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The Basics of Koi Pond Filtration (Page 2 of 3)



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Most koi experts recommend a filter flow rate equivalent to displacing the entire pond volume within one hour.  Thus, a 3,000-gallon pond requires a pump that can move 3,000 gallons of water per hour.  Note that the height to which the water is pumped greatly affects the volume delivered by the pump.  Thus, the filter flow rate should be based on the actual rate at which water is taken out of and returned back to the pond, not on what the pump is labeled to be capable of.



There are two type of pumps used in koi keeping, namely, the submersible pump and the recirculating pump.  For small ponds and water falls, submersible pumps are preferred because they are unobtrusive and silent by virtue of their being submerged underwater while operating.   For large ponds, however,  recirculating pumps would be the wiser choice because of their efficiency and long life.  Most koi experts recommend setting up two pumps of smaller capacities than buying just one pump of higher capacity to meet the flow rate requirements.


Figure 2. The variety of pumps used in the koi hobby



Once the filter capacity and pump flow rate have been established, the filtration stages must be designed.  Filters work best if they consist of numerous stages, with each stage specially designed to accomplish a filtration task that the others can not.  Having such specially-designed filter stages will allow all harmful wastes and debris to be removed effectively. 


A filtration system usually has a couple of stages for mechanically filtering out suspended debris, and another couple of stages for biological filtration of the water.  


Mechanical filtration consists of physically trapping the particulate wastes and debris in the water.  Sand, beads, pads, and brushes are the commonly-used materials for mechanical filtration.  Passing the water through these materials traps whatever suspended materials are in the water, e.g., leaves, twigs, fish feces, etc.  The first mechanical filter stage usually uses brushes as the trapping medium, because these only trap the relatively larger debris in the water, allowing the smaller ones to pass through.  The second mechanical filter stage usually uses Japanese filter mats, beads, or sand to trap the smaller particles in the water.  More mechanical filter stages may be added, with the trapping size getting smaller as the filter stages progresses.




Figure 3. Example of a commercially available

4-chamber filter



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See also: Trickle Filters







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