophic in nature. The buildup of DOC’s (dissolved organic compounds) in solution will consequently turn the water-body-proper green, murky, the turbidity suffers and then begins the proliferation of hair algae, at no fault of the contractors.

The owner of one of these professionally installed pond’s (John B. Rottersman), writes in the Midwest Pond and Koi Society Newsletter (March-April of 2004), “If a marriage can survive a pond cleaning, it can survive anything.” He also writes in the conclusion to his article, “If you and your wife are still talking, go out to dinner, have a few drinks and a good meal. You both have earned it!”

Personally, there is some verisimilitude to these statements, he has owned one of these award-winning ponds since 1995, and it is beautiful. However, it does not mean that it does not come without some strings attached, along with vituperating the contractor that installed the pond when cleaning it out. Of course, this does not imply that you cannot hire the professional that installed your pond to do the “spring cleanout serves” for you, with a little out of pocket expenses of a few hundred dollars. Otherwise, this possibly can become an all day undertaking for you and/or spouse to complete. In addition, you cannot forget the very expensive (it is not surprising to see a hundred-dollar price tag placed on the bacteria cultures per-container) bacteria that you must reinoculate the pond with following cleanout.

As far as maintenance goes on these particular ponds, I have heard of people having a double set of rocks and gravel that go into the bottom of their ponds. In the springtime when it is time to cleanout their pond, all the rocks and gravel are removed from the pond. The pond is then power-washed down and the old rocks and gravel are exchange for clean new ones, which they had stored in their yard. This way the owner makes positively sure that no smuts or detritus is concealed under the substrate. This method should be quite disconcerting since its unorthodox methods can produce reasonable results when associated with sensible objectives.

The reason this was brought to your attention, is because you either do the maintenance required yourself or you have somebody else do it for you, but do not let it lapse for a year or two. Sorry, but there is no miraculous advice, chemicals or feats of thaumaturgy, that anyone can provide for eliminating maintenance on a pond.  You must also understand the minute you set up your pond and add fish; the quality of the water starts to deteriorate. Nutrients get used up and waste products are produce.

 Pond filtration systems are specifically designed solely for the purpose to slow the rate of water quality declined “ not prevent it. Over time, even with a state-of-the-art filtration system, waste products will gradually build up to levels that will negatively affect the health of plants and the aquatic animals in any biotope. The fact is, even natural systems will experience a decline in water quality over a given time; this is called eutrophication.

I do not know the etymology of the expression: “The chief enemy of good is better!” but in this situation it fits exceptionally well with the Anoxic filtrations’ husbandry. That is why in designing the Anoxic Filtration System, I took into account the amount of time and trouble that would-be considered necessary for maintenance.  However, people even with ponophobia,1 will have no problems executing the required maintenance on my filtration system; unlike some other filtration systems that are presently on the market that require extensive time and upkeep. With an armamentarium of nothing more than a sump-pump, garden hose, and two hours of your valued time, the filtration system will be up and running again for the season.2 Never will the fish have any account, of you disrupting their precious ecological unit, because you will not have disturbed them in the least.

1.     People, those who are afraid of overworking, or fatiguing himself or herself.
2.     The majority of that time will be spent on refilling the filtration-pond back up with clean water.

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