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kazs_angel kazs_angel
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  • Posted on: 22/8/2010 10:35
Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #1
Hi,
We filled our pond and put plants in two weeks ago and were told by our local fish centre to leave it for at least two weeks before adding fish but to also obviously make sure the chemical levels were ok first.
Out of interest I tested samples of the water after a week and the results were pH - 8.5, Nitrate - 0.0mg/l, Nitrite - 0.1mg/l and Ammonia - 0.0mg/l. So I thought not too bad to start with. We then installed the filter/pump (which had only just arrived) and also added Blagdon 'Fresh Start' (which we had initially forgotten to add when we filled the pond).
Today we tested another set of water samples. The pH was the same at 8.5 (so not bad but could be better if down to 7.5) and so was the Nitrate at 0.0mg/l but we were horrified to see that the Nitrite had gone up to 0.25mg/l and the Ammonia up to 4.0mg/l!!!
Does anybody have any suggestions as to what could have gone so wrong and how to correct the problems? Can't think of anything that might have caused this so at a bit of a loss!
Had hoped to get and put the fish in today but obviously won't until water levels are perfect. :O(
Many thanks for any advice.
Jellybean Jellybean
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  • Posted on: 22/8/2010 11:46
Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #2
Hi
Im not a pond keeper, i keep goldfish and cichlids.

Hopefully someone will be on later to advise you on what you need to do to make your pond safe for the fish you want to keep.

What i can tell you is that fish keeping is all about water quality, get this right and both you and your fish will be fine. Have a look at the link under my signature strip, it explains all about the cycle process that needs to be undertaken to make the water suitable for fish to thrive.

Jen
suey2 suey2
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Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #3
The safe start stuff is a water conditioner to remove chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals - I use the same stuff for my tanks

In a tank it usually takes 4-6 weeks for the cycle to complete so I'd assume about the same for a pond.Have you been adding a source of ammonia to the pond to start the cycle? (there is a link in my sig). Good on you for keeping an eye on it though and double checking what the shop told you
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kazs_angel kazs_angel
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  • Posted on: 22/8/2010 18:43
Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #4
Hi Jellybean and Suey2,
Thanks for responding to my post.
We haven't added anything to the pond except the 'Fresh Start'. And I've also have never heard of adding ammonia to start the cycle. I've been reading up on why new ponds get high ammonia readings and they all say it's where too many fish have been added initially but as we haven't added any fish yet that's obviously not our problem.
So any idea what could have caused this dramatic rise from last week?
Many thanks.
Violet Violet
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  • Posted on: 22/8/2010 19:00
Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #5
Adding any fish to any volume of water whether an in door aquarium or an outside pond without cycling first, will cause elevated ammonia, nitrite and nitrate I'm afraid.

The pond filter needs to grow enough bacteria to deal with the food poop and usually,this takes about 4-6 weeks. Cycling in any volume of water tends to be of a set time scale.

In tanks elevated readings can be managed by frequent daily water changes with pre treated water. Not sure this is do-able with ponds given the size - do you have the volume?

Can you clarify the make/size brand of filter you have?

Hang in there, the pond keepers/advisers should be able to give you a few tips.
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suey2 suey2
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Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #6
What sort of pond is this? I mean is it one of the preformed jobbies, a butyl lined one, a clay lined one etc. How big is it?

Not that I'm any real use on ponds as I've never had one but I know some soils can release ammonia when submerged so wondering whether this is the cause. I used topsoil in a planted tank a while ago and the advice is to lay out the soil dry in the tank for a few days to let the ammonia in it dissipate.

What sort of plants are they? If they've dropped leaves into the water they would be rotting and producing ammonia. Ummmm, trying to think of anything else!

It sounds like it's cycling somehow but if you've not added any ammonia or a source of ammonia yourself it must have come from somewhere. Good point from V about the filter - some more info on that would be helpful
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kazs_angel kazs_angel
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  • Posted on: 22/8/2010 23:11
Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #7
Hi Violet,

That's my point - we haven't put any fish in yet! No fish, so no waste from them, nothing else added except the Fresh Start but we now have loads of ammonia where last week we had none!!

We purchased a Hozelock Easyclear 3000 (after a lot of research) which was highly recommended by other users. Hozelock themselves say 'Introduce fish slowly over first few weeks, up to 20% of the maximum recommended level increasing to 50% after six months'. But the water centre we bought the filter/pump from, told us we could put fish in after approximately two weeks (providing the water tests were all ok which obviously they are not). We also asked our local 'Hertfordshire Fisheries', 'World of Water', 'Maidenhead Aquatics' and 'Wildwoods' for their advice on this and they all said the same. Most internet sites checked also said roughly the same.

Volume of the pond is 361 gals or 1644 litres.

Hi Suey2,

It's a raised pond made with sleepers (although half of it is below ground level for winter protection) with a buytl liner with underlay and is rectangular. 80.5" long by 43" wide by 30" deep. The slightly irregular length and width were dictated by the size of our small garden. Depth was okayed by the above fish/water centres as only planning to have Sarasa Comets and Shubunkins not Koi.

Plantwise, we currently have a small Walter Pagel water lily, several oxygenating plants - Hottonia Palustris, Callatriche Verna, Scirpus Cernuus and several bunches of Myriophyllum Spicatum (I think, no label) together with three water hyacinths, a medium sized Pontederia Cordata, and a Zantedeschia Aethiopoca. We are also thinking of adding an Umbrella plant if the cat stops eating it! All the potted plants are in the medium they were purchased in and we were told they didn't need replanting for the foreseeable future but we will use Aquatic Soil when they do.

All dead foilage is removed immediately and there are no leaves going in the pond from any garden plants or trees in the immediate area.

Phew! :O) Hope this extra info helps. Thanks to you both for your advice. Any further help will be most appreciated.
jamielloyd jamielloyd
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  • Posted on: 22/8/2010 23:56
Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #8
do you understand the nitrogen cycle? in an outdoor pond your ammonia source could of came from anywhere.. but basically its nothing to be worried about that you have ammonia present.. the ammonia will turn to nitrite then nitrate.. as your pond is planted so you may still have a reading of 0 nitrate..

keep checking it until you get a reading of 0 on both ammonia and nitrite and your pond should have cycled.. only then should you add any fish

good luck
kazs_angel kazs_angel
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  • Posted on: 23/8/2010 7:39
Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #9
Hi Jamie,

Thanks for your advice. I do understand the nitrogen cycle but was just very concerned that the ammonia reading had gone from 0 to 4 in a week! Seemed like such a big rise in so shorter time, as though something had gone very wrong.
suey2 suey2
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Re: Help! Ammonia and Nitrite too high! #10
I'm not good on ponds really, I'm just trying to think of it as a big tank So yes, what Jamie said sounds fine - having an ammonia reading now sounds like a good thing, the filter bacteria will start to develop. If you keep testing regularly you should see ammonia come down and nitrite rise and come down.
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