someone put dishwashing detergent in my waterfall

sareccoOctober 12, 2008

someone put dishwashing detergent in my waterfall. What an absolute mess!!! I keep pumping the water out & replacing it but it keeps foaming. It is a 150 gallon, filled with rocks to the top & the water drops 3 feet to hit the basin filled with rocks. There are no fish in it.

Is there a home remedy I could use to remove the foaming action? I know there are products fro sale but I am looking for something I might be able to add myself.


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You know I was just thinking about someone doing that the other day. I'm thankful my pond is inaccesable to outsiders. I'm sure sorry to hear this happened to you. I'm glad there were no fish to be harmed by the soap.

What about the defoamer that is used in hot tubs? It runs about $14 a quart. I don't know how much you would need. A hot tub/pool place might be able to help you figure that out. Good Luck.

Let us know the outcome so that others can learn from your misfortune.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 4:49PM
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Go to a janitorial supply place and get a floor scrubber defoamer product. It won't take much do to the trick. It is very fortunate that you didn't have fish.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 5:53PM
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Sorry... I missed the part about you not wanting to purchase anything.... do you have any barley bales or balls on hand (probably not if you don't have fish)... that might be enough of a surfactant to do the trick. Kelp or yucca also might work, but neither of those are normal pantry items.

What about lemon or grapefruit juice? That will cut the foam in the sink.

How about a teaspoon full of olive oil? Of course that might cause other problems.

I guess I'm just plain out of guesses. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 6:18PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

That is a nasty trick. Sorry to hear you have a troublemaker in your neighborhood. It used to be fairly common to hear about someone using the wrong soap in some appliance and winding up with a room full of suds and until it happens to you it seems funny. The cure is salt. Shake a bit over the foam and it should subside quickly. It doesn't take much to get it under control. It has the benefit of few side effects but too much could affect your plants. Sandy

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 7:05PM
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This seems to be a very disturbing trend; we're hearing more and more instances where people (usually teens) put dish soap in ponds and waterfalls. It's a terrible nuisance to clean up, especially for people who have fish. Personally, I think if they manage to catch these brats they should make THEM clean up the messes they cause. Unfortunately, they're rarely caught.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 8:21PM
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Vinegar will kill soap suds. Not sure what it would do to plants though. Glenda

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 10:05PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I wonder what is in the rinse agents like Jet Dry. That should do the trick as well. I wouldn't use more than a few drops at a time. I had not thought about vinegar. I bet it would work, too. It might even acidify the water and allow the plants to use any fertilizer better. Sandy

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 7:00AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Sorry to read about this malicious act and the trouble it has caused you.
Beside trying the methods already suggested by the previous posters,I have no idea what would stop the foaming, other than completely emptying your pond and pressure washing it out, along with the waterfall rocks.

Seeing my ponds full of soap suds, would make me sick for sure.
It is such a nasty thing to do.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 7:47AM
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lefd05(z5/6 westCO)

Wow, really sorry this happened.
You need to take measures to protect the pond from someone doing this again. Most of the time its kids but sometimes adult neighbors can be the guilty party.
I would just keep doing water changes so you are sure to get the soap residue out.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 12:33PM
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Thanks so much everyone. Great suggestions:) Thank you for taking the time to help.

Steve from NY

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:54PM
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I was reading recently where someone had a Koi Pond with lots of beautiful, big Koi. He went out one morning and had bubbles and a strong lemon smell. Of course all the Koi died and he had water tested and it was Household Ammonia. Then the neighbors kids sprayed insecticide and killed all the fish in another pond he had. Just makes my blood boil to even think about something like that. Glenda

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 9:04AM
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I saw that too about the ammonia cleaner and the kids with the pesticide spray. He's on another forum, and really got hit hard in the bad luck department. I think he mentioned that there was someone in the neighborhood who hated his pond and is pretty sure he's the guy who did it, but of course can't prove it.

That has happened in my area also, where someone put detergent in a koi pond. Fortunately, it was caught early enough to save the fish and they are fine, but it was a mess to clean it up. I really don't know what motivates people like that.

My pond is behind a locked gate.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 10:13AM
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nancy, You probably read the comment where someone's pond had been accidentally contaminated by spray from a winery nearby and they saved their fish by feeding them fish food that had been coated with Koi Clay. The Koi Clay absorbed the toxins somehow. This might be something for everyone to keep in mind in the event of accidental poisoning of their fish. We live in a remote area and only neighbors are family and we are sitting in the middle of our property, so my pond doesn't bother anyone. Most people in the community don't even know I have a pond. And I like it that way...Glenda

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 11:31AM
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lefd05(z5/6 westCO)

Yeah, I read that about the ammonia on the other forum. Terrible mess and such a great loss for him. People are just so weird. Neighbors get mad over something and they take it out on a person's pond.
There was another one this summer. Some type of insecticide was dumped in someones pond while they were gone on a trip.
A local mortuary here has a large natural pond on the property and for years it has been the target of teenagers dumping soap in it. They used to have this large fountain but had to take it out because kids kept dumping soap in it.
They finally drained the pond and filled it in. However, this last year they put the pond back and had this decorative iron fence put around it that is probably 10 feet tall and has the sharp decorative spear ends on the top rails so no one can climb it.
I worry about my watergardens now because our place is not fenced in. Our old place had 6 ft. chainlink fence all the way around it.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 12:00PM
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Serecco, sorry to hear of your misfortune. I have always worried about ponds in areas that are accessible. I've seen pools where this has been done. A big mess also.
Security cameras may be a thought. They will not stop the criminals, but they may help capture them if it happens. I know of someone that put them in after being robbed during the day. They are now reasonably priced, easy to find, and easy to install. (Radio Shack, Home Depot, etc.) They are now wireless and can be hooked up to your computer. If you do this, get a low light capable one or make sure it is in an area that is lit. Most culprits hit at night. If the camera is in an area they can't reach, it may deter them if they know they are being "watched."

Sorry again

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 9:14PM
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flora2b(z6a bc)

What is truly sad is the disconnect these people have for others, be it people or animals.
We were fortunate enough to have the teenager caught in our area who had started to develop a fire fetish....started with gas stealing, then burned crosses and swear words, etc. into the road with gasoline, then neighbors derelict cars, then a fence was escalating. Luckily for both him and us the police caught him and the early intervention has placed him on a much better path.
So sorry for your loss and frustration.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 6:04PM
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