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View Poll Results: How did you develop your spring cleaning/maintenance methodology and procedures?
Trial and error 0 0%
Using procedures learned from another contractor 1 33.33%
Taught my current procedures at a pond seminar/certification program 0 0%
The result of independent research and education 2 66.67%
Hired by a customer to perform specific cleaning operations 0 0%
Voters: 3. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 02-21-2011, 05:36 PM
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If you really want to dig in to the "nuts and bolts" of biofilm, do a BIOFILM search on Google Scholar.

As to the fact that "not all biofilm residents are beneficial", this is true also of most every other aspect of nature, including humans. There are a few in D.C. that fall into this classification, part of an ongoing chronic condition.
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  #12  
Old 02-22-2011, 06:16 PM
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Where do micro organism's hide...in Water, Biofilms, Plants, filters

I've tried pressure washing and passive washing...my experience is that the least intrusive you are the better results you have.

As far as Lava Rock...why does it get heavier every year? Maybe due to the fact that these microbes find the deepest recesses and eventual die or not...but cannot be removed by rinsing whether by pressure or not.
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  #13  
Old 02-22-2011, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondmeister View Post
Where do micro organism's hide...in Water, Biofilms, Plants, filters

I've tried pressure washing and passive washing...my experience is that the least intrusive you are the better results you have.

As far as Lava Rock...why does it get heavier every year? Maybe due to the fact that these microbes find the deepest recesses and eventual die or not...but cannot be removed by rinsing whether by pressure or not.
I agree with the statement on being less intrusive. I once read where the proper way to care for a pond is through "benevolent neglect". Pretty well sums it up.

What you say about lava rock is true. The same will happen with some of the newer porous ceramic and polymer filter media. Lava Rock is considerably cheaper to replace and in a 'seasoned' pond will recolonize quite quickly.
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  #14  
Old 02-23-2011, 01:29 PM
jp14 jp14 is offline
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Just a few comments on lava rock based on my experiences:

Customers are not always prompt and attentive when it comes to cleaning filters and when this happens, the lava rock and the bag holding it becomes completely encrusted with silt/debris. If a piece of lava rock is covered in silt, surely that has to cripple the bacteria's efforts to carry out the bio-chem process. After all bacteria need two things to thrive, one being a food source (ammonia, etc...) and the second a good source of oxygenated water. How effective can the bacteria be in a situation where the lava rock is covered, clogged, choked out?

In every job I have removed lava rock and replaced it with another media type I have always observed significant improvements in water clarity, quality and a reduction in algae growth.

I did a consultation last year on a pond and recommended another type of media instead of lava rock. The customer removed the lava rock and operated the pond for a week with no media before purchasing another media type. Contrary to what we might expect, the pond conditions actually improved after the lava rock was removed and no media was present.

Conclusions:

Do I think lava rock is a good or bad media type? My point here is for every piece of anecdotal evidence I can give about lava rock being bad, someone else can counter my "evidence" with their "proof" it is a good choice for media. What I am looking for is scientific proof that shows which media are OPTIMAL for each particular type of installation. We are each providing support for the way we do things based on what we have observed in the field.

But what about the "new guy" that decides he wants to start installing ponds? Until he has done enough jobs to build up a "toolbox" of knowledge, tips, experiences and successes/failures, he is basically taking someone else's word on what media to use. So if a manufacturer says use media X, then that is what we do. Hardly a recipe for success in our industry, especially when products are marketed heavily on the basis of price and if you can tell installers to use an inexpensive media like lava rock, it lowers the purchase price of the filter (or raises the profit margin, however you want to look at it).

You may detect a theme in my posts and you may get sick of hearing it but until we as contractors demand that products be tested and meet some sort of standards we will all just have opinions on which products work and how well they work but your word will carry no more weight than mine because it all comes down to what we each think. The point is we each "know what we know" but have no real way of verifying anything other than by sharing our experiences. If we join forces and speak up on ways to improve the industry we have a real chance to bring about positive change.

But until then, I can sit here and say a bag full of foam peanuts would work as well as lava rock. In order to prove the negative we need proof of the positive and I just don't see it in any tangible way. The only "proof" I see is what "someone" tells us to use. Maybe some of you guys can point me to scientific research that shows which media work best.
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  #15  
Old 02-23-2011, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp14 View Post
Just a few comments on lava rock based on my experiences:

Customers are not always prompt and attentive when it comes to cleaning filters and when this happens, the lava rock and the bag holding it becomes completely encrusted with silt/debris. If a piece of lava rock is covered in silt, surely that has to cripple the bacteria's efforts to carry out the bio-chem process. After all bacteria need two things to thrive, one being a food source (ammonia, etc...) and the second a good source of oxygenated water. How effective can the bacteria be in a situation where the lava rock is covered, clogged, choked out?

What you are referring to as silt is usually a combination of bacteria, micororganisms and some organic matter held together in a similar way as biofilm. Put a sample under a microscope. You will be surprised! Though unsightly it does not contribute that much to the lava rock becoming clogged as it is porous itself. What will become encrusted and clogged are the filter mats which then cause 'channeling' of the water reducing the efficiency of the filter.

In every job I have removed lava rock and replaced it with another media type I have always observed significant improvements in water clarity, quality and a reduction in algae growth.

Interesting, because the only way to reduce algae growth is to reduce the levels of NitrAte and Phosphorus. A bioconverter will not reduce nitrAte unless anoxic conditions are present in the converter and phosphate can be removed only through the use of a binding agent.

I did a consultation last year on a pond and recommended another type of media instead of lava rock. The customer removed the lava rock and operated the pond for a week with no media before purchasing another media type. Contrary to what we might expect, the pond conditions actually improved after the lava rock was removed and no media was present.

If this was a large enough pond, it is not really surprising, as, with an established eco-system pond, the majority of the bioconversion is performed at the biofilm level with we know covers every submerged surface in a pond.

Conclusions:

Do I think lava rock is a good or bad media type? My point here is for every piece of anecdotal evidence I can give about lava rock being bad, someone else can counter my "evidence" with their "proof" it is a good choice for media. What I am looking for is scientific proof that shows which media are OPTIMAL for each particular type of installation. We are each providing support for the way we do things based on what we have observed in the field.

But what about the "new guy" that decides he wants to start installing ponds? Until he has done enough jobs to build up a "toolbox" of knowledge, tips, experiences and successes/failures, he is basically taking someone else's word on what media to use. So if a manufacturer says use media X, then that is what we do. Hardly a recipe for success in our industry, especially when products are marketed heavily on the basis of price and if you can tell installers to use an inexpensive media like lava rock, it lowers the purchase price of the filter (or raises the profit margin, however you want to look at it).

You may detect a theme in my posts and you may get sick of hearing it but until we as contractors demand that products be tested and meet some sort of standards we will all just have opinions on which products work and how well they work but your word will carry no more weight than mine because it all comes down to what we each think. The point is we each "know what we know" but have no real way of verifying anything other than by sharing our experiences. If we join forces and speak up on ways to improve the industry we have a real chance to bring about positive change.

But until then, I can sit here and say a bag full of foam peanuts would work as well as lava rock. In order to prove the negative we need proof of the positive and I just don't see it in any tangible way. The only "proof" I see is what "someone" tells us to use. Maybe some of you guys can point me to scientific research that shows which media work best.
All filter media work, whether it is an expensive type such as Kaldnes or simple mono-filament fishing line. All you are looking for is surface area. Determining which one is best is relative.

I agree that we need standards set for this industry that are arrived at through independent testing. Sadly, as popular as biological water features may be, it would be very difficult to find a source for the finds needed to finance such independent unbiased research on a continuing basis. This is why some of us feel forced to do our own research in order to approximate some semblance of truth.
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  #16  
Old 02-23-2011, 04:54 PM
jp14 jp14 is offline
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Ok, to continue on with the learning process, let me ask some more questions that are being brought up, at least in my mind. If the silt on the lava rock is not detrimental to the bacteria function, then why remove the same silt from the filters? And if that same silt is clogging and encrusting the filters and causing the water to channel, how can it not cause water to also channel around the lava rock instead of through it? I understand the nature of a biomatrix and that biofilm is porous itself but when your lava rock is covered in enough material to be measurable (1/8 of an inch), to what degree is the bacteria hindered from working at its optimal performance?

To the point about algae reduction, it has been theorized that specific bacteria colonize and thrive in bio media and these bacteria actually work as "algae destroyers" which is contrary to the alternative theory that algae reduction is due to reducing "nutrients" in the pond (nitrates and phosphates). In any case, I was making a point that changing media types resulted in better overall pond health. If the biofiltration is more efficient and effective, how could the rest of the pond parameters not improve? Am I off base here?

Along that same thought process, if the majority of the bioconversion process occurs at the biofilm level, are we not opening ourselves up to the notion that a large enough pond needs no filter media and thus no biofilters? Maybe all those customers that don't want to pony up for the price of biofilters are right lol. And if all you are looking for is surface area relative to the quantity of media used, then it seems the real discussion should be about how big biofilters are given the type of media used. Would I be wrong to theorize that a compact bead filter using a ceramic type of media must have more surface area than lava rock, hence the smaller filter size (both sized for the same size of pond)? Which then leads me right back to effectiveness...which one works best in the environment it is operating in given those conditions.

I appreciate these comments and replies and the challenges they bring to my current way of thinking. It helps to shake things up and see how others view things and figure out how I can improve my approach and level of knowledge.

And finally to the point about standards and the lack of funding to carry out independent testing, I have a simple response to explain why it hasn't happened. Because it doesn't have to! As long as we keep installing products without questioning why, as long as we keep seeking out "certifications" that tell us how to do things a certain way without teaching us what is the best way, and as long as we support groups and organizations that claim to act in the best interests of the industry (read the best interests of those that stand to gain financially) then nothing will change. I may be a monkey that still has a lot to learn but one thing I do know is that unless we all start calling for change, our path will be hindered by our own banana peels of indifference. For those of you out there experimenting on your own, I applaud you and it has been that kind of behavior that prompted me to join forces with a group of like minded guys to do something about making our industry better.
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  #17  
Old 02-23-2011, 05:05 PM
jp14 jp14 is offline
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Ok, to continue on with the learning process, let me ask some more questions that are being brought up, at least in my mind. If the silt on the lava rock is not detrimental to the bacteria function, then why remove the same silt from the filters? And if that same silt is clogging and encrusting the filters and causing the water to channel, how can it not cause water to also channel around the lava rock instead of through it? I understand the nature of a biomatrix and that biofilm is porous itself but when your lava rock is covered in enough material to be measurable (1/8 of an inch), to what degree is the bacteria hindered from working at its optimal performance?

To the point about algae reduction, it has been theorized that specific bacteria colonize and thrive in bio media and these bacteria actually work as "algae destroyers" which is contrary to the alternative theory that algae reduction is due to reducing "nutrients" in the pond (nitrates and phosphates). In any case, I was making a point that changing media types resulted in better overall pond health. If the biofiltration is more efficient and effective, how could the rest of the pond parameters not improve? Am I off base here?

Along that same thought process, if the majority of the bioconversion process occurs at the biofilm level, are we not opening ourselves up to the notion that a large enough pond needs no filter media and thus no biofilters? Maybe all those customers that don't want to pony up for the price of biofilters are right lol. And if all you are looking for is surface area relative to the quantity of media used, then it seems the real discussion should be about how big biofilters are given the type of media used. Would I be wrong to theorize that a compact bead filter using a ceramic type of media must have more surface area than lava rock, hence the smaller filter size (both sized for the same size of pond)? Which then leads me right back to effectiveness...which one works best in the environment it is operating in given those conditions.

I appreciate these comments and replies and the challenges they bring to my current way of thinking. It helps to shake things up and see how others view things and figure out how I can improve my approach and level of knowledge.

And finally to the point about standards and the lack of funding to carry out independent testing, I have a simple response to explain why it hasn't happened. Because it doesn't have to! As long as we keep installing products without questioning why, as long as we keep seeking out "certifications" that tell us how to do things a certain way without teaching us what is the best way, and as long as we support groups and organizations that claim to act in the best interests of the industry (read the best interests of those that stand to gain financially) then nothing will change. I may be a monkey that still has a lot to learn but one thing I do know is that unless we all start calling for change, our path will be hindered by our own banana peels of indifference. For those of you out there experimenting on your own, I applaud you and it has been that kind of behavior that prompted me to join forces with a group of like minded guys to do something about making our industry better.
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  #18  
Old 02-23-2011, 05:41 PM
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Ok, to continue on with the learning process, let me ask some more questions that are being brought up, at least in my mind. If the silt on the lava rock is not detrimental to the bacteria function, then why remove the same silt from the filters? And if that same silt is clogging and encrusting the filters and causing the water to channel, how can it not cause water to also channel around the lava rock instead of through it? I understand the nature of a biomatrix and that biofilm is porous itself but when your lava rock is covered in enough material to be measurable (1/8 of an inch), to what degree is the bacteria hindered from working at its optimal performance?
Let's first make sure that we are talking about the same thing. Silt is defined as disintegrated rock. If you have a silt accumulation in a pond then you have a run-off problem. What clogs a filter mat are organic particles that are two small for the skimmer net/basket to pick up and are pulled around the skimmer filter mat when it clogs. These filter mats in the bio-converter serve as additional mechanical filtration. They also house colonies of nitrifying bacteria and other microfauna. Here in the South, it is quite common for earthworms to take up residence in the filter mats and the filter media. It's a regular all-you-can-eat buffet for them.

To the point about algae reduction, it has been theorized that specific bacteria colonize and thrive in bio media and these bacteria actually work as "algae destroyers" which is contrary to the alternative theory that algae reduction is due to reducing "nutrients" in the pond (nitrates and phosphates).Would like to see a source reference for that. In any case, I was making a point that changing media types resulted in better overall pond health. If the biofiltration is more efficient and effective, how could the rest of the pond parameters not improve? Am I off base here? No. That is a valid assumption.

Along that same thought process, if the majority of the bioconversion process occurs at the biofilm level, are we not opening ourselves up to the notion that a large enough pond needs no filter media and thus no biofilters? Maybe all those customers that don't want to pony up for the price of biofilters are right lol. And if all you are looking for is surface area relative to the quantity of media used, then it seems the real discussion should be about how big biofilters are given the type of media used. Would I be wrong to theorize that a compact bead filter using a ceramic type of media must have more surface area than lava rock, hence the smaller filter size (both sized for the same size of pond)?Who is doing the size ratings? Which then leads me right back to effectiveness...which one works best in the environment it is operating in given those conditions. Two different types of bioconverters may be rated for the same size pond, but are they equal in flow rate capacity?

I appreciate these comments and replies and the challenges they bring to my current way of thinking. It helps to shake things up and see how others view things and figure out how I can improve my approach and level of knowledge.

And finally to the point about standards and the lack of funding to carry out independent testing, I have a simple response to explain why it hasn't happened. Because it doesn't have to! As long as we keep installing products without questioning why, as long as we keep seeking out "certifications" that tell us how to do things a certain way without teaching us what is the best way, and as long as we support groups and organizations that claim to act in the best interests of the industry (read the best interests of those that stand to gain financially) then nothing will change. I may be a monkey that still has a lot to learn but one thing I do know is that unless we all start calling for change, our path will be hindered by our own banana peels of indifference. For those of you out there experimenting on your own, I applaud you and it has been that kind of behavior that prompted me to join forces with a group of like minded guys to do something about making our industry better.
Glad you joined the Forum. It is discussions such as this thread that is, at least to me, the prime benefit of networking.
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  #19  
Old 02-23-2011, 06:18 PM
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STL Ponds and Waterfalls STL Ponds and Waterfalls is offline
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Glad you joined the Forum. It is discussions such as this thread that is, at least to me, the prime benefit of networking.
It's good to see jp14 take over since I talk to much.
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:27 PM
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It's good to see jp14 take over since I talk to much.
I don't think that you will ever be as wordy as me.
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