Patience is Key: Your Pond Water Needs to Mature

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We recently had a customer write in as he was experiencing issues with his new pond. He had white dots about the size of a quarter appearing on the bed of the pond(none on the walls) and was looking for a solution after using a few other pond products with no luck. 

Pond maintenance is no easy feat… unfortunately, too many pond owners are too quick to drain and scrub or backwash with increased frequency. This doesn’t allow the water to mature and create a healthy balanced environment. Read on for the customer question and response from our pond expert Christian.

Question: Identify white dots on pond floor and recommend mitigation

  1. PROBLEM:  White dots, nickel-quarter sized, suddenly appeared on pond floor-not sides- a few weeks ago.  They seem to be getting bigger, so assumed to be organic.  We applied Microbe-Lift Broad Spectrum Disease Treatment twice, 2 weeks in between and have use PL Natural bacteria, with no notable change. We need to identify if algae or fungus or ? and apply whatever to eradicate.  In the meantime, we are going to remove goldfish; drain pond to about one foot, brush floor; drain completely; refill; add above Disease Treatment and PL. 
  2. New pond is built with concrete block, lined with plaster and finished with black Pond Shield Epoxy.
  3. It is “L” shaped and located in house atrium with walls all around, open top with partial gazebo open top
  4. Has 2- 3″ bottom drains with 12″ grates; 5 returns at different heights; a small waterfall; 5 LED puck lights on one wall side [lit every evening]; 3 LED floor lights
  5. Equipment: Artesian A2-1/4-58C pump [running 24/7]; Aqua Ultraviolet Ultima II 2000 filter and 57W UV sterilizer; Matala MEA Pro 1 aerator.
  6. Water chemistry checks out good, pH at the higher end of range @ 8.2 when stabilized, but we’ve recently drained most of the water to brush the white dots off the pond floor.
  7. Photos below hard to decipher, due to sky reflection-sorry.

Response: I hope you haven't drained it yet!

I hope you have not drained yet, that would be bad. It is best to age your water and overcome what grows in a pond one step at a time. Especially a new pond. it takes 3 years to fully mature the water.
 
The spots are most likely biofilm spots of beneficial bacteria growing and becoming calcified by minerals in the water.
 
You should stop draining, let your water age and allow the patina to grow on your pond walls and bottom. 
 
If you do not want a patina, you will have to seriously reconsider your filtration system because your indicated equipment is much to weak to keep a squeeky clean environment.
 
As long as your Koi are healthy and the Nitrogen cycle is proper, you are doing great!

On The Right Track!

Our pond expert Christian is continuing correspondence with this customer in order to get things back on the right track.

We cover a lot of how to deal with New Pond Syndrome inour blog post New Pond Syndrome: How to Clear Green Water.

For a quick explanation, we’ve included a quick referance version below.

 

New Pond Syndrome:

New pond syndrome is a term used to describe the chemical imbalances that occur in a newly established pond or after a major water change. It’s a common challenge faced by new pond owners and can lead to several issues for the health of your pond’s ecosystem.

Here’s a breakdown of why and how new pond syndrome occurs:

  • Lack of Established Bacteria: Newly filled ponds lack a sufficient colony of beneficial bacteria. These microscopic heroes are responsible for breaking down organic waste like fish waste, decaying plants, and uneaten food.
  • Nutrient Overload: Without enough beneficial bacteria, these organic materials accumulate in the pond, releasing ammonia and nitrites. These are waste products from organic matter decomposition and can be harmful to fish in high concentrations.
  • Algae Growth: The excess nutrients also create a prime environment for unwanted algae growth, which can cloud the water and compete with plants for resources.

Symptoms of New Pond Syndrome:

  • Green or cloudy water: This can be caused by an algae bloom fueled by excess nutrients.
  • Fish stress or illness: High ammonia and nitrite levels can stress or even kill fish. Symptoms may include gasping for air at the surface, erratic swimming, or loss of appetite.
  • Unpleasant odors: Decaying organic matter can lead to foul smells.

Preventing and Addressing New Pond Syndrome:

Here are some steps you can take to prevent or address new pond syndrome:

  • Age your tap water: This allows chlorine and chloramines to evaporate and gives beneficial bacteria a head start on multiplying.
  • Introduce beneficial bacteria: Adding products like Nualgi Beneficial Bacteria can help establish a healthy colony of bacteria to break down organic waste.
  • Partial water changes: Regularly removing a small portion of the water and replacing it with fresh, aged water helps dilute ammonia and nitrites.
  • Manage organic waste: Regularly remove debris like fallen leaves and uneaten food to prevent them from decomposing and adding to the nutrient load.
  • Control fish population: Overstocking your pond with fish can overwhelm the ability of the ecosystem to handle the waste they produce.

By taking these steps, you can create a healthy and balanced environment for your pond’s inhabitants and avoid the challenges of new pond syndrome. Remember, a little planning and maintenance go a long way in ensuring your pond thrives for years to come!

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