Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I have a question.

Hi Kevin,
I have a question. I read there’s quite a bit of muck resting on the bottom of AFS after a couple of months and quite a few have suggested differing methods to rid of it. If I installed a “Water Filter system” just before AFS, like the ones for home use and backwashed it every week or so: Would it affect the AFS?
2.       If yes, how?
3.       If NO, does it improve AFS in any way? 
I believe it will remove the muck as it filters very minute particles up to 10 microns and leaves water clean and clear to AFS. Also easy maintenance and practically hassle free.
Thanks and take care,


Hi Bill,

When you say there is quite a bit of “muck” at the bottom of an AFS after a couple of months; this statement just isn’t true or is being misconstrued by those without any experience in using an AFS.  The muck as you call it gets into the filter by how? If you use a good prefilter then how does this muck become what it is?  One-way is through the dying off of the cyanobacteria as described in my last post, but this would be after the prefilter so that would explain how it got into the filter. Don’t forget the AFS is constantly killing off this string algae 24-7 and this too would add to the overall mulm of the filter.

Another way would be if you don’t keep up with your plant husbandry and let the plants decay right in the filter. Then there is the airborne dirt that is a natural element of outside air and you can’t do much about it. But for someone to make like it’s nothing but a big cesspool of muck is something that I have never seen or witnessed in the 30 years of dealing with the AFS. I’ve been cleaning my AFS for some 25 years plus now and I can’t say it’s full of muck even after a years worth of use between cleanings.

Now lets look at the facts as they stand: If there was all this muck as some have stated, then why is TDS so low? Why is redox so high? Why is it that the AFS doesn’t place any burden on oxygen demands like conventional filters do and the water coming out of the filter is the same as the main ponds oxygen concentration? Why is growth rate of Koi better in an AFS than conventional filters?

I’m not saying there isn’t any detritus at the bottom of an AFS there is! However, what I’m saying is: Is it really a degradation on the ecosystem as a whole?  If it were then it would have negative consequences on our animals’ heath, growth, vitality, water quality parameters would be compromised and oxygen demand by heterotrophic bacteria would be greater and there would definitely be some indication of it in the AF. Definitely testing of the ponds water would bring all theses parameters out in the open if it had such a negative impact, but testing doesn’t show this!

I think those that are saying that the AFS gets full of "MUCK" just after a couple of months are trying to disenchant the filters capabilities in water purification. If you read Brian Woodcock’s pond cleaning he makes no mention of all this muck some are talking about.
http://anoxicfiltrationsystem.blogspot.com/2013/10/brian-woodcocks-anoxic-filter-build.html   In fact he states it only took him 20 minutes to clean his Anoxic filter! Definitely a filthy dirty mucky filter would take longer than 20 minutes to clean, wouldn’t you say? But then if the statements were true that there is all this muck in the AF then husbandry would become questionable or there is some unknown outside intervention that they are not telling everyone. Then again it could be as simple as their prefilter could be the problem.

Your idea of adding a polishing prefilter before the AF would definitely help keep detritus at lower levels, but it would place a bigger burden on you as far as maintenance goes. These filters will clog up faster in pond use than in the household mains because there is a lot more insults in pond water that tap water. A sand filter would do the same but be vigilant about its maintenance…they need constant attention daily and sometimes twice a day. Would it make a difference to use one? Yes, if you keep up with its maintenance and no if you don’t.  I’ve use one and they can clog within 24 hours or less.

Hope this helps.

 [Ed: I do want to say one last thing though. Hobbyists try to recreate a sterile environment for their Koi and in reality it doesn’t have to be that way.  A little muck or detritus will not hurt anything in the long run if a filter is doing its job like it's supposed to, then we do not have to compensate for its shortcomings. I have and others using the AFS, have some of the oldest living Koi in Chicagoland and that is a fact.]

All queries can be submitted to: drklnovak@gmail.com

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