Saturday, June 20, 2015

If You Find Yourself in a Hole


Stop Digging That Hole - Marshall Atkinson

I do my share of internet surfing and ran across this blog post. Even tho it caters to more the decorated apparel industry I rather enjoyed reading this post. It was thought provoking and I realized I could too also improve in some area's before that hole was dug!

You know what your issues are, right?  Do something about that challenge today.  Right now.  Go!

atkinsontshirt

unofficial ramblings of Marshall Atkinson

There’s a famous old farmer saying, “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”.  When confronted with the truth, I wonder how many people would take that advice?  For that matter, how many people even know that they are in a hole?  If you take a look at companies in the decorated apparel industry, I see a lot of shovels churning and dirt flying.  Sometimes we work really hard at doing things the same way we’ve always done them.  Even if it means we’re tunneling down like a mole rat.
The trouble is, sometimes it’s easier to keep digging that hole.  It’s all we know.  If you’ve been pulling a squeegee for twenty years, trying to understand digital printing can be tough.  Maybe you are used to having customers walk into your shop, and casually chit-chat with you while they place their order.  It’s hard to understand now why someone would want to place that same order alone at midnight, in their underwear, while snuggled up on the couch using an app for an iPad.  It’s easier to bitch about how we can’t find good printers or embroiderers any more, but we don’t do much to support apprenticeships or local schools to help build skills.  Do you even have a mentoring program in your shop to move up your existing talent to learn these jobs?  It’s easy to always blame the ink for our printing problems, or the thread when it breaks, when it could be an entire list of other things that are causing a production problem.  Sometimes it’s not the obvious answer that will resolve a challenge.  Sometimes you need to ask the right questions.
How tight of a grip do you have on your shovel?  Are you willing to change?  Can you stop plowing through orders for one second to realize that they way you go about your business could be flawed?  When was the last time you did an analysis to see what it really costs you to process an order?  How do you know you are even making any money?  I did an analysis for a printer a few years ago, and showed the owners that they lost money on over half of the jobs on their schedule.  The biggest losers were for their “key” clients.  It all came down to pricing.  Unless they gave it away, they couldn’t get those jobs.  Competing in a price war is a losing battle.  That’s gripping the shovel so tight, you can hear the handle wood squeak.  Dig that hole.
So how do you get out of the hole?  It probably depends on what it looks like.  Is it just a tiny dent in the earth, or can you drop a house in it?  Regardless of how big the challenge may be, you can reverse your problem.  It might involve some work on your end, and be a little frustrating at times, but you have to solve the challenge.   Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Define the Problem.  Write it down.  This is going to describe the hole your company has dug.  Is it cavernously deep?  Be realistic, and don’t blame anyone.  Use facts.  If you are going the Five Why route, use this as your Problem Statement.  
Be Truthful with Your Staff.  Talk to them about the situation.  There is a great saying I’ve always used, “Man supports what he helps create.”  Get your employees involved in the solution so you can pull together as a team and stomp that sucker flat.  Sometimes the people doing the work will have the best ideas on how to solve a challenge.  Just because you are the owner of the business or the manager of the department doesn’t mean that you are omnipotent and know everything.  Trust your people.  It’s why you hired them, right?  They may have a solution you haven’t thought about.
Use the Product Correctly.  Maybe the challenge is technical, and you need to learn a new skill or expand your knowledge on a technique.  It’s ok to admit you don’t know something…ask questions.  Your vendors should have people on staff that can assist you, and could present you with an option or two that will make a difference.  Also, make sure you are using the product correctly if something isn’t turning out the way it should.  There usually is a recipe for success, and more isn’t always better.  I’ve found that asking people to “show me” how the problem occurs usually uncovers the truth in the matter.
Measure.  Just how deep is that hole?  Find a way to measure it.  Examples could be determining your direct and indirect labor costs, or pulling financial data, or running a quarterly inventory exercise, or a monthly safety audit, or starting a time/motion study on a process, or using a Newton meter to measure screen tension, or comparing printed ink to a Pantone book…the list could be endless.  Measuring something provides you with the information you need to make a good decision.  What does the data tell you?  It tells you the size of the ladder you’ll need to climb out.  You’ve heard this before: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”.  That’s usually an accurate statement.  Are you getting the information to make good decisions?
Own the Problem.  Don’t sweep it under the rug.  Bury your head in the sand.  Whatever metaphor you choose, it’s important that you keep chipping away at the issue.  At the very least, stop whatever you are doing that is causing you to dig that hole.  If you can’t solve the problem today, at least work around it until you do.  Push the problem to the front, and keep working it like a dog with a bone until you are finished.
Can’t we just ignore the hole?  When holes start to get really big, they start to look like graves.  Not paying attention or ignoring the problem could be the death blow to your company.  You read about this all the time.  A major player shuts down a facility due to safety concerns.  An accountant embezzles money for years from the company they work for by setting up phony vendors and paying herself.  A decorator goes out of business when their largest customer decides to move production somewhere else.  A private equity firm buys a business they don’t understand and can’t manage the intricate details of production because it doesn’t run like a typical company.  Safeguards aren’t built into a website and all the credit card information is hacked and stolen.  All of these challenges are preventable.  They started out as small issues, and when nobody did anything they just kept getting bigger and bigger.  Eventually they are Grand Canyon sized and too immense to fix.  Pink slips for everyone!
Stop and think about your company for a minute.  What minor irritation are you putting up with today?  Orders have to ship, so we ignore a problem and put off doing anything about it.  “I’ll do that next week after that big job is out the door.”  That shovel is crunching into the soil.  Sooner or later that squeak you hear in the equipment, the half-assed way your sales guy puts in orders, the fact that you customer service staff doesn’t regularly follow up on their orders to see if everything is on track, the customer you allow to just drop stuff off without checking-in the goods, the outdated way your website is set up, or even the customers or markets you serve…it could all implode right before your eyes.  I’ll bet you’ve been thinking about something for a few weeks now.  Stop digging.  You know what your issues are, right?  Do something about that challenge today.  Right now.  Go!


Monday, June 15, 2015

WHEN TO USE HOT WEATHER CONCRETING METHODS

Most everyone at one time or another have used concrete for pond constructions. I have done concrete in CA,NV,AZ and in some of hottest weather for these area's. I would like to share an article that is from the "Concrete Network" talking about tips when working with "Mud"  on a hot day.

The obvious first step is to use a knowledgeable ready mix producer with whom you have developed a good relationship. The objective is to get concrete that is as cool as possible. Most references don't give a maximum allowable temperature, but any concrete warmer than about 80° could be a problem.


Your ready mix producer can do several things to keep the concrete cool, starting with the mix ingredients. Since there's more aggregate than anything else in concrete, aggregate temperature has the greatest effect on concrete temperature. Shading of aggregate piles is ideal, although not always possible. Using cool water is another way to get cool concrete. Ready mix producers in hot climates use chilled water or ice to lower the concrete temperature. "We have an evaporative cooler that turns on at 2:00 a.m.," says Frank Kozeliski, president of Gallup Sand & Gravel, a ready-mixed concrete producer in Gallup, N.M. "We can get our water temp down to 40° without turning the chiller on. Very seldom in the summer do we have concrete over 80°. We can't really keep our aggregate out of the sun, but a lot of people keep their coarse aggregate wet and if you can get the wind to blow through it the evaporation will lower the concrete temperature 10° with no problem."

Retarding admixtures are another tool to control concrete in warm weather. Retarder can be added at the plant or on the job site to delay concrete setting time, which can be very quick when the concrete is hot. Retarders give you extra time but they also give the concrete more time to dry out, so curing is critical. Retarders come as straight retarders or as water-reducing and retarding admixtures. Mid-range water reducers often also retard the set and both retarders and water reducers can increase the air content of the concrete. Also, if too much retarder is added to concrete used for a slab it can lead to crusting, where the surface sets but the concrete below is still soft. This can really reduce your flatness and even lead to delamination of the surface. To learn more, check out ACI 212.3, Chemical Admixtures for Concrete, and talk with your admixture manufacturer.

In extreme situations, or when concrete has a long trip to the job site, hydration controlling admixtures are available-find Concrete Admixture Suppliers. Ready mix producers can add this material to delay set by up to 5 hours. Kozeliski routinely uses this to ship concrete as far as 200 miles. "On long haul concrete, we limit mixing to 1 revolution per mile, and we leave the plant at about a 5 or 5½ inch slump so we've reduced the friction between the particles and then it doesn't generate heat in transit."

Another way to slow set times is by using fly ash for part of the cementitious material, although this will change the color, so test it in advance and don't alter the percentage between batches. However, with hot concrete, substituting fly ash may not be very effective. "I don't see that fly ash or slag affects the set time if the concrete temperature is above 75 degrees," says Bob Harris from the Decorative Concrete Institute. "At lower temperatures, it does have a dramatic effect but over about 75° or 80° I don't see it."


Monday, January 26, 2015

Beware the Stagnation Zone in Your Pond

Over time, gravel at the bottom of the pond will clog with leaves and other debris that is blown into the pond, as well as 100% of the fish waste. Clogged filters force water to "channel" around the media instead of through it. Channeling water is then not filtered. Bacteria need food and oxygen to survive - with water channeling around the media - the bacteria die off. Dead bacteria and decaying organics in the biological filter become a haven for parasites and other diseases that can kill your fish!

There were many designs that everyone thought was the mouse trap to beat all other mouse traps.......Up flow grids, down flow grids were one most common way it was done. Either way they were traps for all kinds of detritus, down flow over time kept stacking debris on to debris layer after layer. The break down is slower then what was collecting. 

We found 3x3 foot square pits with a pump under (down flow)the grid supporting lava rock to pea gravel even up to 1/2 to 1" size rock pulling water down through media and then returning to waterfall outlet. They were even setup with external pumps as well. Now this works for a while with a VERY light bio load, but when you get leaves,air borne debris,fish poop uneaten food settling down loading up the whole concept changes and rather quickly. The first thing is channeling of media which now starts to go anaerobic(Lack of oxygen) after a few months you can see the water changing. You can see the Koi acting different as well,flashing,sitting on bottom,even red spots appearing on skin. 

The other popular design was the up flow bio pits, this was designed to have a submersible or external pump pull from the bottom of pond. Then in turn return it into lower chamber under a grid supporting lava rock to pea gravel even up to 1/2 to 1" size rock (up flow) then flow over divider wall.Even for the filter pit to be under water flowing up back into main water column. The biggest problem with any of these designs was "How do you clean them"? Backwash? Flush media? And ones with pump(s)under media and grid how to replace or repair pump? with out having to drain entire pond to do so. Remember this was back in the mid to late 80's that this was the common filter. I have seen only a few that have the up flow filters pits that are working today. They have been upgraded with pre-filters,cartridges, which helps cut down on debris from collecting and also have back-washing ability's.

It is now the early part 2000's (2015) and we are seeing the come back of the UFG........Is this Good? or Bad? We won't be attempting any time soon the "New School" approach to UGF's as we had are fair share of them back in the late 80's to early 90's......they were also considered the "New School" approach back then as well. We will give a fair time frame to see where and how they do....... Its still early on in the game.

A few reference pictures:


No way to back wash system.




This concept back in 1995 was a vast improvement from the prior design.





This was another design, stilled needed high maintenance.





This was one common way we would see it done. 




I want to re post an article from a gentleman I was able to spend sometime with and learn from one of the old school teachers.

Beware the Stagnation Zone in Your Pond
Gravel and Rock Form Dead Zone


by Joseph F. Cuny

It has been brought to my attention that some pond builders (both Koi and water garden) apparently are not familiar with basic pond design. In particular, I am referring to the use of gravel and rock inside the pond. As anyone who has been a pond keeper for a few years knows, that is a real no no. Possibly this practice is a direct carryover from the aquarium 'under gravel' filters, but it is a wrong application of the concept.

The problem is that the gravel and rock form a dead zone, more appropriately called a stagnation zone. Whether the pond has fish in it or only plants, there are all kinds of organic material produced in the pond. This organic material gets trapped in the stagnation zone and guess what happens? It stagnates! Since the water does not circulate very well in this zone, the water is deficient in dissolved oxygen, and the organics are processed anaerobically. In other words, the organic material rots or putrefies.

The end result of such putrefaction is the production of noxious gases and disease organisms. I do not know what effect these would have on plants but they are deadly on fish and are very unaesthetic. In time such a pond would smell like a cesspool! This is exactly what happens in an aquarium if the under gravel filter is not cleaned regularly. Even with oxygenated water flowing through such a filter, there are dead spots where the water does not flow and these have to be cleaned, usually with some type of vacuum or siphon system.

If it is necessary to put rocks on the bottom of a pond, possibly to simulate a natural stream, they should be well separated and bedded in mortar to allow flow around them and to eliminate pockets where debris could accumulate. The amount of work necessary to properly imbed gravel probably eliminates the use of gravel. If it is thought that the gravel will function as a filter, it should be placed such that it can be fairly easily cleaned. Despite claims made by various people, all filters must be cleaned. The only possible exception is the trickling filter type that is self cleaning, but in the process dumps the waste into the following stage where it must be captured and disposed of.

I have seen gravel filters built into a sump in the bottom of a pond. Such a filter is almost impossible to clean, and the resulting pond does not provide a healthy environment for the fish. With such a filter in a water garden, I would expect the same type of problems. I realize that many people believe that the root system of the plants provides space for the organisms that degrade the organic material, but this is not a suitable filter except for those organics that are soluble. Even these, when aerobically digested, result in material that falls to the bottom where it joins the leaves, stems, decaying roots, and so forth and then putrefies.

Joe Cuny is a founding editor and contributes to KOI USA since its beginning, over 20 years ago.
This article first appeared in the March/April 1999 KOI USA. It is reprinted here with permission.





Read more: http://koidepotsandiego.boards.net/thread/37/undergravel-filtration-systems-gravel-beds#ixzz3Pzcw3wOs

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The wrong side of politically correct


I would like to share this article as it about sums up my thoughts on “politically Correct” 


It’s tragic when otherwise-smart leaders make poor choices in the name of being politically correct.
“We all know why this project went south, but it wouldn't be politically correct to bring it up. We can’t remind him of that decision. Let’s just blame it on poor execution.”  “If this were my business, I would make a different choice. And I know you would do the same, but the optics on this are just too intense, I think we need to go in the other direction.”
“I know John’s the most qualified for the job, by Kelly’s really the executive favorite. We’d be doing John a disservice if we promoted him over Kelly. He just would not have the support he needs.”

When fear of ticking off the wrong person trumps “right,” the business suffers on many levels:
  • wasted time
  • poor decisions
  • inferior talent 

You’ll never find “politically correct” on a short list of company values, and yet, political correctness is an unspoken part of the decision-making process in many companies. When leaders groom their protégés to follow a similar pattern, the destructive cycle continues.

Mike Myatt shares in his book “Hacking Leadership”:

“In the face of perceived conflict, dissension, threats or controversy, people tend to default to denial, justification and rationalization. In today’s politically correct world, it is just easier for most people to hide in the safety of the majority than it is to take on the risk of being outspoken, innovative, disruptive, challenging, convicted, bold, controversial, or truthful.”

Dangerous side effects of politically correct.

The dangers of making wrong choices outweigh the short-term comforts. Strong leaders take the long view and say what they mean.

Poor decisions.

When the desire for political correctness trumps truth-telling, important insights are lost in translation. As an executive, I’m always amazed when I hear through the grapevine what folks think I will or won’t “like.” Even when leaders want to know the truth, it’s easy for others to second guess what they’re looking for. What “Karin wants,” is the good, bad and the ugly, and your true thoughts on what we should do.  Anything less will weaken our mission.

Blocked learning.

When leaders reinvent history to “protect” those who made the decision or to justify poor outcomes, they sacrifice the important learning that comes from making mistakes. Much better for the “protected” to admit they have screwed up before anyone is trying to save them the embarrassment. Leaders can help others save face by creating a culture where mistakes are accepted as part of the learning process.

Inferior talent.

Many organizations have a long list of unspoken criteria they use to select candidates before they get to the truly most qualified. The best candidate is the one with a unique set of talents and skills to create breakthrough results, not the one who’s built a career working to offend no one, or who fits some gap in the diversity profile.

Wasted time.

Much time is wasted when people tell others what they think they want to hear or spin their words into politically correct code. Be polite, be sensitive and kind, but save us all some time and tell the truth.

Employee engagement.

Nothing’s more frustrating to employees at the front line than to see their bosses making poor choices for political reasons. Strong leaders create a culture where “politically correct” and correct are as closely aligned as possible.

By Karin Hurt on February 19th, 2014


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Koi Parasites In Your Pond



Parasites in Koi ponds can often cause serious problems for the Koi, and hobbyist alike. By this I mean, that the Koi have the parasite problem, and the hobbyist has the problem of curing it! Knowing which parasite or parasites are present is essential for the correct remedy.

In order to be able to control levels of Koi parasites in ponds, it is necessary to understand something of their life cycles. Understanding how they reproduce, various life stages are, can allow us an opportunity to seriously reduce their numbers.

Let's look at a few things:
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Signs of Disease
  • Life Cycle
  • Treatments
Problems with parasites are usually associated with either new introductions to the pond or some environmental problem such as low oxygen levels, nitrite or high nitrate levels. Low oxygen levels can severely stress fish and can be caused in several ways.

Low oxygen levels are more likely to prevail in summertime, when temperatures are higher, although some treatments for parasites can target algae and pond debris as part of the chemical reaction aimed at the parasites, and in so doing, create oxygen shortages.

It is wise to increase aeration in the pond before, during and after any medications are used. As fish consume approximately four times more oxygen after feeding, it is best that food is withheld for the duration of any treatment.

Simply overfeeding the fish can cause nitrite levels to rise above normal levels, or it can happen when the stocking level is in excess of that which the biological filter can cope with. Low oxygen levels and low KH frequently lead to nitrite levels rising. The whole pond system relies upon oxygen to function and adequate resources of calcium carbonate are essential to the bacterial activity of the filter.

Nitrate is the end product of the biological filter function and can be controlled by regular water changes. Test kits are available for measuring all the water parameters mentioned.

Frequent parasite problems would tend to suggest that the environmental factors within the pond are less than ideal. Fish living in a pond with good water parameters are able to cope with the small levels of parasites, which are often present in small numbers in perfectly healthy ponds.

At low temperatures very little activity occurs in a pond, bacteria, parasites and fish are all relatively inactive. However once temperatures begin to rise all activity increases. This can cause problems for a Koi because the increased bacteria and parasite activity are occurring before the Koi immune system is able to react to this threat. Bearing this in mind all Koi hobbyists should be particularly vigilant in the springtime.

Some keepers take the prophylactic approach: they rid the pond of any undue organic waste, and rid the Koi of as many parasites as possible in the late autumn when temperatures are still above 59*.

Signs of Disease or Parasites

Most parasites will cause fish to react in a similar fashion. Points to watch for would include the following:
  • Fish remains alone and ceases to be a sociable shoal fish.
  • Fish jumping or scraping against pond side and floor.
  • Fish refuses to feed.
  • Fish breathes heavily, opening and closing of the mouth and gills.
It is possible to have parasites in a pond and only one, or a few of the fish seem to be affected. As individuals they can differ in personality as well as their ability to resist disease and parasites.

If this is seen to happen, it is possible to treat an individual by way of a salt bath. Seawater contains about 3% salt. The bodies of freshwater parasites contain about 0.5% salt solution. Osmosis is a simple physics fact which guaranties that water will always tend to go towards an area of high salt concentration. In a salt bath of water of 3% solution, the parasites, being simpler creatures than the fish, can have the fluids withdrawn from their bodies by this difference in salt concentration. The same laws of osmosis exist for the fish so care and continuous observation of the fish during this treatment is essential. Once the fish begins to lie over on its side in a similar manner to that which occurs when a fish is anesthetized, it should be removed from this salt bath and placed into another container to recuperate. A maximum of two minutes is advised for this treatment which can be repeated if necessary a short time later.

An improvement in the disposition of a fish after this treatment can suggest that parasites may be the problem.

Let's look at some of the most common bugs..............


Crustacean parasite, Lernaea - Anchor worm is a common parasite on our Koi which is clearly visible to the naked eye and can reach 10 to 12mm. The parasite burrows its head into the Koi's tissue, under a scale and only the body and tail are normally visible. The juvenile stages settle in the gills of Koi, when they mature they mate and the male leaves the Koi, the fertilized female settles on the body of the Koi and continues to grow, becoming the familiar worm shape. The female buries into the skin and underlying tissue to hold on. The damage caused can become a target for bacterial or fungal infection which can spread. Lernaea lay eggs which can lay undetected in the pond and can hatch when conditions and water temperatures are right. Treatment is by manual removal of the parasite with tweezers under anesthetic, ensuring that the whole parasite is removed. To be sure of complete removal, dip a cotton bud in strong potassium permanganate solution and dab the worm with this solution where upon it will release its grip immediately.

Carp pox. A virus that produces solid waxy lumps on Koi. It will not kill Koi and is generally harmless, but can look unsightly. It is most often present in small Koi and in cold weather, clearing up disappearing when Koi grow and in the spring when water temperatures rise.



Columnaris (Flexibacter Columnaris) or Cotton Wool Disease is another bacterial infection. The common name comes from the white tufts that develop around the mouth and spread to the body and fins, often leading to ulcers and a thin appearance. Often mistaken for a fungal infection because of its mold-like lesions, Columnaris is a common bacterial infection in cultured fish, particularly live bearing fish and catfish. Its name is derived from columnar shaped bacteria, which are present in virtually all pond environments. The bacteria are most likely to infect fish that have been stressed by such conditions as poor water quality, inadequate diet, or handling and shipping. Columnaris can enter the fish through the gills, mouth, or via small wounds on the skin. The disease is highly contagious and may be spread through contaminated nets, specimen containers, and even food. Treatment with anti bacterial medicine is usually effective.


 A number of bacteria are associated with finrot, lesions and internal hemorrhaging, notably Aeromonas and Pseudomonas. Ulcers usually start at the site of an injury, the bacteria then infect it causing further damage, and fungal infection can also occur. Such holes result in osmoregulatory problems, leading to damaged kidneys and death if not treated. It is worth adding a weak salt solution to the pond as well as anti bacterial remedy, a concentration of 3gm per litter will help to restore the osmotic balance and reduce strain on the kidneys (make sure that the salt is fully dissolved before you add it to the pond).Finrot is easily noticeable, the fins and/or tail look chewed and are red at the edges. Secondary bacterial and fungal infections can develop. Treatment: ProForm-C.



Argulus another crustacean parasite, round and up to 1cm wide. They have a sucker to hold on to the Koi with needle-like mouth parts which they stick into the Koi and inject a toxin. This causes intense irritation to the Koi and they scratch and jump and can cause bacterial infection. If they infect the gills they cause severe damage and often death.


 Gill maggots are the mature females of the parasitic crustacean Ergasilus. Ergasilus (gill maggots) will appear as grayish black and white parasites several millimeters long infesting the gills. Heavy infestations can cause severe damage, eroding the gill filaments and allowing secondary infections to develop. Recommended treatment: ProForm-C follow up with BGDX

KHV Is a very contagious, damaging and deadly disease for koi, many times causing up to 90% loss in just a few days. Symptoms can include respiratory distress, hyperactivity, loss of coordination, and severe gill necrosis. It's usually seen when the water temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees. As with most viral diseases there is no known cure. Some people have had success with heat treatment to 86F, but the carrier state of the survivors is currently unknown. Goldfish are unaffected.




 Monogenea are small parasitic flatworms mainly found on skin or gills of fish. They are rarely longer than about 2 cm. A few species infecting certain marine fish are larger and marine forms are generally larger than those found on fresh water hosts. Monogynies lack respiratory, skeletal and circulatory systems and have no or weakly-developed oral suckers. Monogenea attach to hosts using hooks, clamps and a variety of other specialized structures. They are often capable of dramatically elongating and shortening as they move. Biologists need to ensure that specimens are completely relaxed before measurements are taken. Like all ectoparasites monogeneans have well developed attachment structures. The anterior structures are collectively termed theprohaptor, while the posterior ones are collectively termed the opisthaptor. The posterior opishaptor with its hooks, anchors, clamps etc. is typically the major attachment organ.
Like other flatworms, Monogenea have no true body cavity (coelom). They have a simple digestive system consisting of a mouth opening with a muscular pharynx and an intestine with no terminal opening (anus). Generally, they also are hermaphroditic with functional reproductive organs of both sexes occurring in one individual. Most species are oviparous but a few are viviparous. Monogenea are Platyhelminthes and therefore are among the lowest invertebrates to possess three embryonic germ layers—endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. In addition, they have a head region that contains concentrated sense organs and nervous tissue (brain). Treatment: Praziquantel as Prolonged immersion 10 g to each 100 gal.


Raised scales (rather like a pine cone) and eyes standing out from the head. Dropsy itself is not a disease, but rather a result of some other cause. Dropsy is a term given to the swelling that occurs internally in the fish. There are multiple possible causes. Sometimes it's not contagious, but sick fish should be isolated and treated since determining the actual cause may be impossible, and also because this will be easier on the fish. The fish's body will become swelled with fluid it is unable to expel. Eventually the swelling will cause the scales to rise, giving the fish what is called the "pine-cone" appearance.


Diagnosis, One of these situations may be the cause:
Sudden swelling: A bacterial infection will cause internal bleeding. Slow swelling: Growing tumors, or even parasites, in the fish may cause it to swell. Slow swelling: Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Highly contagious! Bacterial dropsy is infectious so treat with an anti bacterial remedy and if possible isolate affected Koi.



One of the most common fungal infections of Koi. The fungal spores will grow anywhere on the Koi, including the gills, initially germinating on dead tissue. Their thread like hyphae release digestive juices which break down the tissue so the fungus can absorb it, as the fungus grows these juices start breaking down living tissue Fungus on the body appears as cotton wool like growths, it is hard to tell if a Koi has it in the gills, but if it hangs at the surface gulping for air it is likely. Treatment: or ProForm-C



Gill and Skin flukes are two of the family of monogenetic trematode genera, all of which are characterized by the large grappling hooks which are used to attach themselves to their victims. Flukes are another common parasite affecting our koi are both egg layers and live bearers. They range from 0.05 to 3.00mm long and there are actually a huge number of species in the genus.
Affected Koi often exhibit classic signs of irritation and flash, jump or rub themselves against objects in the pond in an attempt to rid themselves of their attackers. Flukes are not visible with the naked eye. When viewed under a microscope, the parasites are clearly visible as nearly transparent and worm like, and the hooks are clearly visible. Flukes are a bit like fleas on dogs and cats and it is common to see one or two on a slide as a healthy Koi can control parasite numbers and their mucus helps prevent the parasite moving. Treatment is therefore only necessary if flukes are seen in numbers.
Recommended treatment: Praziquantel follow up with BGDX


 
Like the name suggests, SVC in seen only in the spring as pond temperatures are rising. It's usually seen between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

This virus is much less damaging than KHV and currently is very rare in the . SVC produces symptoms typical of those seen with many infections and can include dropsy, hemorrhages and/ or darkening of the skin.

SVC is classified as a "reportable" disease, so a confirmed diagnosis can lead to heavy handed federal government involvement.



Trichodina is one of the easiest protozoan parasites to detect under the microscope as it is almost perfectly round with hundreds of hooks which resemble cilia found its periphery and it constantly rotates as it moves through the mucus, causing tissues damage. It attacks both skin and gill tissues of our Koi, and can often cause more damage to gills than realized. Classed as a warm water parasite, it can survive for some time without a host. It causes vegetation of the skin giving rise to a grey white opaque appearance on the body of infected Koi which exhibit the classic symptoms of flashing, rubbing and lethargy.A magnification of 100 to 200 x is required to view this parasite.
Recommended treatments are Potassium Permanganate or ProForm-C. Follow up with BGDX



Caused by Ichthyopthirius multifiliis. The white spots on the skin, gills and fins are individual protozoan cells that are under the skin and feed on the body fluids and cells. They then punch out of the skin and fall to the bottom of the pond, collect together and begin breeding, the offspring then re-invest the fish. As well as white spots symptoms are scratching and swimming into the water inlet, failure to feed and lethargy. It is fatal if untreated. Fortunately commercial white spot remedies are widely available. Recommended treatment. ProForm-C


Costia is a minute Flagellate with 3-4 flagella. It affects both the skin and gills of Koi, and reproduces itself by binary fission. Infestations of this parasite can appear very rapidly indeed, and Koi suffering infestations exhibit the classic symptoms of lethargy, clamped fins, rubbing and flashing and the skin can take on a grey white opaqueness. Costia normally only affects fish that have already been debilitated by some other cause, and can often be seen on Koi as a secondary parasite. A high magnification must be used to view these parasites (300 x) and staining is recommended for positive identification. Recommended treatments include Potassium Permanganate, or ProForm-C.

It should also be noted that disease and parasites are always present, even in the healthiest pond – they are part of the natural order of things.

A severe outbreak of parasites requires treatment. However, in any disease outbreak it is essential to identify the prime cause. I hate to think how many Koi deaths have occurred because of repeated and unsuccessful treatments for parasites without knowing cause of them, which is usually an environmental factor.

Until then "Happy Ponding"  from "Koiman" 



















Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What exactly is ORP? Why do we need an ORP meter?

It’s an acronym for Oxidation-Reduction Potential (or Redox Potential in some parts of the world). In this case, it applies to the water you have in your Koi pond, and more specifically its ability to dissolve (oxidize) the contaminants in it. Essentially, ORP is a measurement of water’s cleanliness as a function of the pollution or contaminants in it. The pollution, known as dissolved Organic Compounds (or DOCs), is too small and fine to be removed from the water by traditional mechanical filtration.

What is an ORP meter?

An ORP meter measures the Oxidation or Reduction Potential of the water. This is a direct measure of pollution index of the water, since more pollution gives a lower ORP reading. As described by Chris Walster, a veterinarian at the Island Veterinary Clinic in Staffordshire, England, in the Summer 97 issue of Koi Health Quarterly, Put simply, ORP is a measure of pollution.
In a well conditioned koi pond you want oxidation reactions to occur, as they indicate the breakdown of water products. Therefore, the higher the ORP level, the less polluted the pond; the lower the ORP level, the more polluted the pond. A low ORP can indicate low dissolved oxygen, high nitrites, or high DOC (Dissolved Organic Carbon), with the DOC promoting the increase of harmful bacteria….A pond with an ORP value below 200 mV will promote growth of slime algae, between 200 and 250 will promote blanket weed or stringy algae, above 250 algae growth will be prevented……As ORP increases, the rate of healing of ulcers increases and at high levels ulcers can be prevented…

Quick Summary of ORP levels as applied to koi ponds:

At readings of below 150, significant improvements to the filtration of the pond should be made as soon as possible to avoid massive fish health problems.
At readings between 150 to 200, fish health will not be marginal, with green water and slime algae a usual occurrence, especially in the absence of UV lights.

At readings between 200 to 250, fish health will usually be okay, but not optimum, and stringy algae or blanket weed will normally be a problem.
Readings between 250 and 400 reflect good to superb water quality, and prevention of fish health problems by water excellent water quality control. The higher end of this range is preferred over the lower end for dependably good fish health and fast fish growth.

Readings between 400 and 450 reflect the use of either potassium permanganate or ozone to increase water quality by addition of a chemical oxidant to the pond to oxidize the various dissolved organic compounds and solid waste materials on the pond bottoms and in the filter systems. Readings in this range usually do not harm the useful bacteria in biofilters if the length of time is less than 30 minutes in this range.

Readings between 475 and 550 reflect active potassium permanganate levels which should kill fish parasites without harming the fish, and quickly oxidize pollutants, provided the fish exposure is only a few hours per week. Water with ORP in this range should not be circulated in biofilters since the useful bacteria may be oxidized significantly.


Readings between 550 and 600 should not be continued for more than 15 minutes because of likely damage to the gills of fish.
Water with readings above 700 will sterilize a system of all life forms in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Things that increase ORP readings and improve water quality:

  • Flow rates. Pond turn over at 1.5 hours min. The faster the better for higher ORP readings. 
  • Aeration, water falls, TTs, spray bars etc. the more the better.
  • More efficient mechanical filtration, with frequent cleanouts or solid dumps, increase ORP readings. 
  • Temperature. Cooler temps will generally give a higher orp reading as there is a higher level of dissolved oxygen. 
  • Fish load..... Lower fish loads give higher ORP readings.
  • Heavy feeding gives lower ORP readings. 
  • System Maintenance. Clean out filters. Back wash beads filter, rinse filter media in submerged filters.
  • Dead Spots...... Find and eliminate dead spots in pond with low flow since this can accumulate solids wastes which lower ORP readings. 
  • Add biofiltration capacity to increase ORP. 

 Good mechanical filtration systems, with frequent dumping of collected solids, goes a long way towards keeping ORP levels up by removing the solid organic pollutants. There are many different ways to accomplish this goal, with many, many good mechanical filter system designs, and it is not the goal of this document to list all those good mechanical filter designs.

Aeration of the water in waterfalls, or with air stones, or with trickle tower filters increase the ORP level of the water by providing more oxygen to oxidize the organic pollutants such as fish poop.

Higher recirculation flow rates increase the ORP levels of the water in various ways. Better solids removal, more aeration, better biofiltration all go with increased water turnover rates.
Using activated carbon to remove DOC (Dissolved Organic Carbon) increases the ORP levels of the water by removal of pollutants from the water. Here the typical charge is 3 pounds of activated carbon per 1000 gallons, changed out with fresh carbon each 3 months. The usual charge is put into mesh bags, laundry bags for example, some place in the filtration system or the waterfall system or stream system. Or even in the actual pond itself.

More biofiltration increases the ORP value of the pond. Trickle tower biofilters do this better by providing a higher level of oxygen to the aerobic (oxygen loving) bacteria which do the biofiltration. But well designed submerged media filters can also deliver superb water quality with high ORP readings.

Addition of low levels of potassium permanganate to increase the ORP reading to the range between 300 and 450 has been beneficial to ponders who have filtration systems which do not automatically maintain water quality in those ORP ranges as a temporary emergency fix of a fish health problem.
Some ponds use ozone injection with on line ORP controllers to maintain ORP levels at a narrow desired range.
This pond was designed by Koi Depot San Diego in 1998 this picture is from 3 yrs ago. Redox readings are at 370 mv.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Helix Pond Life Support Design Guide

The Helix Life Support Design Guide

Published: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 07:59:18
By: Mark Lawson


The Helix Life Support Design Guide was created to help homeowners and
contractors understand the different pond construction techniques and
philosophies that are standard practice in the pond industry today.
The Helix Life Support Design Guide
When outlining the goals and expectations of your pond before building, you can determine the type of pond construction that best fits your desires. The schematics in the following pages along with the specifications and philosophies will help you understand the different pond construction styles and maintenance requirements.
The Helix Design Guide should be used as a reference to help determine which pond meets your goals and expectations. The schematics in the following pages do not encompass all of the possibilities and pond design configurations.
Consult with your Authorized Helix Retailer or an Authorized Helix Contractor who can answer questions regarding your specific design. 

Life is Short, Enjoy Koi!
The Helix Life Support Design Guide
Water Garden Pond Philosophy
This is a fantastic low maintenance pond that relies on Mother Nature to help manage water quality with aquatic plants and weekly additions of beneficial bacteria. This low maintenance pond requires simple weekly maintenance and minimal quarterly maintenance. An annual drain is recommended to thin aquatic plants and thoroughly clean the gravel bed on the floor of the pond. The water garden pond is typically 18" to 24" deep. We recommend stocking the pond conservatively with goldfish and/or small koi. This pond is not suitable for large adult koi as a long-term habitat.
The Helix Life Support Design Guide
Advanced Water Garden / Ecosystem Pond Philosophy
As the water garden owner becomes more infatuated with the hobby and outdoor lifestyle, the pond owner has
increased goals and expectations. By simply increasing the bio filtration and adding aeration to the pond, this creates better water quality for the inhabitants such as koi, goldfish, turtles, minnows and algae eaters. The pond maintenance will remain the same with simple weekly maintenance; minimal quarterly maintenance and an annual
draining is recommended to thin aquatic plants and thoroughly clean the gravel bed.
The Helix Life Support Design Guide
Advanced Undergravel Suction Grid Ecosystem Pond Philosophy
The Pond with an Under Gravel Suction Grid greatly improves water clarity and water quality, reduces annual maintenance and allows the homeowner to stock the pond with larger fish populations. The entire floor of this pond becomes a living bio-filter and digests debris that settles to the bottom of the pond. This is a very low maintenance pond, requiring simple weekly maintenance and minimal quarterly maintenance including thinning out aquatic plants in the active bog filter. Annual draining is NOT required for deep cleaning. This pond is suitable for large koi as a long-term habitat.
The Helix Life Support Design Guide
Dedicated Koi Pond Philosophy
This pond is designed with the sole purpose of showcasing koi fish without distraction and creating an environment that does not require annual draining of the pond. The Dedicated Koi pond relies on the use of technology to manage water quality. The main objective is to remove all organic waste and solids from the pond via skimmers & bottom drains. Once the solid waste is removed and separated from the water column, clear water is processed in the
bio-filter, run through a UV clarifier and returned to the pond. The Dedicated Koi Pond requires 15 to 30 minutes of maintenance each week and does not require an annual draining for deep cleaning.
The Helix Life Support Design Guide
Detail A
Clean Out Depression
Notice in this cross section detail the Clean Out depression in the bottom of the pond’s floor. If you take the time to create this clean out depression during your excavation, it will make your annual pond clean out more efficient. Once the pond is nearly empty, during your clean out, you would simply move the gravel out of the pocket and place your clean out pump in this depression. By placing your clean out pump in this depression you will have an easier time removing all the dirty water from the pond.
Detail B
Static Bog Plant Shelf
This is a great method for naturalizing the edge treatment of your pond. By extending the excavation beyond some of the coping stones you can create Aquatic Planters. Once the aquatic plants are installed you simply add gravel to one inch above level of water. This will give the appearance that the aquatic plants are growing on the outside of the pond but will actually be contained inside the lining of the pond. You never need to water these marginal plants and it makes the pond look extremely natural.
Detail C
Aquatic Plant Shelf
When you plan on installing aquatic plants on the inside of the pond, it’s important to provide an adequate sized shelf to support a nice grouping of specimen plants. Notice in Detail A there is not room to support a nice sized specimen plant. When excavating a water garden ecosystem pond we will typically mix these excavation details up in the design.


The Helix Life Support Design Guide
Detail D
Under Gravel Suction Grid
When installing an under gravel suction grid we are typically using a 2" manifold assembly for the suction grid with a series of three 3/8" holes every 6" across the bottom of the suction grid. We recommend using a 6" layer of 3/4"
ROUND gravel covering the top of the suction grid by approximately 2". All ends of the manifold will be
capped and each cap will have one 3/8" hole drilled at the bottom side of the cap.
Detail E
Dedicated Koi Pond
Since the Dedicated Koi Pond will not have any rocks to support the walls of excavation we suggest taking proper measures to create support for your coping stones so the edges of your pond do not collapse. In this case we have described a concrete bond beam around the perimeter of the pond to support large coping stones that will
frame the water’s edge. Notice the excavation is different than all the other excavation details with a
curved bottom wall transition that tapers towards a bottom drain. This detail may not be necessary in all
soil conditions and may not be adequate in sandy conditions or depths greater than 48".
Detail F
Active Bog Plant Shelf
When installing an Active Bog Filter we want to have the same excavation detail as the Static Bog Plant Shelf in Detail B only a little deaper because we are making room for a manifold assembly of PVC pipe we will be
installing at the bottom of the shelf. We will be pumping water into the bottom of the plant shelf and upflow water through the gravel bed and aquatic plant roots to greatly improve your pond’s filtration capacity. The manifold assembly we build out similar to the Under Gravel Suction Grid Detail D. We recommend using ROUND ornamental gravel no smaller than 3/8" and no larger than 3/4". The depth of the gravel bed should be a minimum of 8" and maximum of 12".

The Helix Life Support Equipment listed below is what you need to build a basic ecosystem water garden up to a couple thousand gallons.
The Helix Life Support Equipment listed below is the backbone of your filtration system for
this pond. The suction grid will typically be built on location so it can be customized to the shape of your pond’s floor.

The Helix Life Support Equipment below is what you will need to build an Advanced Water Garden / Ecosystem Pond. When installing this pond we would advise you to consider making the pond deeper than 2'.
The Helix Life Support Equipment listed below will be the main components you’ll need for your pond dedicated to koi. The schematics are there for a guide but understand the equipment can be moved around to fit the layout of your property.
Copyright© 2014 by The Pond Digger, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

We have Koi pond filters and Pond Filtration systems to match any pond design you can dream up. You can find simple fish pond filters for water gardens, eco-system ponds, and water gardens to more advanced pond filtration systems for hybrid ponds and koi ponds and make your pond maintenance routine quick and easy. Mainstream up flow pond filtration in waterfalls,
The Helix Life Support Pond Filtration provides Massive ammonia consumption. The Compact Helix moving bed waterfall filter can process the fish waste produced by 1 pound of fish food per day. The Standard Moving Bed processes a massive 3 pounds per day!
Filtration is purpose driven. The purpose of pond filtration is to remove the ammonia that is produced by your pond fish. The removal of ammonia is done by beneficial bacteria - which colonize a moving bed filter like no other filter - in an oxygen rich environment.
Self cleaning. A moving bed filter is by definition self cleaning. The airlift current created by the fine air diffuser forces debris out of the filter. This debris is then collected by your separate mechanical pond filter. Having a moving bed filter on your koi pond improves water quality, therebyimproving fish health and size. Koi will want to eat more because the trace leftovers from their last meal aren't as concentrated as before due to the moving bed.
Easily hidden. Typical moving bed filters are made out of drums or even larger contraptions, and we sell those too. What's special about this one is that it is designed to be integrated into the actual landscape of the pond - unlike the competition.
This is where your Helix Pond Life Support Filtration provides a place for beneficial bacteria to grow on special media. These bacteria remove harmful pollutants from pond water. Known as the "Biological Filter" these beneficial bacteria convert poisonous compounds such as ammonia and nitrite, into less toxic nitrate. The end by-product, nitrate, is used as a food source by aquatic plants. This continuous process is called the nitrogen cycle.
Biological Pond Filtration relies on specific bacteria to break down toxic waste products to less harmful substances. There are two stages in the breakdown of ammonia, each stage involving different types of bacteria. The first stage is the breakdown of ammonia to nitrite by nitrifying bacteria, most important of which is Nitrosomonas. The second stage is the conversion of nitrite to nitrate by Nitrobacter.
Both of these groups of bacteria are aerobic (needing oxygen to live), sediment building up in the filter will deplete the oxygen levels so it is important to keep sediment to a minimum by having a settlement chamber first and by cleaning the filter out occasionally (but not using tap water as the chlorine will kill the bacteria).
A variety of different media are available to put in the filter, materials such as gravel, matting, hair rollers, foam, and canterbury spar are all suitable as they provide lots of surfaces for the bacteria to live on.
A biological filter will take weeks or months to mature, cultures of nitrifying bacteria are widely available and will speed up the process.
® For information on Helix Pond Life Support Systems or design aspects with Helix Pond Life Support Systems contact us at:
Website: www.koidepot.com
Office: 619-749-1409

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