The Best Danged Pond Filter Cloth
pond cloth

Best danged clear water filter material for Pond Aquaculture Hydroponics Aquaria

In the last 50 years of pond building, we have tried virtually every method of cleaning water in Garden Ponds.

Most pond owners are continually battling with blown in and common pond debris. 
Leaves, grass clippings and fish waste are not the only things affecting a biological system that can easily get knocked out of kilter.
There have been many attempts at building equipment, and all of them have short comings. Cost is usually at the top of that list.
In addition to wanting clear water, we also want healthy water for our plants and fish.

Today, it is much less expensive to build a pond. Concrete is rarely used except for raised walls or to cap the edges.
Rubber EPDM liners have gotten to be much more available and has brought the cost down under $ .75 cents a square foot.
If you can dig the hole yourself, you will reduce your costs significantly. Building a raised pond cuts the cost of a hole, but adds
the cost of the supporting walls, so it's basically a wash. If you rent rather than own, then a pond that can be moved works best.

But, wait, we are not anywhere near finished yet. The cost of a filtration system can be as expensive as the rest of the pond combined.
The normal filter for a pond has two basic functions, Settling and Biological.
The Settling part is where the suspended dirt can fall out of the water column by centrifugal or gravity forces.
The Biological part is providing a huge surface area for microbes to colonize upon, whereby they remove the Ammonia (Fish Waste) from the water.  A well designed filter does both efficiently and requires little maintenance. Swimming pool filters are back-flushed, but that method would waste a huge amount of water in a pond application.  Ponds typically have huge debris loads compared to pools and would require back-flushing daily.
Matala and pressurized bead filters work fairly well, but are expensive initially. There is just NO CHEAP WAY to get debris out of ponds.
You could investigate the kitchen sink scrubbing pad method, or God help us, the Pea Gravel method, but neither works well for long.
Eventually, the build up of solids has to be dealt with and both are a stinking messy job.

The best method of having clear healthy water is a system that removes the solids continuously with as little effort as possible.
Again we are brought back to Matala and Bead filters. I don't sell either, so I'm not prejudiced or leaning toward either.
If I was paying for water, and had the available space, I'd probably go the Matala route. It wastes less water.
If I had cheap water or space was a major consideration, I'd go with a pressurized Bead Filter and cycle daily.

Actually, for the average home-owner, a Matala system is probably the best choice all around. Let's talk about the Whats and Whys.
Matala is a media akin to honeycomb. You can read the technical details at matalausa on the internet on page cat26
Matala is a rigid plastic that is available in thick spaghetti-like sheets. It is assembled into chambers of flowing water and is colonized by good strains of bacteria. As the water passes thru, the microbes eat the Ammonia and "clean" the water of the unwanted chemical. The direction of water flow in the chambers causes heavier particles to settle out where they can be quickly flushed with little water loss. Eventually the Matala pads will load up with very fine solids and should be lifted out and hose washed. This takes just a couple of minutes each. I recommend cleaning a couple of the rigid Matala pads each week. This way the media stays functional indefinitely. I've watched one 400 gallon Matala system for 18 years and the water remains clear in this 8000 gallon Koi pond that is surrounded by trees and foliage in a VERY DUSTY environment.

Well, I think I'm getting close to explaining the title line, so here goes.
Debris is everything that falls or is blown into a pond. Waste comes from the inhabitants. Plants loose their foliage and it too becomes debris.
As debris breaks down, the particles become smaller until they are tiny specks. The specks of dirt are so light that they stay suspended for long periods.  The sunshine causes algae to grow on each speck, turning it into a fluffy green ball that is hundreds of times larger. This is how green pond water is made.  A UV light will kill the algae as the water passes thru, but the speck continues on it's journey and soon it is a bright green ball of algae again.

Neither Pressurized Bead, nor Matala systems can catch these light fine particles. These filters both rely on water movement. Movement causes particles to stay suspended.  Eventually, your pond becomes heavily loaded with dirt and gets darker as time passes. 

Enter the cloth filter. After 50 years of trying every media available, we think that we have found the best solution. The food industry uses cloth filters to clarify liquids. Your Coke would be muddy if a cloth filter had not removed all of the fine particles left behind in the production process. After trying more than 25 different materials from every fabric mill in the states, we have identified the one that works best. Over the past several years we have installed cloth filters as a final water polishing step in all of the Matala systems that we design. Cloth lends itself well to filter frames placed in the path of the water. Bead filters, because of their shapes and construction, do not lend themselves to adaptation.
We find that the simplest method is to make a rectangular frame upon which the cloth is attached, and slide that into a "U" shaped channel on the side walls of the Matala chamber near it's exit.  This is very easy to do, inexpensive, and works VERY WELL at removing every last speck of dirt from the water. 
Obviously, the cloth filter has to be removed and cleaned occasionally.
The frame that is installed in the subject Matala system can be lifted out and hose cleaned in less than five minutes a week. The owner also removes the cloth filter any time that he will be away for two weeks or longer. This dusty Phoenix area pond has a significant number of large Koi as residents, yet the water is Sparkling Clear and the Ammonia level does not even register on a test.

There must be dozens of ways to install fabric in the path of the water. My favorite is to install a 1/2 inch "U" channel down two opposite sides of the filter and across the bottom. Cut heavy duty window screen frame stock to make a frame just slightly smaller than the "U" channel's inside dimensions and allow for a couple of inches above the water level. Mount the filter cloth using the same rubber bead material found in the do-it-yourself window screen frame kits (Home Depot). You are basically making a window screen with cloth instead of screen.

Slide the assembled frame down into the "U" channel and you are in business. You will have to hose the screen more often at first, then after the dirt load drops, this maintenance will be reduced to an occasional cleaning. The fabric material is available here, by the yard. It comes from a bolt that has a 48 inch WIDTH. We sell it in any length by the running yard. One ITEM equals ONE (1) yard of LENGTH. If handled carefully, a cloth panel constructed as above should last two years before replacement .

Dirty Water is dirty water. This cloth works well to construct filters in the water's path of any feature including ponds, fountains, aquaculture, aquariums, etc. Please call with questions.


Pond Cloth