Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pre-Filters and the pros and cons about them.

 I can see there’s a lot of talk about pre-fertilization and the pros and cons about such. I will let everyone know what scientist already know, that I, assumed everyone knew already. However, some hobbyist may start getting confused over the discussion that is going on here on KoiVet.

 First, a pre-filter is nothing more than a mechanical filtration system/device. It is not and was never intended to be a biological filtration system nor should any hobbyist assume it is. Whatever pre-fertilization one uses before biological filtration takes place, is strictly up to the hobbyist and their priorities on maintenance.

 Second, the cleaner the pre-filter stays, the higher the redox of ones pond will be and the longer before cleaning intervals of the biological filtration.

Last, but not least, all pre-filters should be easy to maintain, the easier it is to maintain the device, the more readily a person is likely to keep up with its maintenance.

For example; my pre-filter is nothing more than a large drainage box that you can buy at any hardware store.  It draws water from the main pond bulk water from its top, with an 3624gph hobbyist pump; through several filter mediums before water is dispersed by a diffusion system into the Anoxic filter. About 90% of all particulate matter is now withdrawn from its incoming source before it becomes diffused in the filter. I myself do not know what the big fuss is about pre-filtering the pond water before biological filtration takes place.

Even with such a simple device, what we notice through testing (this was with all ponds using a pre-filter before biological filtration) is that the longer the intervals between cleanings, the lower the redox became and the turbidity of the main pond suffered. Through this did not show any immediate affect on the animals’ heath per-say, we did notice that the metabolic rate of the animals increased. After cleaning out the pre-filter, within twelve hours the fish were back to normal. Though these studies are not conclusive, it does bring up the question of how water quality deterioration can affect our animals very quickly, without one noticing this deterioration by sight alone.

We also notice that the dirtier the biological filtration system became, this also correlated with what we found with dirty pre-filters, redox always suffered. Bottom drains that were not pre-filtered before biological filtration takes place were always an issue that drew much attention on the bulk water parameters and how well ones animals did in the long run. These insults sometimes will overwhelm the biological filtrations bacteria’s ability to process foodstuff. If any hobbyist pumps the bulk water from their pond in any manner, without per-filtering that water first, redox will always suffer and biological processes will be influence by such macro and micro particulate matter. Such insults are to be avoided at all cost if one can help it. In order to overcome these problems, filtration manufacturers are always trying to make filtration systems that will carry more biological surface area than ever before. I think the word I should be using here is “clogging” by particulate matter and not only by bio-film.

 The last time I cleaned my filtration system out, was in late winter (March) and I told one of the KoiVet administrators, that he could look at my filter himself to see how dirty it was if he liked. After five months of running with a heavy fish load, and feedings, the filter still looks clean (it is not a big settlement chamber full of detritus as some hobbyist think), with very little detritus and smuts. In other words foresight is far better than hindsight in planning a good filtration system and pre-filter.

 My fish and my beta test pond fish are not as old as they are for no good reason (25-years for mine and 20-years for his, true age). They are as old as they are because we allowed water parameter to stay as high as we humanly possible could with reasonable expenditure on our part, to keep it that way. I must admit that the work expenditure is minimal, at least I think so. However, we also failed in are husbandry like all people do, and let things laps for too long a period, and the only thing that carried us through those lazy times; was the Anoxic filtration system.
 I guess spending a few minutes a day cleaning out a pre-filter is a mall price to pay, than replacing a $2000.00 dollar Koi, or going on KoiVet looking for a cure for an exacerbating problem that’s making our fish sick. However, that decision is up to each individual, and how much work they wish or willing to expend on their ponds.

For me, I clean my pre-filter out once a week and if I am in a good frame of mind, maybe twice a week, but that is only if I am in a good mood. However, any pre-filters cleaning, will be dictated by the parameters of the pond.
I also will add, even though I advocate at lest two large water changes when cleaning the Anoxic filtration system each year, and this is “bare minimum” on water changes. Some hobbyist will not even do that, because it is too much work or their water bill will get too high. As I said before, people are going to do whatever they want, and not always, what we tell them to do, a good filtration systems designer must consider that.
Here is a more sophisticated pre-filter use in Italy by Dr. Franco.
A good pre-filter is like a respirator that protects our lungs, you may get by without one, but then the risk you take could be fatal if neglected.

A newly set up pond using an Anoxic Filter first being pre-filter before any water goes to the filter itself.

Anoxic Filtration Book... Still free on Apple's iBook store

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