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Chemical Filtration, the Importance of


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Algae can overtake a pond if filter maintenance is not kept up. As much as he enjoyed spending time working on his water garden, for Robert, summer meant several weeks vacationing at his lake cabin. Whenever he remembered, Robert performed his basic maintenance, cleaned his filters, and replaced any exhausted chemical filter media. However, not aware of the importance of a regular maintenance schedule, Robert frequently left on vacation without tending to his water garden before leaving. Upon his return, he found his water dark green and thick with debris and algae.

Aquatic Ecology 101
Water gardens obey the same environmental process that affect natural bodies of water where organic materials accumulate and break down to release algal nutrients such as phosphate and nitrogenous materials. It is usually an extremely slow process in large healthy systems where these nutrients are efficiently processed or removed. This gradual accumulation of nutrients is called eutrophication and is the same natural process that converts aging lakes into bogs and finally into wooded areas.

Because many water gardens do not have adequate filtration, nutrient levels tend to progressively accumulate. When routine maintenance, water changes, or chemical filter media replacement is not performed, the increase in nutrient levels accelerates to trigger a series of events including aggressive algae growth and eventual collapse of the entire system.

We recommend:
  • Black Magic Carbon removes colors, organic pollutants, toxic compounds and medications that cause water discoloration.
  • PhosBan adsorbs phosphate from ponds plus other pollutants to help prevent algae problems.
  • Media Bag makes changing media easier with velcro closures.
Maintaining a Low Level of Nutrients
Chemical filter media absorb organic pollutants and trap these materials to maintain a low level of nutrients in the water. It supplements mechanical and biological filtration and slows the negative effects of eutrophication. Placing chemical media such as activated carbon or phosphate-removing media in the skimmer box or any area with good water movement maximizes its efficiency. Since many chemical filter media are available in bulk and require a filter media bag to contain it, having several media bags makes regular use and replacement more convenient.
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