Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Every day I get e-mails but this one e-mail has some very good questions…

Every day I get e-mails but this one e-mail has some very good questions that are probably asked the most frequently of all hobbyists, especially the newer ones that buy a Biofalls filtration system.

Dr. Novak

I met you at the Webb's house this last weekend and we spoke about Anoxic Filtration.  I have a few questions. 

1) I have several plants in my pond currently should I change over to the cat litter/Laterite mixture at this point?  Will that help?  I will not be able to dig a Anoxic Filtration system until mid fall.

2) My pond is about 4000 gallons and I currently use a skimmer that has a brush filter with a Matala blue filter mats in front of that.  Should I keep that in place?

3) I have a waterfall with bio balls in place it is about 2 foot deep.  Should I replace that with a pot with litter/Laterite?

4) Can I keep what I have in place and just add the new filter system to my pond?  Do they counteract each other?

Thank you,


Biofalls filters clog very easily and are too small for most ponds. Very restricted in how much water can go through them,too.

Photo taken from internet.

Question 1: If you have several plants potted up incorrectly, then yes by all means replant then in Biocenosis baskets. There are two good reasons why: One, the Biocenosis baskets can get acclimated and use the bacteria off your plant roots to become established. This will make cycling time much shorter instead of the 45-50 day it takes to establish a Biocenosis basket. Second, the plants themselves must get use to working for their food by taking in ammonia instead of Nitrogen. As you may well know all plants when transplanted except maybe Mums, will go into a shock and then spend most of their energy developing a root system. The warmer pond water will help accelerate the bacteria growth better than in the cooler waters of autumn.

Question 2: The skimmer your currently using should stay in place. A good skimmer before the Anoxic filter is paramount for lower TDS, CE and a higher redox. Sounds to me like you have a good skimmer already and you don’t have to replace it or upgrade.

Question 3: I’ve talked about biofalls filters in the past and they are always overrated on what the can accomplish in ones pond. Good for garden ponds only but not for Koi or heavily stocked Goldfish ponds. So, get your Biocenosis baskets all set up then in late August sometime take everything out of the biofalls and replace with Biocenosis baskets if you like or leave it empty. Most people will only place Water Hyacinth in their empty biofalls for cosmetic reasons.

Question 4: Keep your prefilter and have it go to your Anoxic filter but you don’t have to remove your old biofalls filter if you don’t have to, that’s up to you. However, do not run that filter (Leave it empty; see question 3 for more info.) with an Anoxic filter because it is such a counterproductive filtration system. If you said you had a Nexus filter for example I would say keep it and run that one too. Biofalls filters are nothing more than mechanical filters that clog too easily and sway hobbyists into believing they have done something good when they really haven’t because of clogging.

Furthermore, they are just too high in maintenance, and people tend to get lazy with them and won’t clean them as often as they should. If Biofalls are not cleaned regularly then TDS will rise and redox will fall. Just because the turbidity of the water looks clean ,doesn't mean you have good water quality. An Anoxic filter needs to be cleaned twice a year only with a good pre-filter before it, but a Biofalls filter  no matter what kind of pre-filter you're using  should be cleaned once a month and/or more often in peek pounding season when detritus, fish waste and smuts are at their worst. To me, Biofalls filters are a new hobbyists nightmare because they are never told the truth when they buy them.

The two photos above are only a small part of WEBB'S filtration system. Nexus filter had no air going to it and the K1 was not moving. We alerted someone and they found the airline had broken.

Anoxic Filtration System by Syd Mitchell, Tony Ruiz & Dr Kevin Novak

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