Pond Boss
Posted By: Quarter Acre Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/01/19 05:53 PM
I am starting this thread to kick off my efforts in understanding my pond's water chemistry.

This first post is LONG with data charts, links and whatnot...scan to the second post to get to the meat of the conversations.

I will be getting the test kits soon that will allow for the following parameters to be collected...

PH
Ammonia
Nitrite
Phosphate
D.O.
Total Dissolved Solids
Electrical Conductivity
Water Temperature

Before I start using the test kits, I would like to ask for any advise from those who are in the know. Things like...

1.) At what depths do you sample the water from for the different tests? Does it matter?

2.) Do you need to get water samples from multiple depths of the pond for DO even though I have an aeration system that is turning the pond over very well? Let's say I want to know the DO level at the bottom of the pond...without swimming down to the bottom, How do you folks get that sample?

3.) I have read that PH swings during the day so multiple test times are good to perform...any other tests that should be done at particular times?

4.) Am I missing any other common tests?

I hope to have results to share after this holiday weekend. Other than expanding my involvement at the pond, my main concern is improving clarity as it tends to hover around 18" Secchi and I think 30 inches would be a good goal to acheive. I have also collected some water for the jar test that I will post in a few days.

I am going to reference some charts (Thanks Ewest!) and such in this initial thread that were supplied in other PB threads or found on the web for my quick reference. Feel free to add any that I might have missed...









Additonal data from...

http://pondplace.com/chemistryofapond-phammonianitratesetc.aspx

"pH
Ideal: 7.5
Acceptable Range: 6.5 - 8.5
Phosphate
Ideal: 0
Acceptable Range: 0.0 - 0.5
Ammonia
Ideal: 0
Acceptable Range: 0.0 - 0.25
Nitrites
Ideal: 0
Acceptable Range: 0.0 - 0.25
Nitrates
Ideal: 0
Acceptable Range: 0.0 - 0.5
Salt/Salinity
Ideal: 0.1 - 0.25
Acceptable Range: 0.1 - 0.25"

A handy Alkalinity Conversion Calculator (thanks RydforLyf!)

https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/AlkConversion.php

"In short, 1dkh = 17.9 ppm"

Understanding Your Fish Pond Water Analysis Report...

https://fisheries.tamu.edu/files/2013/09/Understanding-Your-Fish-Pond-Water-Analysis-Report.pdf

Some Crazy stuff about TDS (Thanks again Ewest!)

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=138300

Oxygen Saturation Chart From...

https://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/oxygen.html



Pond Scum Field Guide link...

https://www.townofchapelhill.org/home/showdocument?id=28866

Everything about Ponds

https://srac.tamu.edu/viewFactSheets

Carbon Dioxide in Fish Ponds

https://appliedecology.cals.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/SRAC-0468.pdf

Missouri Pond Handbook

https://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/downloads/MOPondHandbook.pdf

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Posted By: Quarter Acre Water Test Results - Your thoughts - 07/04/19 04:29 PM
Performed these tests this morning (8:30am). Aeration ran from 11pm last night to 8am this morning. Water samples taken from 16" below surface...

Secchi Disk Reading - 18"

Water temps - Top to Bottom 82 F.

DO - 4-5 ppm (I think this is low and will check again tomorrow evening to check on DO swing.)

TDS - 51 ppm (101 ms/cm) (my well water is 211 ppm)

pH - 7 (my well water is 7)

Ammonia - 0.25 ppm

Nitrates - 0.25 ppm

Phosphates - 0.25 ppm

I have also done a jar test...





Most of the results look good to my newbie eyes. My initial concern was how to clear the water up a little, and now I think I need to look further into DO and try to determine what is making my water brownish. The water looks "muddy" while just standing at the shore, but it looks like very-very weak tea in a jar. I also need to check into an alkalinity test kit, but tomorrow's DO test may hint one way or another.

Any thoughts to kick off my first run at pond water chemistry?



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Posted By: ewest Re: Water Test Results - Your thoughts - 07/04/19 06:48 PM
I would watch the DO. The rest is ok. 7pH is very good and not indicative of any alkalinity issues. My guess is the water color is mostly plankton and some soil.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/06/19 05:24 PM
I checked DO yesterday in the AM and PM I don't know what to think...

It was 4 ppm in the AM and 4 in the PM. The following readings stayed the same for both AM and PM...pH-7, TDS-50 ppm, and clarity-18". I have read that 4 ppm is reason for concern.

With my lack of water chemistry experience, the only things I can think that would cause this is too many pounds of fish in the pond or my DO kit is wrong (Dissolved Oxygen CHEMets Water Test Kit).

I have an estimated 350-400 pounds of fish in my 1/4 acre pond. And, the aeration should be turning the pond over about 4 times a day, running from 11pm to 8am. HSB are around 1-1/2 pounds, HBG are 1/2 pound. There's no submerged plant-life, little to no FA, but the banks are solid in with grasses, some emergent plants along with about 100 sq feet of water hyacinths.

I'm open too everyone's thoughts. Is it time to remove some fish?
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/07/19 11:53 AM
I use Chemets tests on remote springs and they are fairly accurate when compared to my DO meter. However, comparative visual analysis can vary greatly depending upon the lighting conditions. I seem to be able to read them best in low light or shade conditions.

4ppm DO is definitely not desirable. It doesn't seem like you have many sources of DO besides aeration? I am assuming you don't have much of a phytoplankton bloom?

None of your test results are optimum but they are all dynamic parameters in a snapshot. Have you begun to keep a log? See any trends? Correlations?
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/07/19 04:56 PM
Thanks for dropping in Joe!

Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
I seem to be able to read them best in low light or shade conditions.


I tried multiple lighting scenarios and feel comfortable that I read the results accurately, certainly with in 1 ppm.

Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
It doesn't seem like you have many sources of DO besides aeration? I am assuming you don't have much of a phytoplankton bloom?


DO comes from aeration and light wind action and any blooms that happen. The past two summers have produced some serious blooms (a couple kinda scary looking), but this year has yet to produce any real obvious ones. My water has had a secchi reading of 18" all season and I just raised my 3 diffusers (3 feet off the bottom) in hopes that getting them further from the bottom reduces any updraft of clay/sediments.

Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
Have you begun to keep a log? See any trends? Correlations?


This thread is my log, so I have not being doing the testing long enough to see any trends, I just got my kits.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/08/19 01:18 AM
All your tests are dynamic readings that will change throughout the day. Dissolved oxygen and ammonia will peak in the late afternoon/early evening. One test in the morning really doesn't lend any insight. Tests should be conducted in the early morning, mid day and early evening on the same day, twice per month. Since you are just starting out, I would recommend at least once per week. Always record the conditions of the test. Atmospheric temperature, high/low pressure, sun/cloudy, etc. The more parameters documented, the more insight you will glean.

Since you have relatively low plant life but decent secchi readings, I have to ask how often you treat your pond with copper sulfate or other weed control chemicals?

I don't have any insight as to whether your pond is overstocked but I'll assume you are feeding? This could be over feeding? The higher protein of your feed, coupled with over feeding, I would expect to see the results you posted.

I don't think ammonia is an issue, currently, considering your temp and pH. However, you should try other ways to increase DO. Maybe a water fountain or spray? Anything to increase the waters interaction with the atmosphere.

Mike Whatley has a photo of a pump he used to increase DO, he may have some insight into its efficacy?
Posted By: Mike Whatley Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/08/19 08:53 AM
I cant tell you what the new fountain does for total DO saturation, because I dont have a DO meter. I can say that even with the pump submerged only two feet deep, letting it run 12 hours, when I checked temps of the morning there was still very little variance on temp from top to bottom. I have reduced run time on the fountain now to 6 hours of the morning (4a-10a) and there is a significant change in temp by late afternoon. The surface gets pretty warm, but the shading provided by the blue green dye allows some cooling at depth. Visibility is now up to 30+ inches, even with dye. Morning ph is 7.5, but it gets close to 9 by late afternoon.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/08/19 12:32 PM
Thanks guys for the insights, I appreciate it very much.

The pond has seen no chemical treatments of any kind. The only "stuff" that might be getting into the water is hay pasture fertilizer from about 15 acres of pasture watershed. I think my neighbor fertilizes once a year, so it should not be anything excessive.

I have been overfeeding, slightly, as it would typically take 30 minutes for the fish to clean up the 1/2 cup of feed (once daily). I stopped auto feeding about a week ago and have been hand feeding to keep it to 15 minutes.

Right now, I am feeling like this endeavor is a catch 22 scenario...cut back the aeration to improve clarity to encourage a bloom sounds like trading this for that. I have raised my diffusers and will give them a week to prove out with respect to turbidity before making any more changes.

And, I will start getting more test results on the weekends at 3 times a day and see where that leads.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/10/19 12:40 PM
Some things I wanted to add that may shed some light on my water conditions...My night time aeration leaves a bubbly-like scum on the surface, much like the scum a protein skimmer creates for a salt water fish tank. This scum typically disapates by the late afternoon. AND, I have noticed an oil-like film on the water this year. It started with the early spring rains which we have had plenty of. Rain and/or wind would make it disappear, but it would return on calm days. It does not cover the whole surface, but will have splotches consistently over the entire pond. It does not have that rainbow coloring that motor oil produces, but looks rather gray...





Any thoughts of wisdom given my last test results (from above 7-7-19)?...

Secchi Disk Reading - 18".

Water temps - Top to Bottom 82 F.

DO - 4-5 ppm

TDS - 51 ppm (101 ms/cm).

pH - 7.

Ammonia - 0.25 ppm

Nitrates - 0.25 ppm

Phosphates - 0.25 ppm


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Posted By: Mike Whatley Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/10/19 02:10 PM
Hey Noel, I had that same film on my pond from spring into early summer. Mine progressively got heavier until it became an algae scum that covered almost the entire pond. I "think" it is a PA bloom starting to die off. I'm not absolutely sure, but as soon as I installed the surface fountain, it got a lot lighter. I still see a little by late evening on bright days, but nothing like it used to be.

If you get an absolute definition of what it is, I would also be very glad to hear it.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/11/19 01:39 PM
Here are some pics of my pond scum this morning. Mike - do these look like your earlier pond conditions?







It seems like it's getting more concentrated/intense and there are a few things going on...

1.) Bubbles that do not pop quickly. High surface tension along with a surface film, maybe proteins and algae bloom? These bubbles area gone by the afternoon.

2.) Look closely and you can see veins of brown and green through out the pond's upper water column. This is hard to see in the potos, but there are definitely below-surface color patterns. Different types of PA blooms or stages of blooms?

3.) A surface film of green where the diffusers have pushed it away from the center of the pond. A different bloom all together?

I can't help but wonder how running the aerators only at night affects the bloom cycles. The water gets thoroughly churned at night, mixing the previous day's algae growth to a consistent density throughout the water column. Then the lack of mixing during the daytime may be killing off the algae that can't get light because its towards the bottom of the water column. This may explain the green and brown veins and the dead PA may be floating to the top causing the floaty scum. I don't know, but it's the best mumbo-jumbo I got!



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Posted By: Drew Snyder Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/11/19 04:28 PM
Semi-useless comment here, but just noting that we also have had a bit of that same grayish bubbly film on and off over the past month now that it's gotten hot. Our pond is non-aerated, so the bubbles aren't purely aeration bubbles. This all coincided with the warmer temps, and what was previously extremely clear water with plenty of FA has now turned between olive green to slightly brown with much lower visibility and very little FA.

I'm thinking it's some kind of phytoplankton bloom (I hope at least), though I also wonder if it has to do with pellet feeding pretty heavily (the oily looking patches I would naively blame on uneaten pellets).
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/11/19 04:58 PM
I just found this (linked below) and it leads me to believe that I may have a couple things going on...

1.) Protozoan Scums (page 15)

"Whitish-grey scums appear often in still waters. They form a shiny, almost oily film on the surface of the water (A, B, C). Sometimes they will also appear as a “foam” (D). "

2.) Diatom Blooms (page 11)

"Floating diatom blooms (A, B) form a brown scum or film, often glistening, on the bottom or the surface of the water, coloring the water. Rarely is this scum evenly distributed. Most
commonly diatoms are found attached to rocks or other surfaces where they appear as a
glistening brown or golden brown gelatinous mass (C). "

Linked article...

https://www.townofchapelhill.org/home/showdocument?id=28866

There does not seem to be any real concern so life goes on.
Posted By: DavidDunn Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/11/19 05:04 PM
I think I found an old post discussing the same pond film. Sounds like it could be from decaying plants/animals. Not sure if this helps at all, but the pictures on page 2 look very similar.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=170733
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/13/19 12:43 PM
I got to the pond yesterday to find that my floaty scum has advanced into...





Here you can see that the scum is at the surface only. I turned the aerator on and it pushed the stuff out to expose the usual muddy looking water...



According to my research, it could be a one of the following or, more likely, a combination of...

Euglena and other flagellated algae,

Floating Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae), and/or

Diatom Blooms


I have turned the aeration on full time thinking that DO is more important than water temp. If I see water temps hitting the 90's, I guess I'll reduce aeration? Any advice here?

I have also taken this mornings readings and will take a noon sample and a 5pm sample...

Time - 6:30am in BOLD , 12noon in RED, 5pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 75, 86, 90

Secchi Disk Reading - 12" (taken away from the scum for the most part), 13", 13"

Water temps - Top to Bottom 79 F., Top to Bottom 81 down to 79 F, Top to Bottom 83 down to 79

DO - 4-5 ppm, 4-5 ppm, 6.0ppm

TDS - 51 ppm, 54ppm, 56ppm

pH - 7 , 6.5, 7

Ammonia - 0.25 ppm, between zero and 0.25 ppm, between zero and 0.25 ppm

Nitrates - 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm, 0.0ppm

Phosphates - between zero and 0.25 ppm, between zero and 0.25 ppm, between zero and 0.25 ppm


I gathered a good amount of the light green, dark green, & dark brown floaty scum in a fine net and there was no smell whatsoever, maybe a slight pond smell.

This evenings photo op...





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Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/14/19 02:51 PM
Today's readings...

Time - 8am in BOLD , 1pm in RED, 5pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 80 F, 85 F, 88 F

Secchi Disk Reading - 11", 12", 12"

Water temps - Top to Bottom 80 F, Bottom 80 F - Top 84 F, Bottom 80 F - Top 84

DO - 4-5 ppm, 5-6 ppm, 6 ppm

TDS - 52 ppm, skip, skip

pH - 7, 7, 7

Ammonia - 0.25 ppm, skip, skip

Nitrates - 0.0 ppm, skip, skip

Phosphates - between zero and 0.25 ppm, skip, skip

I would say that the thick floaty scum has not increased in mass since yesterday morning or least not much. Total pond coverage by the thick stuff would be about 2-5% while the gray oil-like scum pushes 90%. I was also able to net out about 100 sq ft of scum.

The readings seem to be stable to me. The DO shows a slight increase as the day grows old and the PH is pretty flat.

Can anyone read anything interesting into my data?
Posted By: Mike Whatley Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/14/19 03:46 PM
Mornin Noel,

What you have is exactly what I was fighting a few weeks ago. Mine got to the point of about 80% surface coverage. Never did have a smell, so I ruled out BGA from that viewpoint. Never did get an answer from anyone as to a possible ID, either. I assumed it was a reaction from the initial addition of pond dye...killing off a bloom.

Its nasty stuff regardless. Bottom aeration pushes it out away from the boil, but it doesnt dissipate. I assume it rises as its dying and may eventually go away on it's own, but the only way I could get rid of it was copper sulfate treatments and then the fountain to keep it down. My last visibility reading was 36" and increasing.

I've noticed that late of the evening, the grayish oil slick looks like it wants to come back, but when the fountain comes on, it knocks it back down.

If you get a solid answer as to what this stuff is, I'm thinking there's more than just myself that would like to know.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/14/19 06:33 PM
Good Day Mike, I hope all is well with you and yours...stay dry! Our ponds must be connected by some cosmic umbilical cord. They seem to parallel one another.

I appreciate your participation to my pond threads!
Posted By: Mike Whatley Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/15/19 12:32 AM
It does seem like sometimes our ponds do tend to follow some parallels. I'm really enjoying how indepth your approach to managing your pond is. I dont have that much initiative...lol.

Today has been the wettest of the storm, but minimal rain, at best maybe an inch so far. I understand the need to emphasize the threats when a tropical system invades the coast, but I think the experts really sensationalized this event way beyond proportion.
Posted By: Funky Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/15/19 02:14 AM
Just to put my 2 cents worth in here, this looks like what I have every year. Here in the middle of Michigan we go through a number of problems called "spring". We get the "cotton wood fuzz", the maple tree helicopters, the pine tree pollen and a few other to boot! They all add something to the water, film, scum whatever. A good rain often clears it up, but a day of two later there is more. I am glad to see you all talking about this as I was concerned I may be the only one with these problems. The fish do fine, and I leave a bit of FA around the edges for the small fry, frogs and turtles. It doesn't look good but the fishing is, and we do not use it at all for swimming.
Posted By: Mike Whatley Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/15/19 09:31 AM
It's the same here Funky. Once the trees start to green up there is one type of pollen after another. For the longest, I wrote this off as pollen, but once we've gotten past that phase of spring, this mess just keeps going.

It looks alot like pollen, except pollen will usually seperate when you disturb it. This stuff doesn't.

The best way I've found to handle it is with surface agitation. Ponds that receive good wind dont seem to have this problem and since my pond is projected from wind, I've created my own form of agitation with a DIY fountain. Pond has been virtually free of it since the first day of running it. I know it's not gone...just being kept knocked down.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/15/19 11:50 AM
Good to see your DO reaches a more acceptable level late in the day but you should also measure ammonia late in the day as opposed to the AM. As for your "Nitrates", can I ask what type of test kit you are using? I think you may be measuring TAN Vs "Nitrates"? Either way, your water seems to be cycling healthy and the increased aeration seems to be helping.

I am with Mike and others on this one, it is either a plankton or pollen. Looking in your area for pollen contributors, it seems Ash trees are the main contributor this time of year.

https://www.stlouisco.com/Health-and-Wellness/Pollen-and-Mold-Center
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/15/19 01:08 PM
Mike and Funky - I don't know what this stuff is, but I do have thick pollen coverage in spring which will cover the pond surface entirely on a calm day. The early phase of this scum development resembled pollen, but was more oil-like. It tended to float in groups or cloud-like formations. Then, the real scummy stuff came on. I really don't think the pollen like stuff is related to the scummy stuff or maybe it's phases that its going through...IDK, but they are both co-existing currently. I was able to turn the aeration on 24 hr/day over the weekend and that may have helped break it up, but it seems to have stopped multiply/gathering and may be on the down hill run. Friday was definitely the worse of it so far. I did learn something about my aeration system...If I reduce the flow to the deepest diffuser and overrun the shallow ones, I get alot more surface agitation/movement.

Joey- I am using the API Pond Master Test Kit, but their literature does not specify Total Ammonia Nitrogen (TAN) or otherwise. And, I did run all the tests on Saturday (see post 508843, 7-19-19). The ammonia and phosphates stayed between 0.0 and 0.25 throughout the day while the nitrates stayed at 0.0. I figured retesting those parameters on Sunday was not too necessary. That, and I had other stuff to do. My main concern was DO. I had borrowed a YSI Pro 1020 and that made DO and pH readings fast and easy.

I am hoping that the arrival of my test kits fell on a down swing regarding DO, and things will improve as summer continues, but I will be monitoring on the weekends with the kits and visually daily. I'm torn between adding submerged plants to help with DO and/or improving clarity (which has me stumped). If my pond has higher nutrient levels, improving clarity boosts FA, but I can't get a good crop of submerged plants without better clarity.

One question...do my test results indicate any information regrading the pond's nutrient level??? I have always thought it was high, but don't understand how to quantify.

THANKS for chiming in folks!

Posted By: Mike Whatley Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/15/19 02:11 PM
Submerged plants are a tricky deal. Pick the wrong kind and you've got another mess when they grow too deep. My summer visibility is always 3+' and I still dont have any naturally occurring submerged plants. I just hoping when they do show up it isnt something that'll grow up out of 10' deep.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/15/19 03:06 PM
"One question...do my test results indicate any information regrading the pond's nutrient level???"

In all honesty, I do not know? Your test results are confusing but it is a very small sample size so it cannot be definitively discerned. Nitrates should peak in the morning and ammonia in the evening. It seems like your pond is adequately cycling but once again, the sample size is too small and your test do not conclusively show that.

Phosphorous could be an issue but again, your sample size is too small and the parameters (zero to 0.25) not definitive. Phosphorous in a perfect water body would be between 0.02 and 0.1mg/l, depending. This allows for healthy plant growth but not excessive for algae blooms.

I think you are doing everything you can do. Your hyacinth farming and aeration should have a positive effect on your nutrient levels. As long as your DO levels remain sustainable, above 4, preferably 6ppm, I think you'll see reduced nutrient levels eventually, hopefully.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/17/19 12:26 PM
Thanks Joey for sticking with the thread. I appreciate your attention and comments. The "Zero to 0.25ppm" readings are because my API kit uses colors to determine the level of the test and a few times the cresults were between colors. Therefore, I had to record that it was just somewhere between to the two levels on the chart.

On a side note the oil-like and green-to-brown scums have all but disappeared, water turbidity has stayed the same, & fish are feeding well again (partially because I have held off feeding them for 4 days until the scum ran its course). I'll check the parameters again this weekend.

I have been running the aeration 24/7 (temps 80 @ bottom to 84 @ top), but a heat wave is upon us and I suspect I will have to cut back today or tomorrow. I am surprised that moving the diffusers to 3' instead of 2' off the bottom and running 24/7 has done nothing for clarity.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/18/19 11:38 AM
I would be curious the percent of phosphorous in your fish food. Most list it on the labeling somewhere.

Also, try testing your watershed before it reaches your pond. Considering your watershed is pasture (cattle?) they can be a major source of nitrogen and phosphorous. Best if the test is from just after the pasture area.

https://www.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/estimated-animal-agriculture-nitrogen-and-phosphorus-manure

The best way to prevent turbidity from entering your pond through the watershed is to slow the water down.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/18/19 12:59 PM
Optimal Bluegill Feed: Phosphorous - not less than 0.75%

I will certainly test my watershed runoff. It is used for cattle and bailing hay. But, It may be a while before the water flows in again...dry season and all. I'll anticipate the next gully washer.

There is the remnants of a settling pond about 60 feet before the entrance that does some slowing, but every now and again it gets full and a big rain will cause the captured sticks and leaves to flush into the pond. I thought I had over 20 acres of watershed, but recently re-evaluated to find it more like 14 acres. When fast heavy rains happen, the 15" overflow pipe gets overtaken and has run for a couple days before settling to a trickle. The last time it went over the dam was about 5 years ago.

Thanks again Joey! I had not thought about testing the water coming in.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 07/18/19 02:03 PM
I have about a 70-90 acre watershed that originates in croplands, winds through forested land, then an Amish horse/cattle pasture and along the road AROUND my pond. It meets up with my pond spillway and then exits my property where my neighbor has two 4' culverts. Before I slowed the water flow, he claimed about every 3-5 years, it washed out his driveway despite the huge culverts.

Since my pond is nutrient deficient, I tap off the top of watershed flow with about 200 feet of drainpipe to my pond. I slow the water with cattails and rip rap in formation like this remedial example:

----/--------/-

--------\------

The bummer about spillway and overflow pipes is, they drain off the least turbid water which is at the top of a water column.

I am a firm believer in, all the issues nature creates, nature corrects. I only attempt to expedite the process since nature is more patient than I am.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 08/04/19 06:39 PM
Yesterday's readings (Aeration has been running 24/7 since 7/13)...

Time - 8am in BOLD , 12pm in RED, 7pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 72 F, 82 F, 83 F

Secchi Disk Reading - 12", 13", 12"

Water temps - Top to Bottom 79 F, Bottom 79 F - Top 81 F, Bottom 81 F - Top 82

DO - 5.6 ppm, 5.6 ppm, 6.8 ppm

TDS - 56 ppm, 60 ppm, 60 ppm

pH - 6.9, 6.6, 6.9

Ammonia - Slightly over Zero ppm, Slightly over Zero, Zero

Nitrates - 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm

Phosphates - 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm

A oily looking light green surface film showed up late in the evening and was still present this morning. It was streak-ish in nature compared to the clouds of oil-like film from 7/10. I suspect the streaks were from the 24/7 aeration where as the aeration was only running at night when the 7/10 film appeared. What's next? I'll have to wait and see.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 08/04/19 07:51 PM
Those are your best overall measurements since you started this thread. The DO is the most impressive improvement. Not sure what your oil-like film is, maybe something died in your pond or along the watershed? No clue...

Is it safe to assume it has been dry around you lately? If that is the case, then you know your watershed might be the issue?
Posted By: wbuffetjr Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 08/04/19 08:22 PM
QA - FWIW - I have a very similar, if not the same, bubbly film on my pond every morning. Once the wind gets started it seems to clear it up. I asked what it was way back and someone told me proteins in the water.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 08/05/19 12:31 PM
Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
Those are your best overall measurements since you started this thread. The DO is the most impressive improvement. Not sure what your oil-like film is, maybe something died in your pond or along the watershed? No clue...

Is it safe to assume it has been dry around you lately? If that is the case, then you know your watershed might be the issue?


I have only had minimal inflow since the last readings and, I think you are on to something suspecting the watershed. I was not able to test the inflow because it came overnight and by the time I could get to the pond the inflow had stopped. I estimate that 2/3rds of my 15 acre watershed gets fertilized for hay with some cattle crazing. I can't wait to catch some inflow for testing...Time will tell.

I have questioned the 6.8 DO reading. It was late in the day and I may have written it down wrong. That big of a jump seems unlikely, but the DO levels in the 5 plus range is better at any rate.

I also thought it odd that my pH dipped midday. Shouldn't it peak midday?

Originally Posted By: wbuffetjr
QA - FWIW - I have a very similar, if not the same, bubbly film on my pond every morning. Once the wind gets started it seems to clear it up. I asked what it was way back and someone told me proteins in the water.


My films/bubbles act the same way with regards to any wind action. A few calm days at the pond and it gets worse, then some rain and/or wind and it's gone. I suspect the oily aspect is more botanic in nature, (meaning algae blooms), but there could be some organics in play.
Posted By: Quarter Acre DO and pH change in the upper 2 feet - 08/16/19 12:24 PM
I did a quick DO and pH check at the pond last night to find that the DO and pH were 10.7 ppm and 7.9 at 6 inches deep, but differed (what I considered) greatly only 2 feet lower...4.0ppm and 6.7.

My aeration has been running at night (midnight to 8am) for the last week.

Is this normal? When my aeration was running 24/7, the DO differed some (maybe 1ppm), pH differed very little.

If you recall, my Do levels hung around the low end (4 to 6) and pH barely moved away from 7.

I will be doing more water tests this weekend and am wondering if aeration changes are recommended? Part of me says more aeration, the other part says less.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: DO and pH change in the upper 2 feet - 08/16/19 10:19 PM
No, I wouldn't say that is, "Normal". DO levels will drop by about 10% every three feet due to hydrostatic pressure, but your drop is way more, not to mention your pH.

From what I know about your BOW, I would guess your contrasting pH and DO levels are the result of muddy water. All your photosynthesis is happening within the first foot of water, since there is no sunlight past that point. The plants are using the carbon dioxide, which acts like carbonic acid in water. CO2 removal reduces the acidity of the water so pH increases. Decomposition at the bottom of your water has the opposite effect and is decreasing pH and lowering DO.

I would "think" more aeration but I would like to see more tests prior to suggesting anything.
THANKS again Joey for attending my thread, I appreciate your time to post. I can see how my muddy waters could produce the earlier results. Yesterday's results are very similar and back up your thoughts...

I have test results from yesterday and I shortened the aeration run time from 8 hours a night to 5 hours Thursday evening (2 days before the tests). This gives 1-1/2 turnovers per day. 3 days ago the pond had a surface film that was light green-ish tan, but the pond has received about 2 inches of rain since and the surface is very reflective and clean.

Time - 10am in BOLD, 5:30pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 70 F, 84 F

Secchi Disk Reading - 12", 12"

Water temps - Top to Bottom 78 down to 76 F, Top to Bottom 86 down to 77 F

DO - 4.3ppm upper 6" - 4.4ppm at 24" down , 11ppm upper 6" - 4.8ppm at 24" down

TDS - 60ppm upper 6" - 60ppm at 24" down , 64ppm upper 6" - 61ppm at 24" down m

pH - 7 upper 6" - 7 at 24" down , 8.5 upper 6" - 7 at 24" down

Ammonia - 0ppm upper 6" - 0ppm at 24" down , 0ppm upper 6" - 0ppm at 24" down

Nitrates - 0ppm upper 6" - 0ppm at 24" down , 0ppm upper 6" - 0ppm at 24" down

Phosphates - 0ppm upper 6" - 0ppm at 24" down , 0ppm upper 6" - 0ppm at 24" down


I am hoping the shorter aeration run time helps with clarity and better overall DO levels result, but I fear that suspended clays may be my problem. I collected a jar sample yesterday evening and I'll keep tabs on that. I don't expect it to be any different than the earlier jar test that I posted, but we'll see.

I hesitate to consider clearing the water with Alum until I research enough to consider the effects of my larger watershed (I don't want to have to perform multiple treatments throughout the year). This year the overflow pipe was active, occasionally and regularly, into July. The pond is only a few inches lower than the pipe currently. Last year it dropped 10 inches below at it's worst.

I'm thinking that my pond is not as fertile as I have always though, maybe just muddy and deep bloom challenged, or all the above?
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: DO and pH change in the upper 2 feet - 08/19/19 01:16 AM
Nothing new and nothing to change my mind that it is being caused by photosynthesis. Your TDS, Total Dissolved Solids, what are you measuring that with? That reading befuddles me, it's not what I would expect.
I bought a TDS meter from amazon (~10-15$). One that was recommended here at PB. TDS has ranged from 51 to 64 ppm since I started testing the waters about 1-1/2 months ago.

What seems odd?

I was surprised to find my well water to be higher than the pond water (211 compared to 51 ppm), but I don't really understand the details regarding TDS.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: DO and pH change in the upper 2 feet - 08/21/19 08:55 PM
TDS is just that Total DISSOLVED Solids, "dissolved" being the operative word. It is the sum of all dissolved charged ions in water, like minerals, salt, nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, etc.

TDS doesn't tell you much without all your other readings. You have Xppm of TDS but what is X? A TDS meter won't tell you that but your other readings do lend some insight.

Since you have such a low TDS and 0 nitrates, ammonia and or phosphates,it only stands to reason, you have low TDS. I expected higher since you have a lot of fish and do feed them and your watershed.

The good news is, your watershed isn't "polluted". The bad news is, your water isn't very fertile.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 08/22/19 03:28 PM
Hmmmm! I have always assumed a fertile pond due to the muddiness and the fact that it has at least one obnoxiously green bloom every year and has had a couple floaty scum explosions this year.

Can nutrients come into the pond with a heavy rain flush (from the cattle pastures) that causes a wild bloom which sucks the nutrients back out in a few weeks?

Then the pond goes back to being muddy. Whether the pond is experiencing a bloom or is just muddy, both scenarios are discouraging and their does not seem to be a happy in-between.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 08/22/19 10:12 PM
Your guess is as good as mine. Possible? Probable? I honestly don't know. I would guess the next step is to find out what the suspended particles are that make your water muddy. It could be a natural imbalance of limited minerals/nutrients? To correct the balance, nature moves to larger particulate that doesn't readily dissolve.

I think you have reached the apex of my insight into your issue?

Maybe pour some of your water through a coffee filter and find out what the suspended particles are? Then it might be possible to trace the source or the issue?
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 08/31/19 02:50 PM
I'm posting to keep the log up to date with yesterday's water tests. I can't say that there is much to talk about other than yesterday's rain runoff was tested and the DO levels in that runoff were higher than the actual pond water. I half expected that, but it's good to have the evidence.

Tests were conducted at 5:30 pm with the overflow pipe in action and water coming into the pond. We had several inches of rain over the previous days (over 6").

Water temps coming in - 69,
Pond temps - 72 down to 71,
outflow - 71

DO of inflow - 7ppm
DO of pond 12" down from surface - 5ppm

secchi - 11"

pH of inflow and pond water - 7

Ammonia, Nitrates, and Phosphates for inflow and pond waters were all ZERO.

My farmer of the watershed only fertilizes in the spring, so I will be interested in inflow tests next spring after application, but for right now...All's "right as rain".
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/05/19 04:19 PM
This post may be a bit premature, but my water clarity has improved from 11" secchi to 18" since my last post. The water has been brown/tan looking most of the season and now has more green to it plus deeper visibility. The diffusers were raised to about 3 foot off the bottom earlier this year (from 18") with no improvements, but I have removed 150 crawdads between 4 and 5" long in the last 2 weeks. Coincidence?...hard telling just yet, but I'm glad for it. I look forward to running water tests this weekend and keeping an eye on clarity.

Oddly enough, my trap with 1/2" mesh only gathers these large craws...no juveniles. I stocked alot (200) of 1-2" craws prior to stocking the gamefish, another 100 the same year as stocking and believe that they grew out ahead the fish which kept them from becoming snacks. It is probable that they really contributed to my muddy waters and a lack of vegetation. Hopefully, my efforts to manage the situation shows good results. The HSB have also been showing up at meal time too since the water has cleared up some.
Posted By: Danbob Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/05/19 08:44 PM
This has been an excellent read for a newbie. Love the analysis. So do you think the overfeeding was causing some of the "oil slick" scum? And why are the crawfish causing dirty water? Finally, when is the crawfish boil?

Thanks,
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/05/19 09:59 PM
Originally Posted By: Danbob
do you think the overfeeding was causing some of the "oil slick" scum? And why are the crawfish causing dirty water? Finally, when is the crawfish boil? Thanks,


I not really sure that I was ever overfeeding...if so, not by much. I'm really new at this too so, keep that in mind. My suspicions revolve around the following, possibly small, contributing factors...

1.) Slight overfeeding. EDIT: Even if I was overfeeding the fish, the crawdads would be cleaning up anything left over and still be hungry. Feeding rarely exceeded 1/4 pound of food per day.
2.) The muddy waters.
3.) The aeration system, early on, was run as often as possible so long as water temps stayed below 80/85. I think, maybe, the frequent turnovers keep any potential blooms from running a good course.

What I mean is, a bloom would start in the upper foot or so during the day, the aeration system would mix it in over night, most the bloom would get knocked back (killed off) considerably by being pushed down in the water column where no light was present and have to start over the next day. This might have caused a build up of dead blooms that floated to the top where something could use it and thrive, producing scum. I have no science to back this up, just my mind wondering off with some sense of logic. None of my water tests showed any substantial nutrients that I could see, but some serious junk was produced from something.

As far as the crawdads...they travel constantly looking for food, scrounging around on the bottom, stirring up the silt at ground level...then the aeration system would move it throughout the water column. Crawdads are said to do most of their scrounging at night...when my aeration system is usually running.

That's my loose theory, hopefully my water continues to clear up to the 20-24" mark. Can't wait to get home to check on today's changes.

No boil in the near future as the crawdads have been donated to help other pond meisters get their ponds seeded.

Thanks for the encouragement Danbob...stay tuned.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/06/19 12:02 PM
Water clarity last night was 20" Secchi. The water has had a slight light greenish film on the surface for a few days, but the water column is still clearing up in general. In the past, some wind action or rain will cause this to disappear for a few days. Feeding last night was decent, but not quite as enthusiastic as the night before.

Still premature, but right now, I am hanging my hat on the removal of some craws causing the water to clear. Other factors that I have noticed are a 5 degree drop in water temps over the last week or two, a recent heavy inflow of water (which normally muddies things up), and the water hyacinths are looking a lot better and putting on some size. I don't see any correlation with these changes, but just stating for the record in case someone has some other theory to offer.
Posted By: roundy Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/06/19 02:22 PM
If you removed 150 craws, that's about one for every 72 square feet average. Assuming your pond is about a 1/4 acre, though the actual bottom area would be larger due to bowl shape.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/06/19 07:12 PM
Rondy, good point...As impossible as it is to figure out how many are (or were) in the pond...when I was using a 7' diameter throw net, I would get a craw ever other throw no matter where it was thrown in the pond. That's about one every 72 sq feet.

I will put the trap out again this weekend to sample what's left, but will not cull any more just yet. I'm trying to ride the line between clearing the water some, but not so much as to cause FA issues, AND removing the proper amount of craws, but leaving enough to add to the forage base.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/08/19 12:57 AM
I caught 33 crawdads overnight Friday night. This tells me I still have a strong population, but the water clarity is still improving.

Today's readings (Aeration has been running 3am to 8am)...

Time - 8am in BOLD , 1pm in RED, 6:30pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 64 F, 75 F, 84 F

Secchi Disk Reading - 21", 23", 23"

Water temps - Top to Bottom 73 F, Bottom 72 F - Top 82 F, Bottom 72 F - Top 81

DO - 4.8 ppm from surface down to 3', 7.5 ppm @ surface, 5.5 ppm - 12" down, 4.9 ppm - 24" down, 4.6 ppm - 36" down, 10.5 ppm @ surface, 6.1 ppm - 12" down. 4.7 ppm - 24" down, 4.4 ppm - 36" down

TDS - 45 ppm, 49 ppm, 48 ppm

pH - 6.8 from surface down to 3', 6.8 @ surface, 6.6 - 12" down, 6.4 - 24" down, 6.3 - 36" down, 7.8 @ surface, 7.1 - 12" down, 6.8 - 24" down, 6.7 - 36" down

Ammonia - 0.0 ppm, 0.0, Slightly Over Zero

Nitrates - 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm

Phosphates - 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm, 0.0 ppm

Feeding was decent tonight, few HSB showed themselves at the surface or otherwise, but the HBG fed well.

I don't think there are any strong "take aways" from today's results other than the clarity seems to be helping algae blooms in the upper foot or so of water which really boosts DO levels there. I will continue running the aeration system at the same time (3 to 8 am) for the near future, but may start moving it to run more towards morning daylight hours to assist with keeping warmer temps in the pond as the cooler season approaches.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/17/19 07:17 PM
The DO levels still leave me wanting more. Removing craws seems to have jumped my clarity from 12" to 23" and I will be extending my aeration run times from 3am to 8am gradually further into the daytime hours to get more run time and maybe more DO. My main concern is turning the blooms under and killing them off (is that really happening)...Which is better, more aeration run time or leaving the bloom alone to do it's thing. I am second guessing the importance of aeration at this time. It seems that the DO is weak from top to bottom with the aeration running, but improves quite a bit in the upper water column without air running. If I feed during low DO (in the morning), there is little to no interest, but feeding in the evening when upper column DO levels are increased, feeding is much better (still not a frenzy by no means)...I'm cornfused on what can be done at this point! I should have the air running a full 10 hours compared to the current 5 by this weekend to see what that shows on the DO meter.

Latest readings:

I caught 25 crawdads overnight Friday night and returned them like last week. The water clarity has leveled out around 22-24 inches.

Saturday's readings (Aeration has been running 3am to 8am)...

Time - 8am in BOLD , 1pm in RED, 6 pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 69 F, 78 F, 86 F

Secchi Disk Reading - 23", 23", 23"

Water temps - Top to Bottom 75 F, Bottom 75 F - Top 83 F, Bottom 75 F - Top 82

DO - 4 ppm from surface down to 2', 5.9 ppm @ surface, 5.0 ppm - 12" down, 3.9 ppm - 24" down, 6.5 ppm @ surface, 4.9 ppm - 12" down. 4.0 ppm - 24" down

TDS - 47 ppm, 51 ppm, 51 ppm all taken at 12" deep.

pH - 7.0 @ surface, 6.8 - 12" down, 6.6 - 24" down, 7.1 @ surface, 6.7 - 12" down, 6.4 - 24" down, 7.3 @ surface, 7.0 - 12" down, 6.8 - 24" down

Ammonia, Nitrates, & Phosphates - all zeros throughout the day

HSB feeding has been strong all week which is a new thing as of a few weeks prior. HBG feeding has also been good, consistent with previous weeks/months. My fish do not go nuts at feeding time, they just peck away a little at a time. I have been throwing out a total of a 1/4 pound of food over the course of an hour. I throw a little, they eat it slowly, then throw more and so on. I'm pretty sure they would eat more, but I get bored and quit. I have upped my feeding amounts and frequency since learning that the pond was NOT very fertile with no evidence of problems.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: DO and pH change in the upper 2 feet - 09/17/19 08:55 PM
Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
No, I wouldn't say that is, "Normal". DO levels will drop by about 10% every three feet due to hydrostatic pressure, but your drop is way more, not to mention your pH.

From what I know about your BOW, I would guess your contrasting pH and DO levels are the result of muddy water. All your photosynthesis is happening within the first foot of water, since there is no sunlight past that point. The plants are using the carbon dioxide, which acts like carbonic acid in water. CO2 removal reduces the acidity of the water so pH increases. Decomposition at the bottom of your water has the opposite effect and is decreasing pH and lowering DO.

I would "think" more aeration but I would like to see more tests prior to suggesting anything.


This still seems accurate to what is going on in your pond. Not sure why you returned the mud bugs? They are called mud bugs for a reason.

I agree your bloom is now generating oxygen at the upper parts of the water column during the day. Also, I think your pond is cycling efficiently at the upper part of the water column. The pond isn't infertile, it is just not overly fertile. Your bottom may have become somewhat anaerobic? If so, I would expect to see similar results for quite some time.

Do you know how much muck you have on the bottom of your pond?
The "mudbugs" are there as a forage resource and I believe that they will "fade away" in due time. I rarely see any juveniles (they must be getting eaten). I feel that they are like the FHM in that they will help for short period (a few years) and then be mostly gone. I'm just trying to find that line of balance between their forage benefits and clear waters...take out too many and their benefits go away, BUT the water clears up more...water clears up more and FA may get bad...I'm trying to move slowly and only change one thing at a time. Ever changed a bunch of parts on a car and you end up not knowing what actually fixed it?

I'm not sure about the bottom muck...it should be minimal (ponds only 2 year old) and I really don't want to swim out and down to find out.
Posted By: Bocomo Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/18/19 04:21 PM
Please tell me you are logging all this data!

I feel the need for charts and graphs coming on...
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/18/19 06:19 PM
Originally Posted By: Bocomo
Please tell me you are logging all this data!

I feel the need for charts and graphs coming on...



This thread IS the "Log". It contains all of this summer's test results. And, I have tried to chart and graph some of this stuff...it makes my head spin! LOLLAL (Laugh Out Loud Like A Lunatic)

Feel free to chart and graph at will on your own. If you discover something...I'll send you a free fishing T-shirt for your mental anguish. just kidding...you wouldn't want one of my old fishing T's...they're pretty well used up before they get elevated to just be used for fishing.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/23/19 04:29 PM
It sure seems like my pH typically swings upward throughout the whole day rather than following the traditional thought of peaking at mid afternoon. I wonder if night time aeration in conjunction with 12-20" secchi is causing this? The swing seems to be minor and I can't help to think that the blooms are struggling after a night of being turned under and continue throughout the day without a peak of their own. IDK, just speculating.

Just adding this last weekends readings...

Latest readings from Friday & Saturday (air from 9pm to 10am):

Friday evening's DO readings (at dusk) -

6.5 ppm at the surface,
5.2 ppm 1 foot down,
4.3 ppm 2 foot down,
4.1 ppm 3 foot down.

Saturday's readings -

Time - 8am in BOLD , 1pm in RED, 6 pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 74 F, 80 F, 77 F

Secchi Disk Reading - 21" all day long.

Water temps - Top to Bottom 76 F, Bottom 76 F - Top 79 F, Bottom 76 F - Top 78

DO - 4.3 ppm from surface down to 3', 6.3 ppm @ surface, 5.5 ppm - 12" down, 4.7 ppm - 24" down, 4.4 ppm - 3' down, 9.6 ppm @ surface, 6.5 ppm - 12" down. 4.5 ppm - 24" down, 3.8 ppm - 3' down

TDS - 52 ppm, 53 ppm, 53 ppm all taken at 12" deep.

pH - 6.9 @ surface, 6.7 - 12" down, 6.6 - 24" down, 6.5 ppm - 3' down, 6.8 @ surface, 6.6 - 12" down, 6.3 - 24" down, 6.4 ppm - 3' down, 7.4 @ surface, 6.7 - 12" down, 6.5 - 24", 6.3 ppm - 3' down

Ammonia, Nitrates, & Phosphates - all zeros throughout the day.

Sunday 6pm DO readings -

Cloudy all day with some rain and light winds.

5.5 ppm at the surface,
4.7 ppm 1 foot down,
4.4 ppm 2 foot down,
3.9 ppm 3 foot down.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/23/19 05:51 PM
I think this may help you better understand what I think may be going on in your body of water.

https://appliedecology.cals.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/SRAC-0468.pdf
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/23/19 06:25 PM
Good Link Joe, I'll copy it to the original post for easy reference. It, now, makes sense that the pH climbs all day at my pond along with the DO even though I'm not sure why the chart below generically shows ponds peaking at mid afternoon. My BOW must have very good alkalinity as my pH swings are relatively flat and the DO from algae blooms increases as long as there is day light...



I am tempted to turn the aeration system off for one night and check DO levels the next day...I think this coming weekend has a purpose. Any guesses as what I can expect? I think the DO at the surface will be higher than mornings when the air has been running, but the deeper DO levels will be less...drats...back to my question...which is better, good DO levels in the upper few feet OR weak DO levels throughout the water column? Am I chasing the meaning of life?


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pHswings.jpg  (390 downloads)
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/23/19 07:11 PM
Not sure where the graph came that you posted? I was referencing carbon dioxide acting as carbonic acid, which the article was basically about.

My guess, without the added aeration, you'll see greater stratification of your water. I.e. higher DO and pH at the surface and lower DO and pH at depths. Just a guess, but if correct, it signals an unhealthy pond bottom.

Any harbor in a storm, is the answer. It depends on the DO you think is poor Vs good. Anything less than 5ppm is detrimental to good fish health. In my opinion anything less than 6 will cause stress and is a reason for concern.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/23/19 08:43 PM
My morning DO levels are typically between 4 and 5 ppm from the surface down to as far as the meter cord will allow (3 feet). I would bet that those readings are consistent throughout the water column due to aeration.

Evening DO levels tend to be below 4 ppm below 24" deep. Above that 24" mark, they are regularly in the 5 to 6 range. I never see any of the fish in this part of the water column enjoying the extra DO???
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/23/19 09:03 PM
Do you think fish can cognitively differentiate between 4ppm and 6ppm?
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 02:28 AM
Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
... Am I chasing the meaning of life?


No just the answers to your questions.

Here is a question of my own to anyone who can explain. What is the chemical process by which "low alkalinity water" becomes more basic than "high alkalinity water" in the graph above.

QA, One thing stands out to me in your graph. Your BOW's PH is never alkaline ... its always acidic ... all day all night? I also noticed from a different post you made that your phosphorous is always zero. How is your primary production? Do you get good algal blooms ... just saying ... that if there isn't enough algae ...

If the condition were a fish standing weight greater than the algal biomass can optimally supply with oxygen then you might get at least some of the conditions you are seeing. The fish metabolism would respond to lower levels of oxygen by slowing down. I think I would get the water tested and get some recommendations for water fertility. A PH modifier (like lime) might be front and center on any recommendations made.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 12:34 PM
Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
Do you think fish can cognitively differentiate between 4ppm and 6ppm?


I don't know the answer to that, but I have heard of fish "piping" at the surface when DO levels get low (how low IDK). At some point they know to head to the surface. A chart in the following Bob Lusk article says that the minimum acceptable DO level is 5 ppm. My pond seems to spend a fair amount of time at or below this point. So far, no piping...I just assumed that the fish would prefer better DO levels and hang out in that upper 2 feet. I never see them there, they are always below the clarity range.

https://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/oxygen.html
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 12:59 PM
Originally Posted By: jpsdad
QA, One thing stands out to me in your graph. Your BOW's PH is never alkaline ... its always acidic ... all day all night? I also noticed from a different post you made that your phosphorous is always zero. How is your primary production? Do you get good algal blooms ... just saying ... that if there isn't enough algae ...


My artistic touch on that graph is misleading, I am sorry...My pH actually spends time above and below neutral, but only slightly either direction. My intention for the chart was to merely show the peak later in the day. I believe my ph to be in good place.

I may be short on algae, however, since the brown color of the water subsided, after the removal of some craws, it has had a nice green color. And, the pond has had a few heavy blooms, typically early in the summer. So, I feel like the algae is there...but may be struggling with consistency. What I have very little of is submerged plant-life. Here are a couple examples of heavy green blooms...





Here is one before the craws were removed with the muddy waters that existed most of the year (secchi = 12")...



Here is a recent photo that shows the lack of muddy water with it's touch of green (secchi = 22")...



Originally Posted By: jpsdad
If the condition were a fish standing weight greater than the algal biomass can optimally supply with oxygen then you might get at least some of the conditions you are seeing. The fish metabolism would respond to lower levels of oxygen by slowing down. I think I would get the water tested and get some recommendations for water fertility. A PH modifier (like lime) might be front and center on any recommendations made.


I might be low on algae and have too much fish biomass also...pushing my ponds carrying capacity. Wouldn't the ammonia tests show that?

Attached File
Before Craw Removal.jpg  (430 downloads)
Attached File
After Craw Removal.jpg  (408 downloads)
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 07:51 PM
I am not entirely sure what is going on but it appears to be a carbonate or temporary hardness/acid binding issue. When CH decreases, pH increases. If there is free/radical carbon dioxide, CH will increase and pH decreases.

Testing water once for dynamic parameters can be a waste of money. You're taking a snapshot of something that is constantly changing.

A CH/GH issue fits the limited data but the stratification is somewhat befuddling.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 08:43 PM
QA, I must have been grabbing at straws, I guess. That top pic is more than enough bloom IMHO. I just don't understand why the water doesn't reach saturation by late afternoon. With oxygen, there are two perspective to consider, one being the production of oxygen via photosynthesis and to a lesser extent absorption from the water/air interface. The other perspective is the demand for oxygen which will come from your pond life (even your plants at night). It's worth asking the question of whether your standing weight is above the ponds carrying capacity ... though I can't tell you if that is the case.

To be sure they are not the same thing (standing weight and carrying capacity). It is even possible to persistently crop more on an annual basis than the pond can carry. At this point, oxygen isn't so limited (at least in combination with your aeration efforts) as to cause a kill so you have time to evaluate.

Quote:

I might be low on algae and have too much fish biomass also...pushing my ponds carrying capacity. Wouldn't the ammonia tests show that?


I'm not sure ... but to me the bloom seems sufficient to handle fish wastes.

QA, one other thing to consider. The period of late summer through turnover is the natural time of the year where DO is most stressed. Temperatures are high and daylight is rapidly waning during this time. To make matters worse the nights are correspondingly longer. So your BOW is experiencing to some degree what all BOW's are experiencing. Not saying you shouldn't be concerned but just saying you KNOW where your DO is and a lot folks in the same situation are completely oblivious to what is going on in their water.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 09:00 PM
Joey...I assume you mean the "stratification" of DO. DO stratifies in a pond without aeation, right? Mine seems to stratify daily when the air is off. That makes good sense to me, anyhow, and befuddles me too as to why the DO levels are so low either way. My snapshots over the last few months seem to be telling a common story...DO levels in the 4-6 range are common and somewhat predictable...constantly mixed and low throughout the water column after the aeration shuts off and better at the surface 8 hours later.

JP...the top photo is of an extreme event that seems to happen once during the early summer to slightly different degrees the past two years . The last photo shows water conditions of recent which still looks green to me.

I read some about the "standing weight and carrying capacity" as I couldn't tell you the difference.

Thanks to all for participating, I appreciate the thought provoking conversations!
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 09:32 PM
I mean, it is a if there is a "Chemocline" to your water? I am always hoping someone on this forum whose discipline is more closely aligned to your issue(s) chimes in smile

I would wager good whiskey your issue is CO2 related but not really, really good whiskey. More like off branded 5 star...

If you ever do consider furthertesting, Alkalinity, CH and GH would be the parameters to test.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/24/19 09:55 PM
QA,

Carrying capacity is the most limited standing weight the bow can support through the year.

It also apply to other wildlife, eg elk. The mountains can support many more elk in the summer than the wintering grounds can in the winter. The carrying capacity is determine by the wintering habitat.

In the case of a BOW and fish, the limit could be determined by many factors and only one these many factors is DO.

Originally Posted By: QA
I stocked 42 HSB, 500 HBG, & 90 RES.


Neglecting reproduction of HBG and RES an estimate of the original stocker current standing weight can be made.

(1 - Mortality Ratio)* NumStocked* Current Avg Weight = Standing weight

If you have not harvested then it isn't unreasonable to assume less than 30% mortality. Let's be conservative and assume its 30%.

.70 * 42 * 1.6# = 47.04 lbs HSB
.70* 500*.5# = 175 lbs HBG
.70 * 90 * .5 = 31.5 lbs RES

Together what survives of your original stockers might easily weigh 253.5 lbs. That's 1014 lbs per acre and that doesn't include HBG and RES offspring.

This much I can tell you, it was feeding that got you to this standing weight. The standing weight of this mix of fish is well beyond the carrying capacity of the pond without feed inputs. In retrospect, I think the DO is consistent with the oxygen demands of this weight of fish and the latest state of the BOWs bloom.

QA, feel free to refuse this advice but I think your reluctance to harvest HBG until they reach 1 lb is a catch 22. I don't think they can reach 1 lb in weight unless you increase your feeding rate and I think if you do that you are risking them all to a fish kill. If it were CC, I would say go for a standing weight of 2000 lbs/acre but HSB and HBG might die if you don't stay right on top of it.

If you remove some of the HBG then they can continue to grow at the same rates of feeding, provided the HSB limit HBG recruits sufficiently. I would be willing to bet a great bottle of scotch that removing around 75 lbs of HBG would make a big difference in your DO immediately and since you already know that the BOW can support 175 lbs of HBG with your current feed rate, those that remain might make it to a 1 lb while maintaining your current feeding regimen.
Posted By: Joey Quarry Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/25/19 02:26 AM
Jp has some pretty solid suppositions, hard to debate mathematical outcomes, especially when I have no clue on carrying capacity. I have a bajillion gallons of water and less than 100 brookies. A fish and crawdad boil could solve all your problems and there really isn't a better time of year to have one.

Less fish, less respiration, less CO2, more dinner. Call me when it's time to eat!
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/25/19 12:39 PM
OK, now that's some info I can warp (yes, warp) my head around. Thanks for the mathematical lesson...I'll take that advice and challenge. It all seems to click together...Low DO, lots of fish, muddy waters, low feeding enthusiasm, and the HBG seemed to have topped out size-wise this summer.

I will make some adjustments to the calculations as I believe my HSB average weights are above 1.6#. I went to the pond last night targeting HBG for the fun of catching since I caught the ever-elusive HSB last weekend for check weights AND ended up catching 4 more HSB along with 7 HBG, all in one hour. It was, by far, the best fishing that my pond as produced. Bottom line...the lightest HSB was 2# and the whopper was 2.6# @ 18" long (new pond record). I even caught two HSB in a row! I've never caught two in a day or even a week, maybe a month and I was fishing in the HBG's corner of the pond.

I will concentrate on culling a bunch of HBG and even a few HSB this fall (starting this weekend). I will also try to ladder stock in some HSB soon to keep them populated long term. Does anybody nearby need some 6-7 inch HBG for their pond?

I can't thank you folks enough for your time and attention! Let the good times roll!
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/25/19 09:00 PM
Quote:
I will make some adjustments to the calculations as I believe ...


I admired every thing you wrote but was especially gladdened by this above. Your BOW is a great success and something tells me it will never be otherwise. Saw the pics of those HSB that you posted recently. They are remarkably handsome fish.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/26/19 12:44 PM
I have started making a cage for collecting the fish that should be functional by Saturday. The water clarity has increased to 25 inches and I am going to renege on my thoughts of turning off the aeration for a night as an experiment on DO levels. I do hope to get some bottom samples this weekend, but I still have not noodled a way to get them without snrub diving (maybe he can come over and drop his glasses in and get some muck while he's down there)...I'll figure something out and post some photos. I'm thinking...extend-a-pole, coffee can, & duct tape should do it???

My calculation adjustments merely moved the total to 236 pounds (this number is standing weight right?). I adjusted the weights of all the fish, some up, some down according to my observations even though the RES are nowhere to be seen. I have ignored any recruitment as I believe it to be minimal. Either way, I would bet that my removed total will be based on fishing success this fall and should that success be better than expected...taking more out can only help the DO levels and improve future growth of the HBG. So here goes!

JPS, Are there rule-of-thumb charts for carrying capacities/standing weights? (I'm still unsure of the difference...standing wt = current pounds per acre? carrying cap = a standing weight at which a fish kill is near given current conditions?).

Thanks for all y'all's time, help, concern, and the compliments on the fish! I contribute my success to God's grace and Pondboss.
Posted By: roundy Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/26/19 04:53 PM
Seems like I read on here about somebody doing bottom sampling by using a capped length of plastic pipe. Put on cap, lower to depth, remove cap, fill pipe, then recap and lift straight up. I would assume you would use a smaller diameter pipe and maybe have a few different lengths.
Posted By: Danbob Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/26/19 06:30 PM
Thanks for the comments. Here in north Texas, I'm still waiting for rain to fill my small pond. frown I have crawfish all over my pasture, so I assume that when the pond does fill up, I'll have a fairly healthy crawfish population. So, that's why I was wondering about the correlation to muddy water. It makes sense. We've had one if not the hottest Septembers on record, so I'm looking forward to October. Thanks again.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/26/19 09:01 PM
Originally Posted By: Danbob
...I have crawfish all over my pasture, so I assume that when the pond does fill up, I'll have a fairly healthy crawfish population...


I'm not crawdad expert, but I think the ones in your pasture will likely stay in the pasture. Are they the ones that make mud "chimneys"? Those types don't typically want to live in pond waters. I think they call them Land Lobsters. Check it out anyhow...I'd hate for you to get your hopes up. You may have to stock some water loving variety native to your area.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/26/19 10:09 PM
Quote:
JPS, Are there rule-of-thumb charts for carrying capacities/standing weights? (I'm still unsure of the difference...standing wt = current pounds per acre? carrying cap = a standing weight at which a fish kill is near given current conditions?).


If only it were that simple. What determines carrying capacity is the most adverse conditions. Depending on the year, it could be in the fall during turnover, or it could be brutal snow covered winters. It could be the amount of forage the BOW can produce (a food limitation). An increase in primary production provides not only food for carrying capacity but also additional DO as well, however, the nightly dips are more extreme and so there is a limit. Eventually an aquaculturist must aerate to keep DO at acceptable level as standing weights rise. Things can be going along well and then there are 4 cloudy days in a row in early October. You get the point here. It is that event that determines the carrying capacity. With aeration and feeding you have expanded the standing weight beyond what would be safe for a BOW without aeration.

In ponds with natural fertility and no feed input one can expect that the limitation is most often food, especially in in a yound BOW. I would estimate that your bow would support the maintenance of between 250 and 500 lbs per acre without feed inputs. I base that on averages that your State published in a pond guide that I once read and your location. As ponds age they collect nutrients and they progress toward greater carrying capacity. Carrying capacity depends in part on the type of fish you have. BH can attain higher standing weights than BG would in the same water. The mix of fish matters. The standing weight potential of only BG is greater than when BG are in combination with LMB. This is why BG might DO crash in a forage pond if you don't seine them out.

Standing weight ... its just what your fish weigh ... Hopefully enough description has been provided that it makes sense that a pond may have a standing weight greater than it can carry. These standing weights occur when conditions are favorable and the carrying capacity standing weights occur when conditions are less favorable and as part of the annual cycle of growth and consumption.

Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/27/19 12:33 PM
Thanks for the great explanations JPS! I have found the "Missouri Pond Handbook" that I believe you are referencing and added it to my initial post for safekeeping. For the record, it states...

"When the carrying capacity is reached, fish growth will slow down until some fish die or are removed. Ten-year-old ponds in Missouri average about 250 pounds of fish per acre of water. This usually includes about 190 pounds of bluegill, 35 pounds of largemouth bass, and the remainder will be catfish and other species. If you remove 25 pounds of fish, 25 pounds will grow back. This 25 pounds of fish may grow back as 100 4-ounce fish, or perhaps five fish of 5 pounds each, or any combination of sizes and numbers totaling 25 pounds."

...among other great information.

Thanks again! Time to get busy with population management.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/27/19 10:09 PM
You're most welcome.

Say listen, I've been lately giving some thought to building an excel spreadsheet for keeping harvest and catch data. It would involve one sheet for storing the data and another sheet with a pivot table and graphs made from the pivot table. In essence the additional sheet (or possibly sheets) would display the data organized by year, species, relative weights and so on. Given your enthusiasm, I have enough confidence in your interest to use it that I would like to design it around your existing protocol of measurement taking.

Just to give you an idea ... I am presented with differing options for determining weight. One is simply a length measurement that is converted to standard weight. This option may be favored by one who only takes length measurements. The other option would be weight measurement which is more accurate but maybe less convenient.


And so I would like you to give some thought about this and to some of the insights that you would like extract from your records and also whether you would be interested in using a spreadsheet like this. I would just post the excel file here in this thread and it would be available to all.

There are insights I would also like to extract from well kept records. One thing that greatly interests me are harvest numbers and how productive waters can be under differing management, species combination, and supplement fertility scenarios. In sharing something like this I would also hope that the information gathered might also be shared.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/28/19 06:50 PM
Your spreadsheet project sounds very cool. I think that most people who would be prone to using such a tool would be measuring AND weighing, but what little I know about spreadsheets tells me that it could be set up to to either. For example, most of the time I weigh and measure, but on occasion I just get a length. When both are entered, the spreadsheet calculates the pond's "standard weight" and can generate relative weight, but when only length is entered...it figures the standard weight from a table (I suppose) and goes from there. Given your mathematical abilities and all the pond calculation out there...the spreadsheet could get very involved.

I have not kept any fish for table fare, but I have culled medium sized HBG offspring. I will be culling larger HBG and a few HSB very soon (6 in the cage right now) and can see how such a spreadsheet could be used to estimate my two new favorite terms...Standing Weight and Carrying Capacity!

Keep me informed regarding your progress and I'll make stuff up as we go. I feel like I am talking to one of the controls engineers at work...I wave my hands and blabber a bunch of stuff on how easy it will be and how cool it will be and he walks away for a weeks worth of hair pulling.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/29/19 04:33 AM
Here is the first stab at it. Now I've locked all but the fields for data entry to prevent accidental deletion of formulas. This also helps with entering the data where a tab from the last column in a row takes you to the left most column in the next row. There are two tables to enter data ... one with catch data and another with trip data. I left the HBG Exponent and Multipliers unlocked so you could adapt them. I actually couldn't find a length weight chart for HBG so I averaged GSF and BG numbers to get the exponent and multiplier. Don't rely on it. If you have some data to work with I could solve the standard weight equation for your bow. If you already have ... please do share it with us. The last two tabs have pivot tables/charts displaying some fake data. Feel free to play and if you have any questions about how to manipulate the pivot tables/charts let me know. BTW I added the pivots before all the columns were complete and so some the table isn't presently accessible. You can however expand the data or create new tabs containing pivots with fields of all the secondarily computed data.

Here are the measurement methods supported.

1. Measured Length & Weight ... An RW is computed and one should enter only one fish in the # fish column. Actual weight will be in the Total Weight column.

2. Measured Length only ... No RW is computed and one should enter only one fish in the #Fish column. A standard weight will be used in the Total Weight column.

3. Measured Weight only ... No RW is computed. For this measurement one may used a combined weight of many fish. One should enter the number of fish in the combined weight in the #fish column. A standard length is computed. Actual weight is used in the Total Weight column. I thought this might be convenient for panfish harvests where one may not care about prey fish relative weights.

Anyways ... its a start

Attached File
Fish Catch Records.xlsx  (68 downloads)
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/30/19 01:08 PM
Since last week's testing, the aeration run time was only increased from 13 hours to 14 hours, but has been there all week. Whereas the week prior extended run times where at 5 hours to begin with and gradually moved to 13. Being at 13-14 hours all last week has shown some good improvement in DO, and clarity has improved by a few inches. I contribute the increase in DO to the longer air time and lower water temps, but feel the clarity improvement too insignificant to judge at this time (likely due to the lack of inflow).

Adding this last weekends readings...

Latest readings from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (air from 8pm to 10am):

Friday evening's DO readings (6pm) -

8.2 ppm at the surface,
7.4 ppm 1 foot down,
6.3 ppm 2 foot down,
5.8 ppm 3 foot down.

Saturday's readings (Cloudy all day with periodic showers)-

Time - 8am in BOLD , 1pm in RED, 4:30 pm in GREEN

Ambient Temps - 73 F, 78 F, 82 F

Secchi Disk Reading - 25" all day long.

Water temps - Top to Bottom 73 F, Bottom 71 F - Top 76 F, Bottom 71 F - Top 78

DO - 6 ppm from surface down to 3', 7.2 ppm @ surface, 6.7 ppm - 12" down, 6.4 ppm - 24" down, 6.2 ppm - 3' down, 8.6 ppm @ surface, 6.7 ppm - 12" down. 6.6 ppm - 24" down, 6.3 ppm - 3' down

TDS - 50 ppm, Skipped, Skipped all taken at 12" deep.

pH - 7.1 @ surface, 6.9 - 12" down, 6.8 - 24" down, 6.8 ppm - 3' down, 6.8 @ surface, 6.6 - 12" down, 6.4 - 24" down, 6.2 ppm - 3' down, 7.0 @ surface, 6.5 - 12" down, 6.4 - 24", 6.1 ppm - 3' down

Ammonia, Nitrates, & Phosphates - all zeros throughout the day.

Sunday's DO readings -

2" Rain over night and sunny this morning continuing throughout the day.

7:30am - 6 ppm from surface down to 3' (aeration now running 7:30 pm to 1:30pm)

5pm -

6.2 ppm at the surface,
6.4 ppm 1 foot down,
6.3 ppm 2 foot down,
6.1 ppm 3 foot down.

At this point, I have to suggest that clearing the water from 12" to 24" (by removing some crawdads) and increasing air time from 5 hours to over 12 hour has improved the DO levels. Other possible factors are cooler air/water temps and the occasional showers and breezes keeping the water surface clear of pollen/dust-like floaties. I will consider increasing air time up to 24/7 operation for as long as fall temps permit, but have not committed to it just yet.

Fishing, or should I say catching, has increased significantly over the last few weeks. Anybody need any ~1/2 pound HBG for their pond?...I am collecting some in a cage to remove and aid in the DO levels, about 12 so far.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 09/30/19 09:38 PM
QA, this tells me that it didn't hurt to turn the water in daylight.


The DO is vastly improved. Well done!
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Water Chemistry Log by QA - 10/01/19 12:40 PM
Fortunately, the low DO levels made it through the worst of the summer's heat and this summer was a bit milder than most.
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