Sunday, December 22, 2013

Low TDS,GH and KH doesn't mean trouble in the Japanese Koi breeders means mud pond!

Hi Dr.Novak,

You must be busy with Christmas coming up. I hope you have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As you already know that my the average parameters of my pond lately are as follow:
·         Ammonia                0 mg/L
·         Nitrite                   0 mg/L
·         Nitrate                  0 mg/L
·         pH                          7.2
·         TDS                        60 mg/L
·         DO                          8
·         ORP                       400-450 mV
·         Temperature     26-28 Celsius
I’ve been having discussions with senior members of a local koi club, and some are quite concerned with my low TDS. I then rechecked my KH and GH levels and they were 40 and 30 respectively. From what I read on your blog:, the ideal GH level would approximately 100-200 ppm and KH around 50-100 ppm. I’m not quite sure how to increase my GH and KH? Could you please share your opinion on how to do so, especially regarding the using the Anoxic Filtration System?

Both of these photos were from Japan and the Koi are from their mud ponds with very soft water.Photos from internet and Japanese Koi breeder.

Hi Yogas,
A TDS of 50-140 ppm is considered to be the ideal rage for drinking and pond water but most tap water is at 140-170 ppm and at 170 ppm and above is considered to be hard in content. When the term Hard water is used it means that the water has more dissolved solids in it and only by having your water tested professionally can an accurate analyses of what is making your water hard or soft and what salts are missing in the form of ions.

If your dissolved solids are low to begin with from your tap, then you are stuck with what you have. You have been doing water changes and that then should add more ions or replace the salts that are being used up by the Koi and bacteria. An off the shelf products that comes to mind is SeaChem that makes a buffering salt for African cichlids.  But this can be very expensive with a pond trying to keep the water hard with this product. There are some chemicals you can get from your local store. Like Epson salt (Magnesium sulfate), sea salt in the form that is used for aquariums, Baking Soda, Sodium bicarbonate, or Bicarbonate of soda, which is an anion. Magnesium sulfate is used to harden water for your GH and salt is used too. Baking soda is used to elevate the pH of your water. Only through experimentation will you be able to find the right amount to add to your pond. There is no hard-set rule to give you on what amounts needed to be added because you don’t know why your water is soft/hard to begin with.

If your GH and KH are pretty consistent and stable at 40-KH and 30-GH then it is the stability of the environment that you should be concerned with and not so much that your numbers are not meeting the ‘so-called guidelines’ that some have set. Cyprinus carpio can and will take a wide range of chemical differences unlike for example Cichlids, that have a very wide range of differences between species.

Those that are concerned about your TDS, which by the way is in the appropriate range for US government EPA standers for drinking water (Chicago has 103-ppm TDS) then is there any hard proof that these water parameters are bad for your Koi? My understanding is some hobbyist like their water to be soft (Like the Japanese) and some like it to be hard (Like those in the UK) depending on what side of the fence your on during the conversation.

In fact in KoiNations magazine it states that the Japanese which are the experts with Koi like, Quote: A pH of 6.5 -7.0 and get this, a VERY LOW GH, KH, and TDS like you already have. Yes you read that right, a very low GH, KH, and TDS like the Japanese mud ponds have. Mud ponds are very turbid but have a very low TDS. The Japanese Koi growers also say soft water is extremely good for Koi and will give the best skin refulgence and coloration too. Koi grow much faster and better in soft water verses hard water. A KH of 50-ppm is very good with a GH that is almost none detectible and a pH of 7.0-7.3 and a TDS of 80-ppm or lower. The Japanese also say that super soft water is the ideal environment for raising beautiful, healthy Koi that will not "finish" before their time and will keep their coloration.

I don’t know about you, but if the top Koi breeders in the world are in Japan and they say your pond parameters are fine with them, which I concur with because my pond is the same as yours is (My TDS is higher), then I think I would listen to them over the senior members of the local Koi club you belong to. But then again what would I know and what would the top Koi breeders in the world know, right?  What it all comes down to is: Are you happy with your Koi at their present state? If not then adjust your water parameters, if so, then leave it alone and carry on with what your doing. It’s all up to you and not the members of your club. If you think your Koi look great then that’s all that matters. I mean no disrespect to your Koi club members, but I did tell you that the AFS is like a Japanese mud pond and the proof was how Zack will grow Koi and sell them off to club members here in Chicago.

If you remember I wrote about how the AFS is acting like a Japanese Koi mud/clay pond. Look at the links below:

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