Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I suspect that I am hi-jacking this thread, but I can't figure out how to ask Dr. Novak a direct question on this Blog. Apologies in advance.

1 comment

Apr 24, 2014


I suspect that I am hi-jacking this thread, but I can't figure out how to ask Dr. Novak a direct question on this Blog. Apologies in advance.

Question to Dr. Novak, or others:

(1) Is it counter-productive, or more specifically, harmful to have too many BC baskets in an anoxic filtration system? I've just completed an inside dimension 3'x3'x10' tank, holding 500+ gallons. Water is being moved via a sequence 7,800 gallon pump. I live in Ft Lauderdale, so the pond is active 365 days / yr, with a lot of sun / string algae is the summer. I might have gotten a little carried away. I put 3 layers of 27 11x11x7 baskets (81 total...Oil-Dri from Grainger’s worked the best for me, by the way). Each layer rests on 10' x 1.5" square solid PVC molding runners, so there is plenty of surface area for each basket. I put 5/8" Plexiglas sheets with a zillion holes drilled in them two locations to act as baffles to prevent water channeling. The top layers of BCB’s are 6" below the surface of the water.
Query? Is this too many baskets?
Query? Will the baskets that are so close to the surface be able to become anoxic?

(2) I am a fan of using Potassium Permanganate, followed by Hydrogen Peroxide, to clarify the pond every couple of months. Gives spectacular results and eliminates any parasites that might have found their way into the eco system. (We don't have winters to retard them off.) I currently by-pass the bio filter (but not the mechanical vortex filter) when I treat with PP / H2O2. The Anoxic tank is plumbed so that it can feed all, some, or none of the circulating water through it. Do you see the PP / H2O2 having any negative impact on the anoxic filter / bacteria? Should the anoxic filtration system be by-passed when treating, or are the bacteria so buried in the clay and laterite that it doesn't matter?

Thank you for any advice you can offer, and again I apologize for piggy-backing on this thread.



Thanks B. Pender for the question and my apologies for not getting to your questions sooner.

Query? Is this too many baskets?

In reality you can’t have too much filtration in any closed system pond and that also goes for how many BCB’s you may have in your AFS.  Aquascape’s is a good example on this theory if you look at how their ponds are built.  They are a company that believes in making the filter as large as the ponds mass by adding rocks and pebbles to the bottom of them. (1).  So, this is not the case where you would be “gilding the lily” as they say with too many BCB’s because each BCB is an independent magnet in a way and only how much maintenance do you or can you handle will be the limiting factor here. I would say your setup sounds perfect and has more BCB’s in it than 14,000-35,000 gal ponds would have.


Query? Will the baskets that are so close to the surface be able to become anoxic?

The BCB’s that are closes to the surface of your Anoxic Filter will still have the same amount of oxygen as the deeper ones will. There are other chemical and biological reactions taking place inside a BCB that make oxygen  and because it is not just brought in by diffusion alone the bacteria can also steal it from other sources if need be. Water going into a BCB is regulated by the permeability and porewater makeup and electrical charge of the clay itself and not governed by where it is sitting in the filter. If the substrate was larger in unit size, then too much oxygen, water and detritus would pass through it and if it was any smaller, then just the opposite would happen and only obligatory anaerobic bacteria would dominate the media. Two good examples would be pea gravel or small aquarium gravel would be too large and earthen dirt or sand would be too small and would compact cutting off the porewater capabilities of the substrate. Once the substrate is compromised then all is lost in the bacteria world.


Do you see the PP / H2O2 having any negative impact on the anoxic filter / bacteria?

The only time Potassium Permanganate or Hydrogen Peroxide would have a negative result/impact on the BCB’s bacteria is in an overdose, and I think by now if you have been using these chemical for this long then you know how to administer these chemical in the proper quantities for the safety of your animals.

That’s one good thing the AFS has over most filters used today is it can take chemical treatment(s) for fish health problems better than most filtration system do without the negative side effects. If you are using the Zeolite cat litter then special cation must be taking using some chemicals because of the absorption capabilities of Zeolite cat clays are not chemically friendly. Kiln dry and baked cat clay on the other hand is inert and it seem as though nothing bothers it.


(1)  I will try and explain about Aquascape’s filtration ideas and how they try and turn their whole ponds bottom into a filter media to house bacteria by adding rocks and pebbles to them. The theory is to increase the surface area for bacteria growth like they did in aquariums years ago. The trouble with their implementation of such is that the intersection of topography is now limited from water movement through the substrate. Maybe 50-years ago this practice was the norm, but because science has found out differently, their ideals are questionable and are scrutinized by many hobbyist.

I have tried endlessly to talk to Aquascape’s and give them some new ideals and to get their bad reputation straighten out, but they are constantly at meetings. If this company would just sit-down and listen to better ways to improve what they have, they could shed that bad publicity that I hear about from others and make more money on top of it.

I even went to one of their pond clubs meetings, and was told by the president of the club: They have to follow what Aquascape’s tells/dictates to them are all funding will be pulled from the club, so new ideals and/or improvements are stemmed right from the get-go! This does not look good for a club that’s foundation rest on “educating the public on ponding”.

I have never own one of their ponds but some hobbyist like them (That’s if the cleaning work is done by someone else.) and others have nothing good to say about them after having one of their ponds built in their backyards. I guess the cleaning of all that gravel once a year is just too much for some hobbyist to do and dread it or forgo it altogether and never do it at all. I really hate to see a company in Illinois get a bad rap from hobbyist but closing the door on new ideas is not the way to change it.

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