Bubble bead filters and Koi ponds
You know we hate sand filters. We hate them because they work so well - they trap a huge amount of gunk in the sand bed which rots and breeds pathogenic bacteria as well as toxic noxious chemicals that end up in your Koi pond and causing havoc. We also hate the fact that they are pressurised things that suck up pump power and waste good energy on pushing water through a clogged sand bed....
But sometimes there are no alternatives to a pressurised system. Legacy systems - in other words, filtration systems that are older and make use of sand filters (or worse, filter systems installed by so called Koi pond builders who should know better but just install the easiest thing to install (and pressurised systems are easy to install!) to enable them to get off site as fast as possible and onto the next victim/sucker...) are often in place and difficult if not impossible to remove or replace.
Enter the bubble bead filter.
This is what they look like. They look similar to sand filters but with the exception of the additional big blue thing on the side. The big blue thing is actually nothing other than a Jacuzzi blower which should give you a hint as to where the 'bubble' part of the name of the filter comes from.
The bubble bead filter is basically an upside down sand filter. Instead of using sand inside it uses small plastic beads which float. So instead of forcing water DOWN through a sand bed and filtering it that way, a bubble bead filter forces water UP through the floating bead bed. In this principle the bead filter operates more or less the same as a sand filter, just upside down.
However, it is the blower that makes all the difference when operating with the beads. When you need to remove all the gunk in the bead bed all you have to do is to shut off the water supply, and then turn on the blower.
What happens now is that massive quantities of air are blown into the bead bed, turning the inside of the bead filter into a churning riot of moving water.
It is critical to note that it is this massive turbulent chaotic movement that separates the bead filter from the sand filter. In a sand filter the poor water pump has to try and agitate a large heavy bed of sand and to shake the debris loose - a task which typical water pumps on Koi ponds simply cannot do. Which is why you have to open the sand filter and churn the sand by hand (using a lot of water in the process we might add).
The beads on the other hand are effectively being cleaned off far more effectively. What this means for you is that far more rubbish and trapped debris are being removed from the filter and from the filter bed and not left behind to ferment and rot.
Once you have run the air into the bead bed for a few minutes you can backwash the dirty water out from the filter. You can then run water from your pump through the filter for a quick rinse before resuming normal filtering.
The bead filter thus uses less water and achieves a far more effective backwash. So for installations where there is no alternative to a sand filter the bubble bead filter presents, in our minds anyway, a far more attractive option.
Now, if you already have a sandfilter in place you have yet another option available to you. Install a bubble bead filter in front of your existing sand filter and feed the sand filter from the bead filter. Then take all the sand out of the sandfilter and replace it with bio media - SuperActiFlo bio media will do very nicely indeed (even without aeration) - and you instantly add additional biological filtration capacity to your system without having to throw away your old sand filter. Neat huh?
Or better yet! Chat to us about converting your existing yucky sand filter into a lekker lovely bead filter. Yes! It can be done and it's cheaper than buying a brand new bead filter. We have had great success with these conversions and are happy to recommend them.