Unless your water comes out of the faucet brown, like it does here in Gridley,
you probably have tannins in your pond water. (You don't need a whole lot of
coffee grounds to make a nice, dark cup here.)
Tannins are released from decaying leaves, pine needles and the like in the
pond water. The first thing to do is remove as much of the decaying plant
material as you can from the bottom of the pond. This will not solve the
problem, but it will help stop it from getting worse.
The next thing you need to do is make some fairly big water changes. Do this
over the course of several weeks, so as not to stress your fish out TOO much.
Tannins are toxic to fish, so they are already stressed and it is important that
you remove them. The tannins, that is. Not the fish.
If you STILL have brown water after doing three or four major water changes,
you may need to resort to a mechanical means of removing them.
Two ways to remove tannins from your pond water are by 1. Utilizing
Activated Filter Carbon, and 2. Installing a UV clarifier. Both must be IN the
direct stream of the water flow.
Activated Filter Carbon is just what it sounds like it is. It has commonly been
used in household aquarium filters for years. Of course, in a pond
application, you will need a heck of a lot MORE than you would need for an
aquarium (between 3 - 4.5 pounds per 1,000 gallons of pond water), but
never fear, they've manufactured enough. Activated Filter Carbon binds the
tannins and other toxins to it. Once it's used up, however, it's used up. You
can't refresh it. The only problem with this is that you have to have the
activated filter carbon directly IN the water flow, which is often not easy to
do. The smaller the carbon particals are, the more surface area of absorption
per volume you will get, but the harder it will be to bag it and keep it in the
water flow. To date, I have not found pantyhose big enough to accommodate
a pond application of medical grade activated filter carbon. For my indoor
stock tanks and aquariums, I use an activated filter carbon manufactured by
PondRX.com. It keeps the Gridley water crystal clear in these tanks, but to
use it in my pond (which is 6,850 gallons), I would need about seven one
gallon (4.5 pounds each) containers of activated filter carbon.
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A UV clarifier is a device you install in the plumbing between your skimmer box and filter box. It has a little ultra violet (hence
the term "UV") light bulb that zaps anything that passes by it, and I mean ANYTHING. We're talking tannins, suspended algae,
good and bad bacteria and parasites. A UV clarifier is a good thing to have, but until recently, they were very expensive, and
the bulb was costly to replace. Pondmaster has recently introduced a submersible UV clarifier, which is reasonably priced.
Now that market demand has driven the price of UV clarifiers to something that is within reason, I will be adding a section on
UV clarifiers to the list of products we carry. Please check back for descriptions and pricing. If you can't wait until it's posted
on the main web site, write me and I'll get a quote right out to you.
First though, do your water changes and call me in the morning.