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.