Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

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Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby DeeKidd » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:33 am

It's been a long time since I've been on here and somehow I've acquired more reptiles since I've been on last. My landscapers installed a small beautiful pond in my back yard customized for my redfoot tort and box turtle to swim and wade in. My question is; what can I add to the water to keep it clean and algae free but is safe for them to drink? Will Algaefix work? Everything says its safe for pets and wildlife but people tell me torts/turtles are extra sensitive. I'm having a hard time finding any answers on the web. Can anyone help me? I really want to get this in the pond before it turns green. :cry:

Thanks so much.
Dee

Leo - Redfooted tortoise
Bonnie, Clyde and Charlie - Western Box Turtles
5 black cats :o
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby Tortoise Trust » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:07 am

Do not use additives. They are almost without exception toxic.

Simple solution: In-line UV-C sterilser.

Even a small one (8-11w) will easily keep a small pond crystal clear and safe. To see them in action:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9405
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby DeeKidd » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:56 pm

Thank you for your response. I will try to upload a pic of the pond so you can see how small it is. It may be only 5-10 gallons. Will there be space to install this filter and is there a difference between a UV-C and a UV sterilizer? Seems like my pic is too big to upload and don't have time at the moment to resize.

Thanks.

Dee
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby Bigjoe » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:25 pm

Dee I've had very good results using Vecton 200 steriliser ,let us know your filtration system..link below showing the Vecton unit..
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10516&start=70
Have a read also on this link below
http://www.fishbeginner.info/home/aquar ... lizer-use/
Joe
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby Tortoise Trust » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:40 am

Small ones, some even integrated into pumps, are widely available.

For any turtle, the more water volume the better.
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby DeeKidd » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:41 pm

Wow, Joe, your setup is really beautiful! And your sterilizer unit looks significant! I took your advice and got a 9 W UV Sterilizer unit for my outside pond/drinking hole. I've had this pond for 3 weeks now and I'm about ready to tear it out! I was told by my landscaper who installed it, that it would be easy to maintain and it has been the opposite so far. I have attached a pic of it. This is a 15 gallon pond with the pump circulating the water up through the rock. It's nice when it's clean but after only a few days, the pump starts to clog up and the pressure gets less and less until nothing comes up through the rock. The pond starts to turn greenish color and the pump gets slimy. I thought this UV Sterilizer was supposed to eliminate this? It's been running for two weeks. The 9Watt Sterlizer unit was only $30 on sale but being the size of my pond, I didn't think I needed anything much bigger. This unit says it can handle aquariums or ponds from 50-100 gallons, well above what I have. It is installed correctly as far as I know. (See pic) As you can see I have very limited space. The pump is located under the rock with no room for anything else. Because I was worried about the maintenance of this pond is why I was so reluctant to have it installed, but I spent the $1,000 to have it done, now I've turned it off and refuse to use it if I'm going to be messing with it weekly. Please help!! any advice would be much appreciated. My tortoise and turtle love it but I don't. Is my unit Ok or did I buy junk? I am very discouraged as you can see. :cry: :cry: :cry:
Dee
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby Bigjoe » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:43 pm

Dee is this pond in full sun light,if it is them try adding some floating plants to block the sun light out,water hyacinth,duck weed,anything that is safe but can just take the sun light off...Dee have you just got a pump and the u.v ..no filter set- up ?
I think your problem is direct sun light and filtration .hope this is of help to you.
Joe
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby Tortoise Trust » Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:56 pm

OK... well... to eliminate algae you need to:

a) Reduce the nutrients in the water feeding the algae growth
b) Ensure that the exposure time in the UVC unit is adequate to damage the algae cells

and, as Joe says, if you have high concentrations of nutrients (no biological filtration) PLUS very high light levels that certainly does not help. That said, a 9W tube should do the job.... unless the flow rate is too high and the exposure not sufficient.

Things to check:

1. Is the UV lamp in there working properly? Do not look directly at it, but at night, in the dark, you should see a purple glow inside the housing if you look closely.

2. What pump are you using to circulate the water? How fast is it flowing?

One problem here is that 15 gallons is incredibly small in terms of water volume and is actually harder to biologically filter than a larger pond.

From something I wrote years ago..,. still true:

"Shallow ponds for semi-aquatic species are often far more difficult to design than ponds that are designed for entirely aquatic species. The main problem is that of water depth; these ponds are usually required to provide only a shallow depth, typically 75 to 150 mm. This severely limits the choice of filter system, many of which will not work at all unless there is a greater head of pressure. Efficient filtration is especially important in shallow water pools as there is less water volume than in larger tanks and biotoxin levels rapidly attain high concentrations. Because high light levels are also experienced right down to the substrate proliferation of algae and overgrowth of blanketweed is also a frequent problem"


Also:

Algae and ultra-violet sterilisation

Excess growths of algae are rarely a serious problem in indoor tanks as they require high levels of illumination in order to flourish. In outdoor ponds, however, it can prove a persistent enemy. In a well-balanced pond, algae should not in theory present a problem. However, it is very difficult to balance a pond which houses turtles and, in practice, most keepers do experience algae problems from time to time. Excess algae can also indicate high nitrate levels and suggests more frequent water changes are required. Algae levels can sometimes be reduced by introducing other aquatic plants which will compete with the algae for available nitrates (especially Elodea and Ceratophyllum species). This will also improve the aesthetic qualities of the environment and greatly enhance oxygenation. Chemical treatments which function by using an additive that causes the algae to clump together and fall to the bottom of the pond before being siphoned off produce a short-term solution and are useful in emergencies, but in the long-run are both expensive and tedious. Other chemical algaecides may be harmful to either turtles or plants. Algae can also be removed by filtration through a fine foam filter, but, as each millilitre of water can contain over 10,000 algae particles, clogging is a continual problem. It is worth noting, however, that algae is usually less of a problem in tanks and ponds which have an undergravel filter as floating plant cells are drawn into the substrate where they die and are eventually digested. The most effective all-round solution is to use an ultra-violet steriliser; these work extremely well and have the important added benefit of destroying bacteria and viruses at the same time.

In order to destroy most protozoa and fungi, a dose of 1 watt/second is required of UV-C radiation. Viruses and bacteria can be destroyed with lower exposures. The larger the particle, the higher the necessary dose. Algae often requires very high doses, but commercial pond sterilisers take this factor into account. Most manufacturers recommend that the contents of the tank or pond be circulated through the steriliser every 90 to 120 minutes"
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby DeeKidd » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:31 pm

Guys, thank you so much for the very valuable information. Here are answers to both of your questions.

1. Yes, the pond is in full sunlight (Arizona) from morning until 2pm (approx 7 hrs)
2. I have no filter on the pump, what would you suggest given my space limitations?
3. The UV lamp appears to be working correctly. yes, the blue light is on at night.
4. I don't know what kind of pump it is but I was assured by my landscaper that he uses it for much larger waterfalls/ponds. As I said, the pump also pumps water up through the rock (as per my pic) so I normally have the flow somewhat high to achieve the height I want over the rock. Could it be I should set the pump slower? Given the small size of the pond, I'm betting my UV unit is fine.

I totally understand now what is going on after reading your valuable info. Here is what I propose and please let me know if you think this will help me:
1. Slow down the pump to a trickle over the rock.
2. Add a few water plants (water hyacinth,duck weed) as Joe suggests? I am dealing with a shallow pond (9" deep at its deepest) and still want the tort to be able to wade in it. Also, can these plants survive in our heat? other plants?
3. Add substrate such as pea gravel or ? so that debris can be caught and digested? instead of the pump clogging up?
4. Have you heard of japanese trapdoor snails? They eat algae. Don't know if they would work in my environment.

Any input is appreciated. I know my box turtle is not happy with me right now as he loved to walk through and drink from it but I refuse to run it if I can't keep it clean. I live on a golf course and the pond is very visible to the public so it's important to have it looking nice.

Thanks Again!! I'm feeling better about this.
Dee
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Re: Safe pond additive to control algae but torts can drink

Postby Bigjoe » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:06 pm

Dee I'm going to pop into my local water garden store tomorrow and look at combined pump/ filter systems,that you can use,give me an idea or picture of the pump you are using plus size of the unit....without filtration you will always have trouble with water quality .
1 yes try slowing the pump down for the time been,if the water flow is to fast the U.V won't be able to work correctly
2 floating plants will help as they give cover from sun light and compleat with algae for nutrients
3 not sure on this Dee ..can act as a dirt trap pea gravel ect ect ..should be fine once a filter system is installed
4 snails ..I'd edge on caution with snails Dee..you don't know what they may be carrying ..parasite risk,I had rams horn snails in the Chevy tub set-up..the waste from them eating the bog wood was something to see..out they went
I had a too much light not enough shade problem in the Turtle room so I went out a purchased a 9 odd foot bamboo plant to give shade over one of my set- ups..it worked,maybe add some plant cover around your water feature..

Now water quality is somthing you still have to do a little maintance with,regular top ups thru evaporation and 40-50% water change is somthing I have to still do plus filter cleaning and I'm running a Fluval fx6 canister filter and U.V steriliser..with lots of duck weed,hyacinth,pond weed..and this is just for one Mush Turtle...all worth it and good fun..
I'll get back to you tomorrow with some pump/ filter suggestions
Joe
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