Proper filtration is absolutely essential to the health and well being of a fish pond. Many new pond owners have difficulty determining which type of filtration is best for their pond. They may feel overwhelmed at the large selections of filters. While there are many brands of filters currently on the market, there are only three basic types of pond filtration systems. Once an understanding of the basic filters is established, it is much easier to choose the filter that is right for the size, type, and budget of the fish pond.
Mechanical Filtration Systems
A mechanical filtration system uses a pump to force water through the filter and out the other side. Mechanical filters remove germs and bacteria from the water as well as large particles and foreign substances. A mechanical pump will keep the fish healthy and the water clean. This is the most common type of pond filter on the commercial market.
Mechanical filters come in two types: external and internal. Internal filters are fully submerged in the water and are perfect for small ponds. Medium to large ponds, however, require a bit more strength. External filters are far stronger than internal ones and will help keep larger bodies of water clean.
Biological Filtration Systems
Biological filters can be simple or complex depending on the budget and style of the pond. Biological filtration works by introducing rocks or gravel into the pond. This can be achieved as a part of a waterfall or other water accessory or can be placed at the bottom of the pond. The rocks provide a home for bacteria which eat the ammonia that settles on the rocks. This cleans and purifies the water which improves the health of the fish.
While most biological filters can be achieved at home with little effort, there are some commercially available biological pond filters. These usually work by introducing live bacteria into the pond. The biological filtration systems are beneficial, but not imperative to the health of a pond.
A combination of mechanical and biological filters are the best choice for most home ponds. The combination of the two filtration types will keep a healthy and flourishing ecosystem alive without the risk of germs or bacteria killing the plants or fish.
Biological filtration systems are not suitable as the only form of pond filtration. While the bacteria will help purify the water, a mechanical filtration system is essential to maintaining proper pond health.
Ultraviolet Filtration Systems
Ultraviolet filtration systems use light to attract algae particles into clumps. These clumps can be more easily picked up by mechanical filters, which can lead to a much clearer and cleaner pond. The light will be positioned at an appropriate distance from the flow of water to properly effect the algae.
Ultraviolet filtration systems are not common in home ponds because they are far more expensive than the mechanical and biological systems. They are an excellent option, however, for those who do not like the green appearance of an algae filled pond. Many manufacturers of ultraviolet filtration systems guarantee that water will be clear during use. This allows fish to be more easily viewed and enjoyed and also provides a healthier environment for plant and animal life.
Ultraviolet filters are not fully functioning filters. They rely on the efforts of the mechanical filtration system to pick up the algae that they clump together. When used alone, ultraviolet filtration systems are not effective and will not result in a clean or healthy pond.
A combination of all three types of filtration is optimal. For most pond owners, purchasing all three types of filtration systems can be far too expensive and ultimately, unnecessary. The algae left behind by the mechanical filter will not harm the fish and the main advantage of the ultraviolet filtration system is simply aesthetic.
A commercially purchased mechanical filtration system coupled with a home made biological filter is the best and most affordable filtration method for most pond owners. This method will result in healthy fish and a flourishing ecosystem.