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RyanH Offline OP
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I was told this is the place for good advice. I'm in Ontario, Canada. I dug a pond 4 years ago. It's mostly sand based with some minor river rock. I'm quite close to a river so when digging in the sand, water poured in right away. The pond moves in height with the river height. I'm trying to just have a handful of nice bass in the pond, and give them lots of feed instead of the opposite. Things have been going well and last fall I added a few more Largemouth to bring my totals to only about 4 or so largemouth and the same amount of Smallmouth Bass.

I lost one nice largemouth this spring which I think was an aerator issue as the ice was coming off A month later I found another largemouth swimming around with a white growth over both eyes. This one kind of baffled me. I removed the bass.

Since then I've tested my water with one of those semi-basic testing kits. Nitrate's and Ammonia are basically 0 ppm, however my pH is very high. At least 7.6 as that's as high as the tester goes and the colour was a bit darker so I'd guess it's closer to 8.

My two questions would be, how bad is that pH, and I also pipe rainwater from the house roof, directly into a pipe and into the pond, so when it rains I get the water directly into the pond and clean, eliminating it coming into the pond as surface run-off which in the past has caused me major water quality issues. I thought I was smart to pipe that water in, but I've read that pH fluctuation in a pond can harm fish and I tested the rainwater and it's 6.8 pH. I noticed the bass with eye issues shortly after lots of rain.

Sorry for the long post. I have a video here showing the pond size and the sick bass swimming around which will probably make it easier to see what I'm dealing with.

[video:youtube]
[/video]

Last edited by RyanH; 05/22/24 06:41 AM.
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Welcome to Pond Boss!!

You have a very nice pond.

I didn't get to fully watch the video, but I briefly saw the LMB with the 'cloudy' eyes. Were you certain the cloudiness was on the outside of the eye? In some cases, panfish will get that 'cloudy' look when a parasitic worm grows inside the eye. If that's the case, then a question would be what is the vector for the parasite. If it's snails, you may benefit from some kind of sunfish like a Readear Sunfish that eats snails, but more suited for northern climates.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Like Pumpkinseeds. Yellow Perch also eat some snails.


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Not sure I'd pipe water directly off a roof into the pond, is it an asphalt shingle roof? I'd look at some really good grass to firm up your erosion issues. You have a healthy pond there but I guess the equilibrium can be upset easily, it'll come back.

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RyanH, this is probably not what you want to hear but you moved adult bass from an area with "X" chemistry that they were accustomed to. In this process, I see far more failures than success.
The main factor is stress. Stress weakens the immune system and often produces exactly what you are seeing.
The white film is likely a fungus that sets in when fish are stressed from transport, change of surroundings and water chemistry.
Moving adult fish is a 50/50 deal.
After transport and tagging, were the fish sedated during any of this? Were they salt dipped prior to release?
The results you have experienced are not uncommon.
On the pH, 8 is not a problem, I'm at 8 to 8.2 most of the time, but again, what was the pH of the water they came from?
You also said Nitrates are basically zero. Nitrate should be higher than zero, like 20-30. Nitrite should be closer to zero as should ammonia.

Last edited by Snipe; 05/22/24 11:23 PM.
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That's some great info Snipe!

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Yes, great replies by all.

I do have asphalt shingles, and I piped it 225 feet, it was a huge job, ha. I knew it would be a couple years before I have lawn down so I went with the pipe as the heavy rain water was killing my water quality and it took weeks to get back to where I was, only to have another hard rain happen. I see your worry though with the shingles, I'll just have to see.

I have no snails at all that I've seen. I do have a couple hundred pumpkinseed sunfish.

Originally Posted by Snipe
RyanH, this is probably not what you want to hear but you moved adult bass from an area with "X" chemistry that they were accustomed to. In this process, I see far more failures than success.
The main factor is stress. Stress weakens the immune system and often produces exactly what you are seeing.
The white film is likely a fungus that sets in when fish are stressed from transport, change of surroundings and water chemistry.
Moving adult fish is a 50/50 deal.
After transport and tagging, were the fish sedated during any of this? Were they salt dipped prior to release?
The results you have experienced are not uncommon.
On the pH, 8 is not a problem, I'm at 8 to 8.2 most of the time, but again, what was the pH of the water they came from?
You also said Nitrates are basically zero. Nitrate should be higher than zero, like 20-30. Nitrite should be closer to zero as should ammonia.

I was thinking that as well. The fish were simply transported, tagged and dumped in the pond a month before freeze up. No sedation or salt. I've never even heard of salt dipping to be honest, I'll read about it out of curiosity. And yes, they were totally different waters, I agree.

Shortly after the pond was dug I starting stocking minnows and sunfish for the first year. I found some days old smallmouth bass fry and netted a few and dumped in the pond. Totally illegal, I'm sure, but I was shocked how well they did. Less than a year later they were 6 inches which shocked me for up here. They did so well, I moved a bunch out but still have one of the original in there which is now probably a couple pounds. It's my #1 fish in terms of comfort and activeness. It's like he owns the pond, which I guess he does. It's all he's known. I can certainly see the difference between that fish and the others. So aggressive and comfortable. If I continue to have issues, I'll re-start with small bass and remove the large. The little guys are so fun to watch, I kind of miss those days.

I called the local pond place that I buy product from and they said the same as you about pH. Lots of limestone around here so 8.0 seems to be the normal, and I tested the river 100 feet away and it was the same.

Nitrate was a bit over zero but not much. I was just going from the colour chart which is hard to exactly pin point.

I'll see if there's a pond water testing service close by me.

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I can't imagine why water running off asphalt shingles would be any worse or different than water that ran off of a paved roadway.

When I was a kid water went from the roof of our house into a cistern under the basement. That water was used for all household needs.
It may have gotten a chlorine tab every now and then but otherwise it wasn't treated/filtered/etc.

Others may disagree, but personally, I wouldn't give it a second thought.

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Yeah, I wouldn't think water running over roof shingles would be a concern, but you have to consider everything.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Makes sense!


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