In our last article we began our discussion on pond filtration by discussing UV light as a way to deal with some types of pond algae problems. It was also noted that ultraviolet light, as useful as it is, is not a cure-all for algae.
With that in mind, this is probably a good time to talk about another filtration method, that can be used alone, or in combination with UV. You might recall as well, that even though they are often called filters, UV is really nothing of the sort. A true filter, to be accurate, actually filters or strains particulates out of the water and discharges cleaner, clearer water back into the pond.
There are a number of different brands and models of pond filters that contain various forms of media, or filtering material in them. Some may also have a chamber or area where beneficial bacteria can colonize and build up for release into the pond. In others, UV lights might be installed for an “all-in-one” filter system. Some filters are “do it yourself” jobs, while others use sand and nature to do the work.
Like every aspect of pond related equipment, the best advice in choosing a filter, is to get one that’s more than adequate for the task and demands at hand. This means that if you have a 2500 gallon pond, it would be best to not try and skimp or get by with a filter designed for anything less. When you add fish into the equation, or other biologically active influences, you certainly need to take these into account as well.
It’s Important To Choose The Right Size Of Filter For Your Pond
Ideally in our example, you’d to choose a filter that’s rated at, or above the gallon size of the pond, and if the manufacturer includes a rating for fish stock, which be translated in total pounds or inches of fish, this would be good advice to follow. This is where a good degree of planning for the future growth of fish, and the development of the pond comes into play. It’s often not enough to just start out at a baseline level of filter capacity, simply because some elements of the pond are always developing and may need intervention or management later on. It’s easy enough if the fish population needs to be managed from time to time, by passing along overstock to other pond owners. It’s not as easy or inexpensive if you come to find that you have a poorly equipped filter system for a particular pond size.
As a general rule of thumb, if you have fish, you’ll very likely need and want a good pond filter system. Fish simply create so much waste in a smaller pond, that there will be a need to filter out this waste material, assist in the neutralization of ammonia, and provide a mechanism for sustained beneficial bacteria production. All of these things not only help keep the pond cleaner, but also more healthy as well.
Biological Bead Filters
Of all the filters on the market today, the very best of the bunch would have to be the high end, biological bead filters. These are incredibly good at filtering out waste material from the water. They are particularly useful for Koi and fish ponds in general since they can handle high loads of ammonia and nitrites, and they do a very good job of converting these potentially toxic substances into safer nitrates.
Bead filters also produce a large amount of beneficial bacteria which is one of the best tools for keeping a pond’s ecosystem in balance.
Filters like this contain some form of media. Many use biological beads, which is where the name of the filter comes from. Other models, like the Ultima II Filter from Aqua Ultraviolet, don’t use beads, but house a patented multi-chambered tube material, cut into short pieces, which are reported to retain a higher degree of bacteria, when cleaning out the filter itself.
It’s in the cleaning that the bead filters tend to really shine. Most units have what’s called a back washing feature, that means you usually never have to open the filter and clean out the insides. Routine cleaning can be done by a very simple procedure that requires no special equipment or dirty, stinky hands at the end of the process.
It should be noted that bead filters are considered the Cadillac of filtration. They are the most expensive models on the market but for that cost, they provide years of service and easy maintenance. If a bead filter may not fit into your budget, there are other less expensive options that we’ll talk about in an up coming article, including making your very own pond filter in a DIY project.
Do you have any advice or experiences with pond filters that you’d like to share? Please add your comments below!