Maintaining a backyard pond requires diligence and hard work. Skimming, tending to plants and fish, checking on electronic features, and more are all part of what keep your pond functioning and enjoyable for years to come. While you may depend on your fish pond filter to keep your pond clean and safe for your fish, it is up to you to keep that filter clean.
Pond filters are used to clean debris and biological waste from your garden pond. Most systems have varying degrees of mechanical and/or biological filtration working hard to remove that waste from your pond. Both types of filtration, mechanical and biological, need to be kept clean and require different steps to get there.
Biological Pond Filters
Biological pond filters work with beneficial bacteria filter media that work hard to break down debris. As water flows through the filter media, the bacteria feed on it, removing the debris and leaving you with clear, healthy water. Because you want these bacteria colonies to flourish in order for these systems to work, there isn’t much that goes into cleaning this kind of fish pond filter. If you notice a decline in water flow or observe mats “curling” with the water flow bypassing the media, do a quick rinse in a bucket of pond water. If need be, perhaps at the start of spring and fall, add in some new beneficial bacteria to accelerate the breakdown of leaves, muck and other organic sediment that builds up during the fall and winter months, while replenishing bacteria loss in the spring.
Mechanical Pond Filters
While biological pond filters are capturing those microscopic pieces of debris, mechanical filters are working hard to trap larger annoyances, like leaves, algae and any other unexpected visitors to your pond. All of this debris is usually contained in a net and needs to be cleaned out manually. All you’ll need to do is remove the net, scoop out the debris, give it a rinse and put it right back. You’ll know it’s time to clean out the filter when water flow is reduced, but it is always good practice to check in on your filter regularly, especially in the spring and fall when leaves and pollen are at an all-time high.
It is always a good rule of thumb to keep an eye on your pond throughout the year. Not only will you catch any mishaps with your pond filter, you will be able to see early warning signs for other potential problems, such as your pond fish getting sick or your pond plants getting out of hand.