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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rank = Yonsai bicolormoth's Avatar
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    Chlorine Alert !!

    I just want to make everyone aware of what has been going on in my pond, and the reason behind it,. I had a very sudden change in my fish, they sulked and went off their food, then they became lethargic, then hugging the bottom, then redenning all over, looking very bad. then laying on their sides on the bottom. this happened over a 3 day period, and all the while i was tearing my hair out trying to find the cause. i had given up doing scrapes on day 3 because i had found nothing by then and it was just causing more stress. all the while i was repeatedly testing my water and on day 3 i had high Nitrates, so it was time for a water change, which i rarely do as i use a trickle in/ trickle out, through a purifier. my purifier can normally handle 5L/min but i just have it on 0.5L/min 24/7. if i am ever going to do a water change i always turn my trickle up to full flow and measure for chlorine just in case the cartridges are on their way downhill. when i do this i start with a test at lowest flow., if that is ok i turn it up to 1/4 flow, then 1/2 then full., so i know which flow rate i can safely use to top up my pond after the water being dropped. to my absolute surprise and shock my water test showed Chlorine at the trickle flow, that's leass than 1/2L/min , so now i had 2 problems, i had high Nitrate and an obvious Chlorine load, but how long had it been running like that i had no idea. so i had to drop a load of water and rig up any spare filters i could get my hand on to top up again. i managed to dechlorinate using Sodium Thiosulphate, and after working through the night i managed to cobble together 4 water purifier units to get a flow of 0.5L/min with no chlorine showing on testing. it took 2 days to refill my pond at that rate, i was gutted by this time as it looked like i was certain to lose 3 of my Showas. i hadn't slept or eaten for almost 3 days. eventually i got on top of things which also involved introducing more air pumps. Once things began to stabilise I found i had managed to shake off the Nitrate only to now have an Ammonia spike. this is due to the amount of dechlorination i had to do, and my filter being knocked back into last week. my fish were improving slightly and the one thing i needed to do was get some ''stress-coat'' to help hem along, so it was back to my local Koi-stuff dealer. Now this is where it all got very interesting, he listened to my story and sorted me out with what i needed, and also told me he had people coming in his shop all week with exactly the same issues. One customer had contacted the local water board when she discovered the amount of Chlorine in her water, only to be informed that they had increased the inclusion rated of their chemicals into our water supply by FIVE TIMES , this apparently was due to Covid and Lockdown. so please everyone be very careful with your water. make sure you have dechlorinator and something like TAP SAFE by Blagdon as a stress coat.
    I have noticed a lot of posts on forums and FaceBook about fish losses in the past few weeks, and most of them seems to be down to this issue from what i can tell. Please be careful everyone.


    5000g, Drum Filter/Gravity, + MBB, Skimmer-Sieve-Shower.

  2. #2
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai NickK-UK's Avatar
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    I switched from using tap safe etc (which is good) to a simple 10l three pod dechlorinator but took the warning that you really had to trickle the rate. It works but I suspect with trickle that the lifetime for the cartridges will have been reduced heavily due to the increase in chemicals.

    Chloramine (NH2CL, Monochloramine) is the nasty one as it doesn't gas off. It also seems to register as chlorine on the tests too.

    From the wiki page - here's the decomposition of chloramine.. it's decomposition depends on the water pH.. but as your pond is never less than 3 or greater than 11.. you should only see the top one.. So it gasses off Nitrogen gas and NH4Cl which could be ingested by the biofilm or results from other pond chemistry into NH4, NO2 and NO3 - ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
    NH2Cl → N2 + NH4Cl + 2 HClHowever, only a few percent of a 0.1 M chloramine solution in water decomposes according to the formula in several weeks.
    So it will continue to effect the pond for weeks. I'm unsure if the NH4Cl (ammonium chloride) would react with ammonia tests or chlorine tests. Personally I would assume it does (all depends on the test chemistry).

    Worth ensuring you have a chloramine canister or carbon to remove it.. nasty stuff.

    In aqueous solution, chloramine slowly decomposes to dinitrogen and ammonium chloride in a neutral or mildly alkaline (pH ≤ 11) medium:3 NH2Cl → N2 + NH4Cl + 2 HClHowever, only a few percent of a 0.1 M chloramine solution in water decomposes according to the formula in several weeks. At pH values above 11, the following reaction with hydroxide ions slowly occurs:
    3 NH2Cl + 3 OH → NH3 + N2 + 3 Cl + 3 H2OIn an acidic medium at pH values of around 4, chloramine disproportionates to form dichloramine, which in turn disproportionates again at pH values below 3 to form nitrogen trichloride:
    2 NH2Cl + H+ ⇌ NHCl2 + NH+
    43 NHCl2 + H+ ⇌ 2 NCl3 + NH+
    4At low pH values, nitrogen trichloride dominates and at pH 3–5 dichloramine dominates. These equilibria are disturbed by the irreversible decomposition of both compounds:
    NHCl2 + NCl3 + 2 H2O → N2 + 3 HCl + 2 HOCl
    1700 litres on 50 watts
    Planned 11,777 litres on 58 watts. 1300l anoxic, 4" airlifts, Solum 16, bio.

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  4. #3
    Thanks for posting this Bicolormoth. I think a fair few of us suspected this with the water It would definitely help explain some of my losses. I did a complete water change at one point, to remove salt in preparation for a different treatment and more of the fish started to die.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Rank = Rokusai Spongebob's Avatar
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    Having done several water changes recently ive had no issues, although tbf ive overdosed every time with Sodium Thiosulphate?
    9000 litre pond, block and fibreglass, BD, skimmer, Nexus 220 with Draco drum,

  6. #5
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion smartin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicolormoth View Post
    I just want to make everyone aware of what has been going on in my pond, and the reason behind it,. I had a very sudden change in my fish, they sulked and went off their food, then they became lethargic, then hugging the bottom, then redenning all over, looking very bad. then laying on their sides on the bottom. this happened over a 3 day period, and all the while i was tearing my hair out trying to find the cause. i had given up doing scrapes on day 3 because i had found nothing by then and it was just causing more stress. all the while i was repeatedly testing my water and on day 3 i had high Nitrates, so it was time for a water change, which i rarely do as i use a trickle in/ trickle out, through a purifier. my purifier can normally handle 5L/min but i just have it on 0.5L/min 24/7. if i am ever going to do a water change i always turn my trickle up to full flow and measure for chlorine just in case the cartridges are on their way downhill. when i do this i start with a test at lowest flow., if that is ok i turn it up to 1/4 flow, then 1/2 then full., so i know which flow rate i can safely use to top up my pond after the water being dropped. to my absolute surprise and shock my water test showed Chlorine at the trickle flow, that's leass than 1/2L/min , so now i had 2 problems, i had high Nitrate and an obvious Chlorine load, but how long had it been running like that i had no idea. so i had to drop a load of water and rig up any spare filters i could get my hand on to top up again. i managed to dechlorinate using Sodium Thiosulphate, and after working through the night i managed to cobble together 4 water purifier units to get a flow of 0.5L/min with no chlorine showing on testing. it took 2 days to refill my pond at that rate, i was gutted by this time as it looked like i was certain to lose 3 of my Showas. i hadn't slept or eaten for almost 3 days. eventually i got on top of things which also involved introducing more air pumps. Once things began to stabilise I found i had managed to shake off the Nitrate only to now have an Ammonia spike. this is due to the amount of dechlorination i had to do, and my filter being knocked back into last week. my fish were improving slightly and the one thing i needed to do was get some ''stress-coat'' to help hem along, so it was back to my local Koi-stuff dealer. Now this is where it all got very interesting, he listened to my story and sorted me out with what i needed, and also told me he had people coming in his shop all week with exactly the same issues. One customer had contacted the local water board when she discovered the amount of Chlorine in her water, only to be informed that they had increased the inclusion rated of their chemicals into our water supply by FIVE TIMES , this apparently was due to Covid and Lockdown. so please everyone be very careful with your water. make sure you have dechlorinator and something like TAP SAFE by Blagdon as a stress coat.
    I have noticed a lot of posts on forums and FaceBook about fish losses in the past few weeks, and most of them seems to be down to this issue from what i can tell. Please be careful everyone.
    Hi Bicolour,

    how are you measuring your Chlorine? i have PD4 tablets but no other Chlorine measuring tool ? something else i need to buy by the sounds of things.....
    2200 gallons, infinity window, BD
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Rank = Yonsai bicolormoth's Avatar
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    Palintest DPD4 tablets.
    5000g, Drum Filter/Gravity, + MBB, Skimmer-Sieve-Shower.

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  9. #7
    Senior Member Rank = Kyusai Koiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicolormoth View Post
    One customer had contacted the local water board when she discovered the amount of Chlorine in her water, only to be informed that they had increased the inclusion rated of their chemicals into our water supply by FIVE TIMES , this apparently was due to Covid and Lockdown. so please everyone be very careful with your water. make sure you have dechlorinator and something like TAP SAFE by Blagdon as a stress coat.
    I have noticed a lot of posts on forums and FaceBook about fish losses in the past few weeks, and most of them seems to be down to this issue from what i can tell. Please be careful everyone.
    This is such a valid warning - thanks for raising it. Water companies often raise the chlorine levels in tap water with no notice for any number of reasons, but always when they are doing pipe repairs or installations.

    I first experienced this in Feb 2010 when I was living in Ashford, Kent which is a very hard water area so pretty much everyone in my street had a Harvey Water Softener. I started noticing that it was taking a really long time to run a bath because the flow of water was so slow. I put up with this for ages, not wanting to open a 'pandora's box' of what I thought would be problems, but it eventually became intolerable. In a passing conversation, I discovered that my neighbors either side had also experienced this drop in water pressure. Knowing that a water softener can have an effect on flow volumes, I decided to isolate it and see if that made any difference and bingo - back to normal pressure. Cut a very long story short, Harvey's came out and looked at all three houses and concluded that the resin in the cylinders had been damaged by high levels of chlorine to the point they had swelled and thus the flow of water was highly restricted. South East Water refused to accept responsibility for this, and it took many months of campaigning, an independent laboratory report and a neighbourhood petition, but I finally got the water company to admit their liability and to reimburse all those folk with damaged water softeners in July 2011 to the tune of £435 each

    For this reason, I never do a water change without testing the level of chlorine in the mains water first to assess if it's higher than the usual trace and may require more ST to neutralise; if I'm doing a really big change over several hours, I even test it during that time just in case something somewhere has been added. Yup - I'm that paranoid! I also don't trust dechlorinator cartridges for the same reason that at any time a huge surge of chlorine could render them ineffective. I had to think really hard about this again recently when I changed from a draco drum that used mains water for its cleaning cycle, to a ProfiClear that uses the pond water so requires frequent top ups to be made. I liked the idea of a trickle in, but in the end decided I would manually top up every day so that I maintained control of the chlorine testing. All I can say is thank heavens for DPD4 tablets
    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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  11. #8
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion freddyboy's Avatar
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    I also think there adding something else as well. Not just high chlorine and chloramine.
    Because of this pandemic.
    Fred

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  12. #9
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Hassai NickK-UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freddyboy View Post
    I also think there adding something else as well. Not just high chlorine and chloramine.
    Because of this pandemic.
    Fred
    Chloramine has a number of related chemicals.. it wouldn't surprise me if there's something else added.

    RO may be your other option..
    1700 litres on 50 watts
    Planned 11,777 litres on 58 watts. 1300l anoxic, 4" airlifts, Solum 16, bio.

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  14. #10
    Here in the States the chemical sodium thiosufhate (ST) is very inexpensive. It the main active ingredient in many dechlor products. Mind you it does not bind ammonia. If there is chloramine the ST will break appart the chloramine molecule and nuke the chlorine and leave the trace of ammonia for the pond bio-converter to handle. ST is a very safe chemical for humans to handle and also for the koi. When I do a ~25000 gallon change in our 10000gallon pond I toss in a handful of ST crystals that immediately start dissolving in the currents caused the BD diffusers. So if you use a carbon block filter on the supply line, and then toss in a "gracious plenty" of ST crystals, not likely that you would have any serious chlorine levels in the pond.

    I used an ORP meter to seem just much ST I needed to offset the rise in ORP from chlorine in the supply line. I only needed something close to a teaspoon of ST crystals to neutralize ~2500 gallons of new water. Folks will ask can you overdose ST. Sure can. But that would take me doing something dumping a 50 pound (5 gallon) bucket of ST crystals into the pond. I have yet to talk to anyone who managed to kill koi with ST. Of course that does not mean someone has managed to do that.

    Wishing all a very safe and fun journey with their koi keeping.

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  16. #11
    Yes, I agree and, to put sodium thiosulphate toxicity into perspective, the amounts I calculated in my table are a little on the high side for the normal chlorine/chloramine level in the average supply because the level is occasionally increased to sterilise pipes etc. However, these increased levels are safe to use because, although there is no research that I can find for the toxicity of sodium thiosulphate on carp, the toxic threshold for other fish species is between 10,000 mg/L - 24,000 mg/L. This is far in excess of the 3 grams per 1,000 litres (3 mg/L) base value I used to calculate my chart so, although my values are a little high, they are 3,000 to 8,000 times less than the toxic level.

    So, people can safely use three or four times the amount in my chart if their water authority should dramatically increase the concentration in the supply to the point that there is a strong smell of chlorine when they run the tap.


  17. #12
    Moderator Rank = Supreme Champion Feline's Avatar
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    People often panic about the potential of ST releasing ammonia as a breakdown product of chloramines, but if your filters are working they should easily deal with the amount ]so of ammonia involved.

    The problem you have if you have no noticed chlorine/chloramines getting into the pond beforehand is the filter bacteria will have just had. A kick in the teeth, as sounds like what happened to bicolourmoth.

    By the way moth, do you mean nitrite in your first post? I’m assuming you do as nitrate would be no drama for the fish if it increased.

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  19. #13
    Member Rank = Nisai AJB's Avatar
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    As a matter of interest is sodium thiosulphate in crystal form added to the fresh pond water, better than running through a dechlorination filter?

    My own regime is to do about a 25% water change every week through spring, summer and autumn. Sometimes a half change. And clean the filter weekly. All new water is added via an EA carbon filter tube, fairly slowly, but I would rather add water faster if sodium thiosulphate works well.

    My experience is significant weekly water changes (waste water being pumped from the filter to aid flushing of the system and used in the garden) is good for fish health. Our water comes from Bewl rfesevor in Kent. They publish online all additives and detailed water composition.

  20. #14
    Had troubles for years with my incoming water
    In the past Iíve used cartridges etc but cannot trust them in the long run
    So I use a large tank and dose it with seachem prime then add it to the pond
    I still have trouble at certain times of the year and get phone calls from friends who live locally complaining that something isnít right
    Tried trickling it in etc but still something isnít right
    Blanketweed treatments for me anyway really knock the fish back
    The only way to control it for me anyway is to add the least amount of fresh water as possible
    Donít know why I bother😂

  21. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bicolormoth View Post
    Palintest DPD4 tablets.
    I haven’t tested for chlorine yet and am just about to buy some of these. Is it just tablets or do I need some kind of equipment to use them in conjunction with? The ad is unclear. Really would be interested to see the level after my issues this year out of nowhere. Thanks.

  22. #16
    Senior Member Rank = Kyusai Koiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laulau View Post
    I havenít tested for chlorine yet and am just about to buy some of these. Is it just tablets or do I need some kind of equipment to use them in conjunction with? The ad is unclear. Really would be interested to see the level after my issues this year out of nowhere. Thanks.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lovibond-...YAAOSwfSJdGz--

    I bought these but in a 250 pack. Can't seem to find that quantity now on Ebay. I just fill one of my JBL params test kit vials with 10ml water, pop a tab in and stand it on white paper and look down. Love the fast dissolve. Colours water slightly white as dissolves but you won't miss any pink if it shows. Chlorine Alert !!

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    11,440L Raised Pond, BD, Oase ProfiClear, Bitron 55W, 2x10k Aquaforte Varios, Skimmer to Waterblade

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  24. #17
    Thanks for the prompt reply. Just ordered some through amazon prime.

    Does everyone just use ST over something like seachem prime if they don’t have an inbuilt dechlorinator?

  25. #18
    Senior Member Rank = Yonsai bicolormoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feline View Post
    By the way moth, do you mean nitrite in your first post? I’m assuming you do as nitrate would be no drama for the fish if it increased.
    no, i did mean NitrAte. it was kind of leading me down the garden path a little bit. I was more focused on that than i should have been, and then BOOM - Chlorine !
    5000g, Drum Filter/Gravity, + MBB, Skimmer-Sieve-Shower.

  26. #19
    Senior Member Rank = Kyusai Koiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laulau View Post
    Thanks for the prompt reply. Just ordered some through amazon prime.

    Does everyone just use ST over something like seachem prime if they donít have an inbuilt dechlorinator?
    Seachem Prime (and the powder version called Safe), not only removes chlorine and chloramine but is also an ammonia binder so often used for cycling and NPS. It's not necessary to use that for just dechlorination. There is also the issue that it may throw off param readings. Personally I've only ever used Safe (much cheaper and goes further than the Prime version) when I was holding my fish in an Intex without a mature filter to get me over ammonia spikes. It's a personal preference really. I often add Aquasource Vitalize too as that also neutralises chlorine, chloramine and metals but is also a great immune booster for the fish. Not cheap though - about £40 for 2.5L but it's now a staple in my kit. Without doubt the cheapest way to make new water safe is straight ST.

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  28. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by laulau View Post
    I havenít tested for chlorine yet and am just about to buy some of these. Is it just tablets or do I need some kind of equipment to use them in conjunction with? The ad is unclear. Really would be interested to see the level after my issues this year out of nowhere. Thanks.
    DPD4 tablets aren't specifically chlorine/chloramine testing tablets for koi ponds. They are standard reagent tablets that look for any oxidising reaction which is why they don't come with any specific instructions on how to use them. They should be used according to the appropriate method for the particular test for which they are being used. I used the four types of DPD tablets for many years in connection with my swimming pool company and, in answer to a request on a forum for a cheap way to test for chlorine in the output of water purifiers, I came up with my DPD4 method to test for very low levels of chlorine. The test can also be used to check that manual dechlorination with sodium thiosulphate or a proprietary dechlorinator has been effective.

    The method is very simple, it only requires a DPD4 tablet, a sample tube and a sheet of white paper, but it must be done exactly the way I describe on my website for the test to give valid results so, if anyone passes on the test, please make sure you recommend that people do it the way I describe here:
    Questions Answered

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