Monthly Archives: February 2017

What Are The Ideal Water Parameters For Ponds?

They are often overlooked, but having the correct water parameters is one of the most important factors to a successful, healthy pond. Providing your parameters are correct, your fish will be healthy, aerobic bacteria will be able to thrive and do its job properly and any pond plants that you may have will be able to contribute to the condition of your pond.

Correct Oxygen Levels in Ponds

The maximum amount of dissolved oxygen that can physically be held in water is 18.0mg/L. The minimum that you should let that figure get to is 6.0mg/L, anything lower than this and your fish will start to suffer. Some fish will be able to tolerate lower oxygen levels than this but it is advisable to try and keep the minimum at 6.0mg/L. Cold water can hold almost twice as much oxygen than warm water so keep a close eye on your oxygen levels throughout the summer months.

There are a couple of things you can do to maximise oxygen levels in your pond. Keep plenty of oxygenating plants, install a waterfall as this will bring in oxygen with the water and if needed, install an air stone or fountain to inject further oxygen.

If you need to make a partial water change for something, it is important to test your oxygen levels as tap water naturally has very low levels of oxygen in it.

What Should Pond pH Be?

Ph levels in ponds are very important but first we are going to have a quick chemistry re-cap on what pH is. Ph is a numeric scale that is used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, in this case pond water. The scale ranges from 1-14 with 7 being neutral, 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most basic, or highest alkaline level. Battery acid has a pH of 1.0 whilst Lye (used in household drain cleaners) has a pH of 13.5, both can be just as dangerous as the other and give you a good indication as to why keeping a balanced pH level I so important.

Now that we have gone over what pH is, lets cover why it affects your pond, what it should be and how to change your pH level. A fish’s natural pH level is 7.4 so it is best practice to keep your pond as close to this level as possible. Fish can tolerate slight fluctuations in the acidity or alkalinity of the water but only down to about 6.8 and up to 8.2. When testing your pond’s pH level, be sure to test it twice in the same day, once first thing in the morning and once late in the day, preferably evening and preferably during similar weather conditions. The reason for testing twice is the algae that will be lurking in your pond. Algae is only active during daylight hours and when it is active it absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide found in your pond causing your pH to read high. If your pH level looks a bit too high or low, you need to gradually bring it back down, you can do this by using Pond Equaliser.

It is crucial to keep your pH as neutral as possible. High alkaline levels in the water will increase the toxicity of any ammonia that exists in your pond, leading to possible Ammonia poisoning.

What are KH Levels?

KH is the measure of carbonate hardness in your pond and carbonate hardness is the amount of calcium carbonate in your pond. Calcium carbonates are very important as they feed the nitrifying bacteria that remove harmful ammonia and nitrates from your pond water. These bacteria are part of your ponds bio-filter, without this, your pond would be under great threat and would rely heavily on your mechanical filtration system. KH levels should be around 125ppm but they can fluctuate safely by about 20ppm either way.

Unfortunately, as with low pH levels and low oxygen levels, the effects of low KH levels can’t be seen by eye. You may notice that your ponds condition will deteriorate, Ammonia and Nitrate levels will rise and your pond will become more susceptible to pH swings which will ultimately lead to a pH crash!

Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates

Ammonia is released into your pond when your fish excrete waste. The nitrifying bacteria that are fed by calcium carbonate then break down the ammonia and turn it into Nitrite. Nitrite is then broken down further, to its final state, Nitrate. Nitrate is the final by-product of Ammonia. All three of these can be dangerous to your fish and should be monitored carefully. Ideally you should be removing any Ammonia in your pond to avoid it damaging your fish or breaking down further. Ammonia can cause Ammonia poisoning that can lead to death, Nitrites and Nitrates are not as dangerous but if your fish already have Ammonia poisoning they will be weak and susceptible to the irreversible effects of Nitrates.

Ammonia levels should be kept as low as possible, ideally at 0ppm but they can be okay at 0.5ppm if your pH level is neutral. Remember, the higher your pH, the more toxic Ammonia becomes so it is best practice to keep the level low. Likewise, Nitrites should be kept as low as possible around 0.25ppm but ideally at zero. Finally, Nitrate levels should be around 20-60ppm.

To summarise, water parameters are one of the most important things to monitor in your pond and they should be as follows;

Oxygen – Minimum of 6.0mg/Litre

pH – Keep your pH level as neutral as possible, around 7/7.5

KH – Keep your level between 95ppm and 150ppm

Ammonia – Should be at zero but can go up to 0.5ppm depending on the pH level

Nitrite – Like Ammonia, it should be as low as possible

Nitrate – Can be in-between 20 and 60ppm

You can stabilise pH, KH and ammonia levels with Pond Equaliser and stabilise Nitrate levels with Nitrate Klear.

Common Fish Diseases

In our last blog, we spoke about some of the reasons fish jump out of water. One of the issues is due to diseases, which can cause the fish to jump out of the water to escape the pain.

Below we have listed some of the most common fish diseases along with their symptoms and how to treat them.

Common Diseases Symptoms How to Treat
Ammonia Poisoning Red or inflamed gills
Fish could be jumping out of water to escape pain or inhale more oxygen
As mentioned in the previous post, high ammonia levels are easy to avoid by keeping your water levels right with Pond Equaliser. There is no treatment for fish suffering with ammonia poisoning, other than levelling ammonia levels in water.
Fin Rot Fish’s fins appear jagged and may have a milky substance around the edges Like ammonia poisoning, Fin Rot is caused by incorrect water qualities. We would advise using Pond Equaliser and then monitoring the infected fish.
Camallanus Worms Serious infections can be seen in the form of a pink/red worm protruding from the fish’s anus. They may also be lethargic and lose their appetite A de-worming medication such as Levamisole is the recommended treatment.
White spot White spots will be visible on your fish’s fins and possibly body This is a very common disease and there are many remedies available at your local pet shop.
Hole In The Head Quite literally, the fish will appear to have small holes or indentations on their head and may lose their appetite A common method used to treat this disease is to add the antibiotic metronidazole into your water and then monitor water levels very closely. It is also thought that an improved diet (frozen fish food or vegetable based foods such as seaweed strips) can aid in the recovery of the fish.
Nitrite and Nitrate Poisoning Symptoms are not obvious but they can include erratic swimming and loss of appetite Although nitrate poisoning is not a disease, as we discussed in the last blog, it can be deadly to your fish. Ensure your water has low levels of nitrate by using Nitrate Klear.
Pop-Eye Eyes are abnormally sticking out of the fish’s head and may appear cloudy in colour Ensure water quality is perfect to avoid infecting any other fish. Remove the infected fish and keep in quarantine whilst treating with antibiotics.
Swim Bladder Disease Fish will be floating on their side or back and will be unable to dive The easiest treatment is to not feed the effected fish for 24 hours. Swim bladder is caused by fish taking in too much air when eating.
Velvet Fish will have yellow or grey dusty spots on them Copper and quinine-based medications are very effective, but these can be toxic to certain fish so check before treating

Why Do Your Fish Jump Out Of The Water?

Why do my fish jump?

Fish jumping out of water is not very common but when somebody sees it, it can initially look quite impressive. Fish can just be jumping out of the water for fun or to escape a mate but there could also be more concerning reasons.

There are many reasons and theories as to why fish jump, so we are going to go through some of the more concerning reasons.

High Ammonia Levels

One reason fish jump out of water is because of high Ammonia levels in the pond. If Ammonia levels are not monitored they can quickly rise and become very dangerous.

As fish excrete waste into the pond, it creates Ammonia. These high Ammonia levels can result in burns to the fish’s gills which could explain why they are jumping. When fish experience pain, they will either swim into the pond walls, to “itch” the pain, or they will jump out of the water to try and escape the pain.

Fortunately, this is very easy to treat with Envii Pond Equaliser. Equaliser instantly stabilises the chemical balance in your pond and creates perfect water conditions. Equaliser will adjust pH, KH and GH levels in your pond, as well as reducing levels of Ammonia and heavy metals.

We recommend using this product to all our customers as it provides the perfect conditions for fish, plants and beneficial, aerobic bacteria as well as allowing you to get the most out of any of your bacterial pond treatment products.

High Nitrate Levels

Nitrates are a by-product of the bacterial reduction of Ammonia. If the Ammonia levels in your pond have been high for a while, the chances are that they have reduced to their final product, Nitrate. As with Ammonia, Nitrates can cause irreversible damage to your fish, including their liver, spleen, nervous system and kidneys.

Nitrate levels are easy to neutralise and can be done so within hours, using Envii Nitrate Klear.

Parasites and Diseases

Parasites and diseases can cause damage to your fish and this damage may not always be visible without taking your fish out of the pond. Unfortunately, there are many diseases that can affect fish, however, most of these diseases can be diagnosed via visual symptoms. Use our Common Fish Diseases post to help determine what may be wrong with your fish.

As with High Nitrate Levels and High Ammonia Levels, the common denominator that is causing your fish to jump is damage/pain so take action as soon as you see you fish jumping.

To conclude, the first thing you should do is to check your pH, KH, GH, Ammonia and Nitrate levels in your pond using a test kit. If these are all okay, isolate the jumping fish and inspect it for any visible damage, parasites or diseases.