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    8 (dog years)

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  1. Bought a 4.5 inch koi in November. Put him in my 40 gallon tank. He is now about 10 inches long (and probably ten times his original weight). I must change 75% of the water weekly to keep nitrate under control. He goes out into my newly completed 500 gallon pond this weekend. You won't make a year with four koi in an 80 gallon tank, unless you let the water quality slip, in which case the koi will be stunted. You will be changing a LOT of water to keep the nitrates down. With my one koi and one goldfish, I've gone through about 3/4 POUND of pellets since January. They are eating and pooping machines. Good luck, Dennis
  2. Sorry I am wading into this debate late, but I would like to chime in on the issue. The nitrification process will be rate limited by one of several factors. These are: 1) amount of ammonia present; 2) amount of bacteria present; and 3) amount of oxygen present. The filter can only affect the amount of bacteria present (i.e., surface area for colonization) and the amount of oxygen available to the bacteria (i.e., flow rate). The amount of ammonia present is another matter entirely. If the filter has sufficient capacity to process a given load of ammonia, then the "parameters" will be zero. If it doesn't, then you will find ammonia and nitrite present. So, it is hard to answer your question (which will have higher parameters?), because the answer could well be that both will yield zero, if the ammonia loading is below the capacity of both filters . However, that is not the question that you really want to ask. The real question is, "Which filter has the higher capacity, or processing ability." The answer to that question is the cannister. Why? While both can provide the same surface area, the cannister with its higher flow rate will deliver much higher levels of oxygen (and ammonia, as Daryl points out). Its likely that the amount of active bacteria in the sponge will be limited because of suboptimal growth conditions. That's not to say that sponge filters aren't good biological filters, and they are certainly cost effective. However, I'd have to say that the cannister will have a higher waste processing capacity. It is my observation that I tend to see evidence of biological growth in my cannister sponges than I see on my ceramic rings. I can appreciate your concerns over cannister maintenance, but since I've gone to the Eheim and Rena, maintenance is a snap. I mostly clean the bottom of the cannister out, do a quick backflush under the faucet (well water), and a fast sponge squeeze and back in service. Sorry for being a bit long winded. Dennis
  3. I have the same plants, and have bleached them a few times. Does a good job in getting the algae off. They are starting to show some whitish spots, but I used a pretty strong bleach solution. Didn't measure it, but it felt slimy to the touch, so it was pretty strong. I'm going to cut down the bleach concentration, but won't stop bleaching the plants as it does a nice job. Be sure to rinse well, though. Dennis
  4. Daryl - Post, Post-Script. One site that will save anyone a lot of time doing research on proper pond design is www.sackoi.com. They have prepared free, downloadable design plans for several sizes of ponds. They show plumbing designs in great detail, although they use their own (very good, but very expensive) bead filter system. This is way beyond any stock tank, but will show one the basics of how pond plumbing should ideally work. Dennis
  5. Daryl - Another one going down the slippery slope, eh? I'd been giving this some serious thought (and a lot of online research) over the winter. I really like the new dimension that a pond brings, and I relish the thought of spending time at a bench near the "pond" at the edge of the woods. To address the realities of the situation, I have a two acre wooded lot on top of Schooley's Mountain (read.. lots of big rocks). Therefore, I can't just dig a hole and put in a liner. If I do a proper pond, it will involve excavating equipment, probably the need to pour a bottom slab, build the walls from concrete block, filter pit, etc. Very expensive. Before I go that far, my rational side says to test the water first (figuratively). Therefore the stock tank. This will answer a number of questions. Will I need to do water changes? I have a 600 foot well with a lousy yield. Will plant/algae growth keep nitrates under control? How much work is this? Winterization issues? Back to the stock tank. The Rubbermaid 300 gallon is readily available at a nearby Tractor Supply store. I'd like it a bit bigger, actually. The "bog" pond is a preform 100 gallon or so pond that is available from garden centers that sell pond equipment. It has a "spillway" build into it, so you only have to sink it into the ground adjacent to, but a bit higher than, the stock tank and one will overflow into the other. With this idea, there is very little installation or design involved. Just dig a couple of 24 inch or less holes and set them in. Easier said than done in my yard. I've spent about 5 or 6 hours on warm days in January and it is very slow going (prying out boulders). With the "tanks" installed, that leaves filtration. Always a fun subject. If I can dig deep enough (big if) by hand, I would like to install a bottom drain, with gravity flow to a 55 gallon prefilter. Arguably, this might be enough filter for a 300 gallon. However, the undergound piping will require a winter shut off valve, set in an underground chamber. I've figured this out, but it's getting complicated for a one season "test drive." The easy option (but not as tidy or energy efficient) is to simply install a submersible pump with a flex hose to a filter, with a return to the upper pond. Filters - You have your pressurized filters, which are essentially outdoor cannisters. The neat thing is that they have a backwash feature, and you can get them with build in UV. Can be reasonably priced. Most pond experts advise against these as ponds can generate a lot of waste and these may plug up VERY quickly. I have eliminated them from consideration. Bead filters are well considered, support good biological growth, but need a pre-filter and the good bead filters have a separate air blower system for backwash. The good ones cost $1000 to $2000. Too much for a stock tank. Next, you have gravity flow systems. These offer gas exchange, good biological media, but take a bit of work to clean out (no backwash, per se). This is what I am considering. See the Matala biosteps filter at www.matalausa.com. Also see the Vista Clear at www.patioponds.com. The latter is a wet/dry filter. I'm leaning toward the Biosteps filter because you can get it with built in UV, and I don't want an external UV as I won't have a filter pit for the simple stock tank. You can hide these in some landscape feature and have a waterfall back into the pond for additional aeration. Unfortunately, with shallow ponds, you have predator issues. However, stock tanks should be easy to cover, thwarting herons. I have not ever seen a raccoon on my two acres (they are in the area, though) so I haven't considered the coon threat to be too serious. I'm sure they will find my pond, but thought that a sturdy cover with heavy duty plastic netting/snow fence material would do the trick. Your post in the other thread is giving me second thoughts. I had not considered that coons would chew through the pressurize outflow pipe from the submersible. Horrible thought. Why would they do this? Anyway, check out the pond and filtration construction forum at www.koiphen.com. In particular, look at the DIY sticky,which contains some very good designs for 55 gallon barrel filters, DIY trickle towers (for stock tanks, really neat). That site is where I have found most of the really good information. Also check out www.azponds.com which has a nice collection of everything (pumps, filters, etc.) to browse. So - this is my way of getting out of doing the actual WORK at your place. Call me over for spot of tea when you are done! Keep us posted and I will do the same. I'm sure that there will be a world of difference from the thought process and reality, but that's what makes this a new adventure. Dennis P.S. The fry will love it. Lots of lower life forms for them to munch on. The temperature and intense light in a pond result in a cauldron of biochemical activity. With this and rainwater contributions, don't be suprised if your water chemistry is different than in your inside tanks.
  6. Since bleach is the quickest sure-fire way to disinfect your python, that's what I would do. I bleach my plastic plants and river rock every two weeks to keep them algae free, with no adverse effects on the plants yet (I rinse real well). You could try siphoning a bucket of fairly strong bleach/water through the siphon hose (just drop the faucet connector in the bucket, and use the hose as a siphon). Let the bleach/water residue lay in the hose for ten minutes or so. Then rinse with one bucket of clean water. Your tank siphon will be the final rinse and you should be good to go. Dennis
  7. Hey - you might try nibbling a few pellets yourself. If you don't notice any wen growth on your forehead in a few days, I'd say your ryukin will be just fine. Dennis
  8. Back to the original question - adding oxygen won't help reduce nitrites unless you have a very low level of dissolved oxygen in your tank (in which case your fish would be in big trouble). If you are achieving 10x filtration throughput, you will be moving enough water around to get good gas exchange. If your tank is cycled and mature (is it?) and you have persistent nitrites, then I will agree with Yer that you need more bio media to facilitate the growth of a more substantial population of nitrifying bacteria. Airstones help turn water over and improve circulation. Most of the gas exchange occurs at the surface. Besides, the bubbles look nice rising to the surface!! You have gotten some good advice in the responses above. Increase biomedia and water changes. Save pennies for a larger tank. Good luck, Dennis
  9. I'm curious to know how many biowheel users have experienced a build-up of sludge/biofilm/whatever, similar to that shown in the photo? Mine is two years old and is merely discolored. Of course, I have lots of other places in my tank/filters for nitrifiers to grow. My operating principle is (with three filters), I only clean one at a time. If my biowheel looked like that, I would clean it. I don't think that it would affect my cycle. If it was my only filter..... .... I would proceed very cautiously. But with that much sludge accumulated, I bet that it is periodically sloughing off pieces of sludge into the tank. None of us would want that. I agree that there is no simple answer. Dennis
  10. Kat - A big heart is what you have. I'm afraid that you will always have a herd of rescues, be they fish or whatever. It's what makes the world go round. Dennis
  11. When there is a "boil water" order after a storm, water main break, or power outage, it is normally because there is a possible breach in the integrity of the system. Pressure loss can result in back-siphoning of possibly contaminated water into the distribution system, etc. These orders are normally short-lived, and I would advise you to just wait it out. Also, you might find higher-than-normal chlorine levels after such an event, as the water company tries to recover from the interruption. Dennis
  12. Agreed (sorry) - put no surfactant in your aquarium. Dennis
  13. If you have a cycled tank, then adding more bacterial "seed" won't do anything useful. As someone said, it will only add unnecessary waste to your tank. I'm not crazy about dried bacterial cultures for tank cycling anyway. As I recall, nitrifying bacteria are rather sensitive to their environmental conditions. I don't think (could be wrong here) that they are spore-formers, which would be needed to survive a drying process. Seeding cultures that are fresh and kept refrigerated are another story. Before I bought one of those, I'd make my own from a little garden soil (or pond sediment if you dare) mixed with water and allowed to settle. The overlying water will contain a nice mixture of bacteria which will seed your tank. Most of the "bacterial" treatments that are sold in the marketplace are useless (like septic tank treatments). As a general rule, if conditions will support bacterial growth, they will grow whether you put them there or not. Bacterial are ubiquitous. Kind of like... if you build it, they will come. Dennis
  14. Everything else being equal, you are better off with the 300 gallon tank. The thing to do is use both. 300 gallon tank to filter, filter to 125 gallon, spilling over into the 300 gallon. You could keep the fish in the 300 and put plants in the 125 without worrying about the fish damaging them. The 125 would act as a polishing filter in that case as well. Dennis P.S. Of course, rarely is "everything else equal"
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