How often should you clean your pond filter? (And how!)
How often should you clean your filter? And how exactly should you clean it?
This depends on your pond and your type of filter!
Filterfalls (Biofalls): Only clean once a year during a spring or fall cleaning. Rinse the pads and bioballs (or lava rock) and flush out any debris from the bottom. You won't get your filter pads back to their pristine new condition, and that's okay. The goal is to rinse the majority of the muck out of the pads and bioballs.
During the season, your filterfalls will get filled up with a lot of muck-- and that's good. All that muck is the beneficial bacteria colonies you're working so hard to produce. So leave that filterfalls alone!
Skimmers: The net and brushes/mat should be cleaned as often as necessary. For some people, once every week or two is fine. If you live near a lot of trees, you may need to check your skimmer every day or two. Take the net out, dump its contents into your yard / compost pile / trash can and then rinse the net. Some algae will still cling to the net, and that's okay. The brushes or skimmer mat should also be rinsed with a hose as often as they fill up with junk.
Every month or so, check to see if there's a build-up of muck on the bottom of the skimmer. You don't want your pump sitting in this, so scoop out the muck on the bottom as often as you need to. During your spring or fall cleaning is a great time to drain and rinse out the skimmer.
External Pressure Filters: The model we sell at Cool Ponds has a convenient indicator light when it's full of debris and needs to be backflushed. Easy! Just hook up your backflush pipe and flip the switch in the center. The water running out will be green or brown at first. Run the backflush until the water runs clear, then flip the switch in the center and disconnect your backflush pipe. This model also comes with a built-in UV light. Change this bulb yearly for maximum benefits. The small bioballs inside never need cleaned-- the backflush systsem does this for you!
Urn Filters: Only clean your ceramic biomedia once a year. The pad should be rinsed when you notice water flow start to slow down through the filter.
Do your filters need to be replaced?
Example Filter Cleaning
This is a filterfalls mat that we cleaned during a spring cleaning.
|Yuck! This filterfalls mat is full of muck.|
|Halfway through rinsing.|
|Yes, this mat is clean!|
This mat was still firm to the touch and didn't fall apart, so no need to replace it this year!
Is your filter sufficient?
You may need to rethink your filtration system if any of the following sounds familiar:
- You have a layer of muck that accumulates on the bottom of your pond.
- Your pond water is often murky or green.
- Cleaning your filter is anxiety-inducing for you. (It shouldn't be-- there are so many easier systems!)
- Your fish are often sick or stressed.
If any of this sounds like your situation, take some measurements of your pond and come visit us at our support center. We will help you find a better filter solution.