Filter This
by Curt Nuenighoff
April 1, 2009
Educating pondkeepers about the three most important aspects of filtration will help customers maintain healthy, beautiful ponds all year long.



Understanding pond filtration can be complicated for customers, particularly those new to pondkeeping. There are three important aspects that contribute to overall pond health and proper filtration. Be sure to go over these with customers to help them make the right decisions and enjoy their pond hobby all season long.


Biological & Mechanical Filtration
There are two basic methods to filtration: mechanical and biological. Mechanical filtration uses filter pads to trap dirt and debris, while biological filters use the natural biological process to improve the water. Remind customers of the importance of implementing both aspects of filtration in their pond, especially if they plan on keeping fish in the pond.

There are several types of filter systems customers can choose from, including gravity flow biofilters, pressure filters, waterfall filters and submersible filters. Be sure to understand the differences and the benefits of each so that you can guide your customers appropriately.

To further ensure clear water, suggest using a UV clarifier to eliminate suspended single-celled algae that cause green water. In most situations, UV clarifiers remove heavy algae blooms within five days, keeping the pond algae-free. For optimum efficiency, remind pondkeepers to replace the UV bulb every spring, or after 11 months of continuous operation.


Header Ponds
A header pond is the smaller pond that feeds the waterfall that flows into the primary pond. Usually, a header pond is located above the primary pond and is filled with many plants that have extensive roots, which are an integral part of pond health.

Water hyacinth is a good plant to place in the header pond, mainly because its many roots act as a natural filter. Additionally, one water hyacinth floating on the pond surface can quickly become hundreds, overtaking a pond during the summer. Therefore, your customers may want to confine water hyacinths to a “header” pond–and keep them from overtaking the larger, primary pond.


Waterfalls, Streams & Fountains
Water features like fountains and waterfalls make attractive additions to any pond. The sight and sound of moving water adds an extra dimension to a garden and enhances a pond’s appeal. In addition to beauty, water features  help oxygenate the pond and provide a biofiltration benefit. If the pond contains fish, there can never be too much oxygen. Additionally, waterfalls and streams provide surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize and help convert harmful ammonia into relatively harmless nitrates. As a rule of thumb, the pond’s entire volume should be circulated in one hour. The more circulation, the healthier the pond will be.

Innovative waterfall filtration advances have combined filtrationwith the action of a waterfall in one unit. The waterfall filter disappears into the landscape, which creates an easy install for the pond owner. As the water passes through the filtration unit, it provides sight, sound and beneficial filtration in one.

Help customers by being ready to answer any questions they may have about their pond’s filtration system. Most importantly, be certain to stock a variety of filters with features that make pondkeepers’ job easy and mess-free. They will thank you for it!

When guiding customers, one important fact to remember is that a pond can never be over-filtered. It is always better to have more filtration than what they expect they’ll need.


Curt Nuenighoff is TetraPond director.