A pond filter keeps the water in your garden pond clear and clean, it also keeps harmful toxins at bay, if you keep fish in your pond it’s an essential piece of equipment to have.
With all the hard work pond filters have to do you would think you would need to clean them on a regular basis, but you would be wrong, but how often should you clean your pond filter.
You might be surprised to learn, the longer you leave your pond filter the better it will perform.
This is due to the beneficial bacteria that grows on your filter, it has an important job to do in keeping your pond clear and the toxins away, if you clean your filters you have a good chance of killing off this good beneficial bacteria which will set your pond back to square one.
The last thing you want to do is kill of the beneficial bacteria, this is why we suggest you don’t clean your pond filter more than a 2-3 times a year, at the start of the season, maybe mid season and just before closing down your pond for the winter.
But what if your filter can’t cope and needs cleaning more often.
You have to look at the type of filter system you have, a good filter system that can handle the bio load of your pond should only be cleaned a two to three times a year, but if you notice your filter clogging up you might need to investigate.
If you notice a drop in the water flow coming from your filter or the pond water looking a bit murky you will need to check why, open up your filter box and check the filter material.
If you find your filter media covered in a thick layer of sludge and debris you will need to clean it, if this is the case it could be because you have an underlying problem, probably because the filter system is not up to the job, but don’t worry there are things you can do.
Your filter works in two ways, biological and mechanical, the mechanical side of the filter removes the physical debris while the biological side removes the toxins via the beneficial bacteria.
If the mechanical filter gets blocked it doesn’t allow clear oxygenated water to reach the beneficial bacteria, if oxygenated water doesn’t reach the beneficial bacteria it will die, if this is the case you need to clean the mechanical filter using water taken from the pond.
The mechanical filter could be filter media or a course sponge.
What you don’t want to do is clean the biological filters with the beneficial bacteria.
You can clean the mechanical filters as often as you need too, but only clean the biological filters with the beneficial bacteria 2-3 times a year and remember when cleaning any filter use the water from your pond, do not use fresh tap water as it contains chlorine.
If you can we would suggest you get a filter system that can cope with the bio load of your pond, or upgrade the system you have, this will save you a lot of maintenance and anxiety in the long run and will help keep your fish happy and healthy.
While we are on the subject, if you have a pressurised filter you should back wash it at least once a week and you can clean them out twice a year if needed.