Filters are great; they do your dirty work without complaining. But they will need a little love from time to time to keep them in fighting shape. We all know that it is important to clean your filters, but how much is too much? When do you have to replace your filter, and for that matter with all those options which one do you choose? Questions like these can haunt a pond owner, but with some guidance, you will be on your way to becoming a savant.
Types of Filtration
Filtration can be separated into two types – mechanical and biological. Mechanical filtration removes algae, leaves, and other larger debris. Biological filtration provides a home for your beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria are responsible for getting rid of the excess nutrients that cause algae blooms.
Choosing Your Media
There are lots of options available, so it can be difficult to determine which media to use and where to put it. Having a mix of filter media will be your best bet to making sure you are getting your mechanical and biological filtration. Below are some options to help you filter through the choices:
- Standard Density - Biological Filtration: While Standard Density media provides some mechanical filtration for larger particulates, its primary focus is to provide surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. The bacteria colonize within the media fibers, removing ammonia and nitrites caused by fish waste and debris.
Note: Standard Density filter pads are constructed with an open weave design, allowing for higher water flow rates and will require less frequent cleaning compared to higher density products.
- High Density - Mechanical Filtration: If your pond water contains fine particulates, High Density filter media is great option. High-Density filter media is extremely efficient at trapping tiny particulates. Designed with closely-woven fibers, it works to "polish" the water. Once particulates are trapped, they can be removed from the media with a simple cleaning. When using multiple densities of filter media, be sure to layer your filter pad so that your water flow goes from the lowest density to highest density filter pad.
Note: When heavy particulates are present, High-Density filter pad will require more frequent cleanings to avoid a reduction in water flow.
Keep It Clean, Kind Of
Cleaning your filter is important, but cleaning it too frequently can wash away your beneficial bacteria. Mechanical filter pads can be cleaned every 1-2 weeks or when there is a reduced flow since they are filtering out the debris larger debris, but biological media should only be cleaned once or twice per year. If you are using a pressurized filter, like the AllClear, check to see if there is a pressure indicator and use that as a guideline for cleaning your filter. When cleaning, use pond water or gently spray with a garden hose rather than scrubbing them spotless with soap or harsh abrasives.
If the filter pads look worn on the edges or it has gaping holes, then it is time to get some new ones. Matala Filter Media Pads are specially coated to increase durability. Cutting your own filter pads can save you up to 80% compared to buying a pre-cut size designed for your filtration system. The filter pads we offer can be cut using a bread knife or heavy-duty pair of scissors. Use your old filter pad as a template to make sure you get the right fit.
Restart With Bacteria
After cleaning or replacing your media, give your filter a jumpstart by seeding your beneficial bacteria. If the water temperature is between 40-50°F, add Seasonal Defense to the pond or toss it right on top of the media in your waterfall box. If it's more than 55°F, use some PL Gel on your filter media and let it set for 1-2 hours before putting it back in your filter unit.
Good filtration starts with good media. When starting your pond in the spring and periodically through the season, make sure to check filters are in good working order. Doing so will save you time, hassle, and money because you will stay ahead of any potential problems and avoid dealing with insufficient filtration.