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Thread: Constant backwashing

  1. #1
    Fry
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    9

    Constant backwashing

    Hello All,
    Help please!
    12 weeks ago I had a Koi pond constructed in my garden; this is my first time keeping Koi. I ran the filters for 4 weeks before I introduced Koi. During that 4 week period the waterfall would slow down and the pressure gauge on the media filter would climb from 10 PSI to 20 PSI every 2 days. At this point I would backwash, the gauge would return to 10 PSI and the waterfall back to full flow.
    After the introduction of 14 Koi, ranging from 4” -12” over a period of 2 weeks, thread algae grew on the sides of the pond. When in filter mode the water appears to be very clear but the frequency of the backwashing has increased slowly over time, so that now if I backwash for 5 minutes everything returns to normal but only for about 4 hours when the process has to be repeated. As I can’t be there to do that all the time I have to run on recirculation mode and then you can see algae floating in the water, if I leave it on filter mode it (the waterfall) comes to a stop.
    I live in a very warm climate, todays temperature was 38 degrees and rising, although the pond is only exposed to direct sunlight for about 2 hours a day.
    Is it a case of controlling the algae and if so how should I do that? Isn’t the UV light intended for that purpose, or is the light to small?
    Sorry for the long question - Thanks
    Details of the pond are
    · Approximately 14000 litres
    · Concrete construction
    · 2 bottom drains
    · 1 skimmer
    · Pump Aquatight Pinnacle P450
    · Aquatight C 600 media filter
    · Bio filter brand not known (same size as media filter)
    · UV light Delta UV model ES-5-240
    Kevin
    Last edited by Koiski; 04-26-2011 at 12:26 AM. Reason: Incorrect Information 14000 litres not 1400 gallons

  2. #2
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    Southern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koiski View Post
    Hello All,
    Help please!
    12 weeks ago I had a Koi pond constructed in my garden; this is my first time keeping Koi. I ran the filters for 4 weeks before I introduced Koi. During that 4 week period the waterfall would slow down and the pressure gauge on the media filter would climb from 10 PSI to 20 PSI every 2 days. At this point I would backwash, the gauge would return to 10 PSI and the waterfall back to full flow.
    After the introduction of 14 Koi, ranging from 4” -12” over a period of 2 weeks, thread algae grew on the sides of the pond. When in filter mode the water appears to be very clear but the frequency of the backwashing has increased slowly over time, so that now if I backwash for 5 minutes everything returns to normal but only for about 4 hours when the process has to be repeated. As I can’t be there to do that all the time I have to run on recirculation mode and then you can see algae floating in the water, if I leave it on filter mode it (the waterfall) comes to a stop.
    I live in a very warm climate, todays temperature was 38 degrees and rising, although the pond is only exposed to direct sunlight for about 2 hours a day.
    Is it a case of controlling the algae and if so how should I do that? Isn’t the UV light intended for that purpose, or is the light to small?
    Sorry for the long question - Thanks
    Details of the pond are
    · Approximately 1400 gallons
    · Concrete construction
    · 2 bottom drains
    · 1 skimmer
    · Pump Aquatight Pinnacle P450
    · Aquatight C 600 media filter
    · Bio filter brand not known (same size as media filter)
    · UV light Delta UV model ES-5-240
    Kevin
    It sounds to me like you had your Koi pond filtration system designed by somebody who does not understand Koi pond filtration.

    The reason I say this is I think the problem is the 24 inch heavy duty sand filter you have is designed for a swimming pool and not a Koi pond.

    An Aquatight Crystal C600 Sand Filter with Zelbrite pool media is designed to work on a swimming pool with chlorinated water.

    If I am wrong, I will not be offended.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    Posts
    6,726
    It sounds like you've put all of your filtration eggs in one small basket.

    Let's take this one step at a time and address each issue.

    First, 1400 gallons is smallish for a Koi pond unless your stocking level is very low. Koi are messy fish and produce a lot of waste so stocking rates are very important. 14 Koi in 1400 gallons is a train wreck in the making, so as they continue to grow you'll need to thin them down to only the best 4 or 5 at most.

    Second, your filter sounded like a smallish bead or sand type filter, which is good for water polishing, but horrible for biofiltration. I looked it up, and it is designed specifically for pools and spa's, not Koi ponds at all. It will NEVER be big enough no matter what else you do and it will continue to plug off regularly. You MUST have a larger filter, designed specifically for Koi ponds, preferably with a passive settlement prefilter chamber.

    Third, U.V. lights are for unicellular aglae and have absolutely no impact on the algae growing in the walls of the pond. That algae will grow on its own and the Koi will munch on it along with the food you give them.

    Not what you wanted to hear I'm sure, but it is better to hear the truth now than fight it for months only to find out that you are wasting your time.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  4. #4
    Fry
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    9
    Thank you both for your replies. A small error on my part the capacity is 14000 litres so hopefully large enough for the koi to grow into.
    I have spoken to the company who constructed the pond and they are suggesting changing the sand in the filter for something else, they have yet to confirm what that will be?
    I have 2 filters one with floating plastic pieces in it? and the other with sand, are there other options other than sand?
    Thanks again
    Kevin

  5. #5
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    Davenport, Oklahoma
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    14K litres is much better than 1400 gallons. Not optimal, but adequate with solid filtration.
    The contractor should have known better in the first place, so their sudden realization is a bit suspect. I'd hold their feet to the fire to get it right without up-selling you just to make another big payday for themselves at your expense.
    Sand filters are easily converted to poly bead filters which are available in various sizes. Obviously larger beads (or larger sand for that matter) will not clog as quickly, but they also won't "polish" the water as much either.

    What is important is flowrate capacity being adequate to turn over the pond at least once every 2 hours (hourly is much better). Your pump "should" be up to the task, but as it is also designed for pools and spas, it is horribly inefficient and expensive to operate. Your contractor really should devote a LOT more time to studying Koi Ponds if he's planning to sell his services, as there are far more efficient and less costly ways to provide good fitration than this.

  6. #6
    Fry
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    His sudden realisation is as a result of my complaining and holding the balance of his payment! - Thanks

  7. #7
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaBear View Post
    14K litres is much better than 1400 gallons. Not optimal, but adequate with solid filtration.
    The contractor should have known better in the first place, so their sudden realization is a bit suspect. I'd hold their feet to the fire to get it right without up-selling you just to make another big payday for themselves at your expense.
    Sand filters are easily converted to poly bead filters which are available in various sizes. Obviously larger beads (or larger sand for that matter) will not clog as quickly, but they also won't "polish" the water as much either.

    What is important is flowrate capacity being adequate to turn over the pond at least once every 2 hours (hourly is much better). Your pump "should" be up to the task, but as it is also designed for pools and spas, it is horribly inefficient and expensive to operate. Your contractor really should devote a LOT more time to studying Koi Ponds if he's planning to sell his services, as there are far more efficient and less costly ways to provide good fitration than this.
    I agree with Larry and like I said before; "It sounds to me like you had your Koi pond filtration system designed by somebody who does not understand Koi pond filtration."

    Since you are "holding the balance of his payment", maybe you could return the swimming pool sand filter and use the money to look for another source for a Koi pond biological filter.

    Contacting a Koi club in your area would be a valuable resource for filter options.

  8. #8
    Fry
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    9
    Thanks again for your help.

    The contractors is now proposing to replace the sand with


    “Zeolite is the new media that we intend using. Mixing it at a ratio of 4:1 with normal media sand. (75% Zeolite and 25% Sand)"

    A quick Google and I get mixed reviews.

    Anybody had experience with this product?

    Cheers

  9. #9
    AWL
    AWL is offline
    Tosai
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    Feb 2010
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    When using a sand filter on my pond i tried everything bar the kitchen sink in it I did try zeolite at one point it was about 3mm stone from memory it worked fine for a while but in the end clogged as the sand did.

  10. #10
    eds
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    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koiski View Post
    Thanks again for your help.

    The contractors is now proposing to replace the sand with


    “Zeolite is the new media that we intend using. Mixing it at a ratio of 4:1 with normal media sand. (75% Zeolite and 25% Sand)"

    A quick Google and I get mixed reviews.

    Anybody had experience with this product?

    Cheers
    Zeolite is a short term chemical remover of ammonia which needs regular recharging! It is not suitable for a long term koi pond filter.

    You need to get them to take the filtration they have fitted back and get someone in who knows what they are doing to fit you a proper system with an adequate mechanical filtration section and a large and properly desgined biological filtration part. A sand filter with zeolite in is not a solution that will work.

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