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Re: Murky pond

Subject: Re: Murky pond
by Otter on 15/7/2009 15:13:54

The nitrite reading of 0.3ppm indicates that your nitrifying bacteria are not up to speed yet. It is also high enough to stress your fish, though I doubt it will kill them outright. You could lower it by changing half the water. Adding salt is said to protect fish from nitrite by thickening their slime coat. However, the reason they secrete more slime is that they are freshwater fish and need to protect themselves from the salt. Why their slime doesn't thicken in response to nitrite, I don't know. Perhaps it does, and the salt just makes fish keepers feel better. The other downside to adding salt is that it will slow the growth of your bacteria colonies. I'd probably do the water change and not bother with salt, but I'm fairly new to keeping fish in ponds too, so don't take this as expert advice. Either way, you should monitor nitrite daily until it's gone. Try to keep it under 0.25 ppm. Feed very lightly until you get the nitrite under control. And watch for a buildup of nitrate as the nitrite levels become undetectable. If you're using strips, you should probably get a liquid test kit. The strips are notoriously inaccurate. All of this may be familiar from keeping aquariums.

The murk is probably just suspended algae. How deep is your pond? As you've seen, what makes a pond murky near the bottom looks crystal clear in a smaller container. Hence you'll notice algae levels in your pond that would be undetectable in your tanks. It may clear up when your bacteria get going. Barley extract would be a good quick fix for the green water. The algae won't hurt your fish, though, so concentrate on the nitrite first. In fact, algae will do some of the work the bacteria should be doing.

Another possibility is that the murk is fine soil particles that got washed into the pond during a rainstorm. If this can happen, you should correct the problem soon, as it will become a major headache if left unchecked.