Filtration for your water feature..

Filtration for your water feature.

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Filtration for your water feature

 

The No. 1 question people ask about water gardening is how to keep the pond water from turning green. The short answer is to minimize the number and size of fish in the water feature and to maximize the number of plants. A basic understanding that fish waste stimulates algae growth will help you to better manage your pond water.

The healthy balance of life in your water feature depends on a scientific phenomenon called the nitrogen cycle. This process of nature is as basic to aquatic life as photosynthesis is to plants. Successful pond owners understand how to harness the cycle for their benefit. Ignoring it leads to toxic water with dead fish and scavengers.

Basically here’s how the nitrogen cycle works. Fish eat food they find in the water digest it, and excrete waste.  This waste matter contains nitrogen in the form of ammonia. Uneaten fish food and other organic matter likewise contribute nitrogen in the form of ammonia. If left unchecked the ammonia becomes deadly to fish and scavengers living in the water.

Released into clear, fresh water healthy fish sometimes lose their appetite and die for no apparent reason. A water test reveals ammonia in excess of a level safe for fish. That’s because during the first four to six weeks of a pond life the colony of beneficial bacteria is developing and not yet able to handle the load of fish.

 

 

 

 

Filters with an added pump

 

Most mechanical filters come without a build in pump. If the filter doesn’t have its own pump connect one that’s appropriate for the size of the water feature. Use a pump with a minimum gph of half the feature water volume that can be connected to the filter using flexible vinyl tubing. Attach the filter to the pump’s intake where water is dawn into the pump. Before you attach the tubing to the pump’s intake or discharge, remove the pump’s screen or pre-filter unit which covers the intake and is designed to prevent clogging of the pump by keeping out leaves, twigs, and such. Do not attempt to take the pump apart that would void the warranty.

 

 

 

 

Filters with a build in pump

 

Some mechanical filters include a recirculation pump. One type of mechanical filtration unit features a pump build into the bottom half of the filter box. The top half consists of two foam filters, one on top of the other. The bottom filter pad rests on a perforated shelf that allows filtered water into the lower chamber. The pump then discharges the filtered water either directly into the pond or into flexible tubing to power a waterfall or water fountain. Some

 Mechanical filters operate outside the pond, making cleaning easier. In this case the water goes first to the pump, which forces the water through tubing to the exterior mechanical filter. The newly filter water then flows under pressure to a waterfall or stream, or directly into the pond. Before starting this type of filtration system, attach tubing to the pump’s discharge and run it to the intake of the filter unit. Then run tubing from the filter outlet to flow into the pond, stream or waterfall.

 

Aboveground biological filters

 

Most bio filters are designed to operate above the ground outside the pond. The pump sends pond water up to the aboveground filter unit. First it is aerated before flowing through the mechanical debris removal section. Then it flows through the high surface section housing the concentrated nitrifying bacteria and enzyme colonies and they detoxify the water. With some units the water passes a final sector of aquatic plants where nutrient removal reduces algae growth. The purified water then flows out of the unit.

 

 

 

 

In ground biological filters

 

Larger ponds especially koi ponds, frequently utilize in ground bio filters. Often made of high density polyethylene, they typically feature round chambers and conical bottoms. A typical unit sits in the ground with its top slightly above water level. A non submersible pump draws water through piping from the pond’s bottom drain. At the same time the pump pulls filter water from the chambers of the bio filter.

 

Pressurized biological filters

 

Also known as bead filters, these units operate within a pressurized housing. A high pressure non submersible pump draws water from the pond usually through bottom drains. A pressurized vortex at the pump’s intake removes heavy suspended matter from the water. The pump forces the pond water into the filter where nitrifying bacteria and enzymes flourish on beads designed to have high surface area. The filtration media collect suspended matter in the spaces between the beads. The slow water flow over the huge surface area provided by the beads allow excellent colonization on the bacteria and enzymes. Purified water forced out of the pressurized filter housing than goes to a waterfall or into the pond.

 

Plant filters

 

Plant filters make the nitrogen cycle work to your advantage through a simple concept. Pond water plant filters through an aquatic plant bed, allowing plants to do the work. If you want to make a plant filter such as a bog garden include it as part of the pond construction.  By integrating a plant filter into your water feature you’ll enjoy the plant’s unique qualities as well as their filtering abilities. Whatever surface area you plan for a new pond make the plant filter area about 25 percent of that figure. For example, when designing a pond with 120 sq. ft. of surface area, figure an addition surface area 30 sq. ft. for the plant filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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