Newbie pond questions

ernie85017, zn 9, phxJuly 20, 2012


I have been lurking and learning for a while, but haven't found answers to my particular newbie questions.

I have a 50 gal stock tank pond, about a month and a half old. Five Mosquito fish, 2 feeder gold fish, 2 african dwarf frogs which I have not seen since putting them in. The mosquito fish are growing. I was feeding a little bit of goldfish flakes until one of the dogs ate them. sigh... You'd think I never feed them. Now a bit of bloodworms every couple days, placed where I figure the frogs are hiding.

The water sensitive plant is growing like crazy. The water lettuce was growing well, but now looks pale. The hornwort started losing its needles and turned a sort of translucent pale rust color. A Brand X site mentioned that hornwort that isn't thriving isn't getting enough sun. I took a piece out and put in a bucket where it could get sun, gave it a pinch of fish emulsion for nitrogen, and now it looks worse.

The hornwort in the pond has a couple ends that are bushy, bushiness I don't remember seeing before, but the color is still poor. Is the shed and color change a normal thing for adjusting to a new pond?

The algae is horrible. One site said not enough oxygen, so I put in a homemade filter similar to a corner filter for a tank. Today I rinsed the batting to get the worst of the dark dirt out, but wanted to leave in any good colonizing bacteria, etc. Bad idea to rinse? I figured it wouldn't filter if it was completely gummed up. The birds poop in the pond now and again and a filter seems like a good idea.

Every few days I siphon a bit of the grunge off the bottom, thinking about the bird poop, and the dirt which blows in from the monsoon winds.

How long does the "cycling" take? You frequently mention patience. How much patience?

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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

As is normal you are lumping a bunch of stuff all into the concept of "cycling".

There is bacteria that convert ammonia and nitrite. That's one kind of "cycling". Generally this is called bio filter cycling, and a bio filter can be just the sides of your tank, it doesn't have to be a separate filter. Algae is consuming all ammonia directly, so no ammonia for bacteria, so you'll not be able to "cycle" a bio filter.

When water goes from green to clear some people call that cycling. What natural process causes this is unknown. But of the theories a 50 gal stock tank wouldn't be a good candidate. That would leave two choices imo. Trickle water changes, but I think 50 gal tank would be much too small for that to be practical. That leaves a UV filter. 100% effect in 5-7 days.

I'm not a fan of terms like "cycling", "balanced", etc. They're used when there's little actual understanding. So I'd stay away from web sites and people who use such terms in a broad way.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 3:57PM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

It's so helpful when someone states things plainly. I could read for ages and not come across this in a way I could comprehend.

I had thought ammonia was a bad thing in a tank.

Is the algae related to the poor health of the hornwort and water lettuce?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 4:51PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

New ponds don't have a lot of nutrients in them. The plants are likely reflecting that.

Algae doesn't hurt other, more desirable plants.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:22PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

Ammonia is a very bad thing for fish but good thing for algae and bacteria that eat it. In the context of "cycling" a bio filter ammonia is needed to grow the bacteria. The bacteria require ammonia to reproduce and stay alive. You can't "cycle" a bio filter without ammonia.

If you used a UV to kill the green water then ammonia from fish would be available to bacteria, which would reproduce to a level where they were consuming all available ammonia. At that point the bio filter would be called "cycled". And again, bio filter can just be the sides of the pond.

Currently you could say the green water is your "bio filter" and that it is cycled because it, I assume, is consuming all available ammonia. When a pond clears that bio filter is gone as well.

Cycling is a very general term that really has little meaning by itself. Certainly confusing when used by itself.

If the hornwort you're talking about is the underwater kind then green water algae can kill it by settling on it, blocking light and taking up all available nitrate. Water lettuce can have a difficult time getting any nitrates as well because the green water algae are always first in the buffet line. People often say higher plants starve green water algae but the opposite it true. Lack of nitrate doesn't kill plants, they just can't grow without the certain nutrients.

Your goldfish can also nibble the roots which doesn't help either.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 10:58PM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

Whoo. UV is out of the question. Pricey.

I have read here that lots of plants helps clear the water. If the algae is eating all the "food", how can plants survive?

Can anyone explain why the metal sides of the stock tank are not slimy, but other surfaces in the tank are?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 4:28PM
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NaturesFolly(West MI 5)

The plants will compete with the algae for the nutrients while adding shade which helps to also control it. One thing I was thinking is that with a 50 gal tank, the water may actually get too hot for the plants, plus you posted that parts of the tank are metal... do you have a thermometer in the pond?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:50AM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

Yes, it is a metal stock tank. It is under a tree and the sun does not hit the metal. The water stays pretty cool. No thermometer.
I added 2 bunches of hornwort and a water lily with a lot of leaves which cover about 1/3 of the surface. No change in the water yet.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 5:06PM
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NaturesFolly(West MI 5)

Ernie, would it be possible for you to post pics of your pond, it may help us to help you :)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 9:40AM
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ernie85017, zn 9, phx

Will try to find my camera!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 11:14PM
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NaturesFolly(West MI 5)

When you find the camera.... take pics of the front, both sides and the top of the pond... and :) The area that the pond resides in... it all helps.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 9:32PM
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