We've been looking around
for a new solution for our waterfall pre-filter. It seems to get clogged very
easily and the waterfall slows down or stops every few days. It has been better
since we did a complete water change and scrub a week ago (WOW! I hope never to
have to do that again!) It seems that the little sponge just picks up every bit
of dirt, algae, and dust in the water - or sucks on itself. How can we get our
waterfall to keep running - at least a week would be nice! Others we read about
or talk to say they only change the filters once a season?!
this is a PondMaster (I think) in a homemade backyard pond. Our best guess is
1100 G (4' W X 6' L X 2-5' deep), with a second filter in the shallow level. We
have 5 koi (2 X 4"; 3 X 7") and 3 goldfish (6"). We also have rapidly multiplying
mosquitofish. We had a little catfish, but only found his skeleton when we cleaned
out the pond.
On a side note, I've read the armored catfish are helpful
with the algae. Will they get along with our already busy gang? Also, how do we
get them out of such a large pond in the winter? We were unable to see more than
a foot down before we changed the water last week - and getting even the little
mosquitofish out was a chore and a half. Thank you in advance for your advice.
Your problem has to do with the inherent design flaws common
to submersible pumps and foam prefilters. Simply, they are high-maintenance and
they clog and fail. A live system generates gunk, and if the first thing the gunk
hits is a piece of sponge, it's gonna stay there. I try to discourage first-time
ponders from using this system, since it does not contribute to the bioconversion
necessary to keep your pond healthy and requires cleaning as often as twice a
day at the height of the summer.
You need to go to the website and read
Mike White's articles on filtration, then
go to the Q&A section and search on filters. In the short term, take the sponges
OFF your pumps. The fouling will damage them. Get the pumps up off the bottom
on some sort of support. Install a box filter with brushes or mat between the
pumps and the falls to start with while you are doing your research. Go on a pond
tour somewhere (heck, come to ours!) and actually look at successful small ponds
and ask questions of the folks who built them. Learn about bioconversion. In the
process of building a pond, you have assumed responsibility for an entire outdoor
biome. It is a complicated thing. Join a POND CLUB!
(Plecostomus) do indeed coexist with other pond fish and can grow quite large.
They are tropicals, however, and must be taken indoors for the winter, a daunting
task when you consider that they are experts at hiding in cracks in the rocks
and those spiny fins are SHARP.
Labor Day weekend is the perfect time
to clean out your pond. We do not power wash. We use recirculated pond water and
low pressure high flow to get the crud out from behind our edging rocks. We leave
the hair algae alone. Our koi enjoy it as a winter and spring salad.