Article 3 - Fish Pond Filters
Fish Pond Filters - An Overview
The fish pond filter is an essential part of the fish pond set-up,
as it removes solid waste and ammonia from the water. Without it,
there is no efficient and reliable way of maintaining the water
quality in your fish pond. It is therefore unkind to keep fish in
a fish pond without adequate filtration. It is important, therefore,
to have an understanding of how a fish pond filter does its job,
and how to look after it. The fish pond filters are designed to
remove ammonia, solid waste, as well as odors, colorants and pollutants
from the fish pond water.
Solid waste is sieved out of the fish pond water as it passes through
the fish pond filter's foam sponges. These can then be easily removed
from the fish pond filter and cleaned. In some fish pond filters,
advanced carbon impregnated sponges also mean that pollutants, colorants
and odors are removed from the fish pond water. Ammonia is produced
by the fish and is very toxic to them, with even low levels leading
to ill health.
Fish pond filters remove ammonia biologically, utilizing naturally
occurring nitrifying bacteria. These bacteria convert ammonia into
nitrite, and then they turn nitrite into harmless nitrate. Once
the fish pond filter is up and running properly, it will permanently
keep ammonia and nitrite levels in your fish pond at virtually zero.
Before the fish pond filter can efficiently remove ammonia and
nitrite from the fish pond water, it must first become fully colonized
with nitrifying bacteria. This can take some time and is a process
known as fish pond filter "maturation". Each time a fish
is put in the fish pond it will add to the total amount of ammonia
being produced. The ammonia level in the fish pond will therefore
increase slightly. Because there is more ammonia for the bacteria
to utilize, they start to multiply until there are enough to use
all of the ammonia being produced inside the fish pond.
The ammonia level in your fish pond will then fall back to zero.
As the ammonia level falls, the amount of nitrite produced by the
bacteria in the fish pond filter will start to increase. Therefore,
the level of nitrite in the fish pond will rise. The increasing
nitrite level means that the bacteria that break it down can start
to multiply in the fish pond filter until, as with the ammonia,
there are enough to use up all the nitrite that is being produced.
The nitrite level within the fish pond can then fall to zero. As
this occurs, the nitrate level increases.
In order to avoid dangerous peaks in ammonia and nitrite levels,
the fish pond should be stocked slowly, allowing the fish pond filter
to "catch up" with each new addition of fish. As a general
rule, a few fish should be added to the fish pond every one to two
weeks. Once the pond is fully stocked, the ammonia and nitrite levels
in the fish pond should remain permanently at zero. It can be very
useful to have a couple of test kits during the initial stages of
getting the filter going.
Depending on how much waste is being produced in your fish pond,
you will from time to time need to clean the media inside your fish
pond filter. The fish pond filter foams can be removed and sprayed
clean with the hosepipe, taking care not to get any water onto the
biological media. This is the media (usually plastic 'rings') that
beneficial fish pond filter bacteria live on. The carbon sponge
(if your fish pond filter has one) should also be replaced from
time to time, as it will become saturated and stop removing pollutants
from the water. The biological media should only be cleaned if it
needs it (i.e. if it is has solid waste on it), and this should
be done in a bucket of fish pond water. Under no circumstances should
you clean the biological media of the fish pond filter using water
from the hose. The low temperature and chlorine content will kill
off the nitrifying bacteria of the fish pond filter, leading to
severe fish pond water quality problems.
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