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Posted:  29 May 2015 16:16  
I'm new to the forums here, so I apologize if I don't follow the accepted procedures just yet.  I'm looking for some help with an indoor fountain at my building, it has become a maintenance nightmare. 

The problems have ranged from red/orange algae when untreated, requiring water changes (3500 gallons) and cleaning every other month or so, to a water scale build up when treated with bromine.  The water scale was an issue when untreated as well, but the frequent water changes allowed for the stone to be cleaned and treated more frequently, making it less of an issue. 

I run a pool filter every month to keep the water as clean as possible and use stone sealers to keep as much scale from sticking to the stone as possible, but nothing seems to change anything enough to attribute it to one thing or another.  I have tried lowering the pH, tried calcium hardness reducers, but just seems like more work for no gain.

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Posted:  31 May 2015 18:01  
I'm not an expert on pond maintenance indoors, but we have had some experience with them in our interiorscape accounts.  Most problems are source-related.  If your water supply is mineral-rich, unless the owner commits to an R/O (reverse osmosis) system to get almost-pure water at the source before it gets to the pond, you're going to have these issues continuing.  Pool filtration is okay to cut down on bacterial and algal growth, but if there is a source nearby (irrigation water splashing from the plants is a major source of bacterial and algal contamination), you will get reinfection on a continual basis.  UV sterilization can help, but systems can be expensive and require maintenance themselves.

There is a lot of work being done in this field, because mineral deposits cause millions of dollars worth of damage and premature failure of water delivery systems in homes and commercial buildings.  Here's an interesting article I found:http://www.watertechonline.com/articles/getting-rid-of-mineral-scale

Basically, the best strategy is removing most of the calcium and magnesium ions that combine with and precipitate out the carbonate ions in the water to form scale.  This needs to be done at the water source coming into the fountain BEFORE it gets in.  That requires a system like the R/O or a water-softening system.  However, softened water is toxic to plants and not completely effective for the purpose of removing minerals from the water source, but it's cheaper than R/O and can handle larger volumes of water.

Ideally, an R/O system coupled with a UV sterilization system will reduce source contaminants and microorganisms and keep your pond cleaner longer.  Periodic cleanings or acid flushes of the system may still be necessary.  Good luck!

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