Foam on surface of pond

Longlocks(z6 PA)June 29, 2007

I have a LOT of foam on the surface of my pond (round 16' diameter 2' deep). I've only two small goldfish in there. Got the fish last summer and they successfully overwintered so this is the 2nd summer for them. Always thought they were both males (as have seen no baby goldfish) but then most of the threads I've read regarding foam on the pond seem to indicate that this foam is produced when the fish are spawning.

I admit to being confused...spawning that produces foam are the eggs from the females right? Or does the sperm produced by the males also cause foam?

And just how 'foamy' does the water get when two smallish (approx 3' goldfish) spawn? I mean I've got a lot of foam and it has been around for about 10 days now. I keep spraying it to break it up and it just keeps 'coagulating' back again in roundish configurations or clinging to the lilly pads.

I've only introduced one new plant to the pond and used a pot that had been in the pond last season (all I did was rinse that pot with my well water -- which is same water I use in the pond) and filled it with pea gravel and impatiens.

Could there be something in the pea gravel (or something in the potting soil the impatiens were planted in in the flat) that would cause this foam?

Thanks for any help!


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Hi, Kathy
IMO the foam is not from spawning or your new plant, pot, or gravel. More likely it is DOCs (dissolved organic compounds)which can be caused by overfeeding, decaying plant material, excess waste in the water. I would test the water and try more frequent water changes. There are many, many more knowledgeable ponders on this forum who, I'm sure, will give you great advice.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 11:09AM
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johnkr(z5 PA)

I use to get foam on my pond surface a few years ago. I never figured out what was causing it. It did seem to get bad after a rain storm, so I thought it might be something carried into the pond as the rain drained into it. I suspected the wood mulch near my pond. Spawing doesn't produce a lot of foam. At least not in my pond.
Increasing your filtration would probably help.
I also used some products at the time to eliminate foam. I don't remember the brand names, but their are products that will remove foam from ponds without harming fish or plants.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 11:11AM
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I am getting it right now. It is forming where the water enters the pond from the waterfall and the barrel filter. I don't know where it comes from but it doesn't last forever. It's the hottest time of the year here now and that might have something to do with it. When it's hot the gold fish like to stay deep and only come up when I feed them. Without the waterfall it would get too hot and they would die. I have never had much success with gold fish spawning. I do have one small one in the pond but I never see baby goldfish very often. If you put platys in in early spring by november they will have reproduced many times.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 2:25PM
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foam from spawning only lasts a day or so. If you have foam that lasts for days and seems to get worse, then you are in serious need of a water change. 10% to 20% weekly really does wonders for the water quality.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 5:41PM
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Longlocks(z6 PA)

Many Thanks for answers!

Already did 10% water change - made no diff whatsoever.

It does seem to get worse after a rain but even in heaviest rains I've not seen anything getting washed down into pond--only thing it could wash into the pond would be pea gravel or moss

The foam does form in one spot (where filter/waterfall enters the pond) but what does HEAT have to do with the formation of foam? Do DOCs dissolve faster when the water is hot or something? This pond is in almost complete shade and water stays very very cold.

If I throw cotton batting in top of filter/waterfall for temp quick fix will this increase filtration enough to rid myself of this yucky foam?

Other than polyester quilt batting what is the quickest easiest CHEAPEST way to increase filtraton?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 4:55AM
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I live in So Cal and it is hot here now. I have been getting lots of foam. It seems to collect more in the nighttime. I put in about 80% new water 2 weeks ago. at the same time I cleaned the filters using the pond water. My pond is 2500 gal and in full sun. I now have 8 goldfish with a few plants. I have been very frustrated seeing the foam each morning. I scoop out as much as possible in order to feed the fish (or they wouldn't be able to find the food). I too need help.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 3:26PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

It is like the foam many rivers and streams got from the high phosphate detergents we used to use. You could get rid of it with filtration increases or salt or ammo rock and activated charcoal but it is more efficient to do water changes. I seem to remember you do not feed the fishies so it is likely the result of incompletely digested leaves and other debris. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 2:43AM
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Longlocks(z6 PA)

Hey Sandy (nice to see the name of someone I recognize!)

No I feed my fish twice a day in a small feeding ring. My father and sister in law both have fish (lots of them in what I consider very small ponds) that they don't feed. Only reason I feed the fish is that my pond is so big with so many places for them to hide that unless I tempt them to come up to the feeding ring I never even catch sight of them (and then get anxious that they have died) and so like to see them at least once a day just to be sure they are okay!

At any rate I am just baffled by the foam - there is virtually no pond debris to speak of (that I can find anyhow - no leaves, acorns, decaying plant matter etc.) but I live under a dense canopy of mature hardwood trees and we have just completed our rather horrible yearly gypsy moth cycle and not to be too gross about this but when the gypsy moths are up in the trees munching on the leaves it virtually rains gypsy moth feces for a few weeks (it is so bad that at night when the feces is dropping out of the trees it hits the leaves of the trees and makes a patter so loud that you think it is actually raining!) At any rate, whilst I can blow this crap off of the decks and sweep the paths etc. I cannot control it falling into the pond (where it dissolves as soon as it hits the water) so now I'm wondering if this crap falling from the sky could be the culprit?

I mean it's not like I've never had any foam before, but I've never had this much and for this long. Guess I'll just increase my filtration and continue the daily water changes...

I would so love to drain the pond and scrub it and re-fill but I can't catch the does one catch such small fish in a large pond anyhow???

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 5:09AM
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I too have foam on my pond and I DO NOT have fish, so it can't be because of that. The foam just started last week. It looks like a nice bubble bath. In fact DH accused the grandkids of putting soap in the waterfall. pfffft I had to laugh.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 9:39AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

The AC and Ammorocks may do a good job. It could be just the combination of your water and the organics. Have you done a water test?
Glad to see you back too. You always do interesting posts. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 5:00PM
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I too have merciless foam on the surface of my pond. I have about 8 godfish, 2 Koi, and 2 Red earred Slider Turtles in a 600 gallon pond. I believe the turtles are causing an increase in organic waste. Does anyone know where I can buy a protein skimmer to get rid of this foam?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 10:41PM
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I think that some pollen in the air causes the foam. I had some last year but none this year.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 11:19PM
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pondgal(6a Pa.)

You could try to flood the pond. Let it over fill forcing the foam to run off. Just make sure if you have city water to use enough dechlor.

The moth feces thing could be the culprit. I would make sure you watch the ammonia/ nitrite level also.

Are you in western Pa. ?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 6:17PM
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