External Biological/Phytological Filter

Pros:† By far one of the best options for filtration for effectiveness and value!† Called the Whiskey Barrel Bio Phyto Filter, it provides the biological filtration of lava rock with plant filtration ~ the best of both worlds.† It has an excellent upflow design with a blank settlement chamber in the bottom to collect debris that would normally clog the filter.† Will filter up to 1500 gallons.† Cost is only $250.† Can use a wide variety of plant material to plant in baskets or straight into the lava rock.† This filter only needs to be cleaned once a year!† The pump for this filter needs to be in a skimmer or pump basket.†††

Cons:† That once-a-year cleaning will be quite a job.

Text Box: Lava Rock

External Natural Phytological Filters

Pros:† This is a really excellent way to add plants and filtration to Koi ponds so the Koi canít eat the plants.† Black in color, durable, these phyto (plant) filters come in 3 sizes (priced $110 to $195) and can filter 300 to 1200 gallon ponds.†† They come with built-in bulkhead connections and flow spout and can be buried in ground.

Cons:† The challenge to any external filter module is to hide them.† Parrots feather, aquatic mint or water celery will grow over the side as camouflage.† There is no additional filter media ~ just the plant material.† The pump running this filter needs to be in a skimmer or a pump basket and is sold extra.

 

Text Box: Shady Lakes Pump Baskets
Pros:  Requires cleaning only 2-3 times a year, depending on pond conditions.  Hidden underwater, a pump basket prolongs pump life by preventing clogging with minimal impediment of water flow.  Simple and inexpensive, a pump basket protects your fish and tadpoles from being sucked into the pump.  Greatly reduces the frequency of cleaning as there is no filter mat or sponge material in it.  Cost is low, runs from about $10 to $39.95 (depends on the size of your pump).  It is simply a basket of lava rock that the pump sits in.  Youíll need this in any pond without a skimmer when any external bio filter system is used.  
Itís amazing how many people come into Shady Lakes and say they have to clean their pump filter daily or several times a week.  This is not at all necessary!  If you are frequently cleaning a sponge-type filter material, you can throw it away!

Cons:  A pump basket is not a filter.  Itís a pre-filter that protects your pump and fish.  The pump must have a screen or mesh to prevent the lava rock from being sucked into the impellers!  Installing a skimmer with the pond construction is a superior choice over a pump basket.  But for existing ponds or for economical reasons, this option will keep pond water flowing with minimal hassle.  Not aesthetically pleasing, but they are underwater and easy to hide with plants.  
Text Box: Shady Lakes Submersible Biological Filter
Pros:  Economical (runs $49.95 to $124.95, depending on size of the pond).  Protects pump from clogging and burning out.  Prevents fish and tadpoles from getting caught in the pump.  Filter pad only needs to be cleaned monthly (or less if you use Clarity Max Plus).  Entire filter only needs to be disassembled and cleaned annually.  Effective in ponds up to 1000 gallons with lots of aquatic plants and a reasonable fish population.  The filter pad is quite durable and usually lasts for years.  For existing ponds or for economical reasons, this option will keep pond water flowing with minimal hassle.  Not aesthetically pleasing, but they are underwater and easy to hide with plants. 

Cons:  You have to get in the pond to pull out the filter pad to clean it.  The larger submersible bios can be heavy.  These are not effective in Koi ponds or ponds overpopulated with any type of goldfish.  An abundance of aquatic plants is needed, using this filter in a pond without plants likely to be minimally effective.  The pump MUST have a screen or mesh to prevent the lava rock from being sucked into the impellers!  Installing a skimmer with the pond construction is a superior choice over this submersible filter.  The external biological filters are easier to maintain and provide better filtration.  
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Plastic Mesh

Settlement Chamber