Do It Yourself Pond Filter Clean Out

Pond Clean Out

Follow these steps for Do It Yourself pond filter clean out for better start-up success regardless of your equipment configuration. Do It Yourselfers often build and clean out their water gardens constructed with professional-grade equipment such as Aquascape Biofall filters installed by pond building contractors. The time a filter can go before needing a cleanout varies depending on various factors related to the pond size, type of equipment installed, fish and plant load.
Although Earth Works builds pond systems with skimmers, including submersible pumps and biofall filters we understand that your DIY pond might be put together differently, you can still benefit from knowing how best to complete your pond filter clean out ahead of Spring.
-When designing a pond, you should consider:
-A pond layout that prevents debris buildup.
-Use a pump with a proper flow and turnover rate for the size and fish load.
-Piping from the pump to biofall should be adequate diameter, length, and height considering effects of friction loss and head pressure.

Do It Yourself pond builders can have all sorts of pond configurations along with mix and match pond equipment. So let’s set aside the platitudes of the ‘perfect pond design and configuration’ and consider getting the best performance out of the system you’ve got.
Cleaning the debris from your filter heading into Spring is an essential general rule. As water temperatures increase, so do the bacteria and algae populations. Built-up debris serves as a petri dish to grow harmful strains of bacteria that cause bacterial infections and algae blooms that can result in fish kills.

DIY pond with Aquascape Biofall 6000 installed

Using the example of a DIY pond build that includes an Aquascape Biofall 6000 follow these steps to clean out yours. The Aquascape Biofall 2500 & 1000 could be cleaned following the same procedures. This pond example is a koi pond that consists of an external pump that draws from the pond bottom drain and pumps water through a 2″ line to one of the bulkhead connections on the bottom of the biofall.
-If you do regular water changes, make this part of one of those regularly scheduled events.
-Turn off your pump and draw down the water level in the pond to the bottom of the biofall. Likewise, empty the biofall reservoir.

Biofall reservoir being drained by using a sump pump.

-There are a variety of sump pumps available for quickly drawing down pond water levels. These same pumps can be used for removing the water and sludge buildup from the bottom of the biofall reservoir. While the filter sludge can be scooped out with a bucket or shop vacuum, there are specialty pumps like the Oase Pondovac that contractors use for their clean-out services. “I can’t imagine doing this work without one,” says Josiah Crousore Specialty Water Gardens & Landscapes, Columbia, MO. “It comes in especially handy for just your situation, cleaning out pump vaults, skimmers, biofall boxes, etc. No more hand scooping muck and dead frogs for me. We use it throughout the year for all kinds of tasks related to maintenance or transferring water. It’s not 100% perfect at everything but nothing is. They ain’t cheap but I promise you wouldn’t regret getting one. The Oase vacuums are built pretty tough, especially the pump and vacuum motors.”
-When draining water from your pond, utilize this nutrient-rich water within your landscape to fertilize the plants.
-Remove the rock tray, fine and coarse filter material, and bioballs. It’s good to have a dedicated area to clean pond material that is out of the way, and that doesn’t flood your yard or your neighbors.

DIYer’s dedicated area for cleaning equipment that won’t flood neighbors.

-Spray off all the sludge and debris from the filter material. Thoroughly clean both sides of filter mats and bagged bioballs until the cleaning water clears. Cleaning the filter media removes all the good bacteria that you can replenish with Beneficial Bacteria by Aquascape, and Maintain that includes beneficial bacteria, along with a flocculant, and phosphate binder. There are time-release formulas that can be used with our Aquascape Automatic Dosing Systems as well.

Proper cleaning of filter media requires water pressure and patience.

-Return your filter media to the biofall filter. Although simply designed the Aquascape biofall components must be installed properly with the large coarse filter material placed at the bottom and bags of bioballs placed on top. For extra filtering of suspended fine particles include fine filter material in the path of the flowing water over the filter spillway.

-Refill pond water (treated with detox or Maintain), and restart your filter. The biofilm and beneficial bacteria colonization will begin thereafter, but depending on temperature and pond configuration there can be water clouding and increased algae growth prior to optimum filter performance.

Supercharge your water changes with MAINTAIN

-After successfully completing your pond filter clean out bathe and sanitize yourself as the bacteria splattered on your skin can cause a variety of health problems that we don’t want to discuss.

Earth Works is a Certified Aquascape Contractor designing ponds and serving as a retail supplier of the full line of high-quality Aquascape pond equipment and supplies in Northeast Florida. If your pond performance is inadequate for your needs contact Earth Works or another Certified Aquascape Contractor for a design consultation.

For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden, and landscaping need, contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online or at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions. 

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.