Spring Filter Maintenance

Spring is a perfect time to asses your filtration to ensure you get maximum filtration efficiency over the pond season.  Filter maintenance is ideally performed before you start cycling your pond (if you winterized).  There are three general categories of filters:

1) Waterfall/Gravity Filters - Most common is the waterfall spillway filter, where pads and bio media are stacked in the basin and the water circulates up through the media and over a spillway.

2) Pressure Filters - These are canisters which typically are buried in the ground.  Incoming water is moved down the center of the media, then comes up through the pads and out.

3)  Bead Filters - These are typically oval shaped vessels (like a pool filter) which sit away from the pond and are fed by an external pump.

We will address maintenance for each filter category separately.  But first:

Simplify Your Life With a Pressure Filter!

One of the most common pond retrofits our pond contracting business performs is converting a pond with a waterfall filter to a pressure filter.  The customer call goes something like this: "I'm considering filling in my pond this year.  Taking those dirty, 50 lb filter pads out and cleaning them every week has become too much of a chore!"  We have walked many a customer off the ledge by suggesting a conversion to a pressure filter.

It is really quite simple.  You can bury the pressure filter just about anywhere outside the pond between the pump and the waterfall filter.  In most cases you do not need any tubing or fittings - just use what is already in place.  Once installed, throw away those old filter pads and leave any bio media in the waterfall filter, which now becomes a bio spillway.

Now on Saturday, rather than pulling out those heavy, dirty pads for cleaning, all you do is turn the pump off, turn a dial, turn the pump back on, and pull/push a handle up and down about a dozen time.  Done!  In every case where we installed a pressure filter retrofit the pond health is much better and the pond owner very happy!  As and added benefit, the better pressure filters have integrated UV clarifiers.

We recommend the Oase FiltoClear line of pressure filters.  Very well engineered, easy to clean, and with a UV clarifier.  The correct size depends mostly on your pump flow, not necessarily the pond size.

Oase FiltoClear 3000 - For ponds up to 3,000 gal / Max Flow 2,000 GPH / 22 Watt UV

Oase FiltoClear 4000 - For ponds up to 4,200 gal / Max Flow 3,000 GPH / 30 Watt UV

Oase FiltoClear 8000 - For ponds up to 7.900 gal / Max Flow 4,000 GPH / 60 Watt UV

Waterfall/Gravity Filter Maintenance
Pads are the key to get the most out of these filters.  Old pads, or poorly made pads, are almost worthless.  The edges curl and the water flows around the media.  If you need to upgrade your pads, there is no better choice than
Matala.  We use all four colors - with Black (coarse) on the bottom and Grey (fine) at the top, with Green and Blue between.  Get a size that is larger than you basin, then cut them with a utility knife so they fit snugly in.  These are very firm pads that do not curl, they have a unique weave that nhances for bacteria colonization, and they will last 5 years easy.

Pressure Filter Maintenance
Most pressure filter pads need to be replaced every two to three years.  Check your pads and if they look worn, order a fresh set.  Also, if your pressure filter has an integrated UV, replace the bulb once a year to make sure your getting maximum clarification.

Bead Filter Maintenance
Bead filters do lose beads over time.  Before you start up for the season, check your bead level to the manufacturer's specifications.  Generally, the vessel should be 2/3rds full with beads - but there are some differences between manufacturer's so check your owner's manual or the manufacturer's website.

Lastly, for the first few weeks cycling the pond, clean your filter media often.  We recommend twice a week for filter pads, and once every two days for pressure/bead filter backflushes.  When starting a pond, the filter is handling a very heavy load of organic material, so frequent cleanings are key.