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Pond Filtration Basics

From J. Eugene Jaramillo 

4000 Gallon Pressurized 24 Watts UV Bio Koi Fish Pond … eBayeBay

Building a Koi pond or water garden in your backyard can be a wonderful experience. What many new pond owners fail to realize; however, is the important of pond filtration. Unlike natural bodies of water, a backyard pond does not have a consistent fresh water source. This means a pond must be filtered on a continuous basis in order to ensure a healthy environment for live Koi and goldfish. Weekly water changes or adding various chemicals to your pond are not substitutes for a pond filter.

There are basically two types of filtration every pond owner should care about – mechanical filtration and biological filtration. Mechanical filtration involves the removal of debris and fish waste from your pond water. In a nutshell, the purpose of mechanical filtration is to remove everything that can be easily seen by the pond owner. Biological filtration, commonly known as bio, helps to achieve acceptable water parameters in your pond needed to provide a healthy ecosystem for Koi fish.

With the recent increase in popularity within the pond and water garden niche markets, today there are several pond filter systems available. Each of these systems is designed to provide some level of both mechanical and bio filtration. There are some notable differences; however, in terms of performance and the types of ponds and water gardens designed for use with these filters. In order to choose the best pond filter for your specific needs, it is first important to identify the type of pond you have.

There is a big difference between a simple water garden with a few small goldfish and a formal pond designed specifically with Koi in mind. As you might imagine, the filtration needs of these two systems are very different. Koi fish can easily reach nearly three feet in length and a single large Koi fish can create more waste than hundreds of small goldfish. So if your intent is to add Koi to your pond, it is essential you choose a filter designed for this purpose.

To minimize costs, many pond owners build their own filter using items that can easily be found any local home improvement store. Do-it-yourself (DIY) pond filters are commonly built using old Rubbermaid containers, blue 55-gallon barrels, and even old paint buckets. These containers are commonly paired with some type of bio media. Common DIY options when it comes to pond filter media include pot scrubbers, lava rocks, and PVC pipe shavings. Matala Filter Media, a commercial bio filter media, is also commonly used in many DIY pond filter designs.

For larger ponds with a high stocking rate of large Koi fish, a commercially available pond filter can often be more cost effective and easier to maintain than DIY options. From moving bed filters to bakki showers, there are a wide variety of Koi pond filtration systems to choose from. Many pond owners in the USA ultimately decide to install a pressurized bead filter. Similar to sand filters commonly used in swimming pools, bead filters are specifically designed for use in outdoor fish ponds. The Advantage Bead Filter, is one such filter commonly used in formal Koi ponds.

Whichever pond filter system you choose, ongoing maintenance should be a top priority. It is also very important to check your water parameters regularly using a liquid test kit to catch any potential issues. Quarantine protocols should also be undertaken for any new Koi fish purchases to prevent the spreading of disease and avoiding introducing additional parasites to your pond. Pond filtration is very important, but only one of several elements required to ensure optimal health for Koi and other pond life.

We hope you have found this article useful and informative and welcome any comments or questions.

Joes Ponds is a leading online retailer of quality pond supplies and water garden products. You can learn more about Joes Ponds by visiting their website at or contact them via phone at (760) 843-8304 during regular business hours.

Joes Ponds is a leading pond and water garden supply retailer committed to providing exceptional customer service. Specializing in pond filtration solutions, Joes Ponds has a passion for Koi keeping and water gardening and proudly offers free pond design help to customers worldwide.

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