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Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

TORPC
Grafter
Posts: 5,163
Registered: 08-12-2013

Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

I have been given the task to help an elderly neighbour (More like  (SWMBO volunteered my services) )
I have managed to gain via long planks of decking & removing the overgrowth covering the access to the filtration unit that consists of 2 x dimpled foam filters & loads of 1 inch tubing that goes under the foam
I have hosed the foam filters until the water runs clear & also unblocked the tubing that is in-cooperated in the removable top housing (where the electrics are)
& the filtered water is running faster back into the pond, however IMHO it still seems rather slow
I suspect, the pump , pipes will also need a rinse through
I know google will throw all sorts of results that will also need filtering
I was wondering from your personnel or professional experience
How best to tackle this issue & to minimise it happening again
The water is of a dark green colour & smells stagnant & can not see the Goldfish until they are towards the top of the water
I know (ideally) it would it be best to remove all the Goldfish into suitable vessels, drain & clean the pond
However as we have no access to a submersible 240v pump that would pump out the water at a suitable rate, it would be very time consuming, if I was to use the current pump,
Just thought, for the most part I would most likely bail as much as is possible
Is there a a suitable water treatment solution that could be used instead or as well as (there is a lot of shrubbery / plants in the vicinity of the pond)
Is there a technique that is best to work with in these situations
When pond is optimised clean how often should the filters be cleaned
47 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

A visit to your local "aquarium" shop, might just be the place to make enquiries, and the would probably have the right sort of chemicals to clean all the necessary pipework and sterilise the pond....
You might even have to empty it, and re pot any plants, again, they would be the best place to gain advice from experienced people, on a "one to one" basis....
They might ask you questions, which might also give them information to help you to solve any problems.  Google will not do that...  Roll eyes
TORPC
Grafter
Posts: 5,163
Registered: 08-12-2013

Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Cheers Shutter
We do have  Pets@home in town
Or could travel a further 2 - 3 miles to the nearest garden allsorts centre that is more specialised
Until I strip & clean the pipe between the pump & the filter, I will not know how efficient the pump is
Would I be wrong to reverse flush the top of the filter housing
Midnight_Caller
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Registered: 15-04-2007

Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Have a look at: Goldfish Ponds: Keeping goldfish in a pond
Hope it helps
Devonian
Grafter
Posts: 1,854
Registered: 01-05-2011

Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Well, in my experience (I have a large indoor reef, a Piranha tank, and a koi pond) You have described a typical pond.
As soon as the sun shows it's face, there is a massive algae bloom, which turns the water pea green and thick, as it is free floating.
As the water runs through the filter, the algae blocks up the sponges, restricts water flow, and as you have found out, all kinds of smellyness ensue!
The best way to rid the algae, is good water movement, shade from the sun, and restricting nitrates/phosphate that feeds the algae.
DON'T WASH THE FILTER IN TAP WATER that is very important, as the filter is full of important bacteria that keeps the pond clean.
The best way is the natural way.
Do a 50% water change, clean as much algae of the sides as you can,  add a few bundles of Barley Straw, add lots of floating plants, especially lilly, as they restrict sunlight, also duck weed is excellent at eating excess nutrients, also elodea plants grow like mad, and are brilliant at oxygenating the water so chuck in a few bundles, let it float, it doesn't need planting, and the fish will love it.
If the budget allows, a UV steriliser would clear it completely in 24 hours.
The most important thing though, is not over feeding, clearing any dead leaves, leaf litter, and regular water changes.
It will probably take a week or 2 to clear, but don't lose all hope.
Hope this helps.  Smiley
TORPC
Grafter
Posts: 5,163
Registered: 08-12-2013

Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Cheers MC
I have not had chance to have a good read, will do though Wink
Quote from: Devonian
<snip>
DON'T WASH THE FILTER IN TAP WATER that is very important, as the filter is full of important bacteria that keeps the pond clean.
If the budget allows, a UV steriliser would clear it completely in 24 hours.
<snip>
Hope this helps.  Smiley

Too late, as I had to hose the blocked sponges (hope I haven't done any irreparable damage)
I will inform the neighbour tomorrow
A quick look on Pets @ Home proves expensive
A quick look on a famous auction site (for reference) shows they can be inexpensive (is it best to get one the works with the filter or one that gets placed in the pond)
How would one know how to choose the correct one to advise: IE reputable make / model / submersible etc
For example to a novice like me this one strikes out to me as ok , yet I could be wrong
The measurements of the pond are approximate
Straight sides, in L shape 6ft x 6ft
Curved side 8ft
2ft - 3ft deep
Devonian
Grafter
Posts: 1,854
Registered: 01-05-2011

Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

OK, firstly, stay away from P@H.
They over charge on everything aquatic, and offer nothing but incorrect advice.. think Tesco as a pet shop!
Your indie aquatic shop will be much more knowledgeable and cheaper to.
If you choose UV, then I would go for 18w.
Something like http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pond-Aquarium-UV-Light-Steriliser-Ultra-Violet-Clarifier-Koi-Fish-Tank-/18... would be perfect.
Using to small a UV and it will do nothing at all, you might as well not have one at all.
Saying that, to large is just as bad because it then makes the water to 'clinically' clean.
You will need to read up on water flow through it to, because if it's to fast, it wont kill the algae.
As for the filter, take a little read here: http://www.firsttankguide.net/filters.php
I know it's for aquriums, but it is the same principle.
Basically fish are swimming in their own toilet.
So bacteria grow in the filter, on the media you put in.  The bacteria eat all the waste and turn it to harmless nitrate, which the plants eat, and turn into oxygen.  There is your eco system.
Chlorine in tap water kills the good bacteria, hence why you should only wash the filter media in the pond water, but don't panic, it will grow back.
I assume you have some kind of canister/bucket filter in the pond/?
If funds can stretch, I'd replace all the media.
Use alfagrog as a base, it helps bacteria grow, it is amazing stuff, I wouldnt ever use anything else. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALFAGROG-25-LITRE-CERAMIC-FILTER-MEDIA-FOR-KOI-FISH-POND-AQUARIUM-STONES-1...
And pop some new floss in to clean the bits up and polish the water. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/18-AQUARIUM-POND-FILTER-PAD-MEDIA-WOOL-FLOSS-MAT-/111133475782?pt=UK_HomeG...
The initial outlay is a lot, but once it's in place, it will run happily without changing it (except the uv bulb that needs changing annually) for many years to come.
It's much easier than it sounds.  Grin
TORPC
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Their prices agree with you Tongue
Will be worth the extra couple of miles trip then Wink
Go for 18w UV (got it) Smiley
Might have to twist neighbours arm to buy some suitable plants  Undecided
All I can tell (see) atm is the submersible pump pipped to the external filtration system as described above, I could be wrong, yet I recall neighbours ex, purchasing a UV light approx 2 yrs ago (maybe longer) (will have to enquire) however I would not know where it was fitted
The canister/bucket filter looks easy to make / fabricate
The floss comes by weight (guessing the 2oz or 4oz would be sufficient) to go under the foam filters
The filtration unit has no name on it, however it is approx
1.5ft long x .5ft wide x .5ft deep
The top with the electrics is approx 4inches thick
They have had it longer than we have known them of 7 - 8 yrs
Recap, proposed shopping list (prices rounded up)
1 x UV filter £45
1 x alfagrog £18
1 x Floss £3.50
Plants £N/A
Preferably renew all media
Edit:


This is the nearest I could find as to what it looks like
TORPC
Grafter
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Registered: 08-12-2013

Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

I just got back from neighbours
I located the 16w UV bulb in the lid housing (it was definitely gone) Neighbour £9 lighter from the Local(ish) garden allsorts centre that is more specialised & now replaced
& water is also now 50% changed as above
After informing the neighbour about the plants (she was told she don't need them) & @ a cost of £15 per Lilly she wasn't going to spend that much anyway
She was also informed that she does not need the Barley straw, as the UV bulb should be sufficient
Will be checking on it sometime tomorrow, (see how clear it is) then
Community Veteran
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Use barley straw if you have space.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

The times I tried that - it didn't work
I just cleared the blanket weed from my pond using Blanket Answer from Cloverleaf which has worked - how long for I don't know but it would certainly get rid of the bulk to help the filter to keep it out
As a gripe - blanket weed didn't use to be a problem for me until the interfering EU banned all the effective chemicals
TORPC
Grafter
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Quote from: AlaricAdair
Use barley straw if you have space.

The place that sells it said "neighbour does not need it"
They also said she "Does not need Lilly's or floss etc as the UV Bulb should be sufficient"
I guess now that the UV Bulb has been replaced with like for like 16w, then we will have to see how it goes,
Haven't been over there yet as we have been busy & neighbours is out, will be popping back over to have a check on the handy work, skim off any leaves / debris etc that may be present
I have found the exact same 16w UV / foam filtration unit albeit by a different brand (there is a sticker on the underside of the screwed down portion of the lid (where the UV bulb lives) that says it is made by Trident (no model no: )

I forgot to add the exact measurement of the pond for accuracy  (taken yesterday) Smiley
Straight sides, in L shape 8ft x 8ft
Curved side 10ft
2ft - 3ft deep
I was informed the pump was replaced a while back, & the foam filter was removed to increase the flow & to prevent it from blocking up with debris, yet it does not seem fast enough (possibly due to the silt /  algae etc) (will have to see if the foam filter can be located / found)
What wattage / speed / reputable make, pump would you recommend
@OJ
I would be interested to see how long the Cloverleaf works for
Community Veteran
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

Here's another idea - bacteria to compete with the blanket weed.  http://www.blanketweed.info/blanketweed-removal.htm
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
Devonian
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

The thing is, UV, Cloverleaf, etc is mechanical/chemical filtration.
It doesn't prevent, or even cure the issues, it just temporarily removes it.
The way to keep ponds/aquariums successfully, and with as little maintanence and expenditure as possible, is to understand and use nature.
Plenty of shops will only recommend UV, Cloverleaf, etc because they know you will be back, to buy more, and more and more.
But once you get the balance correct, that is the number of fish, the amount of food fed, and the number of plants/maturity of plants, and the maturity of the filter, then the pond will look after its self, just requiring the most basics of maintenance.  
When used correctly, a UV is basically just a back up system.  I only switch mine on for 24 hours a week, just to prevent an algae bloom outbreak.
To prevent algae, you need to remove either it's food source, or light source.
Lots of duck weed/lily pads take away the excess light by covering the water surface.
Plants and even a mature filter and alfagrog, and water changes, remove the nitrate and phosphate, hence removing the food source
TORPC
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Re: Cleaning out a Goldfish pond (very green)

I think I counted approx 30 fish, & am sure 1 is a Koi carp (thinks he is the boss)
I know that the pond will need completely draining & sunken debris removed
Will need to learn more about cycling the filters / pond etc
What tips from experience would be beneficial for me to take onboard ?Huh