Thursday, March 20, 2014

Brian Woodcock’s Anoxic Filter cleaning for spring of 2014.

Brian Woodcock’s Anoxic Filter cleaning for spring of 2014.

Well, it’s that time of year again when filter cleaning and bringing everything back online for us in North America and the UK: ‘Cold weather hobbyist.’ In Chicago the weather is still not cooperating yet as good as it should be like in previous years and the snow in some spots is still over 2' deep (60.96 cm) in my yard.  

Before the first day of spring all pond and filter maintenance would have been done by now and a nice big water change would accelerate the Koi’s appetite within 72 hours. As long as the temperature is stable at 50°F (10°C) then with an AFS it is safe to feed once a day every other day with processed Koi foods along with worms and other natural foods supplements that they would find in the wild. When temps reach 55°F (12.78°C) and above, once a day will facilitate their requirements. This early feeding of your animals will go a long way in building up their immune systems and strength.

However, those that are using conventional filter must wait still for bacteria colonization once again of their filters unless their ponds were heated over winter. Without the adding of a lab bacteria culture it may take as long as 30 days or more to reestablish enough bacteria colonies in your filter to avoid ammonia (NH3) and Nitrites spikes. Let’s not forget the amount of ammonia that will be produced by the bacteria in the intestines if fed too early- because of the lethargic activity of the Koi- by proteins being broken down; if it’s not expelled then it will go into their blood stream. My Koi are very active now (They come to the top looking for food when I approach the pond.) even with the water not being stable enough for feeding. With such active Koi they are now eating Algae and other plant life or whatever is available to them at this stage. 

It doesn’t matter if the AFS was shut down completely or left running like mine was; it still has enough activated chemoautotrophic and facultative heterotrophic bacteria to take care of your needs until warmer weather prevails. What you may notice is that the AF will be full of cyanobacteria and yet your pond will not. But this is not an indication that your pond or filter is not running properly or you have bad water quality. This is a very common problem until the good bacteria starts making antibodies to kill off the unwanted blue-green algae as it’s called but in reality it is another bacterium trying to take hold, please remember that!  

Please read my post on Cyanobacteria for a better understanding of these nuisance bacteria that looks like string algae exactly.

This unwanted cyanobacteria will persists and become a good spawning media in early spring for your fancy goldfish that are in the filter. As time goes on and weather prevails it will subside as though it never happen by magic. 

However, I have seen ponds plagued with this bacterium using conventional filters all to often too, so it is just not isolated to an AFS problem. The difference is that only an AFS get plagued with this bacteria problem inside the filter and not in the main pond, it is just the reverse for those that use a conventional filter. Their filters may remain clean of the bacteria but then the pond gets full of cyanobacteria all year long. If you read the forums they are full of hobbyist complaining about string algae constantly. One of the problems is that conventional filter sometimes don’t logistically produce antibodies to eradicate this bacteria and therefore it plagues their pond all year long if evasive action isn’t taken with salt, hydrogen peroxide directly or indirectly in the form of Barley Straw or other chemicals, not so with an AFS. 

Though, it will once again come back at the end of the year when pond temps again begin to fall back into the low 50°F (10°C) and foodstuff become limited for higher bacteria forms. Also remember this string alga or blue-green algae AKA: Cyanobacteria will and can make its own foodstuff, so it doesn’t need to take any nutrients from solution and is endosymbiont and can live in a host. 

Some hobbyists are concerned about the newly supplemented fresh water that’s added into the AF directly and will all that available oxygen now in the AFS impair the bacteria bugs inside the filters BCB’s themselves? The quick answer is; not in the least, so don’t worry about it. The trillions of cell that are inside the BCB far outnumbering a conventional filter bugs and high oxygen penetration deep inside the BCB is not president even if the main water is at saturation point surrounding the BCB. The BCB is a very controlled and residual environment that favors the cells like that of a natural system does.

Brian’s pond parameters are:

Main municipal water from tap of NO3@ 25-ppm

Main pond water NO3@ 35-ppm after Anoxic Filter installation.

Before the AFS 80+ ppm of NO3, that’s a 45-ppm NO3 drop in Nitrates in about 6 months. He still has online his Bead filter.

Hi, Ok here goes, this is six months since the last clean.....started by removing all the plants. [Ed: If I'm not mistaken it was Brian's wife that did most of the work because he was on crutches.]

and this is the filter before the drain down, you can see some blanket weed but i must state i have none in my main pond.

Connected the layflat and started to drain.

This is the baskets after the drain down, you can see the blanketweed but not a lot Imo

I decided to remove the baskets to see what was under them. there was some mulm which didn't smell eggy at well happy

After the clean down by pressure wash. [Ed: This is really optional.]

Everything replaced.

Started the refill.

And job done

To add the anoxic was the best addition I have done, not saying it works for everyone but for me!! It has, my nitrates has dropped from 80+ to around 35ppm and considering my source water is around 25 ppm and I trickle in 6-700 gall a week its pretty good and yes I got a little BW but I still have a bead producing nitrates.

As for growth of fish........these were added 2 years ago and the majority were 20cm some smaller 3 are now 70cm+


 Thanks Brian and hope you recover soon.

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