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Perfect Koi Pond Information Filter Systems

Filter Systems

Filter Systems:

Filter systems should be sized near 1/3 of the water volume. When choosing a koi pond filter you are making huge decision for the future of your fish and your pond in general. Not only do they help to keep your pond water clear, they are responsible for removing organic waste and undesirable compounds from the water. In effect, the setteling Chamber and Biological Chamber on a Koi pond is really a small sewage treatment unit. If these wastes are not removed, your koi could get very sick and possibly die. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you choose the right koi pond filter. Do not get caught up all the advertising claims, these “Black Boxes” just can not deliver. Some provide zero filtration, some are mildly efficient but none can ever come close to the wishful performance claims made by manufactures. In just about every example, the small and totally inadequate box size completely hides what is really taking place. If total cleansing is required, (which is often do to size,) then the only real way to ensure that this is achieved is to manually strip the box down of all contents, wash them thoroughly and start again, usually with a complete loss of valuable bacteria. Sand filters are a nightmare and any bottle filter can never be cleaned completely, only diluted. All this is accomplished with an extreme waste of money, time and pond water.

Note: You must see the waste inside your system, and then you’ll know when to clean or when it is clean.

See this short video on how simple filtration is:


Vortex Settling Chambers

Vortex Settling Chambers

Vortex Settling Chambers:

These chambers are open to be seen and are best made of cement block and coated or Fiberglass tanks. I like fiberglass because it can be repaired or reconfigured any way one chooses. The settling chamber works best as a gravity fed system. Never pump water to settling chambers, when waste is pumped, it is emulsified, making separation thousands of times more problematic. This chamber is for removing large solids and debris coming from the bottom drain. The water enters this chamber tangentially mid tank above the cone allowing for the heavier particles to sink to the bottom and the clean water to rise to the top and move on to the Bio-Chamber. Vortex chambers should be as large as possible. I recommend at least 48 inches in diameter by 66 inches deep with a conical shaped bottom. A tank like this holds 450 gallons. The benefit of the open design is you can see the waste and when cleaning is needed. With recommended flow rates a chamber like this will be over 95% effective removing solids.

Note: I like to make these chambers with a 10 inch flat at the bottom of the cone for ease of cleaning. By having this flat and using a pump to clean, I save hundreds of dollars on pluming and labor digging a drain.

Cleaning Vortex Settling Chambers:

Shut off in coming water and then position a submersible pump ¾ down, pump out clean water to pond. Next set pump on flat bottom and pump water back on the waste to mix completely. Now pump waste water to plants or discard. Open valve allowing pond water to flush out drain and pluming, when water runs clean, shut off valve. Pump waste water to plants or discard, your chamber is now clean, open valve. You have just cleaned this open top vortex settling chamber with a small amount of water and you can see it’s clean.

Bio-Conversion Chambers:

Bio-Conversion Chambers:
Bio-Conversion Chambers:

Clean water from top of settling chamber enters the Bio-Chamber at its top. This chamber is biologically active for breaking down dissolved toxins. The Bio-Chamber is the most customizable, it can be any shape, but size is important. I like to use a 48” x 50”, 400 gallon fiberglass chambers or larger. In this chamber I support the bio-media 12 inches off the bottom. This support holds an aeration ring to keep bio-media fully aerated for optimum performance. An additional aeration ring is used on the very bottom for the purpose of back washing the media. I’ve used just about every kind of media on the market, some are better then others. I make and use Bio-Ribbon. This media has more surface area per volume than any thing I know, the more surface area the better. This surface is where the biofilm of nitrifying bacteria live. As a gravity flow system, water inters at the top of chamber, flows down through the Bio-Media. There is a 10 inch tube going to the bottom through the center of the media, the water enters the bottom of this tube and fills with clean, bio-treated water. We pump water, from this point, for the first time since the water left the pond.

Cleaning Bio-Conversion Chambers:

Shut off in coming water and then add compressed air to lower aeration ring. Start air flow at a low setting, this will start the bubbles to dislodge any waste clinging to bio-media. Turn up air pressure and really shake media. The Dirt and waste will fall to the bottom space as well as mix with water in chamber. Position a submersible pump down the center tube and on bottom of chamber. Pump out waste water to plants or discard. Rinse media from top to fill lower chamber, agitate with air and Pump out waste water to plants or discard. Turn off air, open valve to refill with pond water, remove pump. You have just cleaned your Bio-Conversion chamber for another year. You did not remove any media or did not kill any bacterial colonies or microscopic
bacteria. Cleaning was fast and used only a small amount of water per year.