One of the most critical components of a Koi pond is the filter. Why is this so important to have an adequate pond filter? Imagine living in a house without a toilet.. Or let’s try this one, ever owned a fish tank? How often does it need to be cleaned without a proper filter? Probably a lot.. And sadly most koi and turtle ponds go on neglected because people assume the waste dissipates or somehow disappears, but not without a decent filter setup which allows filter backwashing (what would be equal to that of installing a flushable toilet in your house – sorry to be so grim here)


Why Does My Koi / Turtle Pond Need Filtration?

Because fish and turtle waste needs a place to go. To keep it simple. Because Koi and turtles spend all of their lives inside of a pond, and we want them to live happily and healthy correct? Think about spending your whole life in one room, you’d want that room to have the basics. More often than not we see ponds setup like a room with an oversized kitchen (pond owners who feed their fish and turtles too much) and no toilet (resulting in more waste accumulation).

When you think of it like this, it’s very easy to understand why having a filter in the pond is so critical. However, we frequently encounter ponds that do not have a filter. In numerous cases, hobbyists believe they have a filter that is a good size for their pond. However, it turns out it isn’t large enough after all. Each koi pond needs to have the appropriate pond filtration system to allow your Koi and Turtles to live comfortably and healthy.


Biological Filtration Vs. Mechanical Filtration 

We commonly say “filter system” or “filter” in our daily conversations. There are two major categories of filtration – biological and mechanical. It is very important to understand the major differences between these two types of filtration systems.

In mechanical filtration systems, wastes and solids are physically and removed by the filter. It is similar to a vacuum cleaner. If we return to our example of just living in one room, after the room becomes dirty with waste and leftover food, it would need to be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner. However, the problem is that although physically removing waste will make the room look clean, the waste would still leave polluted air behind in the room. The solids in a Koi pond may be physically removed, and also the water may appear to be crystal clear. However, toxic substances such as ammonia that is dissolved into the water will still remain. That is why it is frequently said that clear water is not always the same thing as healthy water. Both toxic substances and solids need to not only be physically removed but purified and decomposed as well.

The second kind of filtration is biological filtration. It uses assistance from bacteria. This form of filtration uses beneficial (nitrifying) bacteria to purify and detoxify the water.

bio filtration for koi ponds | Lake Management Inc.

Common Types Of Pond Filtration

There are many kinds of mechanical filtration. Rotating Drum Filter (RDF) and Sieve are very popular types these days. Both of them use 200 to 300 micron-sized screens for filtering water. This system will capture any small participles, and you end up with crystal clear water.  If an automation system is what you prefer, then the best option is RDF.

Another type is a bead filter system. You might be seeing these more frequently. It looks similar to a pool filter. There is a backwash function that comes with bead filters so you eliminate collected wastes out of the system without your hands getting dirty. Small beads are used by these filters. The beads have a lot of surface areas that good bacteria can grow on. The system also has a biological function. We don’t recommend bead filtration as the first option but can work for those on a budget and are open to actively maintaining their ponds.

Filter media materials are used by a biological filter system for growing nitrifying bacteria.  The media’s main purpose is not filtering particles, but providing a sufficient living area for bacteria to live in. Therefore it is very important for the media to not clog and have sufficient surface area. There are many kinds of filter media such as brushes, bio balls, filter mats, gravel, etc.

Our recommendation for pond filtration. Cookie-cutter pond filtration kits can sound very effective, yet aren’t always going to fix match your expectations. Not to blame the filtration, it could be due to your pond plumbing is not large enough, or your returns are in the wrong location and under powered (pump is too far from the pond and filter) there can be many reasons for the inability to remove muck from the bottom of your pond.

Which is why we choose to build custom pond filtration consisting of large pumps, and of a very effective and century-old theory such as bio-filtration. Unfortunately there is no kit to purchase as each filtration setup is custom built per water feature, but is worth noting you do have options if you’re unhappy with your current pond filtration.

Pond Filtration Repair Near Me | Lake Management Inc.

In Terms Of Cookie-Cutter Pond Kits – For Small And Medium Ponds

For small and large ponds of up to 5,000 gallons, people seem to be purchasing the Bio-Clean Mini and Bio-Clean. Possibly because they are easy to manage, compact, and simple. Yet we don’t work on these, we’ll replace them if needed though.

Biological filters and mechanical filters both have purposes of their own. If you have a large pond, it is recommended that a custom bio-filtration setup should be added so you will know that the water is healthy and enjoy crystal clear water. If you have to choose only one for your Koi pond, a biological filter system should be the one you choose, and custom built to how your water feature was constructed.

koi pond filtration repair | Lake Management Inc.

Sizing Your Pond Filter And Much More 

It is strongly recommended to double your filter size for your pond. So, if you have a 1,000 gallon-pond, then the filter that you install should be able to handle 2,000 gallons – minimum.

Ideally, the size of the filter should be based on what your Koi population is and the amount of waste you are expecting them to produce. However, it isn’t easy to tell what the waste volume is. So you should opt for a filter that is at least twice as large as the size of your pond. You can never have a filter that is too large. Just make sure you have a pump capable of handling the distance from your pond to the filter, and is able to push water through the filtration media.

We always suggest adding an air pump. Nitrifying bacteria are also aerobic bacteria. This is an ecosystem and you’ll need to have oxygen, in other words. Therefore, is essential for a pond to have plenty of aeration. (That is also why it is bad to have clogged media. This stops the supply of air to bacteria which causes them to die). Even having a waterfall frequently is not sufficient. It is strongly recommended to add an air pump, such as a Medo Air Pump. 90% of pond aerators can be cookie cutter as there isn’t really much customization needed to supply your koi or turtle pond with air. Even large lake use aeration as a part of day to day operations, so we suggest you have one or two or however many needed to match the size of your water features.

These are also called “air-stones” or similar. Commercial versions can be purchased and installed on any local lake (something Lake Management Inc does) as well as any pond or fountain with natural elements such as aquatic plants, water lilies, koi fish, turtles, etc.

Give us a call today if you would like a free quote for pond equipment repairs or installations. (714) 312-1260 or email us at [email protected]


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