Patio Joe Lily

Caring for Your New Water Garden cont.

Pump & Filter Care

Generally, most garden ponds should have two filters. First, a pre-filter which is primarily responsible for keeping the pond pump running smoothly, but has little to no affect on water clarity or the health of the pond fish. A pre-filter only needs to be cleaned when there is a noticeable reduction (25% or more) in the flow of the water through the pump. If your water is clear and the flow is good you do not need to clean the pre-filter even though it may look clogged. Pre-filters with foam can be cleaned by pulling the foam out and rinsing it in a bucket of pond or well water then reinserting it into the filter. Pre-filters consisting of a simple cage only require occasionally removing of excess leaves, debris, etc., that may collect on the outside of the cage. Cleaning should only require 5 minutes, once a week!

The second filter, the bio-filter which usually serves as the main filter for the water garden and is often incorporated in a waterfall or stream. Your bio-filter is responsible for breaking down fish waste, keeping the pond safe for fish and finally, if adequate size, for keeping the water clear. Bio-filters must run 24 hours a day April through October (in Ohio,) whenever water temperature is above 50 degrees to be effective! Even a few hours of a power stoppage can cause the "good bacteria" that lives in your bio-filter to start to die. It takes several weeks for the bacteria to replenish itself after a power outage of more than about 8 hours.

Our KISSTM bio-filters are only required to be cleaned once a year in the late fall or early spring when the bacteria living in the filter are dormant. Cleaning is done by first, removing the filter media (usually lava rock in mesh bags) and foam (if used) from the top of the filter. Clean both thoroughly with a hose (dipping bags of lava rock into a large tub of water works well). Next, clean any debris/sludge that collected in the bottom of the filter tank, returning the media (lava rock) and foam to the filter in the same order it was originally. Some filters may also have an drainage hose attached to the bottom of the filter, to aid in cleaning. If your pump hose feeds in from the top of your filter, make sure it runs all the way to the bottom (under the layers of foam and media). Adjust the bags of lava rock so that there are no gaps along the sides of the filter tank for water to pass by without first flowing through the media.

A backflush or drainage hose can be added to most filters if desired. By occasionally turning your pump off and opening the drainage hose, you can backflush your filter during the season to improve efficiency. Backflushing shouldn't be necessary however, unless the fish load is high or the filter undersized for the pond.

Your pump should run 24 hours if you have pond fish to keep the water clear, well oxygenated and your bio-filter functioning. This is especially important during hot summer days. If your pump stops running or has a reduced flow clean the pre-filter and check all connections for debris blocking the intake or outlet of the pump. It may be necessary to remove the outercase and clean around the pump impeller on an occasional basis.

Heat Control

Consistent water temperatures above 85 degrees can be detrimental to fish and plants. During extreme heat spells (95 degrees +) it is best to partially shade a small water garden (under 150 gallons) during mid-afternoon. As a precaution, placing a tarp, piece of shade cloth, etc. across the water garden will help reduce the water temperature.

Caring for Your New Water Garden cont. [3]


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