Note: We do NOT sell pond equipment. We are NOT paid or sponsored by any business that sells pond equipment or koi. We are NOT partners with any business that sells koi or pond equipment.
Over the past 4 years, we have used filters, pumps, UVs from different manufacturers and have settled on what is good for our system.
For example, we bought one Calpump and one Tsurumi submersibles that claimed equal flow rates. Tsurumi was twice as expensive. Calpump’s flow rate was lower than Tsurumi’s. Calpump worked only for 6 months but Tsurumi continues to work even after 6 years. We also bought 2 of 2500gph Calpump and 2 Little Giant submersibles of similar flow rates. Calpump submerisbles died in less than a year. Little Giant pumps continue to work even after 5 years.
Calpump is the worst pump of all pumps we used. They stop working in less than a year. But to claim warranty, the owner must ship the heavy pump at his own expense. Shipping charges can be higher than the price of the pump. So, after losing 4 of these, we stopped buying them.
Laguna pumps with cages are great for draining water from biological filters because the cage prevents K1 media from getting sucked. They are also great to use in fry pools. However, these pumps are not good for quarantine pools or main ponds because cages trap uneaten food and koi waste.
Tsurumi and Little Giant have been reliable. Pondmaster pumps are fine but pre-filters come off easily and pump cord breaks right at the pump. We use them to drain quarantine pools and the main ponds to do water changes. Pond master makes submersible pumps with venturi (for aeration). These pumps are great for aerating medicated baths and measuring tubs because they aerate as well as circulate water
We use Nexus Eazy Pods in our quarantine systems and really love them. One can see the beads to see if they are dirty. If the pump failed, changing the stinking anaerobic beads is easy. One can run the filter using gravity which means one need not use a high-pressure pump. Eazy Pods are great for ponds up to 5000 gallons. Each circuit can use one Eazy Pod.
Eazy Pod’s big brother Nexus 310 has a large footprint for a flow rate that is slightly higher than that of Eazy Pod. Eazy Pod is 23” in diameter and has 2640 gph flow rate and costs $565. Nexus 310 is nearly twice as big (43.3” in diamater), has 3431 gph flow rate but costs $2865 (which is 5 folds). And Nexus 310 combines bio-filtration and mechanical filtration, which is a bad idea. If for some reason, the filter fails, pond has no filtration - mechanical and biological. So, installing 2 Eazy Pods is a better choice and cheaper than a single Nexus 310. of course, you must have a separate bio-filter in this case.
We use home-built 55-gallon barrel filters with K1 media in our quarantine pools. While building the bio-filters, remember to attach strainers to both inlets and outlets of the filter to keep K1 media from getting out.
For the main pond, we have built a 4-feet high spa tub like tank that holds about 1200 gallons of water. it can hold 20 cubic feet of K1-media which is “boiled” with the help of 4 air-diffusers placed on the floor. You can replicate this by using a 8’ polytank.
Pressurized filters or bead filters
Air diffusers are very helpful in creating an aerobic environment in the pond. Dissolved oxygen in water is highest at the surface because that is where atmospheric oxygen comes in contact with water. Solubility of oxygen increases with agitation because more water is exposed to atmosphere. But atmospheric oxygen has no opportunity to come in contact with the water beneath the surface. As a result, oxygen content in water decreases as the depth increases.
Air diffusers installed on bottom drains, force air into deep water, helping oxygen dissolve. They also push deep water to the surface, exposing them to atmosphere. The agitation caused by the bubbles help atmospheric oxygen dissolve in the water at the surface as well. Even if a pump fails, air diffusers can help Koi stay alive until ammonia levels start raising due to lack of bio-filtration.
Air diffusers also help dispel bad gases dissolved in water (like carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and methane)
We bought a GCTEK stainless steel UV sterilizer (Zapp 40) that worked great, without any leaks. But when it was time to replace the bulb we realized that we had to spend 10 times more for the replacement bulb. Moreover, the design is so poor that if one is not extra careful, the quartz tube can break that enclosed the bulb can break. And in our case, it did - twice! While replacing the quartz tube, water got into the UV ballast. The total cost of replacing the bulb was 50% of the price of the UV sterilizer.
Next year, we bought a Matala UV sterilizer that uses bulbs that are available in Home Depot. Also replacing bulbs is quite easy in Matala units.
For more details about UV sterilizers, go here
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