Hey I want to talk to you today about cleaning your pond filters. You know fall is the best time to clean your pond filter because if you kill any bacteria, the bacteria are pretty much going to die anyway during the winter so you’re really not in bad shape. In fact, if you’re up north or anywhere where it gets really cold, you probably want a turn your filter off during the winter anyway because they have a tendency to freeze up and overflow and into your pond. Bad times all around if you’ve had that happen before.
But the problem is of course most of us wait until spring for the traditional spring cleaning. It doesn’t matter when you do it but whenever you clean the filters there are a few things you need to be aware of. First of all your filters work for you a couple of different ways. Number one they strain out solids. Typically your filter is going to end up just being a mucky nasty mess; it’s basically a mechanical filter. But it’s also a biological filter because the beneficial bacteria tends to grow inside the filter media. It just becomes more surface area for the bacteria. So what I recommend if it all possible is to clean your pond filter with pond water. A lot of us have those little 1200 gallon per hour pumps. They’re not the greatest pond pumps because they tend to die and they leak oil, or at least the older models did, into your pond. But as just a pond filter cleaner, they‘re fantastic. You use them to pump out your pond.
Don’t put it at the very bottom when you want to use it to clean your filter, just kind of midway, even towards the top layer of the cleaner water. You don’t want to stir anything up. Then lay your filter pads out and use that 1200 gallon per hour pond water to clean your filter. It’s not going to make it crystal clear. It’s not going to get everything out, but you can get the majority of all the debris out, without killing any of the bacteria in your pond filter and that’s worth it. Now later in the season if you’re doing a fall cleaning, you may want to use a high pressure sprayer, a power washer. I’ve always used those on mine. If you don’t have a power washer, you don’t need to go out and spend a lot of money on one. Just take your filters the next time you wash your car and use the car wash high pressure washer to do it. Don’t use any chemicals just with the rinse water.
After you put your filter back together, you want to reseed it with beneficial bacteria. Now as your filters get older and you clean them, you’ll notice they kind of get smaller and smaller, and a lot of folks just throw them away and get a replacement. But what I would recommend is to keep that filter and just keep adding to it. My idea of a pond filter is darn near as many gallons as your pond. I like the idea of just taking the big filter roll… I used to cut them in half…stick them in a barrel… obviously there are some fittings involved and some plumbing… but that’s my idea of a filter… 26-foot about a foot deep and that’ll do a lot of filtering for you.
So even if you have a filter that’s very small, just add to it. Crunch it in there, the more filter of the better. Even going with different grades of filters… so you go with the heavier filter with the more porous first and it works its way down to the fine filter towards the end where it’s going back into your pond… and that way you get an even better job of filtering without it instantly clogging if you put in a real fine filter media. So anyway, don’t forget to clean your filter and try to remember to do it in the fall because then you can really get after it and not worry about killing the bacteria.