The World's Greatest Pond Biological Filtration System.
(Average Cost per Pond - $5.00-$25.00)
What?... Typo right,… wrong!
Okay, this one will be hard to believe. I’ll get all kinds of arguments from bio falls & bead filter manufacturers, and most folks won’t believe the science unless they try it themselves. So I’ll challenge you. Don’t ever believe the science!,… whatever the topic, use it as a starting point. Read until you’re impressed, and then test it for yourself. That’s my science, and it fits the definition!
I’ve been in this business longer than most and I’ve spoken in length to TOP Phd’s in the industry. I’ve listened to scientific data of all sorts, attended seminar after seminar, and after 25 years I’ve learned this: You can give me an encyclopedia of scientific data. If I try it in 5 ponds and don’t get the desired results,… guess what?... I’m not a Ph.D., but I’m smart enough to move on to something else, and I’m also smart enough to not make FALSE promises to my customers by telling them your product is going to magically get rid of their string algae.
Picture of the Perfect Biological Filter
I probably just lost 30% of the readers, the bead filter and Bio falls manufacturers. The rest of you should read on. This is free information after all.
The heading above the photo is true. You can not beat God. You just can’t. Man has been trying for centuries. It doesn’t work.
The Science Behind a Mechanical Bio Filtration System
I’m giving you the cliff notes here. I’m assuming most folks are familiar w/ the nitrogen cycle, and the need for biological filtration. If not, there are volumes of info. on the web regarding this subject.
In short, for a biological filter to work properly, we need a few elements working together: Water,… moving through media, and oxygen. In a mechanical bio filter, the media comes in all shapes and sizes, from beads, to lava rock, to mats etc. The goal in using such media is to create as much surface area as possible for the moving water to contact, thereby providing the perfect breeding ground for as much beneficial bacteria as possible. The bacteria then reproduce and convert toxic ammonia and nitrites to harmless nitrates. This is all good science by the way.
The Science Behind a Natural Plant or Veggie Bio Filtration System
It’s the same science! Only it gets better on so many fronts. I just mentioned the above goal of creating as much surface area as possible, the more surface area,,… the more beneficial bacteria. Well, take another look at that water hyacinth. Do you see all those little tiny fibrous roots, thousands of them on just one plant?
Did a spark just go off? Did you get any ideas of what could happen here with this little weed? It’s virtually impossible to duplicate the surface area of a fibrous root system with man made material. But, it doesn’t stop there.
What can plants do that beads can’t do?... GROW! What does that mean to us water garden folks? Allot! You see, certain plants don’t need a soil medium and can grow hydroponically.
Therefore we can float them in a small retention pool above the pond, or in an existing bio falls box. We pump our pond water up into the bottom of that pool, it flows through the roots of our plants (beneficial bacteria heaven), and back to our pond as oxygen rich (aerated from moving through rocks and falling into pond), and biologically filtered.
Let’s get back to the GROW factor. These plants need three basic elements to grow: water, sunlight, and a food source. Guess what?... You know the whole biological thing we’re doing, creating a system for beneficial bacteria so we can manipulate the ammonia and nitrogen cycle?... Well the nitrogen part of that cycle is ……………… FOOD!........................ Not only does that lovely mesh of roots create the best breeding ground for bacteria, that mesh of roots is literally pulling nutrients out of the water, and using the nutrients for its own development! A mechanical filter cannot do that! So we are getting more shebang here.
What About Algae?
What does algae need in order to grow? Algae is a plant right? (Did I just cuss?). What do plants need to grow? The same food source of nutrients that our floaters are removing from the water is the same source that our unwanted algae would need to thrive. So the more nutrients we can remove, the less algae we should have!
We aren’t finished yet!... As the water enters the veggie filter, solids settle out and collect on the exposed roots of the plants, thereby removing sediment from the pond. Can it get any better? Sure. The roots become home to invertebrates and good algae, which provide a critical link in our ecosystem. What else? How about the cost factor? Do I need to go there? And I don’t know about you but I’d much rather look at beautiful floating plants instead of the plastic bio falls lid or a beastly bead filter.
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What are the Negative Issues Regarding a Plant (Veggie) Filter?
Water Hyacinths are tropical plants, so they don’t work in the winter time. I would argue that you don’t need additional biological filtration in the winter anyway, and that most bacteria won’t survive the temperatures. That’s another article in itself. In fact, most folks winterize their bead filters and such, and therefore have no additional bio filtration during those months. I’ll be writing another article explaining how to simply create a plant “veggie” bio filter, and I’ll also discuss a plant that can work in the winter months as well. By the way, we’re not just simply talking about placing hyacinths in the pond randomly. That will have benefits of course, but not on the scale we’re discussing here. You have to create a bio filter area that will allow all the pond water to move through the roots.
So..., we want to discard the hyacinths in the winter. Why?... because all the nutrients those hyacinths removed from our water are still in the plant itself. If we let them die in there those nutrients will get released back into our ecosystem, … and that’s BAD! So we throw them away. No big deal because you don’t need to buy many of these little tigers. Why..., because you can almost watch them grow and divide, especially in a bio filter application. Five plants become ten plants in very little time. So, we spent $5.00 to $25.00 for a beautiful low maintenance state of the art Bio Filter. Good Deal? You decide.
Read Article on how to create a plant (veggie) bio filter
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