New pond owner needs help

Mel2014August 1, 2014

I just put a new small (150 gallon) pond in this Spring in May. The water was clear as a bell for 3-4 weeks and then the algae set in and to this day I can't clear the water up, it looks like green pea soup, it's been almost 2 months. From day one I put a smartpond 250GPH floating fountain with UV filter & LED lights in the pond. I've been cleaning the filter and pump every 2-3 days and to me it seems like the pump is not working properly. Could this be my problem? I have tried algecide and just a week ago I put in Barley pellets. I have a water lily in it too but it's not grown yet. Half of the pond gets maybe 3 hours of sun a day and less now that fall is approaching. Any advice would be great. Should I get a different pump or add another filter?? PLEASE HELP, I'm beyond frustrated.

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Why do you think the pump isn't working? Do you have fish?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:12AM
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I googled your unit and see that it is indeed an inexpensive all in one pump, uv and light. The ratings are low because it often clogs. I would guess that you are correct that the pump is working poorly because it is clogged. This would slow what ever good effect that the uv portion is having. I know nothing of uv systems since I have never had pea soup water, but from what waterbuguy and others say, I would wonder if this unit, even unclogged, would be powerful enough to do much good.

Perhaps you could use a utility pump to pump the pond water through some quilt batting and remove some of the thicker crud?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:43PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

UV is 100% effective in killing green water algae as long as it's sized correctly, maintained, etc. Because you have an all in one unit and it's new, been in since day one, seems to be sized correctly (probably over sized for 175 gal which is fine) it can only mean one doesn't work.

UV clears a pond in 3-7 days. You know there is a problem ewith the unit if the water is green. Because you had this UV in place from the start you shouldn't have even had green water.

I've written several rants on combo system and these types of manufacturers and retailers that sell this crap equipment. It's theft.

Algecide is also 100% effect when applied correctly. It is difficult for most people to use properly and is dangerous to fish when used improperly. Yes the label has a smiley fish but the MSDS is the only place sellers are required to tell the truth and that tells the real story. Some algecides have to be applied often.

Barley pellets and other barley products is also a huge scam. Completely dishonest retailers sell these kinds of products. Most pond retailers sell almost nothing but scam products. If you go into a high end Koi store you won't see 99% of the products sold by retailers who prey exclusively on first time pond owners. The complete barley myth can be read about here.

Plants won't clear green water directly but can bring in other kinds of algae that can make water toxic to green water algae (as shown by Norm Meck and others). But getting these species of algae to grow can be a problem because the green water algae is somewhat toxic to those species. It's a war. Adding a waterfall or stream can give those algae species a chance to grow. But that's hit and miss. Long term I think it can be pretty effective.

Half of the pond gets maybe 3 hours of sun a day and less now that fall is approaching.
Amount of sun is a common green pond myth repeated in forums, web sites, videos, etc. You've now seen why it's a myth for yourself. That makes you a more knowledgeable pond keeper than most "experts".

If you want non-green water I suggest you take that Smartpond back to wherever you bought it even if the warranty expired. See what kind of retailer they are. Enough people return products will cause decent retailers to stop carrying the line. Decent retailers don't really like ripping off customers. BTW, the very first thing in Smartpond manuals, in big letters, is them begging you not to return their crap for this very reason. Instead they want you to call them so they can talk you into thinking you did something wrong or string you along until you fill in the pond. Smartpond doesn't care about repeat customers..

If you want to try a longer term possible fix the best bet imo is a stream, as long as you can manage, but even 3' long can be enough. If the algecide you used was copper based you have to do a 100% water change if a stream is to have any chance. Copper lasts pretty much forever and will kill the species of algae that would clear green water.

Other things scammers would also like you to buy/try...any filter that isn't UV,,,anything in a bottle, box or bag...magnets...plants...removing the lily...feeding fish more...feeding fish less...feeding fish a different food...making pH higher....making pH lower...killing a chicken and dripping its blood into the pond...peeing in the pond...whatever any pet store/pond store clerk tells you...whatever fantasy people dream up if it sounds kind of strange.

One word of water is a benefit to fish because green water algae at ammonia directly. It even prefers ammonia to nitrate. Fish release ammonia thru their gills mainly. So clearing a pond can cause fish to die a week later, or 2, 3, 4 weeks later if the ammonia level climbs. A test kit for ammonia will alert you to this possible problem. Whether ammonia will be a problem depends on the number/size of fish and the amount of food fed. In many ponds ammonia is never a problem.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:50PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

I went off on Smartpond and forgot to mention a better UV solution. I like AquaUV mainly because they explain their equipment so well. Their are other manufacturers of good UV systems.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:55PM
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Thank you for your replies and comments. Lisak1- no I do not think the pump is working properly and after reading waterbug_guys reply I think he is right about it being crap. It's a shame too because it sure did look pretty...LOL.. well until the water turned green and now it's starting to stink. And yes I do have some fish left but have lost many. Over the weekend I have decided to bring what fish I do have left inside to an aquarium and completely clean the pond out. I'm just going to start again next spring with a new pump and filter system and keep my fingers crossed. I truely do love spending time in my new garden.

Chas045 -- thank you for doing some research on this for me. The unit doesn't clog up though like the reviews say, it just doesn't work properly. Sometimes when I clean it the filter is full of the alage and other times there would be not much in it.

Waterbug_guy - thank you so much for all of your info. This opened up my eyes to the scams out there and yep some of them got me :( I guess we learn the hardway.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 8:26AM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

The scams get lots of people, myself included.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:56AM
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I have used NBS VITE to remove blanket weed, string algae from my pond.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blanket weed control

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:44AM
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I started with a small pond about your size. I learned a lot before I decided to use it as a skimming pond for a 14'x16' pond 2' deep with Koi and goldfish. The algae is a normal process the pond will go through and will eventually get better as the pond matures. The UV filter should get rid of it. I suspect your bulb has lost it's power or not working. Change bulbs and be sure never to run the light when the water is not flowing through it. Other algae will come later that the UV can't kill. My biggest problem was and is string algae that the UV will not take care of. It will clear water nicely and fish will eat it, but is an eye sore to look at. I used barley straw to keep it from getting worse but it will not kill it. The only thing that will is scrubbing with Peroxide. As barley straw decomposes it creates a small amount of peroxide. You should keep it in the surface near a flow of water. But you will need to scrub down your waterfall, filter, etc., to get rid of it. Eventually the string algae disappeared as the pond matured over a few years. I still use a UV light but it is not needed as much as it did when the pond was immature. Anyway... Replace your UV bulb and it should eliminate your algae.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:42PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

UV bulbs last 12 months. This unit is 2 months old.

Explaination of the barley myth.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:03PM
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A UV bulb may burn out if it is powered on with no water flow. If it lights up it may not be emitting the UV rays necessary if it has been overheated or if the bulb is old. Maybe the bulb was several years old before purchased. If you buy a new UV bulb and it doesn't clear up the alga then you can use the extra one next year.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:46PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

Bulbs age only when in use. A filter that was several years old before being purchased would still have 12 months of useful life.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 4:12PM
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I never stop learning. I do know that the UV output depends a lot on the manufacturer. Cheap bulbs may not put out enough UV for the job. Too much water flow for a specific wattage may cause the bulb to be ineffective. A pond too large for the UV wattage may also be a problem. A dirty quartz glass could be too. A pond too big for a wattage I would still get another bulb and try it if all the other factors are okay.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:01PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

I have seen the glass sleeve become fogged over with a white material, like salt or calcium (but wasn't). I've only seen this once and someone once explained what it was, but I've forgotten. It happened very fast, like in hours. After being cleaned it did not reoccur.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:39PM
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we recently built a patio with 3' dia x 2' deep galv stock tank, No filtration or bubbler, it has anacrylis, horsetail, small water lily and 6 gold fish all doing well, Recently we noticed that an iridescent geometric (think small jagged shapes) film has developed on the waters surface. The lilies can even have a crusty dried powder on the surface as water/film dries,.We have been spreading newspaper on top in am and pm,which soaks up the film, but by afternoon or next morning it's back, The fish seem fine, but the water is getting cloudy, Any ideas waht is causing this?.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 1:49AM
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