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What Is The Danger?


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I am considering undertaking a well-needed maintenance chore to my 15 to 18,000 gallon pool (of accumulated rain/snow water)that now has about 150 gf, not counting some 50 or more new fry darting about. Here is the situation. Attached to the swimming pool I have adopted for pond use is a spa area of, approximately, 100 cubic feet ( isn't that about 800 gallons?) that is separated from the main pool area but is linked by some (plug-able) water feed and drainage holes. I would like to remove the 30 or so gf that have made this their home (they move in and out through a standard 2 inch hole passageway in the common wall between the pool and spa), plug that hole then pump all the water out of that spa, hose down and clean the spa walls and floor, pump out the waste, and fill it back up with our regular, township supplied chlorinated water.

OK, besides that being a lot of work... here are the questions.

1- Should I add some chlorine killer to the spa, or will the chlorine "go away" after a day or so if I just aerate the spa water with a fountain-type sprinkler? Would 800 gallons of chlorinated water being added to the 15 to 18000 gallons of accumulate rain water be harmful to the gf?

2- Assuming the chlorine is no longer a problem, the spa water would be a very, very different environment from the regular pond water on the other side of the wall, so I would hesitate to just open the common passageway between the two areas and allow immediate access. I could, however, arrange to pump regular pond water into the newly cleaned and watered spa, allowing the 2 waters to mix before I open the passageway.

3- As a general rule, just how much chlorinated water could I add to the main pool/pond without harming the GF?

As always, comments and suggestions are invited.

Oliver

Edited by oliver_black
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Wow, some untertaking you have planned there, Oliver! :thud

1. As to your first question - the chlorine "going away", hence evaporating, all depends on what exactly is in the city water. If its just plain chlorine, then yes, it will go away after a day or two of strong airation. If the additive in the city water is chloramine however, then you need to add dechlor to the water. Chloramines are a mix of chlorine and ammonia, and after the chlorine has disappeared, you are stuck with possibly a rather strong dosage of ammonia, which might take days of longer for any filter (assuming there is a filter on the spa) to take care of it.

When letting the chlorinated water from the spa run into the main pond, again, I'd be careful with that - you never know how strong the chlorine concentration is at any given day. Those dosages can vary greatly, since the city usually does regular pipe maintenance sweeps, where they add higher dosages than normal.

2. Just assuming that the chlorine in the spa has been taken care off, pumping water up and down from spa to pond and back sounds like an okay idea to get the two different waters mixed up just fine. 800 gallon is not really a huge percentage of new water - somewhere around 5% if my math skills haven't left me completely. :whistle

3. There is no "safe" amount of chlorinated water that doesn't harm fish - some fish are more sensitive to chlorine than others. The chemical attacks the gills, and what is fine for one fish might not be good for the next one. Especially when you mention that you are having fry - that would make me concerned just a little bit. When we had that terrible water change incident a few months back where we left the hose running into the pond overnight, because hubby went to bed and forgot to shut it off - the chlorine remover at some point had done its job and couldn't do any more, so whatever chlorine ran into the pond for the rest of the night was fatal for quite a huge number of koi the next morning. Of those who had successfully jumped out of the pond, those who landed in the shade and on moist grass survived, while others didn't. And of those who stayed in the pond, most had died. Was quite a mess, and from there on out I'd rather use more Prime and have an alarm set, so we look after the hoses before we go to bed.

Here is what I would do - do your cleaning thing like you have planned. If you have the annual water report from the city, read up and see what form of chlorine is in there (with or without ammonia). If it would be my situation, just to be safe, I'd go ahead and dose the new chlorinated water in the spa with Prime. It is the most efficient one as far as concentration goes, and a 1 gl bottle easily takes care of your whole pond volume - all 15 to 18000 gl of it. :)

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Guest Philly Bill

If it is plain chlorine, let the water sit for a couple of days before putting it in the pond, as it will evaporate.

Most municipalities nowadays use chloramine, however, which is chlorine bonded to ammonia. They use it because it does not evaporate, saving them money. Sitting the water out will do no good, the compound will not break down in the pond, and the chloramine will burn the fishes' gills big time. If you use a charcoal chlorine filter, residual ammonia will result. If your water change is 10% or less, the filter can handle that easily, but bigger changes or complete fill ups will contain too much ammonia. In that case, you need to use a treatment that specifically says it deals with chloramine.

When you use such a treatment, the water is safe, but you will get false positive readings on your ammonia tests.

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Those were good questions that I've been wondering about also. I am now wondering - the dechlorinator products that I can find seem to also have some slime coat protectant in them. So is there a reason to use them anyway, even if the water is aerated for days and the chlorine/chloramines test as removed?

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Thanks for the help..... It looks like the water company supplying my area uses choramine, so I guess I will need an additive to neutralize it.

Actually, there is no filtering system servicing the pool or spa and hasn't been one for the last 3 years I have had gf in there. The original pool diatomaceous earth filtering system hasn't worked since I closed down use of the swimming pool at least 12 years ago. I think the increased rainfall in our area has helped keep the water livable and the algae alive and doing its thing.

I've been building some small floating islands to support free-floating water-loving potted plants. It's a quick and easy thing to do. The hard part is finding the appropriate plants at a reasonable price in mid-July. If you want to know how to make the islands, let me know.

I recently built a small prototype filter (using bio-balls/bacteria) modeled after some of the DIY units I found on the WEB. It seems to be working, so I will now build a battery of three larger inter-connected units (one feed source) using bigger tubs, and see how that goes.

BTW, it's interesting to see the 3 or 4 separate schools of fry moving around the pond while they seem to avoid venturing too close to the schools of the big boys/girls roaming around. Meanwhile, there appears to be lots of what I believe is mating activity going on, and I really don't want more fish. I've tried to lecture the little so and so's, but they don't seem to listen.

Oliver

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On inexpensive water plants: I've been learning that you don't have to use "water plants" per se, and that other plants do very well in the pond. I in fact do have a Peace Lily that has more white "flowers" than I've ever seen on one, growing in a floating island. And I have a spider plant (the house plant, not cleome) in there, too, and it's really happy. Of course these things are houseplants, and wouldn't over-winter. But I've been able to pick up house plants at places like Wall-e World and big home improvement stores, often on sale.

What reminded me of all this is that I went to one just now and came back with a 4-pack of decent-sized creeping jenny, $1.50. (Ok, I'm bad, I also got a bunch of other rescue plants from the discount section of half-dead plants.) I do have creeping jenny in an island and it's doing fine so far.

Know what, I'm going to start a thread about non-water plants that people have in the water.

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For dechlorinating at that volume, just look for sodium thiosulfate crystals. They are much, much cheaper than other dechlorinators.

You can order them online from places like Aquatic Ecosystems.

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Oliver, the pond/spa walls and other surfaces obviously have provided enough space for a sufficient amount of beneficial bacteria to do its job for your pond, which is great.

You have some pictures of your DIY filter? I am always interested in what other people use when they create their own things for the fish.

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Lecturing the fish? :rofl

I'd be very interested in your technique for building floating islands. I've built a few, one that I like, many that I don't.

Using recycled pine wood approx. 3 inches wide and 3/16 to 1/2 inch thick, I construct an open, perimeter frame in a shape (square, rectangle, octagon, etc.) desired and of a size determined by the dimension, number, and probable weight of the flower pot(s) to be carried. I then construct an interior frame work upon which the circumference lip of the pot will rest and be supported. If the pot has no lip or protruding edges, you make the framework just large enough so the widest parts of pot wont slip through and thus be "captured" a few inches from its top. Using FIBERGLASS screen material (obtained at Home Depot or Lowe's -a 4 ft by 8 ft roll is about $7.00), cover the entire top with screening that is stapled to the framework, leaving the area(s) where the pot(s) will be placed, free of screening. Turn the framework over. Lay in empty plastic bottles (with caps tightened) on the screen. I use the small plastic water bottles sold in vending machines or at the food market. The number of bottles to be used is a function of how heavy the filled flower pot(s) will be. For example, I used 6 plastic bottles placed horizontally to support an 8-inch wide pot of spreading catmint. I use aquarium glue to hold each empty bottle to a framework side so as to spread the bottles evenly and restrict their movement. You can also restrain them by lassoo-ing them with a 2 inch strip of screening you staple to the framework. Just don't pierce the bottle. When the bottles are placed, you then cover the entire bottom with screening, stapled to the framework as you did the top. This traps the bouyant bottles. When you plan the island layout, it is important that the flower pot(s) be located so that the floating island will remain balanced. The majority of the flower pot will thus hang down in the water, with its top 3 inches or so just above the frame. Note that the pot used must have one or more drainage holes in the bottom and that some scrap pieces of screening be put over those holes before filling the pots with planting material. I would not recommend using any of the so-called manufactured blackish humus/top soil made from you-know-what, as the waste toxins therein could leach out and kill the fish.

Depending upon your island design, the type/manner of plant growth, how many pots used on one island, etc., you will see some portion of the top screen as the island floats around. But, the components are pretty inexpensive, so you can re-design and experiment until you get what you like.

oliver

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On inexpensive water plants: I've been learning that you don't have to use "water plants" per se, and that other plants do very well in the pond. I in fact do have a Peace Lily that has more white "flowers" than I've ever seen on one, growing in a floating island. And I have a spider plant (the house plant, not cleome) in there, too, and it's really happy. Of course these things are houseplants, and wouldn't over-winter. But I've been able to pick up house plants at places like Wall-e World and big home improvement stores, often on sale.

What reminded me of all this is that I went to one just now and came back with a 4-pack of decent-sized creeping jenny, $1.50. (Ok, I'm bad, I also got a bunch of other rescue plants from the discount section of half-dead plants.) I do have creeping jenny in an island and it's doing fine so far.

Know what, I'm going to start a thread about non-water plants that people have in the water.

Good idea for a thread.

I have an umbrella plant (big purple and dark green leaves- jungle-like - annual in my area) floating in an island. I just got it a week ago and its about 15 inches high. One of my sons saw it and told me he planted one in his garden in the Spring and it is about 4 ft high now.

oliver

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For dechlorinating at that volume, just look for sodium thiosulfate crystals. They are much, much cheaper than other dechlorinators.

You can order them online from places like Aquatic Ecosystems.

Thanks for the info.

oliver

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Oliver, the pond/spa walls and other surfaces obviously have provided enough space for a sufficient amount of beneficial bacteria to do its job for your pond, which is great.

You have some pictures of your DIY filter? I am always interested in what other people use when they create their own things for the fish.

My prototype..

Let's see if I can explain it.... Visualize a 30 gallon plastic storage container. Attach an interior impervious wall that completely divides the container in half (Side In and Side Out), except that there is a 1/4 inch wide gap along the bottom of that wall.

In Side IN, place a strip of blue bonded filter pad (Foster & Smith AFN 117475) to block the entire gap. Place some bio-balls along that strip. Prime the balls with bacteria. Make an appropriate sized support platform of plastic grating (as used in ceiling light fixtures) so that a filter made from cut-down furnace filter material will be supported near the top of Side IN. Input pond water to flow slowly into Side In so that it sprays/drips gently onto the furnace filter material. Drill outlet holes in SIDE OUT at a height just high enough so that the input water does not flow over the interior impervious wall or the container sides, making sure the holes are wide enough for good flow back to the pond. Add or enlarge holes if insufficient to maintain balanced in-out flow. Float hyacinth or water lettuce plants in Side OUT.

I hope that is clear.

oliver

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Yes, that sounds like a great DIY pond filter. One side is completely filled with bio balls, the blue strip on the bottom and the plastic crate on top, and nothing but the floating plants on the other side?

You can also easily reverse that filter, and making the SIDE IN as sort of a settlement chamber. The gap that gets the water from SIDE IN to SIDE OUT is not on the bottom - it is about 2/3 up on the divider. NOthing is in the SIDE IN part, except maybe a filter pad covering the gap to the SIDE OUT part to fetch waste that hasn't settled on the bottom of the chamber. Due to the weight of waste, it'll settle on the bottom of SIDE IN, where you just can suction it up and out of the filter. There will be still enough smaller waste particles that make it through the gap into the SIDE OUT part, where there can be the same bio media and such to house the beneficial bacteria.

Some pond keepers like the idea of the settlement chamber, where they can periodially just pump out the waste via a small pump and a hose, and are done with it. The rest of the filter system hardly gets disturbed - maybe once a year for a good backwash.

Either way, filter sounds great! :thumbs:

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Yes, that sounds like a great DIY pond filter. One side is completely filled with bio balls, the blue strip on the bottom and the plastic crate on top, and nothing but the floating plants on the other side?

You can also easily reverse that filter, and making the SIDE IN as sort of a settlement chamber. The gap that gets the water from SIDE IN to SIDE OUT is not on the bottom - it is about 2/3 up on the divider. NOthing is in the SIDE IN part, except maybe a filter pad covering the gap to the SIDE OUT part to fetch waste that hasn't settled on the bottom of the chamber. Due to the weight of waste, it'll settle on the bottom of SIDE IN, where you just can suction it up and out of the filter. There will be still enough smaller waste particles that make it through the gap into the SIDE OUT part, where there can be the same bio media and such to house the beneficial bacteria.

Some pond keepers like the idea of the settlement chamber, where they can periodially just pump out the waste via a small pump and a hose, and are done with it. The rest of the filter system hardly gets disturbed - maybe once a year for a good backwash.

Either way, filter sounds great! :thumbs:

I like the idea of a settlement chamber. I'm in the process of making another filter now and I can easily make the changes. Assuming the divider wall fits tight to the bottom and the water flow from IN to OUT is through a series of drilled holes in the divider wall - 2/3 up, as I understand it, some filter material should be placed over those holes to minimize the amount of non-settled waste that can get into the OUT side.... do I understand you correctly?

Oliver

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Hey Oliver,

I think we'll need to chip in and get you an affordable digital camera so we can see all of what you are describing.

I have to tell you that I've really enjoyed your participation in the forum. I hope you've had half as much fun participating, as we have had hearing about your challenges, lessons and etc.

I also hope your wife is getting some pleasure, if not amusement. from your new zillion gallon obsession.

It's good to have you here buddy,

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I like the idea of a settlement chamber. I'm in the process of making another filter now and I can easily make the changes. Assuming the divider wall fits tight to the bottom and the water flow from IN to OUT is through a series of drilled holes in the divider wall - 2/3 up, as I understand it, some filter material should be placed over those holes to minimize the amount of non-settled waste that can get into the OUT side.... do I understand you correctly?

Oliver

Yes, that is exactly right - I always start out with holes that are smaller - if they are too small, you can always make them bigger. I have abused hubby's drill numerous times for such filters. :rolleyes:

As for covering those holes, it can be something as simple as just a sheet of thin filter media. We have seen, and bought, those sheets at koi shows from suppliers.

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Hey Oliver,

I think we'll need to chip in and get you an affordable digital camera so we can see all of what you are describing.

I have to tell you that I've really enjoyed your participation in the forum. I hope you've had half as much fun participating, as we have had hearing about your challenges, lessons and etc.

I also hope your wife is getting some pleasure, if not amusement. from your new zillion gallon obsession.

It's good to have you here buddy,

Thank you. It has been educational and fun being here.

You chose to use the word "obsessin." You must have been listening to my wife. During our long marriage, she has suffered through a number of my different "obsessions," - hobbies and similar activities mostly.

We do have a pretty good digital camera, if I can tear it out of my wife's hands... she is usually taking pictures of our grandkids.

They enjoy feeding the fish and have given names to some of the more distinctive looking ones.

I finally removed the entire swimming pool cover and it is now in a large crumpled pile drying out at poolside. I can see that during the 12 years it has remained covered, some of the decorative tiles on the pool wall have fallen off... a condition I will deliberately ignore at this point. As I mentioned earlier, we had about 50 or more fry living in rain pools atop the cover. It appears most of them lived through my "pulling the rug from beneath them," as there are about 3 different schools of fry doing their best to stay out of the way of the other 150 or so considerably larger fish.

A friend stopped by to pick up some fish for a couple of tanks he has started. I was glad to reduce the population a bit. Of course trying to net some fish when they have the entire pool to hide in was no easy task. Fortunately, I was able to get some of them within reach using flake food as bait.

The water in the pool/pond is the brownish color of a "ye olde swimming hole," a far cry from the pristine clarity it once had when it was an active swimming pool. It sure won't win any beauty prizes, but the GF seem to be thriving, growing, mating and otherwise enjoying themselves. One of these days, if I can remember, I will do another water quality test, but there isn't very much I can do to fix a zillion gallons anyway.

oliver

PS The hysterical laughter from my wife on the day saw me walking in the shallow end of the pool in a pair of waders as I arranged the location of the sprinker fountain is the price I have to pay for this current obsession.

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