Ponds are often dirty and have an accumulation and build up of debris on the bottom of them. Much of this is organic material that settles and compacts in the depths of the pond. Therefore one of the most proactive and useful things a pond owner can do is keep the pond clean and clear of some of this build up. And pond vacuums are the perfect tool for that.
The “Muck Buster” line of Pond Vacuums offers you 3 sizes of pond vacuum. For small to large ponds, a Matala Pond Vacuum will be a great tool to keep your pond in top shape.
All 3 sizes have the same powerful motor. The new energy efficient German motor design offers the power of a 2 hp with the energy savings of a 1.5 hp. Matala vacuums are known for having great suction power and are very reliable. These vacuums actually have 4 x the suction lift power over the competition. They use only quality hoses, fittings and connections to ensure you get the job done.
The original Pond Vacuum II is a great choice for ponds up to 3,000 gallons. The Pond Vacuum II Plus and the Pond Vacuum Pro are more suitable for bigger jobs.
Matala “Muck Buster” Vacuums all function on a fill and drain cycle. When the holding tank is full the motor will turn off automatically and the dirty water will drain out to the garden or yard drains; downhill by gravity. Once the tank is drained the motor will turn back on automatically to continue vacuuming.
Good pond hygiene will reduce algae growth and improve your fish health. If you have debris building up on the bottom of your pond it may be time for a good pond vacuum.
“Aeration” is the term that we use to mean adding air to the water. Since air contains 22% oxygen, aeration adds oxygen to the water.
There are a number of essential pieces of equipment to consider when planning a pond.
None more so than a good reliable quality air pump.
So why aerate a Koi pond?
A Koi pond is more than a hole in the ground with a liner and some water. In order to have a healthy, dynamic pond environment you also need a biological filter, a source of aeration, a circulation pump and adequate space, or volume. It is important to note that all of these elements must work in harmony with one another.
The filtration system purifies the water of wastes, bacteria and other toxins. An aerator supplies air to the water so the fish will have oxygen and the water does not stagnate. The pump moves the water through the filter and aerator. This cycle is the lifeblood of a pond.
Water ponds, fish, and oxygen … the big secret to Koi fish keeping.
We survive on this earth because we can breathe oxygen. Koi need oxygen and the beneficial bacteria that keep the water healthy need oxygen.
Where is the best place in any pond system to add air or oxygen?
Directly into the biofilter system as close a possible to where the bacteria are sitting. This is why vortex filters and Japanese matting work so fantastically well together in any serious water ponds system …. but only by pumping plentiful volumes of air around the Japanese matting matrix.
How much air should you add to you, Koi Pond?
Add as much air to your pond as you can using air pumps and air stones to distribute the air (highly recommended for ponds that are heavily stocked). You can add the air directly to the pond, the filter, the waterfall and anywhere else you can think of.
* required to maintain dissolved Oxygen at Koi Safe Levels
|Pond Volume in Gallons||Liters of air/min *|
These numbers are intended as a guideline. Your application may vary according to stocking levels. (In general terms, 40lpm per 1000 gallons is a good rule of thumb.)
The amount of oxygen water can hold is dependent upon atmospheric pressure, salinity, and temperature. Water can hold less oxygen as altitude increases. Salinity is not important for most freshwater fish producers. The most important factor is water temperature. As temperature increases, water can hold less oxygen. Most low oxygen problems occur from June through September. The reasons for this are:
- Water can hold less oxygen as it becomes warmer.
- Respiration rates of both plants and animals increase with the warmer water, so more oxygen is used.
- Summer’s still, hazy or cloudy days may reduce the amount of oxygen produced.
- Large amounts of feed given to fish at this time of year result in large quantities of fish waste which create a higher demand for oxygen.
The last note for safety
NEVER – NEVER install an air pump BELOW water level! (Unless you install a check valve in the line!) If at any time your power supply to your air pump is interrupted, water will back siphon down the delivery tube and flood the pump workings, rendering the pump inoperative, to say nothing of the danger of water and electricity coming in contact.
Clear water does not necessarily mean clean water, it may contain colorless impurities, such as ammonia and nitrite, that are harmful and can kill Koi, which excrete urine and produce feces, and ammonia is excreted through the gill membranes. Debris also collects in ponds.
Whether you are building a new pond and need a new filtration system or simply replacing your filter cartridge, we have what you need.
We take great pride in understanding the unique needs that Koi require when it comes to filtration. We can supply the latest products from The Answer, Cyprio, OASE, and more.
Filtration technology changes, and you can trust in us to be ready for you.
It is the job of the filtration system to remove waste which in the wild would be diluted by the large volumes of water or washed away by moving water.
There are three types of filtration: Mechanical, Biological and Chemical.
Mechanical pond filtration.
Most filter media have a mechanical function. Settlement chambers allow gravity to drag the solid waste out of the water by slowing the water flow. Such chambers usually come first in a filter. A vortex unit provides greater settlement, the water moves in a circular movement allowing solids to gather in the center where they can be removed. In addition to baffle plates which slow the incoming water, brushes or matting can be used to strain the water.
Biological pond filtration.
This relies on specific bacteria to break down toxic waste products to less harmful substances. There are two stages in the breakdown of ammonia, each stage involving different types of bacteria. The first stage is the breakdown of ammonia to nitrite by nitrifying bacteria, most important of which is Nitrosomonas. The second stage is the conversion of nitrite to nitrate by Nitrobacter.
Activated carbon removes ammonia and other organic waste products by adsorption, this means that the waste substances become linked to the surface of the carbon. When the surface is ‘full up’ it has to be replaced.
Zeolite removes ammonia and nitrite from the water. A good feature of Zeolite is that it can be cleaned by soaking in salt water (6g per litter) for 24 hours and then reused.
If a large biological filter is present chemical filtration should not be needed, but it is good to use while the biological filter is maturing or isn’t big enough for the pond.
Sand filter. Some Koi keepers use a sand filter as a final stage to ‘polish’ the water. The water is passed under high pressure through sand and comes out very clear, bacterial activity also takes place in the sand filter. Sand filters are expensive though, and you can’t make one yourself because of the high pressure involved.
Cleaning your pond filters.
Filters need to be cleaned occasionally to remove sediment, take this into account when building one. Add a bottom drain to each filter chamber so that sediment can be let out, it makes cleaning much easier. Another thing that makes cleaning easier is to put filter medium in net bags, not just pour it in all at once, as it can then be more easily removed, one bag at a time.
One last important thing, never ever put tap water in a mature filter, it will kill all the bacteria and you will have to let it mature all over again.
The first step in building a pond is ensuring that waste products are efficiently removed from the system. The application of skimmers and bottom drains is essential in this regard.
Pond Skimmers can remove as much as 85% of debris before it settles to the pond bottom and are the most effective way of reducing maintenance and increasing the quality of water in your backyard pond.
The addition of a pond skimmer will greatly reduce the maintenance and increase the enjoyment of your pond.
Pond skimmers are designed to work with other types of filters, as a sort of pre-filter that removes the larger elements such as floating leaves and other debris, which would clog other types of biological or chemical filters. The same deris would also clog the pump.
Many pond skimmers are designed to blend in with your pond’s design. Some may have an artificial rock or natural-looking cover over the top. Some pond skimmers sit outside of the pond, and can even be covered up by garden plants or bushes.
Pond skimmers are an important part of ponds, since they help keep them clean, and works hand-in-hand with filtration and pumping systems. Pond skimmers are easy to install, and can easily be hidden from view.
Pond skimmers should be positioned at the opposite end of a waterfall, if you have one; this will help provide for proper circulation throughout your pond.
A surface skimmer can be used independently from the main filtration system – but it will still require that the water be passed through a filter of some sort.
Predator control, specifically of herons, is an important part of keeping your koi fish healthy and safe. Herons are very large, migratory birds that live across most of the United States; Florida has especially high populations of these birds. Full-grown herons will eat your koi, while the smaller herons will stab them for practice even if they can’t yet eat them.
There are several different methods to control herons around your koi pond. Motion-activated decoys that look like crows and squirt water when they detect motion are a good method. This will startle the heron and cause it to fly away. You can also use motion-activated spotlights to startle the herons. Netting your pond will keep them out altogether.
There are also some pond predator control methods out there that don’t work. Some people will put fake snakes around the koi pond or in the trees; usually the heron figures out the snakes are not real and then they approach the pond.
Plastic heron decoys are also not very effective. You would place these by your koi pond to deter the herons from entering another bird’s territory, but often the real heron will simply fish from the other side of your koi pond. Flight lines are also ineffective because the herons will simply wade in over them.
In summary, motion-activated decoys and spotlights, and netting are the most effective ways to keep herons from eating or harming your koi fish. Netting is the best.
Bacteria are the key ingredient in any biological filter. Bacteria are, naturally, what makes a biological filter – biological. Without the aid of bacteria, a biological filter is just a “solids” removal filter that doesn’t remove organic waste and pollutants from the water!
Beneficial bacteria consume fish waste and other organic matter. They convert deadly ammonia into nitrites and then into harmless nitrates and nitrogen which is an integral part of pond filtration commonly referred to as “The Nitrogen Cycle”.
The Benefits of Nitrogen:
- It is used as fertilizer by the pond plants.
- It creates a healthy balanced environment.
- It helps reduce algae.
It can take up to six or seven weeks for a beneficial bacteria colony to grow large enough to handle all the waste created by the pond fish and dead plant matter in a garden pond. It is best to help this process along by maintaining a pH level as close to neutral as possible and adding beneficial bacteria, available in liquid, granular or dry form, to avoid stressing or even injuring the fish.
The rate at which water flows through the biological chamber of the pond filter plays a major role in the effectiveness of the beneficial bacteria colony. If the water flows too fast the beneficial bacteria becomes ineffective, if it flows to slow it may not circulate enough of the pond water through the bacteria colony in the pond filter.
The biological chamber of the pond filter should only be cleaned when absolutely necessary and care must be taken not to eliminate the entire beneficial bacteria colony. Chlorinated water should never be used to clean the biological part of the pond filter.
It has been said that “we don’t keep fish, but rather water.” To a large extent, this is true.
We offer an extensive line of water treatment products and test kits to enable you to maintain a quality environment for your Koi.
Water Chemistry is important to understand. We have provided you with a few topics listed to the right which you can print for your personal use. A Koi pond can be one of the best retreats available.
We offer water treatment products and water test kits to enable you to maintain a quality environment for your Koi.
You’ll need to know your Pond Volume in order to best apply treatment. We have included our pond volume calculator link on the left for your convenience.
So what pond water test kits do you need?
|Required||Nice To Have||Optional|
When to test.
An established pond with healthy Koi fish should be checked every month. It is only when you notice something out of the ordinary, and possibly during seasonal changes, that an additional test or two might be prudent.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A simple test, at the right time, can prevent a minor problem from becoming a catastrophe.
When starting up a new pond or Bio-converter system, daily tests may be required until the converter comes online, then weekly for a couple of months until the system has stabilized.