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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Heavy Metals and Copper Toxicity

    i've had some unusual health issues with one or two of my koi recently,
    a few weeks after finally beating the flukes.

    the kujaku got finrot (something i was very shocked about, and never had in 30 odd years of fish keeping)
    i finally managed to pull him round and get him healing well. changing 50% of my water through my 3 big blue dechlorinators over a week.
    as nitrates had gone well over 100ppm having trickle in turned off during fluke treatments.

    things then seemed to settling down but after a couple of weeks the shiro went pink and started swimming up with her head out of the water,
    and blowing air through her gills. and sitting on the pond bottom in the corner occasionally.
    some of the other fish were flashing against the sides of the pond very occasionally... but also very very slowly which was strange
    all parameters were good...
    temperatrure 22C,
    ph 7.3,
    ammonia 0.00ppm,
    nitrite 0ppm ,
    nitrate 25ppm,
    kh 3,
    gh 6,
    chlorine 0.00ppm,

    i did scrapes every day for over a week, trying to find parasites but all was completely clear.
    i even anethetised several koi and did lots of gill scrapes, convinced it must be a parasite issue.
    but they were all clear as well.
    things were not improving and the shiro was getting more pink/red by the day...

    i was baffled as to what it could be?
    with all the talk about heavy metals copper in particular in tap water, spurred by Ricky from koi warehouse,
    i decided to look into it a bit more.
    after reading through duncans book he states safe copper levels of 6 parts per billion in soft water and 15 parts per billion in hard water.

    so i checked serven trents water quality reports going back over a year,
    and found that maximum levels were at 12 ppb over a year ago, but in the last year had hit 59 parts per billion!

    as my pond was at a ph of just 7.3 it was more at risk from copper toxicity,
    but checking copper levels in the pond and post dechlorinator is not so easy,
    needing something that could test down to zero parts per billion...

    so for now i set about raising KH and pH up over several days with sodium bicarbonate to the current level of KH 7 and pH 8.0,
    and i added a dose of colombo fish protect dechlorinator and metal detoxfier.

    over the next few days things have settled down a lot, no slow flashing at all, the shiro is much less pink,
    and though she still sticks her head out of water, and blows air through the gills it's no where near as much as a week ago.
    and is not sitting on the bottom during the day, but was still on some mornings.

    i also bought a 25kg bag of bone char, and swapped the 3rd vessle of my 3 x 25ltr dechlorinator set up to 12.5kgs of bone char today.
    and i've ordered a hanna low range copper checker which tests down to 1ppb,
    to keep an eye on my tapwater levels, and also see when the bone char would need replacing...




    It will be interesting to see the actual results from the tests once it get here,
    but the improvement in most of the fish, and STW's massive increase in copper levels.
    leads me to belive strongly that this is the culprit.


    https://www.hannainstruments.co.uk/h...r-0-to-999-ppb



    Last edited by davethefish1; 25-06-2022 at 05:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    The JBL test kit has a colour chart down to 0.05ppm.

    What's that work out at as ppb?

    Similar symptoms to what mine went through. After using that test I assumed no copper as the sample stayed totally clear.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS2OOO View Post
    The JBL test kit has a colour chart down to 0.05ppm.

    What's that work out at as ppb?

    Similar symptoms to what mine went through. After using that test I assumed no copper as the sample stayed totally clear.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
    0.05ppm is 50 ppb
    nearly 10 times the safe level in soft water.
    over 3 times the safe level in hard water.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    The thing that confuses me with copper is that in the old days treatments used to contain it as an active ingredient against parasites. The only advice was to remove plants!

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk

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  8. #5
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS2OOO View Post
    The thing that confuses me with copper is that in the old days treatments used to contain it as an active ingredient against parasites. The only advice was to remove plants!

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
    there are different forms of copper...
    that will probably be chleated copper, a safer version, and short term exposure.
    copper can build up in the koi's tissues over time especially the gills and kidneys.

    Syd has a good bit on copper to read
    Copper in algeacides

    also this by the british veterinary association
    https://bvajournals.onlinelibrary.wi...co-2020-000396
    Last edited by davethefish1; 25-06-2022 at 05:35 PM.

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  10. #6
    Senior Member Rank = Kyusai hippo's Avatar
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    Sounds promising, Dave . Hopefully you're on to something .
    I ordered an API copper test kit , which came today . Total waste of money , for the levels we're looking for , though . Lowest reading is 0.25 ppm . Doesn't show anything on the tap water , which NWW states as 0.028 .
    Mankys article states 5 ppb , or 0.005 ppm as a safe level , so the API kit isn't on the same planet.
    Good call on the Hanna Checker, Dave .

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  12. #7
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippo View Post
    Sounds promising, Dave . Hopefully you're on to something .
    I ordered an API copper test kit , which came today . Total waste of money , for the levels we're looking for , though . Lowest reading is 0.25 ppm . Doesn't show anything on the tap water , which NWW states as 0.028 .
    Mankys article states 5 ppb , or 0.005 ppm as a safe level , so the API kit isn't on the same planet.
    Good call on the Hanna Checker, Dave .
    Things have improved a bit,
    but i think it may take some time for a full recovery if i am correct...
    as i think copper would take some time to work out of thier systems...?

    It would be helpful if dealers offered a full range of hanna photometer tests... at a price of course...

    As these hanna checkers start to run expensive.
    Especially as the kit only comes with 6 tests so bought another pack of spares... £90 all in.

    But i would think nww has cleaner water than the midlands.
    All that lake district water lol
    Last edited by davethefish1; 25-06-2022 at 08:28 PM.

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  14. #8
    If you use bone char in the last stage will it have a longer life filtering heavy metals than if it was filtering the chlorine and everything else? Or does coconut carbon and carbon blocks also filter heavy metals?

    Been googling to try and find some info today but all I can really find is info on fluoride removal.

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  16. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by davethefish1 View Post
    Things have improved a bit,
    but i think it may take some time for a full recovery if i am correct...
    as i think copper would take some time to work out of thier systems...?

    It would be helpful if dealers offered a full range of hanna photometer tests... at a price of course...

    As these hanna checkers start to run expensive.
    Especially as the kit only comes with 6 tests so bought another pack of spares... £90 all in.

    But i would think nww has cleaner water than the midlands.
    All that lake district water lol


    They have just recently started rolling out a new supply in parts of cumbria which has taken years to complete, the amount of new pipeline is insane. Our water used to come from Crummock, it now comes from Thirlmere.

    A lot of people have been complaining about a lack of pressure and a funny taste, I only have the drop type tests so limited really apart from checking chlorine and hardness. But from checking every few days for few weeks it appears to be consistent rather than changing when mixed with bore hole supply.

    I may see about getting a professional test to see what is actually coming out of the tap, no idea who does them or what the cost is though.

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  18. #10
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kikokuryu John View Post
    If you use bone char in the last stage will it have a longer life filtering heavy metals than if it was filtering the chlorine and everything else? Or does coconut carbon and carbon blocks also filter heavy metals?

    Been googling to try and find some info today but all I can really find is info on fluoride removal.

    yes it should ideally be used as a last stage, as though it does adsorb chlorine,
    activated charcoal has up to 7 times the surface area of bone char so can adsorb far more chlorine.
    and is cheaper too...

    carbon can adsorb some heavy metals but the contact times i saw quoted in various scholarly articles i read, was about 1 hour with not a very high capacity.
    bone char removes metals, by the calcium in the bone char (which makes up about 90% with about 10% carbon) via cation exchange of metal ions onto the hydroxyapatite.
    and though it has a relitively low surface area compared to activated carbon, it has a much higher capacity for metals.
    Last edited by davethefish1; 26-06-2022 at 08:35 PM.

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  20. #11
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kikokuryu John View Post
    They have just recently started rolling out a new supply in parts of cumbria which has taken years to complete, the amount of new pipeline is insane. Our water used to come from Crummock, it now comes from Thirlmere.

    A lot of people have been complaining about a lack of pressure and a funny taste, I only have the drop type tests so limited really apart from checking chlorine and hardness. But from checking every few days for few weeks it appears to be consistent rather than changing when mixed with bore hole supply.

    I may see about getting a professional test to see what is actually coming out of the tap, no idea who does them or what the cost is though.
    i've seen quite a few mention this on youtube,
    you could send ricky a message at koi warehouse and inquire about having it done...
    he did say it's not cheap and had to send samples to germany..i think?
    though that could be something to do with jos derks handling his veterinary needs...?

  21. #12
    Replaced the carbon in my 36" bb today, then installed another 36" BB with bone char. Will be interesting to see the outcome(if there is a change at all), not heated and I didn't add any of the fish protect/detaxifier.

    What did stand out from one of the koi talk videos was when he mentioned about a fish that kept getting ulcers, healing, then getting an ulcer again. I actually have a fish that's got a similar issue to that. I also have a shiro that's been slightly pink most of its life. Apart from that the fish all seem fine and feed well.

    I'm not sure I can justify the cost of 3 water tests at £150 each, but if things change for the better then perhaps heavy metals are an issue in my area.

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  23. #13
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    right...
    whatever crap i've got going into my pond it isn't copper...
    0 ppb in the pond
    0 ppb in the water directly from the tap.
    and yes the test has been done correctly, and is not a million miles different than other hanna tests...

    there has definately been some improvement, since adding the bone char vessle,
    but i guess the only way to see what metal or other contaminant that could be, is to have a full lab test done.
    surely they is a lab that does it in the UK?

    anyway,
    without a definitive way of regularly testing for whats in the water. other than total chlorine
    there's no way to know other than observation of fish or regular changes of bone char to know what or if it's being removed...

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  25. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by davethefish1 View Post
    right...
    whatever crap i've got going into my pond it isn't copper...
    0 ppb in the pond
    0 ppb in the water directly from the tap.
    and yes the test has been done correctly, and is not a million miles different than other hanna tests...

    there has definately been some improvement, since adding the bone char vessle,
    but i guess the only way to see what metal or other contaminant that could be, is to have a full lab test done.
    surely they is a lab that does it in the UK?

    anyway,
    without a definitive way of regularly testing for whats in the water. other than total chlorine
    there's no way to know other than observation of fish or regular changes of bone char to know what or if it's being removed...


    I've not looked into testing in the UK yet, but surely someone must do it. I would have thought that someone must be checking the tests that the water companies are doing to make sure they are safe or legit...

    Without rewatching those videos I can't say for sure, but wasn't it a really high zink content that was causing the issues he was talking about on a pond he investigated.


    What does the Columbo fish protect do? Does it do anything for removing heavy metals from the water or is it just to help the fish?

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  27. #15
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kikokuryu John View Post
    I've not looked into testing in the UK yet, but surely someone must do it. I would have thought that someone must be checking the tests that the water companies are doing to make sure they are safe or legit...

    Without rewatching those videos I can't say for sure, but wasn't it a really high zink content that was causing the issues he was talking about on a pond he investigated.


    What does the Columbo fish protect do? Does it do anything for removing heavy metals from the water or is it just to help the fish?
    Yeah he did, Anne Telford is who he was talking about i think,
    To be fair anyone getting involved in tap water testing is opening a can of worms if they question the results they get.

    the fish protect is a dechlorinator/ detoxifier / with colloids to help slime coat regeneration.

    if you want a specific detoxifier lincolnshire fish healths 'pond detox formula' is reccomended by a few including my local dealer...

    Products

    but these things are near impossible to quantify exept by observation,
    worse case scenario is it can't hurt....but is not cheap @ £35/kg.

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  29. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by davethefish1 View Post
    Yeah he did, Anne Telford is who he was talking about i think,
    To be fair anyone getting involved in tap water testing is opening a can of worms if they question the results they get.

    the fish protect is a dechlorinator/ detoxifier / with colloids to help slime coat regeneration.

    if you want a specific detoxifier lincolnshire fish healths 'pond detox formula' is reccomended by a few including my local dealer...

    Products

    but these things are near impossible to quantify exept by observation,
    worse case scenario is it can't hurt....but is not cheap @ £35/kg.


    I'm going to try and stay clear of adding anything uless it's absolutely needed, I want to get a better idea if the "alledged" better water quality is beneficial. Adding another treatment might just mask a potential problem.

    Hopefully in a few weeks i will have a white shiro instead of pink.

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  31. #17
    Copper also discussed in this old thread:

    https://www.koiforum.uk/koi-garden-l...tain-tree.html


    Best of luck with resolving your current fish issues, Dave. I hope it resolves itself satisfactorily with the measures you've taken.
    Last edited by MustBeSomethingInTheWater; 06-07-2022 at 12:53 PM.

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  33. #18
    Member Rank = Nisai Mannh85's Avatar
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    Interesting thread especially with all the talk at the moment about potential heavy metals in our ponds. Is there a solution to the problem though? For example if we were to find high amounts of copper or zinc in our ponds, is there something we can actually add to remove it or would we need to invest in big more expensive filtering to filter it out when topping up? Ricky mentions the negative impact a lot but I've never heard what the solution is unless I've missed it.

  34. #19
    Senior Member Rank = Grand Champion davethefish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mannh85 View Post
    Interesting thread especially with all the talk at the moment about potential heavy metals in our ponds. Is there a solution to the problem though? For example if we were to find high amounts of copper or zinc in our ponds, is there something we can actually add to remove it or would we need to invest in big more expensive filtering to filter it out when topping up? Ricky mentions the negative impact a lot but I've never heard what the solution is unless I've missed it.
    back in the days of purity on tap and others being the big name in tap water filtration.
    the koi pond tap water filters were called 'koi boy' 'metal away' and things like that..
    and were BB 10" or 20" cartridge filters and had carbon blocks plus metal removing resins.
    but the resins were not cheap, and lack a significant test to see when they are exhausted...?
    plus they swapped chlorides for metal ions after soaking up a lot of calcium ions so not ideal either...

    bone char also removes heavy metals, without the drawbacks of chloride ion swapping,
    so you can use that but would have to guess when to replace it, as what would you test for?

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  36. #20
    Member Rank = Nisai Mannh85's Avatar
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    Thanks Dave, I use bone char but god knows if it's actually doing anything and like you say how to know when it's exhausted

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