Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Every year I set up a 1-gal circa 1920 fish tank for my wife in a southern facing kitchen window, this year was no excepting to the rule.

Every year I set up a 1-gal circa 1920 fish tank for my wife in a southern facing kitchen window, this year was no excepting to the rule. The plants are Ceratophyllum demersum AKA: Hornwort, a coldwater species of plant that really doesn’t do as well as it should in warmer water unless natural sunlight is added like that, that’s in a pond. Cooler temperatures of 60-70˚F are ideal for this plant species.

The small air bubbles you see in the photo coming from the plants are because it is photosynthesizing and the water temp to oxygen saturation point has been reached. Whenever you see these small air bubbles coming from a plant you know that plant is cleaning your water and taking ions out of it. Without those small air bubbles then they are not working as hard as they should be, cleaning your aquarium water.

The fishes in the tank are another coldwater species called Tanichthys albonubes AKA: White Cloud Mountain Minnow from China. At this time of year when American’s (especially in the Northern States) face colder temperatures outside, their homes are usually cooler inside too. My home will dip as low as 65˚F at nighttime and warm back up again to 73˚F during the day. They require oxygen to be at saturation point like all minnows do, so a small pump and/or aeration device is needed for their tank. However, a heater can be forgone because they like their water cold.

One problem hobbyist have is the availability of fish that can tolerate a cooler home environment without the aid of heating the aquarium to the fishes requirements.

Betta brederi/splendens always seem to be the desire fish for small containers but they do not do as well if water temps dip too low blow 76˚F. The hobbyists always wonder why their Betta’s dies in the winter months and in the summer months thrive. The distribution of heat transformation is always faster in smaller aquariums than larger ones. So the fluctuation of these faster up and down temps always plays havoc on Betta’s metabolism and they begin to stop eating. Once that happens death is not far behind.

Another good coldwater species of fish that can live for several years in a small container or small aquarium (that’s not a Goldfish) is the Macropodus opercularis AKA: Paradisefish.  This was the first tropical fish outside of Goldfish or coldwater pond fish that actually thrived in the colder Victorian homes of yore.

They are sometimes not very friendly with other of there own kind and may fight constantly if kept with more than one per small container. The size of container they need be no bigger than that you normally would keep a Betta in. Oxygen is taken from the atmosphere so filtration and aeration is not needed. Plants are always welcome if you can provide them.

Dr. Novak is an Ichthyologist and Limnologist and researches in aquatic microbiology. Read more on his blog @


1-gal circa 1920 fish tank 

Tanichthys albonubes AKA: White Cloud Mountain Minnow from China. 

The small air bubbles you see in the photo coming from the plants are because it is photosynthesizing and the water temp to oxygen saturation point has been reached. 

Just my two cents worth.

Here is a little bit of information that most hobbyists do not know. If you have a 24" (61cm) Koi, that Koi is now equal to over 8, 12" (30.5cm) Koi. Most people think that it would be a two to one proportional rate but the weight of a Koi change so dramatically from smaller to larger. It would take more than 66, 6" (15.25cm) Koi to equal that one big 24" (61cm) Koi.

Think about it for a second! If you stocked a small pond with 132 small 6" (15.25cm) Koi that would look ridiculously overcrowded. It would look like you where trying to sell Koi out of your home pond. However, that is exactly what hobbyist do when they have just 2 large 24" (61cm) Koi in the same size pond.

Hobbyist really don’t give it a second thought of what the filter now has to contend with in the form of waste, oxygen requirements, bacteria population and last but not least, the degradation of the entire ecosystem as a whole and not just one entity of that system.

So the next time you build a filtration system for your pond, think just how big that little Koi is going to get and the burden it will place on water quality parameters. If you think this never happens, think again, it happens all the time, more than you know.

This constant game of changing filters and adding onto already existing filters is never ending for some hobbyist. As long as the money holds out, then they will keep poring more of it into their existing system if they can. The worst part of this entire scenario is: Once they do reach a happy medium between Koi, filter and ponds water mass, they start adding more fish once again.

I see this all the time with over crowded ponds and inadequate filtration for fish to water mass. When I try and explain to them they just have too many Koi for their ponds volume, they don’t want to hear it! Well, they can’t get rid of any of their Koi; they love each and every one of them…do they? If there were such a law as animal cruelty for fish, pond owners would be on top of that list as the number one offenders of that law. After all, what kind of shame would we place on a person that had 24 cats living in their house? Wouldn’t we all say that is a little excessive and that this individual needs some kind of help mentally? The smell and filth would overwhelm anyone stepping into that home. So why is it we except Koi ponds to become the exception to the rule? Just my two cents worth.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Some photos for your enjoyment.

For you aquarium lovers. The first two photos are of Albino Cory’s that just finished spawning in a 25-gal brass fish aquarium. One BCB is being used in a sump underneath the tank to help biological filtrating and to keep phosphates and nitrates down below 5-ppm. The BCB under the tank has been there far the past 15-years now and the Cory’s are still alive today but much bigger in size than 10-years ago.

[ED: I still have one small Bumblebee catfish still alive in this tank far 15-years.]

The next photo shows a very crowded but clean pond using an AFS of about 4000-gals. This pond is use as a grow-out pond for the fry that are born in early spring. About four years ago a child fell into this pond during the Midwest Pond and Koi Societies pond tour and the owners determined that showing their pond(s) was not a good idea any longer. That’s one reason my pond is an above ground pond because of safety reasons and the simplicity of maintenance.

The last photos are of a planted large ceramic half moon container that was planted up at the end of my pond for the summer. To water the container all I used was old pond water and it seem to do just fine for the plants to flourish.

This morning it was 11˚ F [-11.67˚C] but the pond is still at 44˚ F [6.67˚C] because of the plastic cover over it. A lot of hobbyists here in Illinois cover their ponds because of the extremely cold weather we have here to keep their ponds from freezing over. The B&W photo shows just how bad it can get; there is an above ground pond somewhere under all that snow.

This last photo shows the plastic 6-mil cover that I place on the pond in October every year. The PVC pipes are bent and fasten in with brass 3/8 screw holes in top cap. PVC bent fittings with S/S screws glued into them holed the bent 1/2" PVC pipes that you can get at any hardware store. Because my pond is above ground it’s easy to cover with just one person doing it. The cover will come off in late spring after the trees are done flowering. Without this cover the pond would become a big mess with fall foliage and spring flowers and stamens.

The AFS runs all year long with never getting shut down in winter because of this setup. Five years ago the AFS was shutdown far the winter months and allowed to freeze up then restarted in early spring with no problems to the inhabitants of the pond because the filter would never really die off like conventional filters do. The Facultative bacteria just use other food sources or go dormant until food availability is there once again.

I hope everyone has a good 2015 New Year.



Thursday, December 25, 2014

This E-mail is the reason why I try and teach others about the AFS for free.

This E-mail is the reason why I try and teach others about the AFS for free. Making people pay for something that would help others save the lives of their Koi/Goldfish, to me, would not be very professional.

QUOTE: From Shelly

“Thanks for the heads up, Kevin -- I'll read up!

[ED: Click on the link to find out what she is talking about.]

BTW, the neighbors with the big beautiful deep pond full of algae and the big algaecide chemical bill added an AFS: clear as a bell now, of course. She is SO happy and grateful!

The other neighbor's pea-soup pond makeover is on pause due to the weather, but she is also adding an AFS after hearing about neighbor #1. I'm sure she'll be as pleased as we are. My pond remains clear as a bell, of course, despite the pine needles, pine cones, and little sticks the surrounding trees and windy rainy weather constantly add to the pond this time of year.

I do net out the big stuff when the weather breaks, and I'm still very glad I splurged on that Pond Vac... does a great job --especially on those 1" needles -- and facilitates a water change at the same time.

Thanks for all you do, Kevin -- learning about AFS made the dream of having a pond a reality for us.”

Thanks so much Shelly; this means so much to me when someone takes the time out in their hectic lives to just drop me a message and/or update on how they are doing with their AFS.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Chicago Illinois.

Merry Christmas to all those who have been reading my blog and I hope the following New Year  brings happiness and joy into your lives.

Once again thanks for reading my blog, Kevin

Well the long anticipated informative article that Manky Sanke was commissioned to do for Koi Organization International Koi (KOIK) is now completed and is on his web page.

Well the long anticipated informative article that Manky Sanke was commissioned to do for Koi Organization International, Koi (KOI) is now completed and is on his web page. Just click on the link below to read this educational article on the Anoxic Filtration System and the scientific workings of the Biocenosis Clarification Baskets.

This article will not only benefit pond enthusiast but also those that have fresh water aquariums. This new article will be used by the KOI as part of a new advanced up-to-date filtration course they are planning.

Its been a long time since anything new came out (as far as filtration system go) into the aquarium & pond hobby that can be said to be revolutionary in its makings since the Wet-Dry Filter, circa 1984; when Smith introduced it to U.S. hobbyist. Moreover, the U.S. has brought nothing to light of significant value and only Holland, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom dominating this market with new innovated ideas.

The Anoxic Filter is a game changer for the United States; in that it uses innovated science and bacteria colonization like that of natural systems in a different way to clean water and make it safe and habitable for aquatic life. Dr. Franco in Italy proved that aquariums did better with the reduction of Phosphates from an Anoxic Filtration System that other filtration system couldn’t perform this reduction chemical transformation. 

 No longer are we looking at Nitrates and Phosphates in the same way as we did thirty plus years ago. We now look at positive and negative ions in a better understanding of their chemical complexity as groups of linked molecules instead of just thinking only as them in terms of Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates as the only insults that plague our fresh water systems.

Best regards,

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hello from Stockholm, Sweden.

Hello! Inga from Stockholm, Sweden, here! Just finished (more or less) the makeover of our old pond, built in 1959 (of course without any filtration or bottom drains ect) - 6x3 meters and originally 80 cm deep. Now, after the makeover, 1,40 meter deep and with 4 extra pools, of which 3 have BCB - a total of 48 ones. Can't wait for spring when I can plant them! Some pics:

Take a look at Inga’s pond pictures in Google+ using an anoxic filtration system.