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Pond Filtration 101

Pond Filtration 101 ~ Ecosystem Ponds

Serving Lexington & Central Kentucky

Natural Ecosystem Ponds

How To Build A Pond, seems to be a frequently asked question in today’s day and age, with UV Filters, Concrete Waterfalls, and a dozens of other self proclaimed expert Pond Builders all over the WWW and YouTube who are you to believe. We are not here to argue Pond Building techniques. What we will explain in this page is how we have installed hundreds of successful Low Maintenance ponds in the Lexington Kentucky (KY) Area that are still functioning great today.

  1. The Skimmer Pre-Filter
  2. The Pump & Circulation System
  3. The Waterfall Filter System
  4. Rocks/Gravel & Aquatic Plants

Pond Owners Handbook

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Once you finally decide that you want a beautiful waterscape to come home to, the next step is to come up with a pond design that works for you. This pond design can be a front yard waterscape with curb appeal or a Backyard Waterfall creating your own private getaway.

Understanding Ecosystem Ponds An ecosystem encompasses all the parts of a living environment, including the plants and animals, and the non-living components, such as water, air and the sun’s energy. A pond’s ecosystem begins with the water as the base. Everything found above the base is completely dependent, either directly or indirectly, on water. Biological filters work to create an ecosystem by using bacteria to break down pond wastes, converting them into harmless particles that will be used as aquatic plant fertilizers.   Housed inside the biological filter are from one to three filter mats.  The filter mats will aid in the building of a bacteria colony.   To add additional media, we recommend that you install several sets of  BioBalls inside this unit.  Again depending on the size of the biological filter you will need from one to four sets.  Both of these types of media will allow the bacteria colony to grow and mature. Ecosystem ponds can be easy to understand if you have a good grasp of what components go into a basic, functioning ecosystem. An ecosystem pond works with Mother Nature to provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife in the Lexington / Central Kentucky area. It also provides you with an all-natural, low-maintenance piece of paradise. It’s important to remember, however, that every piece of the ecosystem puzzle must be present in order for a true ecosystem to be in place. Eliminate one of these elements and you’ve got an unbalanced ecosystem that won’t be so low-maintenance anymore. 
First Part Of An Ecosystem Pond Is The Skimmer Pre-Filter The first part of mechanical filtration starts with the Skimmer Pre-Filter. Skimmer units work much like a pool skimmer. they collect surface debris, and pre-filter water pumped into the Biological Filter.  The circulation pump sits inside the skimmer, thus removing from the bottom of the pond, drastically reducing the maintenance needed to unclog the pump in most pond designs. The water that enters the skimmer is pumped up through the biological Biofalls filter unit, through the filter media, and microscopic bacteria located in this media go to work scrubbing the pond clean of green water.  Lava Rock or BioBalls are located in this unit.  

By combining both mechanical and biological filtration, the Ecosystem does the maintenance for you, reducing your work and increasing your enjoyment. In the past, people have used the Lava Rocks in mesh bags on top of these mats. We have found, in our research that the lava rocks will eventually clog and recommend they be replaced every two years. These rocks are also heavy and cumbersome to remove and clean.  Bioballs are easier to handle and will hold more good bacteria.  To guarantee that you have seeded the bacteria into the filter media in the Biofalls, it is important to use the beneficial bacteria on the start up of your system in the spring and continue to use on a regular basis throughout the Lexington / Central Kentucky growing season.

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Second Part Is The Circulation System

Pond Circulation System
Circulation System is really just a fancy way of saying “pumps and plumbing.” The proper size pump and pipe diameter are extremely important for the aesthetics of a water feature. More importantly, an efficient circulation system keeps the water moving and provides the necessary oxygen levels for healthy fish and plants. A proper Filtration System includes the use of both a biological and a mechanical skimmer filter. A biological filter provides surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize and remove excess nutrients from the water. A mechanical filter will not only pre-filter the water and house the pump; it will also skim debris from the water’s surface to prevent the accumulation of organic materials on the pond floor.

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Third Part Is The Waterfall Filter System

The water that enters the skimmer is pumped up through the biological Biofalls filter unit, through the filter media, and microscopic bacteria located in this media go to work scrubbing the pond clean of green water. Lava Rock or BioBalls are located in this unit. By combining both mechanical and biological filtration, the Ecosystem does the maintenance for you, reducing your work and increasing your enjoyment. In the past, people have used the Lava Rocks in mesh bags on top of these mats. We have found, in our research that the lava rocks will eventually clog and recommend they be replaced every two years. Back To List

These rocks are also heavy and cumbersome to remove and clean.  Bioballs are easier to handle and will hold more good bacteria.  To guarantee that you have seeded the bacteria into the filter media in the Biofalls, it is important to use the beneficial bacteria on the start up of your system in the spring and continue to use on a regular basis throughout the growing season.

Fourth Part Is The Rocks & Gravel

The main component in a well designed Kentucky Pond/water feature, other than the water, is rock and gravel. They’re used to naturalize the feature, create waterfalls, and increase the biological activity of the entire pond. The rock sets the tone for the entire project. Rocks & Gravel will not only protect pond liners from UV light degradation, but they will also provide tremendous surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down excess nutrients in the water and dissolved organic debris on the pond floor. Adding gravel to the bottom of your water garden in Kentucky can help create a more natural appearance than the plain black plastic or rubber liner you are looking at now.

The small stones create an excellent source of surface area for beneficial bacteria such as the Aquascape Beneficial Bacteria and Sludge Reducing Bacteria to colonize and filter your pond water. Aquatic plants can also benefit from the gravel base by anchoring themselves within the gravel and establish a root system beneath the rocks, safe from curious or hungry decorative pond fish.

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