Koi Ponds Tips – Water Chemistry and Oxygen Levels 0 17

Water quality is a very important factor in creating an ideal condition for the inhabitants of a koi pond. The condition of the water in the pond strongly influences the koi’s health and well-being. Poor water quality paves the way for various health problems that can endanger the pond inhabitants. With proper care and foresight, these problems can be avoided.

In order to ensure that your pond’s aquatic habitat is a perfect place for your koi and aquatic plants, it is best to know more about these important water parameters and how to keep them at recommended levels.

Oxygen

For koi, the ideal level of oxygen dissolved in water should be at a minimum of 5 mg/liter. Keep in mind though that cold water can hold higher levels of dissolved oxygen compared to warmer water. Thus lower levels of dissolved oxygen are likely to occur during the warm summer days. Overcrowding in the koi pond can also lead to higher dissolved oxygen in water.

Waterfall aerating a koi pondThere are several ways for oxygen to become dissolved in the koi pond. These include surface diffusion of oxygen form the atmosphere or by placing an airstone on the bottom of the pond. A fountain or waterfall also increases the agitation of the water surface to generate dissolved oxygen.

Water pH

The pH value reflects the degree of acidity and alkalinity of a substance. In koi ponds, a change in pH can definitely affect the fish in negative ways. The ideal pH of a koi pond is between 6.8 and 8.2. You should monitor the pH regularly using test kits and be quick to address any pH fluctuation as soon as possible.  The use of hardness or buffers can help stabilize pH levels of the pond.

Ammonia, Nitrates, and Nitrites

Ammonia is the waste material excreted by fish. Bacteria in the water can break down ammonia to nitrites which can be further broken down into nitrates and eventually, free nitrogen. When the levels of these compounds are not kept in check, these can give rise to various health problems that can be fatal.

High levels of ammonia can damage your fish’s gills and reduce the ability to utilize dissolved oxygen in the water. High amounts of nitrites can damage the kidneys and nervous system while high levels of nitrates can compromise the immune system of your fish.

As a rule, ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero. A reading of 20-60 ppm for nitrates is acceptable as long as it can be addressed as soon as possible.

Temperature

Higher temperatures can worsen existing problems in the pond. Warm water holds less dissolved oxygen and is favorable for increased levels of toxic ammonia.

More tips to keep your pond healthy

Frequent partial water changes are a must. Changing at least 10% per week will help ensure that water parameters won’t undergo rapid fluctuations and stress your koi.

If there are aquatic plants in the pond, provide lots of oxygen. Also remember that large koi require more oxygen than smaller ones.

Be sure to use a good dechlorinator to neutralize chlorine or chloramines during every water change.

Monitoring of pond water temperature, pH, ammonia and nitrite using commercially available test kits should be done on a weekly basis.

Filters should run 24/7

Pond filters need to be cleaned at least once a week during summer, and once a month during spring and fall.

About the Author:

This is a guest post by Peter Hartono. Peter is an aquarium hobbyist and fish pet lover who devoted his life in producing home-grown aquatic plants. He is also the founder of Just Aquatic, a proud Australian company and retailer of a wide range of aquarium supplies including Zoo Med, BiOrb and Exo Terra.

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5 reasons a tortoise is the perfect pet 0 167

Tortoises are adorable animals and they are great pets to keep in your home. Here we explore the top five reasons why you should consider getting a tortoise as a pet.

1. Low maintenance

With some space to enjoy and some lettuce to chomp on, a tortoise will be pretty happy. This low maintenance pet won’t need walking twice a day and will keep themselves entertained.

2. Tortoises are very affordable

Tortoises are very affordable to keep in your home. Once they are set up with a comfortable space to enjoy, there will be very little cost to upkeep them. Their food is cheap and their space remains clean for long periods without needing to be changed.

3. Tortoises live long lives

Tortoises will also be around for a long time. They can live from 14 to 30 years or more depending on the species, which means you will have a friend for years to come. Unlike most other pets, you will be able to enjoy your tortoise for vast periods of your life.

4. They’re harmless

Tortoises are far more harmless than cats and dogs. While they may bite your finger if you put it in their mouth, little damage will be done. A tortoise is a very safe pet to have in the home and is great when you have children too.

5. Tortoises are loyal

Tortoises are unlike most pets in that they are happy in the space you give them. With room to wander around, food to eat and occasional trips into the garden to play and eat grass, the tortoise will be happy. Tortoises will not try to run away from you like dogs, hamsters or guinea pigs.

Tortoises are adorable creatures to keep as pets and they are a very practical and affordable animal to have in your home. Unlike many pets, it is easy to keep a tortoise and to keep them happy for a long time. With a tortoise, you will have a friend for years and years to come.

Photo: Tortoise by snowmentality licensed under Creative commons 2

Keeping exotic fish as pets 0 296

Exotic fish

There’s something mesmerising about watching a tank full of brightly coloured fish swim around. Do they make good pets though? Is it hard to keep exotic fish? With the right pet care and pet advice, exotic fish make great, if unusual pets.

Tank size

Go for the biggest sized tank you can afford and have room for. The bigger your tank, the easier you’ll find keeping the balance of the water right. Your fish need plenty of room to swim too. Aim for at least a 20-gallon tank.

Tank set-up

You’re going to need a heater to warm the water. You’ll also need a filter to ensure clean, healthy water, which is crucial for fish to thrive. It’s advisable to add an air pump to boost the oxygen levels.

You’ll also need a light for the tank, and a timer for the light, so it’s not on all the time. Bear in mind a fish tank should be placed out of direct sunlight, away from draughts and heating sources.

On top of the things that make your tank work you’re going to need everything that goes into your tank; gravel for the bottom, plants, and decorative caves and tunnels so your fish can hide if they want to.

You can usually buy aquarium starter kits at pet food stores if you want help in pulling everything together.

Getting the water right

The filter will cycle your water to make it suitable for fish to live in, never add tap water directly to the tank. You need to de-chlorinate it first. You can also add a water treatment to help keep the water healthy between changes.

You should change about 10-15% of the water each week to keep it clean and healthy for the fish. Never do a full tank change once your fish are in the tank.

Choosing your fish

When you choose your fish, make sure you start introducing them slowly – this will help you identify if you’ve got the water balance right, and at this point, your tanks eco-system is still developing, so adding lots of fish can damage it.

There’s a wide range of tropical fish to choose from – Cichlids, Betta and Swordtails are good starter fish, and are nice to look at. Never mix goldfish and tropical fish together.