Ponds and Water Gardening forum: how does the filter work?

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Apr 6, 2016 1:06 PM CST
I have always had issues with this and can't seem to wrap my brain around setting up pond filters/ fountains, ect. all that stuff is like algebra to me Shrug!
I am not understanding how the water gets from the pond TO the filter. So if I set a filter box outside of my pond and then what? I have a pump, so the pump pumps water from the pond into the box where it is forced through a layer of foam, ect to clean it and then it is spilled back out. ?

I think this is not right because how does the pump pump dirty water BEFORE it is sent through the filter? Doesn't it clog up the filter? Don't I want only clean water running through the filter?

I know my question is dumb Rolling my eyes. Please help!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 6, 2016 1:07 PM CST
oh, my pond is about 12 feet long, 5 ft wide and 3 feet deep, how do I figure how much water I have?
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
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psa
Apr 6, 2016 6:11 PM CST

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There are multiple kinds of filters, so it's hard to be sure about your exact plumbing. It is common to have a pump before the filter with a gravity return, though, particularly if the filter is not sealed.

If you have multiple media pads in your filter, the first ones will remove some particulates, but the later ones are primarily to provide surface area for bacterial activity to turn harmful ammonia (from fish waste, uneaten food, and decaying material in the pond) into less harmful nitrates (via nitrites, but that's more chemistry than it sounds like you're looking for).

On my front pond, similar in size to yours, I have a pre-filter on the intake to my pump to keep it from clogging. It then pumps out to a filter box with coarse, medium, and fine filter pads. Only the first ones are for particulate removal (and I have a clean-out drain that helps clear out whatever is trapped in front of it). The rest is strictly biological filtration to detoxify the ammonia. I have to clean out the filter pads periodically, but not all at once, so that I don't shut down the bacterial filtration.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 6, 2016 6:31 PM CST
well if the filter is pumping dirty water to the filter, doesn't the debris clog the pump and cause it to shutdown, burn out or be ineffective? I plan on putting the pump down in the pond, so that it is not easily accessible.
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
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psa
Apr 7, 2016 7:46 AM CST

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I use a pump that will pass small debris (up to 1/4 inch). It won't handle things like grass well, though, so I have a coarse intake filter to screen for that. If your pump is sitting directly in your pond you can get boxes to place it in to protect it, or intake extensions that will attach directly to the pump intake.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Apr 10, 2016 10:42 PM CST
Yes, some debris like pine needles will tangle up in the impeller and clog up a pump. We have used different baskets on the intake area and even a mesh basket to house the entire pump so that dirty water can freely flow to through the pump to filter. They are a pain as they never stay in place. We clear out the pump regularly when ever we clean out the filters.
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Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
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psa
Apr 11, 2016 9:04 AM CST

Moderator

I actually ended up putting this on the intake:
http://www.amazon.com/BIO-Core-Pump-Pre-Filter-Size/dp/B005T...

It seldom needs cleaning, surprisingly (I measure the outflow for a decrease in throughput), but I have yet to go a full season with it, so we'll see.

trustmissy
Jul 29, 2016 10:39 PM CST
I think I have a similar situation. Our pump filter needed cleaning too often and the pond water was not clear. The people at the pond store told us that we needed another filter that is outside of the pond. But the pump filter still gets clogged up and has to be changed quite often, and the other filter never needs cleaning because the pump filter still ends up doing the filtering. What is the solution?
Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
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psa
Jul 30, 2016 8:44 AM CST

Moderator

Don't confuse biological filtration with particulate filtration. The ammonia produced by fish waste and the breakdown of biological material has to be detoxified to keep the pond healthy, and this can only be achieved by bacteria which require a lot of surface area to colonize. I don't know what kind of filters you are using, but you should have media of some sort in your system that does not clog up because you don't want to destroy the bacterial colonies (by cleaning out these filters) and disrupting their important work of keeping your water chemically safe.

If your intake filter is clogging up too often you either need more intake surface area or you have a debris problem in your pond that will require mechanical prevention and/or removal.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Jul 30, 2016 9:02 AM CST
I have mentioned to my DH that totally gutting the biowell several times a year to clear out the horrible algae might not be the best idea but he says he only lightly sprays the bags with the rock in them and also the two large mesh thingies (technical term lol). So he doesn't feel he is totally disrupting the bacteria. And we do have a fierce algae problem, especially string algae in the falls areas on the flat zones. I treat regularly with Algaway 5.4 from MicrobLift and it kills the algae but it still has to be filtered (mechanical) out by the skimmer. Tons still ends up in the biowell. I don't believe that the UV lights are functioning. Well, actually the 55W isn't even hooked up as we have tried unsuccessfully three times to get a new lamp up here and they arrive broken. He is thinking of buying three pressure filters (we have one now with 25W UV) and daisy chaining them. Seems rather extreme but he is okay with it.

Our water is clear and lovely right now. We have had a week of clouds and rain which has slowed down the algae and the pond looks great. Like a pond should lined with algae but not intrusive stuff.
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Name: Paul Anguiano
Richland, WA (Zone 7a)
GW & DG: tropicalaria
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Garden Photography
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psa
Jul 30, 2016 9:14 AM CST

Moderator

Yes, too much stuff in your bacterial filter can be a problem that has to be removed. When I do have to clean mine, I do half of it each time. Also, I do it at night, since sunlight kills these bacteria instantly...

The fish seem to eat all of my hair algae, interestingly. Sometimes it collects on the outflow, but if I rub it off the fish gobble it up... I'm pretty sure they didn't do that in previous koi pond, so I'm not sure where these got a taste for it.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
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Oberon46
Jul 30, 2016 11:22 AM CST
Such dedication. Cleaning your filter at night? lol But I can see your point. Doubt I could talk D into doing that though. And it would be difficult to clean half at a time unless I had vertical pads like a beehive to pull out. Unless you mean to only pull half the bags of rock. I ordered extra bags a long time ago. Have divided rock into six bags. The two they sent would have needed a crane to pull them up. They get pulled in the fall, washed, then laid on some pallets by the pond with the matts covered with plywood and poly. Obviously need recharging in the spring.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jul 30, 2016 1:29 PM CST
trustmissy said:I think I have a similar situation. Our pump filter needed cleaning too often and the pond water was not clear. The people at the pond store told us that we needed another filter that is outside of the pond. But the pump filter still gets clogged up and has to be changed quite often, and the other filter never needs cleaning because the pump filter still ends up doing the filtering. What is the solution?


yes! This is my question exactly! The pump gets clogged up as it sucks up water -that is unfiltered water, THEN it goes through the filter, but um what is the purpose of that? Biological blah blah yes I get that, but that doesn't fix the problem of having actual debris jamming the pump first!
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Aug 1, 2016 9:09 AM CST
I have my main pump in a skimmer so there are two layers of filter pads over it to keep most the algae out, as well as a skimmer basket. The smaller pump at the bottom of the deeper end pumps up to a pressure filter and it also gets really clogged with algae if I don't keep on top of it. I have the algae under control now by cleaning and treatments including barley plus the weather has gone back to its usual cloudy and cooler so the growth has all but stopped except in the falls and tiny stream areas where I have string algae to stay on top of.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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