Why Is A Vortex Pond Filter And Japanese Matting So Successful?
A biological pond filter, no matter what shape or design is responsible for converting toxic ammonia into nitrate. The breakdown of ammonia requires plenty of oxygen, a filter media with a high specific surface area for nitrifying Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter bacteria to live on and last but not least turbulence. Turbulent conditions encourage maximum contact between ammonia, oxygen and the nitrifying bacteria, which in turn speeds up the rate at which ammonia is oxidized.
Vortex pond filters have been designed in such a way and when combined with Japanese matting are one of the best Koi pond filtration systems available. The home of Koi keeping and the foremost experts when it comes to this prized ornamental fish are the Japanese. In Japan, vortex filtration is used used extensively due its proven effectiveness, low maintenance and reliability.
How Does A Vortex Filter Work?
A vortex filter must be installed as the primary filtration system prior to pond water flowing into the biological chamber, housing the nitrifying bacteria. As pond water containing particulate matter such as leaves, fish excrement and decaying organic matter, from the bottom of the pond is pumped into the vortex chamber the swirling motion of the water causes the waste matter to fall to the bottom of the chamber. The settled matter is easily removed at a later stage by opening a purge valve. The major advantage of this filtration method is its ability to remove the vast majority of the waste matter before it has a chance to mix with the beneficial nitrifying bacteria living on the Japanese matting. This is beneficial in the following ways:
* Any unwanted heterotrophic bacteria, that causes water quality problems and fish health problems is removed from the water before it has a chance to contaminate the pond.
* The particulate matter does not have a chance to come into contact with the Japanese matting and is therefore unable to block the openings in the matting, resulting in the extremely large surface area being maintained.
I have in this article so far discussed the benefits of vortex filtration. There are however some disadvantages for the average pond keeper with a small to medium sized fish pond, up to 1000 gallons (US):
* They are designed for use in large ponds by Koi professionals and will probably be over kill for the majority of smaller fish ponds. For those pond keepers with smaller ponds I would suggest a pressurized pond filter from industry recognized manufacturers such Fishmate, Oase or Hozelock, as their pond keeping products are supplied with excellent warranties and have been designed to keep running costs to a minimum.
* They can be expensive to purchase and can be tricky to install. When installing a vortex filter it is important to choose a model that is correct for the size of the pump flow rate that you require. If you choose a model that is too small for the required pump flow rate then the water containing particulate matter will pass straight through to the next filtration stage. A bigger models has a longer retention time and therefore provides a much better opportunity for the solid waste to settle in the primary vortex chamber, where it can be easily removed.
Having said this if you compromise the health of you fish by using an inferior biofilter then you may wish that you had used a professional biofiltration system in the first place. Koi can be very expensive to replace and are susceptible to stress, unlike their hardier goldfish cousins.
If you are looking for the best Koi pond filtration system available then a vortex Koi filter and Japanese matting is the option that many professional Koi keepers choose. The design not only removes up to 80% of solids in the pond water but will also remove large quantities of ammonia quickly and easily.