Filter help please


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Hello

I know my pond is not the greatest but I enjoy it

My research suggests I have a persistent protein scum caused by inadequate biological filtration. The pond is 11 years old with no real changes to anything. This scum appeared about a month ago.

I have cut back on feeding, fish stock is very minimal, daily partial water changes, filter pad changed weekly coming out relatively clean, pond bottom has little visible debris, in-filter UV bulb and impeller changed annually. All-in-one pond pump/filter is said to be 1000L/hr in a 300L preformed pond, I have a single air stone from a 260L/hr air pump. The all-in-one filter has negligible biological filtration media. I cannot connect anything like a pipe to the in-pond filter/pump combo. I am very much on a tight budget.

With the water at the base of of the pond in constant motion, can I just put a mesh bag of biological media close to the pump and achieve improved biological filtration ?

Thank you
 
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Welcome Tim,

You're among a group of people who also enjoy their ponds :)

Shower filters are great biological filters, but I believe they require oxygen in addition to water flowing over media. Does your pond have any water flowing back into the pond, or does the water remain in the pond with the all in one filter / pump?

What type of fish are in the pond?
 
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Tula, thank you so much for such a welcome and the prompt response.

The water remains within the pond all the time with the all-in-one filter/pump; it sucks water through the base of the in-pond box, passes it past a UV lamp, through a very small amount of biological media, through a sponge, up a pipe to a variety of shower heads.

The current biological media comprise lava (?) pebbles in a box maybe 2 x 2 x 3 inches and, separately, small plastic tubes in a box maybe 1 x 2 x 3 inches.

As for the fish (hanging head in shame) not a real clue: one is a Koi which I bought as a 2 inch 'goldfish' and is now about 6 inches long and plump: the other five are various patterns about 2 to 3 inches long, but I do not think they are Koi
 
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Tim,

Even though you haven't made any changes to the pond and it's been running 11 years, the fish continue to grow ( especially koi ) which increases the need for filtration.

From what you've described you'd benefit from more filtration, both mechanical and biological.

Could you post some pictures of your pond, that is very helpful.

In Sept. I rehomed my four nearly 20 year old koi. They'd grown to around 28 inches and my pond is 1700 gallons.
 
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I have a bead type filter that is full of K1 media and a shower filter after the bead filter.

I don't understand the statement about a shower filter requiring oxygen. My shower filter consists of 2 large plastic tubs, both full of ceramic media. The water comes into the top tub and is showered over the media through a U-shaped PVC pipe with a lot of holes drilled into it. The water flows through the media and out of the first tub through holes drilled in the bottom of that top tub and showers over the media in the second tub. Then the water goes out of that lower tub and to the top of the waterfall through an exit pipe. The whole process exposes the water to oxygen. There is no additional oxygen source, just the air.

Shower filters are very easy to build, if you are at all handy. They are great for biological filtration. Plenty of info online on how to put one together.

I have a matala matt over the top of the media in each tub to catch any debris that may find it's way in. Leaves can sometimes blow in through a gap between the tubs. I take those matts out very rarely, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, and hose them off, but I've never actually cleaned the shower filter. It hasn't ever needed it.

The only problem I see with what you posted is that you state you replace the filter pad every week. That could be your problem. You are throwing away the majority of your beneficial bacteria in the system. Don't throw those pads away. If possible, just clean them with dechlorinated water and put them back in.

If you have to dispose of them, replace them, but keep the old pads in the pond for a few weeks so that the new filter pads can develop the necessary bacteria. Never just toss filter pads without giving the new ones time to grow new bacteria.
 
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First of all, I had not expected such help within such a short time ... thank you

Tula, I had taken some photos and a short video but the server will not let me post the larger photos or the video, I will keep trying on this, the one it will allow shows the far corner only and is not very helpful (attached)

WaterGardener, thank you but I was not very clear. I remove the sponge rinse it with pond water and set them aside until the following week. I had been told to do that on another forum, I shall try just rinsing and returning - thank you. I also have no means of moving the water out of the pond into any sort of external filter - it will be several months before I could even think of replacing the all-in-one filter / pump with anything else

I had hoped for an opinion if placing a cheap mesh bag of media close to the pump would be beneficial at all or would it best to just wait until I can afford to replace the pump ?
 

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I have a 300 gallon pond and added this little pre filter with some bio balls to my pump. It might help some. Bags of stone or other media will provide more surface area for the nitrifying bacteria so certainly wouldn’t hurt either. Drying out your filter pads definitely kills the beneficial bacteria, so rinsing them and putting them right back in will help too. Unfortunately, you will need to rehome the koi, as it needs much more water than you have. A pond your size will sustain just a few goldfish.

 

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@WaterGardener , What I meant by the shower filter needing oxygen is in response to the OP asking if he could place a bag of media near the pump at the base of the pond....making it submerged underwater.

This quote from an article on shower filters probably explains what I'm trying to say better:

"The advantage shower filters have over other submerged media biological filters is the shower media is exposed to more oxygen. Like Koi, the bacteria living on biological filter media need plenty of oxygen. There is also the benefit that the water from a shower filter is aerated which benefits the pond."
 
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Apologies for the lack of updates and thank you for the helpful replies

I think the main issue is that, although the pump is circulating the water three times each hour, the filtration itself is in the pond; there are no output or input nozzles, just a single fountain tube . I hadn't realised my pond was overstocked, fooled by the space they had to swim around in - it never occurred to me to think of the level of waste. I simply cannot afford to change much

I have made some changes and improvised around the advice: my beloved Koi is now rehomed, I rinse (pond water) and immediately return my filter's pad. I put my air pump's stone at the bottom of a plastic bird nut feeder and packed that with small ceramic tubes; this sits in the bottom of the pond with the bubbles pulling water through the media and aerating both the media and the pond. Ten days later the media is going dark and the protein scum seems to have gone

Not an ideal solution I know but at least it seems to have bought me some time

Thanks again
 
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You're doing great with what you have to work with - don't apologize!

I would work on getting the filtration out of the pond - those in-pond all in one filter units don't really provide much other than catching some debris. A pre-filter would be helpful - those are inexpensive and don't require any fancy plumbing. Additional biological filtration is what you're aiming for. You an easily create a small "bog" filter with a tub, planter box, bucket... any kind of container that can hold water and you don't mind drilling holes into. Drill a hole near the bottom for water to enter from the pond, fill the container with rocks and gravel and figure out a way for it to dump back into the pond (another hose, a PVC pipe, a small weir - lots of possibilities) and you're all set. You can put a few plants in the top of the container to grow right in the gravel and water and add even more biological filtration to the set up.

That's a down and dirty explanation - search for "bog filter" here on the forum. Lots of folks have built them in all kinds of creative ways! Good luck! And stick with us - we love to talk ponds with like minded folks!
 

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