Pond Treatment With Hydrogen Peroxide (Get Rid of Algae, Bacteria, and More!)Faizan Khan
Ponds can be natural or artificial, varying on the purpose they are used for. However, they all have in common a constant breakout of algae and the need for care.
This is why hydrogen peroxide, with its antibacterial and antifungal properties, is called upon for its service. Moreover, if you tend to a Koi pond, your fish will likely inherit ulcers every once in a while. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to treat fish wounds effectively.
Many pond owners worry about the side effects hydrogen peroxide will have on fish and the environment. If that is the case, you need not work yourself up because this guide highlights all the safety considerations and the proper way to use the highly oxidative compound.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is a look-alike of water, owing to its natural neutral color. Moreover, its chemical formula is similar to that of water as well!
It seems that water adopted an oxygen molecule and decided to take on the name ‘hydrogen peroxide.’ Hence, hydrogen peroxide comprises two hydrogen molecules and two water molecules resulting in the chemical formula H2O2.
Hydrogen peroxide comes with many properties- it is a strong oxidizer, bleaching (whitening) agent, and highly reactive. For this reason, it is regarded as corrosive when over a concentration level of 20%.
That’s not all! It also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, and according to Purdue University, works more effectively than white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and acetic acid. Hydrogen peroxide’s antiseptic properties are famed because they terminate bacteria cells by breaking down their walls.
Moreover, the antifungal properties of hydrogen peroxide make it the best antidote for pond fungus, a plant fungus, athlete’s foot, and nail fungus. Owing to its various properties, it has numerous benefits and uses both medically and non-medically.
Moreover, its highly reactive nature is often compared to potassium permanganate in its warrior role against the influx of bacteria and fish disease-causing organisms.
Why Is Hydrogen Peroxide Suitable for Aquaculture?
When hydrogen peroxide is intermixed with water, it releases the oxygen molecule and breaks down into water and oxygen. It is because of this reaction that it is considered to be safe for the environment.
The FDA has approved the use of 35% hydrogen peroxide for various aquatic usages. This includes hydrogen peroxide being used to control the mortality of freshwater-reared finfish eggs due to saprolegniasis, a fungal disease that can cause lesions on the fish’s skin, and in some cases, cause respiratory distress and death.
FDA has also approved the use of hydrogen peroxide to cure freshwater-reared salmonids of bacterial gill disease and freshwater-reared coolwater finfish and channel catfish of external columnaris disease- a common and often fatal disease for fish that is caused by bacteria in the water that can enter a fish’s mouth, gills or a wound.
What Are Koi Ponds?
Since this guide addresses natural ponds and Koi ponds, it would be best to unravel the complex-sounding jargon.
Koi ponds, however, are not all that complex. They are often referred to as giant swimming pools for Koi fish. However, only Koi fish don’t need to be bred here- Koi ponds are huge fish tanks that can nurture all kinds of fish.
The Koi ponds do not support any aquatic plants, gravel, or rock to prevent harm from swooping up the Koi. Moreover, it is constructed with sides sloping steeply downwards and does not come with the luxury of steps to aid predators in getting inside.
Koi ponds are usually 2 feet deep; however, they can vary from 5 to 6 feet. They are micro-filtered with efficient filters and bottom drains, skimmers, and bottom drain pre-filters that fulfill the duty of mechanical filtering. The water is pumped through an external pump, and there are no high voltage electronic devices found within the depths of the water.
Moreover, Koi ponds get their supply of oxygen from aeration systems. And so, it is no wonder that Koi ponds would need the help of hydrogen peroxide to get an alternate supply of oxygen into their system.
Hydrogen peroxide also works wonders for treating the wounds and ulcers of the different types of fish.
Animal Safety Concerns With Hydrogen Peroxide
Like other aquaculture drugs or chemicals, hydrogen peroxide can also cause some harmful effects to fish if misused. Moreover, the hydrogen peroxide treatment can be rendered ineffective if it is misused.
Reasons for an Ineffective Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment
Some of the reasons your treatment may be left ineffective are underdosing, toxicity due to overdose, and the stubbornness of the organisms.
This is when the organisms become resistant or tolerant to the treatment. The only two in your control are overdosing and underdosing, and hence you must always be careful of the measurements of hydrogen peroxide used.
Testing Is Always Essential!
Moreover, it is advised that when treating fish with ulcers, always test out the hydrogen peroxide formula on a subset of the species. This is because the tolerance of fish will differ according to the different species, age, and size.
Also, the difference in the water quality parameters may cause the effectiveness of the hydrogen peroxide and the toxicity of the fish to fluctuate.
Side Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Certain Fish Species
Fish are known to experience reduced growth rates when introduced to high doses of hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, certain fish species experienced damaged gills after coming in contact with high and lethal doses of hydrogen peroxide.
This can be seen from a 1997 report in which channel catfish exposed to 238 mg/L and bluegill exposed to 460 mg/L experienced a 50% mortality rate after 3 hours of exposure with hydrogen peroxide.
Moreover, the early stages of certain species were observed as being more tolerant of hydrogen peroxide than the older fish. This was the case with young sac and swim-up fry (of the rainbow trout species) exposed to hydrogen peroxide greater than 1132 mg/L. This could be due to the differences in gill function and gill anatomy of fish of varying ages and sizes.
According to a 2005 report, Kingfish treated with hydrogen peroxide changed several blood parameters (lactate, osmolality, and pH). However, there were fewer side effects than when the kingfish was severely ill with the monogenean parasite infection.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Pond Fish?
The reports mentioned above may have alarmed you; however, you need not because those cases are known to be very rare.
Moreover, the species that are sensitive to hydrogen peroxide will be outlined further down this guide. Not only that- the safety of hydrogen peroxide will be established when you learn of how it is stabilized when it is added to water.
The key is to establish what a safe dose for your pond and fish is. Moreover, you must always use a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide on your fish- ideally 3-6%.
Hydrogen peroxide is famous among pond caretakers for the treatment of ponds and fish. As long as you test it out and avoid using it on the species outlined below, you will be good to go!
Which Fish Species Are Sensitive to Hydrogen Peroxide?
Out of the 33,600 species of fish located worldwide, only a handful are known to be sensitive to hydrogen peroxide. This alone proves that generally speaking, hydrogen peroxide is safe for most fish species.
Hydrogen peroxide should not be used on paddlefish, northern pike, or walleye because they have been known to be sensitive to hydrogen peroxide.
Moreover, a 2006 study tested out hydrogen peroxide treatments of selected ornamental fish in 1 hour and 24-hour durations. The following are the species of fish that either tolerated or did not tolerate hydrogen peroxide.
Species That Did Not Tolerate Hydrogen Peroxide Treatments
- Blue gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus) did not tolerate any of the hydrogen peroxide treatments. After one hour, it was 11.4–15.9 mg/L, whereas, after 24 hours, it was 3.3–6.0 mg/L.
- The suckermouth catfish (Hypostomus plecostomus) did not tolerate the hydrogen peroxide treatment. At one hour, it was a low dose of 6.6–21.9 mg/L.The suckermouth catfish was not tested after 24 hours.
Species That Tolerated Hydrogen Peroxide Treatments
- Serpae tetras (Hyphessobryconis eques) tolerated hydrogen peroxide treatments. At one hour, it tolerated 17.0 mg/L, and at 24 hours, it tolerated 5.6 mg/L.
- Tiger barbs (Puntius tetrazona) tolerated hydrogen peroxide treatments. At one hour, it tolerated 10.0 mg/L, and at 24 hours, it tolerated 5.0 mg/L.
- The swordtails tolerated hydrogen peroxide treatments. At one hour, it tolerated 20.2 mg/L, whereas, at 24 hours, it tolerated 5.4 mg/L.
As you may have already observed, only two species of ornamental fish did not tolerate hydrogen peroxide, therefore proving hydrogen peroxide to be successful in most situations.
Before you start to cure your fish, note that hydrogen peroxide must never be intermixed with other chemicals to avoid unwanted reactions.
Causes of Ulcers in Fish
Skin ulcers are common in fish and appear as red sores or spots. This is an open wound in the fish’s skin that leaves the inner musculature of the fish vulnerable.
Ulcers are harmful to fish because they are often associated with the local growth of fungus and scale loss. Ulcers may take place on any part of the body of the fish. They may also make a surprise appearance or grow over time.
There are three main causes of ulcer occurrence in fish-
- Parasite Infection
The strong immune system of fish usually works hard to fend off any trespassers from entering the fish’s body. However, their immune system may sometimes leave a border unsupervised when it is suffering from stressors. The most common stressor for the immune system is often water quality.
Therefore, when the immune system lets its guard down, it may result in the breakthrough of one of the trespassers.
These trespassers famously include parasites such as flukes, ick, costia, and anchor worms. These parasites usually break through the skin and mucus of fish, leaving a doorway open for bacteria and fungi.
If you have witnessed fish spawning, you must be aware that it is nothing short of painful- especially for the female fish.
During the spawning stage, fish tend to lose their scales and end up with numerous scrapes and scratches when they rub up against the pots, pumps, rocks, or concrete surrounding the pond.
With the spawning taking place within 3 to 4 days, there are bound to be many rough grazes painting the fish’s skin. These scrapes, coupled with the bad water quality, will be enough for the bacteria to invade.
- Water Quality
Time and time again, the complaint of bad water quality has been raised. This is because a bad water quality guarantees water filled to the brim with high ammonia and nitrates.
These are the core elements that weaken fish’s immune system and leave them struggling to defend themselves against an outbreak of parasites.
How To Treat Ulcers in Fish Using Hydrogen Peroxide?
If you have begun to see the tell-tale signs of parasites in your ponds or have spotted fish suffering from Ulcers, it is time for a hydrogen peroxide treatment.
- Hydrogen Peroxide (Grab yours now from Bulk Peroxide’s shop)
- Oil of cloves (Optional)
Directions for Hydrogen Peroxide Ulcer Treatment
- Use the net to catch the fish and then transfer it to an appropriate-sized container. If the fish is over 12 inches, it may be hard to control, and so you have the option of anesthetizing it using the oil of cloves.
- Proceed to dip a Q-tip in a 3% hydrogen peroxide and begin gently yet firmly rubbing the ulcer and the area surrounding it- if some of the scales come off during this process, you mustn’t panic. Make sure that you are scrubbing the fish in a head-to-tail direction. Ensure you are thorough by rubbing under and around the scales to exterminate any undercover bacteria and parasites.
- If the fish has several ulcers or a particularly large one, it is recommended that you return them to the container periodically.
- Now dry the area and treat it with some antibiotic solutions such as a boi-bandage to prevent the ulcer from spreading or getting aggravated. You can repeat this procedure daily or as needed.
- The fish should be returned to its pond.
- Now treat the pond with Melafix to clear out the bacteria.
Precautions To Take for a Hydrogen Peroxide Ulcer Treatment
- It is important to note that the Ulcer must only be swabbed a single time. Multiple swabs or scrubbing will aggravate the wound and prevent it from healing.
- The only type of wounds that must be treated with hydrogen peroxide are the ones that are red and bloody. If you spot white outlining around the wound, it is a sign that it is healing naturally.
- Moreover, ensure that you use hydrogen peroxide of a 3% concentration.
Result of the Hydrogen Peroxide Ulcer Treatment
If the hydrogen peroxide ulcer treatment proves to be successful, you will see an improvement in the wound within just 2 to 3 days. The rough red tissues of the infected area will slowly take on a pinkish hue that will gradually become white and smooth.
Do note that it may take several weeks or months for the infected area to return to its natural color- there is no need to be alarmed. Moreover, a noticeable scar will likely be left behind.
How Stable Is Hydrogen Peroxide in Water?
When released in water, the stability of hydrogen peroxide is crucial because toxicity can be caused through improper use of hydrogen peroxide, such as high exposure to the ponds.
The degradation of hydrogen peroxide can be increased by various factors, including enzymes, light, heat, compounds, and high pH.
When hydrogen peroxide concentrations of 10 and 100 mg/L are exposed to a temperature of 15°C (~59°F) and 20°C (~68°F) in tank culture, it degrades quickly enough for its presence to be gone by day three. This is the case when hydrogen peroxide is placed in ponds that have aeration systems or organic matter.
If a pond or tank does not have an aeration system or organic matter, the hydrogen peroxide concentrations will have halved by day six and be undetectable by day 10.
We will be reflecting on the 2007 study, where the stability of hydrogen peroxide was tested during tank trials with ornamental fish and in earthen natural ponds without fish. These tank trials required placing groups of 17 to 25 fish in different static systems. These static systems consisted of a glass aquarium holding 8.5 gallons (32 liters) of water and aeration.
Initially, the concentrations of hydrogen peroxide ranged from 1.2–26.9 mg/L. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the tanks was checked after an hour and showed no significant changes. When checked after 24 hours, the concentration levels had fallen drastically to 0.4–0.8 mg/L.
When the study was carried out on natural earthen ponds, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide initially was 6.46 and 13.60 mg/L. After 24 hours, the levels of hydrogen peroxide had fallen drastically to 1–2 mg/L.
Therefore, studies prove that hydrogen peroxide breaks down quickly when added to water that contains organic matter and aeration. Now that it’s been proven that hydrogen peroxide is relatively stable in water, you may commence with your hydrogen peroxide pond treatment.
Is Algae Dangerous?
You may often wonder about all the fuss that goes into removing algae from ponds. Is it simply because they are aesthetically unappealing, or do the problems run deeper than that?
To answer the question- not all types of algae are dangerous. According to PennState Extension, plankton algae is good for the ecosystem and food chain.
However, many algae types cause problems for the environment, aquatic life in and around the pond, and yourself! These algae types include harmful algae and cyanobacteria, which look like foam, scum, paint, or mats on the water’s surface. These algae can also adapt to different colors.
- Dead Zones
Algae has professionalized in the art of stealing oxygen molecules from the pond. This leads to the creation of a black zone where aquatic creatures and wildlife cannot survive.
To address this serious issue, hydrogen peroxide comes about with its oxygen lending ability.
- Algae Tend To Be Toxic
Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria can infect humans, aquatic life as well as pets! These illnesses are usually referred to as Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) associated illnesses.
A harmful algal bloom can deplete oxygen levels from freshwaters. This then diminishes organisms present in those freshwaters.
Moreover, these blooms give birth to toxins that then affect people and animals.
- Algae Make Water Undrinkable
Millions of people depend on certain lakes and ponds as a source of drinkable water. However, algae often come to paint the water and leave their toxicity spilling out into the depths of the water.
After various expensive and challenging treatments are carried out, the water is deemed drinkable again. Even then, the aftertaste and smell may be distasteful.
This is why regular hydrogen peroxide treatments are necessary to sustain the purity of water.
How To Get Rid of Pond Algae Using Hydrogen Peroxide?
The only ingredient that will aid you in curing your pond of unwanted algae is ‘3% hydrogen peroxide.’
This is the most commonly used concentration of hydrogen peroxide and also the least caustic. Grab yours now from Bulk Peroxide’s shop and begin treating your pond.
- Measuring tape
- Measuring cup
- 3% Hydrogen peroxide
- Wooden stick or metal rod
- Skimmer or fine net
Directions for the Removal of Algae Using Hydrogen Peroxide
- Grab a tape measure to calculate the length, width, and depth of the pond.
- Proceed to calculate the cubic feet of the pond by multiplying the three figures.
- Remember that there are 7.48 gallons in one cubic foot of water. To find the total gallons of water present in your pond, multiply 7.48 gallons by the number of cubic feet you have calculated.
- Keep in mind that one pint of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide will be used for every 1,000 gallons of water. Alternatively, you can add 1/2 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 100 gallons (378 liters) of pond water.
- Measure out the amount of hydrogen peroxide you will throw into your pond by using a measuring cup. Now proceed to pour the solution into the pond, but make sure it is away from fish.
- Stir the general area of the pond where you have poured the hydrogen peroxide using a wooden stick or metal rod.
- Once it is circulating, allow the hydrogen peroxide solution to settle in the pond for a day.
- After a day, a skimmer or fine net is used to scoop out the grime and dark slime from the pond.
Caution: Be cautious not to use more than the prescribed amount of hydrogen peroxide because too much of a hydrogen peroxide solution can kill off all the algae (too quickly) and lead to a spike in ammonia.
What Causes Algae Overgrowth in Ponds?
Now that you’ve cured your pond of all the algae using hydrogen peroxide, it is only fair that you continue to maintain the purity.
This can be done by understanding what causes algae growth and working to avoid stimulating those factors.
Pollution Causes Algae
Pollution often gives life to algae- which isn’t shocking when you glance at its slimy green-hued nature.
These algae readily feed off nutrient supplies of phosphorus and nitrogen- which are natural elements present in water, specifically in oxygen-low zones. This is why regular hydrogen peroxide hydration may be necessary for your ponds.
These nutrient supplies can also be introduced to the environment through fertilizers and other products. You know what to avoid using now! Moreover, these nutrient supplies are also a result of erosion, run-offs, and poor sewage management.
Turbidity and Temperature
Turbidity measures the extent to which water is cloudy or clear. If you have ever decided to explore a water body and dived in, you’ll notice that your vision won’t be clear underwater. This is because there will be many particles and elements obscuring your view.
These particles are brought to life when the pond or lake shifts during heavy rainfall or animal feeding- hence stirring up a stew of particles broken off from clay, animal waste, dirt, debris, and sediment.
This turbidity affects light exposure to the pond, which then affects the temperature of the water. Hence, higher turbidity levels mean higher temperature, which means a higher outbreak of algae.
Let’s allow the bad news a moment in the spotlight- once the algae bloom occurs, it further stimulates the turbidity, elevating this process again.
Light Exposure and Water Movement
Algae need two main elements to survive. One being the nutrient supplies and the second being the right amount of light. Blue-green algae are always willing to move through the shores of water and adapt to any condition given.
On the other hand, Filamentous algae usually grapple for shallow waters to sustain themselves, which happens to be the shoreline of a pond or lake.
Now that you know the pond areas that are normally targeted by algae, it may be time to go out and scrutinize the area. If you spot the rise of algal blooms, it’s time you bring out the hydrogen peroxide supply.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Clear Up Koi Ponds After a Potassium Permanganate Treatment?
After a potassium permanganate treatment, your pond will be in dire need of hydrogen peroxide re-oxidation.
Once you have treated your pond with potassium permanganate, you will notice the appearance of brown muck on your water. Your patience may run low once you realize that it will take around 6 to 7 days for the brown dirt to clear up.
It is recommended that you only use this if you cannot stand the sight of the brown residue tainting your pond water. If this is the case, use 25ml of 6% hydrogen peroxide for 4400 gallons of water.
You can dilute a 35% hydrogen peroxide to a 6% solution by adding 100ml of hydrogen peroxide to 480ml water or 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to 4.8 cups of water.
Often pond caretakers encounter accidents that lead to potassium permanganate overdose situations. Your stressed Koi might leave you being stressed as well. Worry not! If you add Hydrogen Peroxide to the water quickly after, it will neutralize the oxidizing effects of potassium permanganate.
Once you add hydrogen peroxide to your pond, it will take around 3 to 4 days to successfully extract all of the brown residues from the water. Considering this fact, if you plan to add another dose of potassium permanganate soon, the remaining hydrogen peroxide you added to the water a few days prior may hinder its effectiveness.
Therefore, avoid using a hydrogen peroxide treatment if you plan to deploy potassium Permanente into the Koi pond soon after.
How To Neutralize Potassium Permanganate Spills Using Hydrogen Peroxide?
Accidents are a part of life, and one that occurs with potassium permanganate will be tainted purple. Once you neutralize this mixture with hydrogen peroxide, it will become colorless.
It is important to dilute hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle or chemical spray bottle pump using the measurements of 2 tbsp per 100 gallons (1 cup per 500 gallons) using a 34% initial hydrogen peroxide solution.
After diluting the hydrogen peroxide solution, you may spray it to the spill.
Safety Precautions To Consider When Dealing With Hydrogen Peroxide
If a hydrogen peroxide solution is consumed, it may lead to vomiting, stomach pains, heartburns, among other health issues. Moreover, If you consume large amounts of this solution, there could be severe breathing problems and stomach bleeding.
A case study revealed that 95,000 toxic exposures were reported over three years, out of which 0.34% were due to hydrogen peroxide, and 60% of the victims were children under the age of six. It is therefore very important to store it away from the reach of children or pets.
Moreover, mixing cleaning products can prove to be very hazardous. This is why hydrogen peroxide must never come in contact with other chemicals. Such incidents usually lead to caustic and poisonous fumes erupting- which may lead to the death of people or pets nearby, as with manager Ryan Baldera.
For your safety, equip yourself with safety goggles and gloves. Once you have dressed up in precautionary wear, you will be safe from any blisters, redness, burning, or itching.
For the sustainable life of your hydrogen peroxide solution, remember to store it in the opaque bottle that it comes in because transferring it to another bottle will increase its decomposition rate when it comes in contact with other enzymes and molecules and is penetrated by sunlight.
Clear Ponds and Cozy Fish
Now that algae will no longer be blanketing the fish, they can snuggle in their bubble of water comfortably. Moreover, once treated with hydrogen peroxide, they will be bound to recover and live healthily while bearing a few scars.
To avail all the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide in your pond, you must hurry to Bulk Peroxide’s shop to equip yourself for the various treatments to come.