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Friday, September 30, 2011

Koi Pond Oxygenating -Summer Ambient Temperature


Koi ponds require high amounts of oxygen and larger filtration
Here is some things you need to know and you can do to help your Koi pond and its inhabitants thrive during Las Vegas Nevada Summer or any geological location.

Koi Pond Oxygenating -Summer Ambient Temperature

I live in Las Vegas Nevada-2,030ft (620 m) above sea level. Las Vegas is part of the Mojave Desert area summer temperatures are usually 110-F to 115-F or higher and during the evening 97-F to 99-F at midnight-so as your can see aeration has always been big concern for our Koi pond.

Las Vegas is just a little slice of hell on earth –we have 2 temperatures damn hot and cold and maybe if we are lucky 2 week at the end of April mild temperatures in the low eighties and 1.5 weeks at the beginning November mild temperatures in high eighties Las Vegas is subtropical and if it rains you expect massive flooding and by the way it has snowed in Las Vegas.


The leading hazard to your Koi from May to October in Las Vegas is low oxygen levels. Air breathers like us live in oxygen enriched environment which is approximately 21% oxygen.

The amount of oxygen dissolved in water is so minuscule it is measured- (in parts per million)- at 90°F only about 7.0 parts per million (ppm) of dissolved oxygen that is maintained in fresh water.

It take a enormous amount of aeration to get your ponds oxygen to near saturation levels. 7.0 (ppm) is approximately 100,000 times less oxygen than found in the air we breathe because of the Las Vegas elevation above sea level.

There is really very little cushion when you can consider for Koi or Goldfish to become stressed at oxygen levels of 5.0 to 6.0 ppm and start dying at 4.0 (ppm).

This should give you some awareness of how important aeration is to your Koi and your Koi Pond-remember the beneficial bacteria that lives in your filter are dependent on the amount of oxygen in the water to thrive or survive and do their job-converting ammonia to nitrites and nitrates by utilizing the dissolved oxygen in your pond as well.

Low oxygen levels will suppress- “good” bacteria and allow ammonia levels increase to dangerous amounts. Aquatic submerged plants like filamentous algae in your Koi pond are both beneficial and detrimental to oxygen levels.

During the day green submerged plants produce oxygen, at night these same plants consume oxygen and compete with your Koi for the limited supply of oxygen in the water. This is why Koi kills usually happen in the early morning hours. For that reason you should always measure your Koi ponds oxygen levels in the very early morning.

Combination of warm water, faster plant growth, and growing biomass of fish, algae cause the oxygen level to drop to where fish are stressed and start dying.

Hot Weather Pond Must Do

Now you recognize the problems from low oxygen levels. Measure your pond’s oxygen level and correct it immediately.

The easiest method is to buy an oxygen test kit and make sure to buy test kit for fresh water. You fill a test tube with pond water to the lowest predetermined level and then add some reagents and match the color to your test kit chart.

You will also need to know your pond’s water temperature to determine how “saturated” your pond is with oxygen-your goal is to approach the saturation point at a given water temperature.

Place additional air stones in your pond or filter system during the hottest summer months; if your current air pump does not allow you to add more air stones consider buying another air pump to allow you to add more aeration for the hottest summer months.

Remember-if your electricity goes off for whatever reason during Las Vegas summer you will have much less time before the oxygen is depleted from Koi’s pond-always maintain your maximum oxygen saturation level prior to any power outage.

How much aeration should you have in a healthy moderately stocked Koi pond? I would suggest a minimum 80 liters per minute per 3,000 gallons of water.

This can be supplied in a variety of ways; use air stones positioned in your pond, waterfall area or filters-some types of Koi pond filters require aeration and this counts towards your total aeration as well. It is impossible to supply too much aeration to a Koi pond –especially the summer months in Las Vegas.

Water Temperature

You must keep your pond water temperature from rising above 90°F-you can assume your Koi are extremely stressed if your water temperature goes above 90°F or your pond temperature changes should never fluctuate by more than 5 degrees plus or minus during the day (+/- 5 degrees).

Shade your pond from the hottest part of the afternoon sun. Plant a tall trees or hedge on the west side of your pond or place some tall potted plants to help provide sun relief or use shade sails they are inexpensive and they work.

Many ponders have also started using specially made shade sails. If you have water lilies try to get about 50% – 60% of the water surface covered to provide some shade for your fish.

Increase your water circulation if at all possible; if you have an outside filter system for your Koi pond create shade or insulated it as well; build a trellis or plant a hedge or large potted plants act not only as a sunscreen but also hide the filter from view for the rest of the year.

You need portable waterfall or fountain this immediately increase the water flow and aeration. If your fountain can be adjusted use the fine mist effect; buy larger water pump-this will creates additional evaporation which will have a supplementary cooling effect or chillers.


Another method to cool the area around your pond is to use one of the “mister” products you can purchase at Home Depot or Lows for approximately $20.00.

You hook the mister system hose to a garden hose and it has several tiny outlets that create a very fine almost fog like mist that can cool the immediate area by up to 15°; misters should be placed on a timer to come on for 21 hours in Las Vegas set for 6 a.m. - 3 a.m. every day we don't fit into garden hose we use splitter that goes directly into our waterline.

We use misters to cool the main house and our guest house and our garage and our over all cooling costs went down by $180.00 per month because it decreases the ambient temperature by 15 degrees cooler and the amount of water mister’s use is very minimal-approximately 10 gallons per hour which is equivalent to flushing a toilet once every hour.

Feeding

Reduce the amount of food you give virus the cooler parts of the spring and fall-reduce feedings to only once a day and feed early in the morning.

Remember optimum water temperature for Koi and Goldfish is between 70°F and 78°F. Once your water temperature goes above 84°F feed only every other day and stop feeding all when the water temperature nears 90°F. 

The best advice I can give anyone is make a practice of feeding your Koi only 1 time a day-early morning and the amount of food should be no more than your Koi can consume in 10 minutes- Remember food generates heat.

Water Changes and Filter Maintenance

Higher water temperatures mean everything happen explosive fast in your Koi pond- debris blows into your pond- Koi defecate and pond will decompose faster and all this requires more oxygen which as you know is already in short supply in warmer weather further your water quality will degenerate more rapidly and purchase chillers for your pond.

You should increase the quantity and the frequency of water changes during the hottest time of the year. Also more frequent dumping of settlement chambers and back washing of filters are also necessary to slow down declining water quality.

Las Vegas remember to keep your garden hoses in the garage or cool shady area in your yard-let water run a little longer to rinse out your hose and let the water temperature cool down as much as possible.

Also remember for those of you who are on city water be aware that these same challenges that face your pond also are challenges for the water department; as a result they will often double or more the amount of chlorine added to your water supply to be sure to disinfect your drinking water properly.

This increase in chlorine can be a real threat to your Koi- recommendation- double your dechlor treatment amount during this period; also if there is a major water main break in your area the amount of chlorine added to be sure your drinking water is safe can run up to 50X the normal amount.

Inexpensive water timers can save you lots of heartbreak from lost and damaged fish. Warmer water temperatures and stressed fish can also mean increased susceptibility to parasites.

Anchor worms and fish lice can be seen without a microscope but flukes and other microscopic fish parasites cannot. Green water can be especially dangerous to your fish in warmer weather- it is difficult to see if your Koi have developed any significant health issues but the oxygen demand especially at night can tip your Koi pond oxygen levels below the danger level.

Using an algaecide to kill algae in the summer release and dumps an enormous load of dead organic material into your pond this can also tip the balance Koi pond this type of action is always is determinable to your Koi.

Don’t try to emulate the way we handle our Koi ponds- remember we have only one Koi and his name is Alvin our pond meanders and is zoned-we have 3 waterfalls and many fountains and we use large pool pumps and large built-in filtration system that is monitored by computers.

However all that I explained and described we have done or we are currently doing—further and I explained why we have only one Koi- I posted information regarding Alvin the cannibal; I’m confident this will help you with your Koi pond during the heat of the summer in any location.

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