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Bead Filters, an American curse?

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  • #31

    That is of course, absolutely true.

    Bead filters aren't the worst thing out there at all. The biggest problem with them as far as I am concerned is that they are sold as the be all and end all to comparative beginners who won't put the work into cleaning them that they need, and won't realise the risks when tey medicate the pond.


    • #32

      I don't run a bead filter, but used one in the past in other application. They can do a wonderful job, but are not suitable to my present needs. My major objections are:

      #1 They are energy hogs. They generate some back-pressure which must be overcome with horsepower. This relates to what bil calls their "compressive" mode of action. Being poor and living in an area with very high energy costs, this is a concern.

      #2 They are pressurized housings and it is difficult to inspect the media. It's a lot of effort to find out if you have any persistent clumping and to correct the problem. I like to be able to see what is going on.

      #3 They demand very regular maintenance. If you do not stay on schedule, they can be literal time bombs. I am easily distracted and not conscientious enough to effectively operate a bead filter.

      #4 It is a lot of effort to build one as a DIY project. Like I said, I'm poor.

      -steve hopkins


      • #33

        I think that sums it up nicely!


        • #34

          Can someone give me an idea on what regular maintenance is on a bead filter?


          • #35

            Bead Filter Maintenance Program:


            I use my bead filters as mechanical filters feeding Bakki Showers, which are my Bio Filters…

            Each Sunday and Wednesday I turn the pumps off, turn selector to Rinse, turn agitator on, and start my stop watch feature on my wrist watch to ensure that I only agitate beads for 2 minutes… at the end of the agitation cycle, I turn the selector to Backwash, and turn the pump back on… when the water in the glass bubble turns clear, I change selector to Rinse for a few seconds until all debris is out of bubble then set selector back to filter….

            This morning, the process took 3 minutes and 32 seconds from start to finish on the 1700-gallon pond…and 3 minutes and 18 seconds on the 900 gallon pond…

            In addition, I flush the bottom drain lines each evening for 1 minute by switching the selector from filter to the waste position…this bypasses the filter and flushes bottom drain lines to the yard…

            Once a year, I open the filters and check for clogged slots and settlement on the bottom of the filters…Since the Aquabead filter (the new one) has it’s bottom drain in the low spot of the filter chamber there’s no settlement…The Aquadyne must be vacuumed to take settlement out because the bottom drain plug is situated an 1" or so above the bottom of the tank… Even with the vacuuming it takes less then ½ hour for this annual maintenance…

            One thing you’ve got to understand about filtration… Individual's statements re: Pros and Cons often reflect the type of filter they use (d), the time frame when they used them and the experience they had… People, who used bead filters before the advent of agitators, probably had bad experiences with clogged beads….

            I can remember when, as a young man in the early 60’s, you couldn’t get anyone to buy a car made in Japan because they were crap… Now they’re the top of the line automobiles… Dr. EJ once said that Aquadyne filters were the best, the only one he endorsed, that’s why I bought mine in 2002, now he’s selling the Aquabead also…. Bakki showers work great in Hawaii, because the temps average 75-80 degrees year round…
            By the way, while ORP readings are not the only indicator of water quality, they are a good indicator…Our readings are always in the 350-400+ range, which indicates excellent pond conditions…

            As Paul Harvey always says "You have to know the other half of the story"

            Aloha! Mike


            • #36

              Thanks Mike!

              I have an Advantage bead filter and I really like it. Havent had it that long though so still optimizing. I am concerned about what I am going to have to do if and when I have to medicate. The manufacturer states that you can bypass the bead filter but you have to follow a rinse procedure once every three hours while the beads are being bypassed to keep O2 to the nitrifying bacteria. Dont know how feasible that will be? I just finished this pond last October so still a newbie with this set up.


              • #37


                Just remember one thing about most bead filters, they’re modified swimming pool filter and/or are designed around them…

                Do you know the Juice commercial "I could of had a V-8", well you could have had an Aquabead which would have eliminated the O2 problem…

                No matter here’s the conversion….

                If you look at an ad for the Aquabead filter, focus on the Multiport Valve…On the front you see the pressure gauge, just below that is a 2" port which has been reduced to a ½" female treaded port…Gary has attached what he calls an "ALISS’’ Life Support System… An ingenious idea, fabricated with off the shelf plumbing fixtures, (90 degree curb fitting elbow , a ½" check valve and a ½" threaded pipe fitting to go from PVC to flex hosing) Just hook an air pump to ALISS and you're home free...

                Aquabead uses a PentAir Multiport Valve which has the 2" port… If the advantage has the same valve you can make the conversion... If the Advantage valve housing does not have the 2" port... You might be able to remove the pressure gauge and add the ALISS to the port during medication...

                When you’ve completed this, send Gary Cryer a bottle of Black Label for using his idea…

                A better, but more expensive, alternative would be to install a TT or Bakki Shower as your Bio Filter and use the bead filter as your mechanical filter…then you won’t have to worry about medication problems…

                And remember, when you build your next pond…and you will build another and BIGGER pond, buy an Aquabead…

                Hope this helps, Aloha! Mike


                • #38

                  hi there,

                  first off all,i'd like to apologise for my poor english(i'm from holland)
                  i build my first pond 3 years ago and it was filtered by 3 votexes (1 as vortex and 2 with jap.mat)first but they were very hard to keep clean(blanket weed sliiping trough the vortex and stuffing up the mats wich restrained the water flow)
                  2 years ago i traded the vortexes for a sieve (as a prefilter) and a beadmaster(a dutch beadfilter) wich is good for 20.000 liters(no idea how much it is in gallons)
                  and my pond is 12.000 liters.
                  i now have crystal clear water with no bad readings at all and i have no additional biofilter at all,only a uv light(55 watts) and this spring i am going to build a plant filter for the removal of nitrates and stuff.
                  as i say,it is very common here to use a beadfilter with a pre filter for the whole thing,but we backwash every other day(in summer)and almost erveryone is satysfied about it,and it can handle a lot of fish too.


                  • #39


                    Welcome to the board...There's nothing wrong with you English...Everything was understood...Thanks for your information...Sieves seem to be the rage lately here in the US...May have to try one someday...

                    By the way the Gallon to Liter conversion is 1 gallon = 3.785 liters...

                    Since you may be on this and other boards in the future you may want to tag as a favorite or bookmarked site for various converions...

                    Again thanks for the information and Welcome...

                    Aloha! Mike


                    • #40

                      Seems that quite often we must convert units of volume, flow, etc.

                      There is an excellent shareware program that does all type of conversions.

                      Convert 4.1 by Joshua F. Madison

                      Extremely easy to use, it deals with unit conversions of temperature, mass, volume, flow, area, distance, pressure, energy, light ... and so on up to 21 types. You can even built your own custom conversions

                      You can download it from
                      Diego Jordano
                      Cordoba, Spain
                      A.E.K. web site
                      pers. web site


                      • #41

                        I did not know the Aquabead had an agitator. Is it air-driven? What does it look like?



                        • #42

                          Morning Steve:

                          Welcome home from the wars at Koiphen.... If you go to:

                          you'll see the agitator on the first picture of the filter system, it's the can in the highest position... It's air driven... Aquadyne has same set up but you have to open and close a valve to use and shut down, not really a big deal, but the Aquabead's agitator is mounted on a check valve so all you have to do is turn the switch on and off...A simple but nice feature, especially for old foggies like me who sometimes forget to open or close the valve... In fact the Aquabead has a lot of simple but nice features to make life easier...

                          Aloha! Mike


                          • #43

                            Excellent quality water is a combination of:

                            Proper pond/filter system size and design
                            Maintaining 90% or higher oxygen saturation - 24/7/365
                            Rapid solids removal
                            Proper stocking and feeding
                            Proper pond/filter system maintainance
                            Significant water changes

                            The type/brand of filtration is only one piece of this system/process

                            I have seen crude very old technology filters that perform very well in the right hands with proper maintainance.

                            I have seen the latest high tech filter systems fail miserably without the rest of the stuff listed above. Sometimes having the latest high tech stuff leads to complanciency or just as bad too much tinkering and over compicating the technology to it's disadvantage.

                            I saw one bead system that the owner complained was worthless that was actually plumbed backwards and the beads had formed a solid mass.

                            Pretty much everything filterwise is adapted from either the aquarium or sewage treatment technology. Instead of switching to a new filter everytime one is marketed learn to use the system you have to it's maximum advantage. If it has weaknesses figure out how to compensate for them. I promise that every new filter also has weaknesses.
                            Disclosure:These opinions are based on my experience and conversations with persons I consider accomplished koi keepers and do not reflect the viewpoint of any organization.


                            • #44

                              excellent response Ray

                              Part of the problem with Bead filters is how they are marketed and people's perception as to the part they actually play in a system. I use mine as part of the rapid removal of wastes. I do not consider it to contribute to the bio-filtration as it is constantly backwashed, knocking back and upsetting the bacteria. But for a biofilter to be able to be the best it can be, it needs not to have to deal with things a good mechanical filter can provide. I really like bio filters that are designed for maximum air exposure, like TT's, Bakki and heavily oxygenated J-mat.

                              In life I have watched lots of situations where an item is marketed as the "be all end all" for that given situatioin. My life experience has been what you gain in convenience you give up in performance. I'd rather have a excellent mechanical system, and a great bio system as two separate items as opposed to something that does a decent job at both.

                              Now in my inside pond I have not used a bead filter because the leaves, dirt and needles are not the concern, and my settling vortexes do a masterful job of eliminating wastes.

                              My learning experience is, if I was charting water quality on a graph, I'd want the line to be consistantly flat for the health of the koi as opposed to the rise and fall of water that because of cleaning and water replacement tended to spike up and down.
                              Dick Benbow


                              • #45

                                [quote=Mike T;17797]David:

                                Just remember one thing about most bead filters, they’re modified swimming pool filter and/or are designed around them…

                                that is pretty obvious, what is less obviuos is the huge difference in price , i.e.
                                -Advantage 10, 60 cm diameter 1795 $
                                -Ultrabead 60, 61 cm diameter 1295 euro = 1848.5 $
                                -Swimming pool filter 65 cm diameter, good quality 318 euro = 453.9 $
                                (1 euro = 1,4274 U.S $)

                                ¿is it just because of the additional cost of the beads plus the blower?

                                I'm using static K1 for mechanic filtration followed by dynamic (aerated) K1 for biological. I'm happy with the results, but I agree that different systems may work allright with adequate maintenance .
                                Diego Jordano
                                Cordoba, Spain
                                A.E.K. web site
                                pers. web site


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