Potassium Permanganate in a koi pond


Last week I embarked on a different treatment for my pond. After reading several articles about parasites, fungus, bacteria, and all other sorts of nasties that live in the pond I decided it would be a good time to do a pre-emptive strike, just in case. I have seen the devastating effects of bacterial infections and know we get just about every type of parasite known to cause harm to koi here in the southern US. I need to learn to scrape and scope but until then PP is supposed to be affective against them all.

I had read about Potassium Permanganate for several years. I have also read all the horror stories about overdosing the fish. But upon further research I found several articles that tout its wide spread benefits if used conservatively. JackMcneary.com had a most reassuring article which helped me determine the dosage and proper treatment necessary. Also confirmed dosage at koiCrisis.com.

PP works as an oxidizer and basically kills pathogens and even algae by boiling them with oxygen. It can be stopped by using 1 pint of Hydrogen Peroxide per 1000 gallons. The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon per 600 gallons of pond water. I used less just to make sure. I used 2 teaspoons in my 1600 gallons or about 1 tsp per 800 gallons. I plan to do a multi-day treatment where it kills off the pathogens without harming the fish. Some folks will over-dose and do only a single treatment so research very well before you try this. The powder is added to a bucket of water and is added slowly to the pond. It starts off as dark purple then turns the water pinkish, then slowly turns a dark brown tea color then to a light tea color. You should use an airpump/airstones in the pond during this process.

In summary here is what I did:
1) Removed filters from my combo bio/mechanical filters so the PP would not kill my good bacteria but the treatment could circulate through the box.
2) Clean out pump basket of debris.
3) Empty multicyclone so its debris did not affect the treatment
4) I should have scrubbed down the walls of the pond to expose any bacteria living in the algae, but I didn’t
5) Put on rubber gloves and eye protection.
6) mix the PP in a liter/ .5 gallons of water then add to pond around the sides, especially near folds.
7) watch the water turn Purple, then pink, then brown over 2 hours (your time may vary)
8) 4 hours later, changed about 10% of the water, returned the filter mats to the filter overnight. The brown color dissipates overnight.
9) repeat steps 5-8 on the next day. Stayed pink less than 1 hour so there is much debris still in the pond. I added another 1/2 teaspoon.
10) repeat steps 5-7 on third day. Stayed pinkish for at least 4 hours so I am confident it is working.
11) Late on day 3 I added 1.5 pints of Hydrogen peroxide to change the brown tea colored water back to clear-ish.
12) performed a 30% water change.

I am not seeing the sparkly water everyone talks about but it is clearer with less floating algae debris. The algae inside the multicyclone prefilter even is gone. But I do expect to have Nitrite and possibly even ammonia show up in the next couple of days since I likely killed all the good bacteria that lines the piping, unless the bacteria in the filter matting is still strong enough.

UPDATES – 2 days later Nitrite and Nitrate have spiked but no higher than before.
One week later I am seeing the sparkle again, I have been changing out about 100 gallons per day. Nitrite is reducing again.

From a skills required standpoint this is easy to do. Be sure to wear gloves, eye protection, and old clothes.
From an “Am I confident I’m doing the best thing for my fish” rating scale I give it a mid point mark. If you are not overdosing you can be assured you are killing some parasites and bad bacteria. But there is always that lingering doubt when adding chemicals to a pond.
Cost – $30 for 1 pound from my local fish store – But you can find it cheaper online. I wanted it from a trusted source.

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