Friday, December 6, 2013

The proof is in the pudding!

The proof is in the pudding!

As you read these excerpts you will soon find out why conversations about AFS start out nice and with lots of info. But soon your know-it-all hobbyists comes into the conversation and all Hell breaks loose with a barrage of questions that are aimed at undermining me and the AFS and its science. 

I always think to myself: If these hobbyist are so great like they would like everyone to believe: Then why is it they don’t come up with a better filtration system themselves to better this hobby? It’s very easy to criticize someone for their achievements, but trying to do better than them; well it’s not so easy. Years of research, time, and money and most importantly picking yourself back up after each failed experiment. It’s okay to ask questions, I’m all for it, but when you become vindictive in your wording, then you have crossed the line. 

I answer questions all the time for people and with admiration for those that ask. This is a learning process that we all must go through. However, there is deference in asking and/or telling someone that they are wrong and you are right. If you believe you are right for some reason and I’m wrong; them bring up the scientific proof on the same subject line as we are talking about and not some anecdotal proof of what someone clams is right. There is a lot of anecdotal information in periodicals and books that has been proven wrong by today’s standers. Yet, many hobbyists believe in this misinformed information and become dishearten when they fail. 

I myself do everything possible to make sure anyone using the AFS is a complete success with their pond and animals. Yet, I do not sell or make any incomes off this system at all. Just look at all the other filtration systems out there and they all have some way of making money off of the hobbyist and the information you get will cost you in the long run. There are no hidden gimmicks or cost when making an AFS, it is what it is! Though a lot of hobbyist would like to believe it doesn’t work and they will make it their mission in life to discredit it: But what real agenda do they have in doing so? What purpose does it serve? Have they now become the new government/dictatorship of the Koi hobby? Or are they looking for their Andy Warhol fifteen minutes of fame? 

I have often talked about Zack Velev in my blog that exclusively uses the AFS, a hobbyist that grows large Koi and sells them off to hobbyist that can’t grow them as big as his. He not only grows them but is one of the best Koi showers at the MPKS Koi show, too. When his Koi win, he now commands a better price for them and he wins a lot. So before you start badmouthing others that use the AFS or me for that matter, look at any MPKS newsletter that shows the winners of their Koi show and look how many time his name is mentioned. You can’t grow beautiful top quality big Koi like he does in garbage water. As they say: The proof is in the pudding!

Photo on left is of a 2013 Champion “B” Zack Velev- Kinginrin A – Under 8”, Best Tosai under 8” along with St. Louis Watergardening Society Friendship A award for his Koromo/Goshiki 16-20” and won 21 times more for his Koi in that show.

In 2012  he won Best in Variety 8-12” Kohaku 1st place,
Kohaku 12-16” Best in Variety
16-20” Goshiki Best in Variety
16-20” Sanke 2nd place
20-24”  Showa 1st place
12-16” Utsuri 2nd place and 16-20” 3rd place
16-20” Asagi/Shusui 2nd place
20-24” Koromo 2nd place
16-20” Hirkari Muji  1st place
8-12” Hikari Moyo  1st place
8” Hikari Utsuri 1st place
8-12” Goshiki 3rd place
8-12” Tancho 2nd place
8-12” Gin Rin “A” 1st place and also 3rd place
8-12” Gin Rin “B” 2nd place

To see more photos of Zack click on link below.

In 2010 he won 14 times with his Koi along with Yong Champion pictured and Baby Champion.

 Another one of Zack's Koi at the MPKS Koi show.

People are almost waiting in line to get his Koi when he grows them out and sells them to hobbyist. For him this is part of the hobby and for others that can’t grow their Koi as big as his…well then they need to change their filtration system to the AFS.


The Koiphen Chemist: Roddy

I have used lilies potted in kitty litter as my filter system in my goldfish and golden orfe ponds for at least the last 10 years. Okay, they are not in a separate filter system, and, okay, they are not the formal Anoxic system. But if I remove one of the plants and repot it, the strong odor of hydrogen sulfide coming from the repotting process convinces me the kitty litter in which the roots of the lilies are growing is quite anoxic! [Ed: If you smell Hydrogen sulfide then your substrate is not Anoxic put anaerobic in nature.] I have learned not to take on this task unless I have a strong wind to keep me from going under due to the hydrogen sulfide fumes from the lily pots when repotting lilies.

No, I have not seen the specific technology in person described as an Anoxic filter system (AFS), but certainly when I look at pictures of that system, folks who use a veggie filter appear to my old eyes to be doing essentially the same thing.

And, YES, the system with a huge lily field in pots in a huge gravel bed which is automatically cleaned every month or so is way upscale compared to the Anoxic filter system described in this thread.



Roddy, I've been utilizing The AFS for 3 years now, and have had to repot several plants. Large yellow Water lilies and yellow flag Iris. There was absolutely no hydrogen sulfide odor present in any of these pots. I've also abused my system with no major water changes other than refilling the Anoxic filter pond with 900 gallons 2X per year. And replacing the water lost to evaporation. This system works exceptionally well for my Koi Pond. Although it takes longer to complete the Nitrogen cycle initially, it outdoes any previous biofilter I've used. BTW I’m in Zone 5 with 5 months of cold winter weather as well.


“Although it takes longer to complete the Nitrogen cycle initially, it out does any previous biofilter I've used. BTW I’m in Zone 5 with 5 months of cold winter weather as well.”

I'm testing the Anoxic filter since 3 weeks and I see is a bit slow to "start". Doctor Novak said it need only one week.
What do you think about my situation?




Hi Franco! In my case, I had.25 ammonia and .25 nitrites and Nitrates to 20 ppm for the first 45 days then all started dropping. By October there was ammonia 0.0, nitrites 0.0, and nitrates <5. The following spring I was back to these readings by mid-May. I don't know about your fish load, but don't over feed and watch for any signs of stress in them until the filter pond cycles. Good luck and have fun. Darrell



Hi Dkoinut,

Have you any advice for how to start the AFS any quicker? Can you "add" the right bacteria from the start or do you just have to let nature take its course? I've seen ways of starting up a conventional system more promptly with a fishless cycle - is there an equivalent option for an AFS system?

Cheers, Mark



Hi Mark. The short answer is no, to the best of my knowledge. But what I did was to keep some conventional filtration which I used until the AFs cycled. If you have fish in the pond now, feed lightly and do frequent water changes until it does cycle completely.


Dr. Franco:

Sorry I forgot to update my big anoxic filtration test.
Well, as you can see from my blog, the test is finished.
(Sorry is in Italian but you can translate it with Google)

The results are that ANOXIC FILTRATION WORKS.
It takes 45 days (Dkoinut was right) to have a full work but if you can see from my pictures the pond was new. 20 mature koi in it and 28 biocenosis pots, but no plants at all and not bacterial of any kind added.
Po4=0 all the time
Ammonium= 0.3-0,4 feeding days, and 0,1-0,2 not feeding days (first 45 days testing)
Ammonium= 0 all days starting from day 45, the koi now are being feed 2-3 times a day
Nitrates= 8-10 like the municipal water for all the testing period.
GH= 17
KH= 11

But today I tested aquarium (700 liters) water where I put 2 pots a little smaller than others (23x23 cm instead 28x28), not later than 2 weeks ago.
Before values for the aquarium were:
Po4=0,5 - 0,75
all the time since 2 years.

With my surprise the results were after adding the biocenosis pots:
ammonium and nitrite =0

I think that in the aquarium were the water is "old" the anoxic filtration can start very quickly, but in "new" waters it takes much more time to have a full working system.

In the middle of November I'll take the truck (this time) and I'll bring back to Italy tons of cat litter from UK (Tesco! It's better to make a big order of clay from Damolin this time!!!) for all my friend pond hobbits.

Last edited by Franco Prati; 10-22-2010 at 10:26 AM.

Visit my BLOG:


Franco, thanks for your reports, I know you've had a very difficult time finding all the components for your anoxic system.


What other filtration are you using? I think I remember in an earlier posting that Dr. Novak indicated that pre-filtering the water was very helpful in making the baskets work well.




Franco I am very interested in your posts and have joined Koiphen to reassure you. I am in the UK and just started my build which can be seen here I will have an anoxic filter pump fed from some very basic homemade mechanical filtration (want sieves in the future just have to wait for bank balance to catch up) then gravity returned to pond (not waterfall too cold here for that).

I have been reading this thread for a long time as a "guest" and was very disappointed that it broke down after the constant barrage aimed at Dr. Novak but you have kept it alive Franco so don't stop posting.



Franco: are you using any sort of prefilter for the anoxic pond and are you getting any settlement?


Dr. Franco:

Boethius I'm using a Midi sieve for the Novak’s testing pond but the 200 micron filter mesh is not the best for very small particles.

My friend is building a mechanical trommelfilter using a tissue of 40 micron. This will resolve completely the problems inherent the pond maintenance: A perfect mechanical filter, and a perfect (my personal opinion) biological Novak system.
No other filtering system in my pond until now.

Few days ago I tried a new experiment but in winter time is not the best. However....
I take 3 containers half filled with water (20 liters) then I put inside 2 mg/l of NH3.
The first container is for control and I left it so.
In the second container I put a big Iris pseudacorus 1 meter tall
in the third container I put an 11"x11"x9" biocenosis pot.
No pump moved the water.

3 days later the results were:
1° container = ammonium 2,0
2° container = ammonium 0,2
3° container = ammonium 0,00000

Next spring I'll test it better with more plants (ex. Tipha, Iris, Lotus, Acorus, Water Hyacinth, etc.).
I'll add a small scale traditional pond with activated biological filtration, feed with pump.
Then the classic Biocenosis Pot.

I'll test the ammonium three times a day and after I'll report all values in a graph to compare them.
What do you think about?

Last edited by Franco Prati; 10-30-2010 at 09:48 AM.

Visit my BLOG:


Dr. Novak:

Hello Franco,

  Was looking on Koiphen and saw you were doing some experiments on the Anoxic filter, keep up the good work. People all over the world are reading your blog and what you have to say about the Anoxic Filtration System. So don’t ever think that Koiphen is not being read, on what you have to say, it is. Anytime someone of your caliber does something to help others is never a waste of time or disinteresting.

  I know some do testing and do it all wrong for their own personal reasons and not for the benefit of the hobby or the fish that we keep. Good luck in the New Year.



No comments: