It’s hard to believe that my last update on Nishikigoi.Life about the new pond was on the 29th March – almost 6 weeks ago!

On 12th April I started a post with – ‘I’m not quite sure where 2 weeks have gone since my last update on 29th March’ – a post which never got finished….

If you read the last update – http://nishikigoi.life/2019/03/29/my-new-pond-build-part-6/ – you’ll recall there was an ongoing malachite and formalin green treatment for white spot.  There was also a persistent low level of nitrite as the filter matured.

The 2nd dose of malachite and formalin was added on 30th March – a 3rd dose was never added.  However, i had read with interest an article by Mark Davis about using salt to treat white spot – http://cuttlebrookkoifarm.co.uk/when-and-how-to-use-salt/ – (there are a number of interesting articles on the site, well worth checking out).  Despite the fact there was no visible or detectable evidence of white spot remaining, i elected to run a salt level of 0.75% for a week in place of the 3rd dose, the continued salt was beneficial for protection against the persistent nitrite, and of course the salt didn’t hit the fragile filter as much as the 3rd MG&F would potentially have done.

Salt level 0.08% - 7th May

Salt level 0.08% – 7th May

As you can see from the KoiMedic salt meter above, the salt level is much reduced now, but still lingers, and it’s this low level that that takes a long while to reduce with the trickle top up/over flow.

Salt use continues to be a topic of ongoing discussion on the Internet, as it has been for years and years.  Some of the advice I’ve seen given is good, some indifferent and some simply downright bad – perhaps the worse i’ve seen confusing levels between parts per thousand (ppt) and mg/l.  If you are contemplating salt use then read these 2 reference articles – http://cuttlebrookkoifarm.co.uk/when-and-how-to-use-salt/  and  http://www.koiquest.co.uk/salt%20but%20no%20vinegar%201111.htm  – written by professionals that have been in the hobby/industry for years.


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Satisfied that the white spot had been duly dealt with a period of stability was the order of the day in order to keep the filter maturation on track.

As you can see from the images below, a month ago the nitrite levels were consistently around 0.25mg/l.

Nitrite levels Saturday 6th April 16:00

Nitrite levels Saturday 6th April 16:00

Nitrite Levels Sunday 7th April 13:45 - API Test Kit

Nitrite Levels Sunday 7th April 13:45 – API Test Kit

My friend David Edge had suggested the use of a true live bacteria to nail the nitrite levels down.  At over £50 for a 500ml bottle which treated 1000 gallons ‘Nitreat’ wasn’t a cheap option to resolve a problem that nature would do in the fullness of time.  However with spawning time getting ever closer I was keen to jump start things as much as possible, if at all possible.

I bit the bullet and ordered a 500ml bottle which arrived on 11th April.  The dose was added over the course of 3 days.

Nitreat live bacteria

Nitreat live bacteria

The nitrite reading taken on the 14th April wasn’t what my optimism or wallet had hoped for.

Nitrite level 14th April

Nitrite level 14th April

Whether I’d been over optimistic to expect an instant change/reduction in nitrite levels I cannot be sure.  However, over the next few days the levels took a definite turn in the right direction.


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Nitrite level 19th April - Kusuri test kit

Nitrite level 19th April – Kusuri test kit

Nitrite level 19th April - API test kit

Nitrite level 19th April – API test kit

As of this morning the nitrite levels are right where they need to be, whether the Kusuri test can deliver a truly colourless sample I’m not sure to be honest, however if using just the API test kit I think it would be reasonable to assume that to be as close to zero as is possible to record.

Nitrite level 7th May - Kusuri test kit

Nitrite level 7th May – Kusuri test kit

Nitrite level 7th May - API test kit

Nitrite level 7th May – API test kit

Purely for reference, this is the ammonia test taken this morning.  For a long time now the ammonia has been consistently at ‘zero’.

Ammonia test reading 7th May

Ammonia test reading 7th May

A couple of other system changes have taken place during this period.

On 2nd April I received one of the new Evolution Aqua Varipumps to install on the system.  At present it runs at the maximum speed and perhaps on hindsight a 20,000lph unit running at 50% would have been a better option in terms of flexibility and, on the basis of this unit, it seems power usage – although it’s probably negligible in real terms.

Evolution Aqua Varipump 10000

Evolution Aqua Varipump 10000

Evolution Aqua Varipump 10000 Control Unit

Evolution Aqua Varipump 10000 Control Unit

 

The pump can be turned right down and even with the pump set to 10% and drawing just 5 watts a 12litre bucket filled in under 20 seconds from the return pipe which equates to 2160lph (475gph).


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Last week I increased the volume of K1 in the Nexus bio chamber from 50litres to 150litres – the maximum capacity it will hold.

50litre bag of K1 awaiting adding

50litre bag of K1 awaiting adding

Mature K1 mixed with new K1

Mature K1 mixed with new K1

Mature K1 mixed with new K1

Mature K1 mixed with new K1

I was a little surprised about the negative comments that doing so received to be honest, some suggestions coming in from experienced Nexus users that doing so can cause the biofilm to ‘weaken’ and ‘crash’.  So far there has been no evidence of that happening, in fact if anything the nitrite level has continued to nudge down slightly – not that i’m making any claim or suggestion that’s due to the added media.

Whilst the water parameters are now under control, a surge of blanketweed growth has presented to be the next issue.  It’s the kind of blanketweed that continually sheds itself from the walls of the pond with the slightest touch.  I read continual posts from people on the internet regarding ‘fines’ not being removed from the water.  I’m sure half the time the actual problem, as it is with the blanketweed in my pond, is that the ‘fines’ don’t actually get to the filter, their natural buoyancy keeps them away from the bottom drain/in pond pump that feeds the filter. Blanketweed is of course an issue for any solids removal filter, although at present the Nexus is coping pretty admirably, and removing masses of the small blanketweed strands.  A bucket on the return shows that the water is spotless in comparison to the pond water.

Blanketweed aside, my thoughts are now very much on the spawning that I’m planning for the summer, in fact all been well next Monday will see the parents placed together.  I wrote about the potential parents here – http://nishikigoi.life/2019/03/19/my-new-pond-build-part-4/

As it turns out it seems that the 2 Aoki bred fish, the Doitsu Hariwake and Beni Kikokuryu, are both female.  This leaves a somewhat shortfall in the male options – one bred by Marusaka, as is the larger female, and one bred by Oofuchi.

This female is looking very ‘eggy’ now, and she is the likely female to be used for the first spawning.  The females that aren’t used will go in the outdoor pond so chances are the boys in there would spawn her naturally – a fate which faces the 2 smaller Aoki fish.


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Beni Kikokuryu, Sansai, Female, 56cm, Bred by Marusaka Koi Farm

Beni Kikokuryu,
Sansai,
Female,
56cm,
Bred by Marusaka Koi Farm

I’ll write more about the planned spawning process and preparation in another post later in the week.


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