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  • Bead Filters, an American curse?

    Last weekend it was wonderful day for me to visit a koi dealer near by. There were a bunch of new arrival nisai to view and critic, a chance of tete-a-tete conversation with an seasoned judge/hobbyist and meeting a bunch of koi friends.

    After all those years of debating, one of my koi friend still insisted that using bead filter filtration as the main bio source is an acceptable option! an philosophy of (bio) selection! Talking about the pursuit of wisdom!! Here is his filtration setup:

    B. drain > shalow settling tank with Matala.
    Then to pump > bead filter > to pond.

    This design was the brainchild of 3 local koi dealers that I am aware of. The principle of this warp setup was to catch most of the waste at the settling tank with help from Jmats, Matala or PCV shaves .... then the beadfilter has an easy time in processing the ammonia/nitrite! Instead of daily summer backwashing, the routine is reduce to a weekly/monthly chores!! Settling tank is then isolated and clean weekly!! My good Lord! there are more: the dealers claimed fish is healthy and growing like weed!! And, I almost forget, the water is GIN clear! Meanwhile the dummy guy, like JR, was talking about 2-hour interval settling tank summer flushing if he has his way!!!

    My friend, I would like to debate with you on this cyber once for all. You know who I am and I know you cruise this cyber .... let's debate this week as my current work load would allow me to sit and cruise with you all day! Looser pay for all SoCal ZNA trip? Donald

    ps. in the future meetings between us, we only talk about how to collect real high class Nishikigoi at an affordable cost. OK my friend?
  • #2

    Donald,
    I'm a litlle unsettled with your post. I had to read it sevaral times to make sure i understood if this was a challenge to someone else and the gang was not included or what.
    Also i was quite distressed (hopefully I misunderstood) the use of the expression "dummy Guy" in the same sentence with a known contributor world wide to the benefit of the hobby?
    A good debate on filter tactics can be a fun and learning experience as there are many roads that get to rome.
    While I'm personally not a fan of Bubble Beads, I think there is a place for them for the hobbyist out there that wants more of a turn key system.
    Actually the concept of long periods of running without interference (backwashing) helps any biofilter. A mechanical filter and bio should be separate as they do two different jobs. I think where most get in trouble is with over crowding,overfeeding and constant backwashing. This causes spikes in water quality to the detriment of the koi's health.
    I know many of my friends in the UK don't care for them but they are top hobbyists and know there way around a filter system.
    To me BB's are like fire. To know how to properly use one is to be kept warm, to expect them to be the end all be all is to get burned. As always knowledge makes the difference.....
    Dick Benbow

    Comment

    • #3

      Dear Dick, very sorry to cause any confusion. I challaged THE friend of mine to debate online openly, instead of several of 3-hour talk privately without any agreement!

      Another friend referred JR (during the debate) as an obsessive dummy. NOT ME!!!! As a matter fact I know exactly what JR had in mind when he wanted to have a settling flush every 2 hour!! As a matter of fact, without JR's cyber ramblings, I still would be a koi-dummy!!! Donald

      Comment

      • #4

        I hope he is a good friend of yours and picking on each other is just a thing you two do, if not you come across as a little harsh.

        I have my first bead filter sitting out beside my pond right now, not hooked up yet. Certainly they are used a lot in aquaculture and sometimes as sole biofiltration. An established bead (which can take a while) is said to be a fairly good thing. Mine was bought for mechanical filtering in mind, as I have 7 cuft of K1 in an aerated moving bed and another 10 cuft of Bio balls and other media in a shower/TT behind it (for a 3200gal pond). However most US ponds do consist of only submerged media filtration, in that respect if you are going to have un-aerated submerged media a bead filter is as good as anything. Locally I know dealers only using a bead filter for mech/bio filtration, this is in heavily stocked ponds that due recieved more than typical water changes from a well. Another local hobbiest I know is using only beads (a bubble bead followed by a bead) with quite a good success record at the shows with their fish.

        While I do think my setup is superior in performance (Showers/TT & aerated moving beds a better option than submerged media filtration), the question was ~do you agree with..."using bead filter filtration as the main bio source is an acceptable option". Since this setup is superior to the typical US setup (sad but true) I would have to agree with your friend. I still don't recommend this setup, or think it is anywhere close to the "ideal".

        Comment

        • #5

          Donald

          That's an interesting post there... Thought I’d get this in before the fireworks start…

          Built my first koi pond in 1968...kept ponds but quit raising koi in the mid 70's because got tired of fighting the green water...

          Re-activated koi pond in 2003 when I learned about bead filters, the Aquadyne in particular...I've found the conversations re: filtration very interesting, but I find one common thread...When we find a deficiency with a particular design we move onto the next "BEST" solution without resolving the actual problem...

          In the past few years I've seen the hobby go from , Bubble Beads, to Aquadynes, to Aquabeads, to Ultima Bio, and finally to Nexus, the final solution, but wait, the final solution was not so final after all because they've now refined it with the EASY...I actually like this approach, you invent something, find that it doesn't quite meet your standards so you modify it to improve it's performance...Way to Go...

          Back to Bead Filters: The set up of a bottom drain, to settlement tank, to pump to pond was OK as a start... Our system is same but without settlement tank...Then I read that back flushing weekly could harm the Bio filter...and THERE WAS NO GIN CLEAR WATER (white man speaks with forked tongue) Rather than chuck the system in favor of the next "BEST" solution... I added a UV...Viola' Gin Clear Water...To improve the Bio filter I added a TT, thanks to advice from that guy in Jersey...then I went one step further, thanks to Dick Benbow, Maurice Cox, John Sprinkle, Steve Castel and others I added a Bakki Shower...Also do a 10% constant trickle water change 24/7...

          Results: Gin Clear Water, Zero reading for all stuff bad, pH 7.5, dH 3, ORP 400+ (after Bakki install)... 8 koi (until I built second pond) living in 900 gallons of water 2.5' deep growing from 8.5" to over 22+" all in a little over a year....Great shape, great color, still growing...

          New 1700 gal pond uses same design except improved with 4" bottom drain, no dome, no aeration, Aquabead Filter (improvement in through put volume), to Bakki shower...Same great readings as 1st pond, koi growing like weeds...expect tosai of 7" and nisai in 12-17" range to top 22" by this summer...

          Aloha! Mike

          Comment

          • #6

            Not to enflame to discussion,

            I would never use any of the modern gimmicks on my pond unless i had very little space for a filter footprint. The cost of these things is phenomenal and not justified in my persoal opinon.

            I have a 6000 gallon pond (inc filters) and my filtration is traditional. If it ain't broke don't fix it as they say.

            Here goes,

            12ft x 2.5ft x 3ft settlement chamber - 2ft x 2.5ft x 3ft brushes chamber - 3ft x 1.5ft x 3ft Kaldness K1 chamber (fluidised) - and finally 3ft x 1.5ft x 3ft chamber of Jap Matting. 2 x sequence 10,000 return via over the wall returns.

            Pond vac the settlement one a month and rinse the brushes in pond water - JOB DONE. Takes about half hour.

            Guess i am lucky to have the space to block build my own filters. They work a treat and are pretty much maintenance free. Parameters are excellant and water is GIN clear.
            Greg.

            "The target is within"

            Comment

            • #7

              Greg:

              < than 5 minutes twice a week and everything is squeaky clean....

              At an average cost of $520,000 for lots averaging < 6,000sf...there ain't much room for ponds, much less humoungous filter bays... Plus I have better things to do with the 1/2 hr to clean them...bet it's more like 1 hr... use to have one, 3' x 4' x 20' 4 chamber up and down flow...That's why I quit in the 70's....Surf was always up, so pond was always dirty...

              Aloha! Mike

              Comment

              • #8

                thanks Donald. for clarifying the situation! sorry I din't pick up on it right!
                Dick Benbow

                Comment

                • #9

                  Might as well jump now like Mike. Seems to be a fairly common thread everywhere every other month. I use an Aquadyne, actually 2 of them, a 4.4 on my 4487 gallon pond with 2-4 inch bottom drains( with air domes), feeding a 4x3 ft. in diameter Spirex vortex in which I have a roll of blue Matala. Vortex to 1/4 Dragon to 4.4 Aquadyne then return to pond split between 80 watt uv and return only line. Seperate wave 1/15 hp pump on Savio skimmer for skimming and current. Small pond has a .6 Aquadyne...it's only 600 gallons.

                  Both operate just fine...fish always look good, water is and looks good, and when I do show, they are very competitive. I've also been around large numbers of koi kept quite well at a business that are handled solely by Aquadyne bead systems...granted, not as much feed , but much heavier loads than the average pond


                  Is it the best setup I can have....no. Can it be better....yes. Will I add some components such as heating system, trickletower etc....yes. So with all of what's been said here and in other bead filter discussions, I would simply say........In my honest opinion any filter system which is large enough for the application will work. There are however varying degrees to judge these different system's efficiency by...orp, clarity, growth of koi, appearance of colors and skin quality, and on and on. Most folks in this hobby are never going where some have gone....to cost prohibitive. To each their own and what they can afford....lots of DIY systems work well, many do not.
                  I have always been one to take the approach that the filtration system is only as good as the filtration keeper. Lousy systems(IMO) that someone is diligent with and keeps it clean will work and conversely excellent systems that one gets lazy with and ignores will not.

                  Comment

                  • #10

                    like to jump in before the bon fire get too hot.

                    I used BB in my second pond, the pond was very lightly stocked and it did not work (I was lazy then). When I rebuilt my pond, I gave that BB to my contractor. I thought my settling/mechanical/bio filter combo would be the killer application, and was I wrong. The average length of my kois more than double in 14 months, and the filters are not up to the task.

                    Luckily, I have a water and slow, meadering stream in my settling. Water creeps down my water water thru layers of large rock, into the stream and slowly into my pond. I have many large and rugged rocks in my stream. Now my waterfall and stream is my main filter. Water is clean with a very slight green tone. Many koi nerd said that is good.

                    So, I will say put any filter to your pond, BUT put a good
                    waterfall and long meandering stream into your pond, and get as lazy as you want when come to cleaning your commercial filters.

                    Koi-ichis, please don't kill me, I know most of you consider waterfall and stream being 'water feature' that has no role in koi appreciation.

                    stan

                    Comment

                    • #11

                      most of the meandering streams with rock in them are trash collectors and eventually become sludgy and work against you unless you clean them. Trust me on that.

                      cleanliness is next to godliness with koi ponds. ponds that are designed to catch waste and unload them daily work best. It's obvious that Mike in Hawaii is way over filtered but you can tell by his water quality and growing koi, he's doing it right.
                      I think good koi keepers are devoted, like good bonsai keepers. It's being there daily and enjoying the "work" of keeping with a passion.

                      This summer in my outside pond i will run a BB then thru my filter system and will backwash every 3 days. because of the giant filter system as back up to the BB
                      there is no fluctuation in water quality.the BB acts only as mechanical in my mind.
                      Dick Benbow

                      Comment

                      • #12

                        Stan: Am 100% with MR. Benbow

                        Stan:

                        Once again all I can say is "Ditto" to Dicks post....Having said that, I'm like you, I like the "au natural" look of a waterfall and streams, have um on our Japanese Garden pond...

                        When I first installed it, I lined the stream beds with 2" flat river rocks, looked great, but after only a week they collected too much fine crud...took um out and went with just the concrete beds, now clean as a whistle, no creepy crawlies...algae makes them look natural...

                        A seasoned hobbyst posted a thread on the NI board awhile back explaining that his water quality looked great, but then the koi started doing the back stroke...problem, debris on the bottom of his catchment basins which hadn't been cleaned in some time started to ferment adding unseen toxins to water...

                        Aloha! Mike

                        Comment

                        • #13

                          Saratogatan: All things are possible if one is willing to work at it. As DickB points out, a stream is no problem .... if you clean it. Problem is most folks eventually get lazy. In theory, a stream babbling over rocks would add oxygen, nitrification surfaces, de-gassing, etc. ... all the benefits of a Bakki Shower. In practice, every leaf that falls is trapped in the water and rocks, the glarf builds and continuous decomposition sets in. The faster the stream flows, the better. A real torrent will be best .... all the bad stuff gets washed into the pond where the real filters will eventually get it. BUT, if a person takes care to regularly clean it, minimize places where debris will be trapped to rot, etc., then there should be benefits, if they work at it every week. It is all a question of how hard you are willing to work.

                          Comment

                          • #14

                            Yes, stream is good for collecting debris, and need cleaning. I clean mine 4 times a year, but I only average 4oz of feeding daily. I routinely pickup leaves and other junks from the stream everytime I walk around it. I may add a BB to the waterfall, and see if i can readuce the cleaning to once a year. (see, I am way lazy). In the summer, I had to clean my filter, I mean deep cleaning, every 3 days due to koi pooh piling up. Thing did not change much after I shut it off, when I shut off my waterfall, water turned green in 2 days, so my main filter is pretty much a non-filter, and my waterfall has been my main filter.

                            My pond is netted, no leaf in the pond.

                            My water quality is so-so, kois have been growing like weeds. except for a couple of kois who refuse or too old to grow, most of my kois grew 14" or more a year in this pond.

                            Comment

                            • #15

                              Originally posted by donald
                              Last weekend it was wonderful day for me to visit a koi dealer near by. There were a bunch of new arrival nisai to view and critic, a chance of tete-a-tete conversation with an seasoned judge/hobbyist and meeting a bunch of koi friends.

                              After all those years of debating, one of my koi friend still insisted that using bead filter filtration as the main bio source is an acceptable option! an philosophy of (bio) selection! Talking about the pursuit of wisdom!! Here is his filtration setup:

                              B. drain > shalow settling tank with Matala.
                              Then to pump > bead filter > to pond.

                              This design was the brainchild of 3 local koi dealers that I am aware of. The principle of this warp setup was to catch most of the waste at the settling tank with help from Jmats, Matala or PCV shaves .... then the beadfilter has an easy time in processing the ammonia/nitrite! Instead of daily summer backwashing, the routine is reduce to a weekly/monthly chores!! Settling tank is then isolated and clean weekly!! My good Lord! there are more: the dealers claimed fish is healthy and growing like weed!! And, I almost forget, the water is GIN clear! Meanwhile the dummy guy, like JR, was talking about 2-hour interval settling tank summer flushing if he has his way!!!

                              My friend, I would like to debate with you on this cyber once for all. You know who I am and I know you cruise this cyber .... let's debate this week as my current work load would allow me to sit and cruise with you all day! Looser pay for all SoCal ZNA trip? Donald

                              ps. in the future meetings between us, we only talk about how to collect real high class Nishikigoi at an affordable cost. OK my friend?
                              Hey Donald, you have described another persons pond without telling us about your pond...Well anyways, I pretty much know all the people you have mentioned and it doesn't bother me one-bit, but the use of "Dummy Guy" is a low blow in this hobby...Don, there are a lot of local people in your area that read this board and trust me in this hobby you can get "Black listed" very fast!!!! Well anyways, I am not saying I am an expert on filteration, so I am in no means goin to dive into this thread.
                              The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

                              Comment

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