One of the most common mistakes made by pond users is cleaning out the foam or sponge from your pond filter under a mains water tap or with a garden hose.
The sponges and foams in your pond filter are an important part of the biological filtration process. They are designed to be a safe haven for the good bacteria that forms in your pond which consumes ammonia and other toxins and converts it into substances which are less harmful to fish.
This bacteria takes 4-6 weeks to grow. When you clean your filter sponge with chlorinated water, such as water from a mains tap or garden hose, all of the good bacteria in the sponge are killed by the small amount of chlorine in the water.
The best way to clean your filter sponges is as follows:
Step 1: Take a bucket or plastic tub large enough to fit your filter sponges into one at a time (or all at once).
Step 2: Scoop up some pond water in this bucket or plastic tub.
Step 3: For pressure filters, gravity filters and tray filters, open the top of the filter to access the sponges. For foam block pre-filters just slide them off of the end of the pump. Take each sponge out of the filter and put it into the bucket of pond water. Squeeze the sponges gently with your hands (some people may wish to wear gloves for this part, but make sure the gloves are new or the same ones you only use for the pond and have never been in contact with cleaning chemicals as these are toxic to fish and beneficial bacteria). Swish them around a bit to remove the bulk of the organic waste and debris they have captured.
Hint: There is no need to be too thorough. 90% of the waste should come off of the sponge and into the water pretty easily. Do not spend ages getting every bit of waste off, it is not necessary and will wear out your sponges much faster.
Step 4: Place the sponges back into the filter once they are more of less clean and reassemble the filter.
All done! If you have trouble with any of these steps or wopuld like further advice regarding pond filter maintanence, please feel free to consult one of our specialists on 1800 607 388 or contact us online.
If your sponges are tearing or beginning to wear, consider replacing them. We keep sponges in stock to suit all of the filters we sell and can order in sponges from any other brand. Browse filter sponges and foams.
If your entire filter is getting a bit old and worse for wear, or underperforming as your fish grow, it could be time to consider replacing it. Browse filters.