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What is a Water Garden Filter?

A water garden filter is used to help keep the garden in a kind of balance. Depending on the kind of water gardening being done, the desired effect to be achieved and personal preference, choosing the right water filter can be challenging. Filtering is mainly necessary due to the dangerously high amounts of ammonia that can be produced by bioorganic wastes, such as fish discharges and plant decomposition. Mechanical, chemical and biological filtering systems are the most common ways of keeping the environment in balance. Be it a fish garden, plant garden, or both, the kind of filtering system chosen will directly influence the amount of resources, and time spent on maintenance.

Filter comes from the Modern Latin word “filtrum” first used in 1400 meaning “felt”, a matted animal fiber, used in straining impurities out of liquids. However unlikely the water gardener may be to use felt as a filter in a freshwater aquarium or pond, the general concept still remains the same. Because depending on the kind of garden being planned, the system of filtration will be an important issue. Low impact energy conservationists always tend to get uneasy at the idea of disposable filtration systems, but sometimes, if the garden is so small that it fits into a fruit bowl, then disposable carbon filters are most likely the kind being used. The bigger the system, the easier alternative methods to filtering with chemicals can become.

Water filtering is used not only to keep water clear, but also to keep it healthy and balanced. Certain beneficial microorganisms that flourish in water keep waste levels to a minimum, and process ammonia into nutrients that plants can eat. In the wild, these bacteria naturally eat anything that starts to decompose. This kind of filtering system is usually referred to as biofiltration and can be cultivated externally or internally through a biofilter. Ceramic, rock like reef materials usually work best, but anything that microorganisms can latch onto work fine, and within this area, they flourish in order to process aquatic biodegradables, into helpful nutrients for the plant life.

Aside from the representation of natural breakdown processes, filtration systems also use mechanical methods such as sponge like foam; filter floss, sand, gravel and micron filters. Mechanical filtering materials use a coral reef like effect to capture wastes and larger biological debris that could harm the internal workings of any given filtering system. They usually need to be cleaned once a day or so, or more, depending on the volume of organic breakdown material in the water.

But chemical filters are the most commonly used in aquariums, as they work on a molecular reaction level, breaking down wastes faster by offering activated carbon materials to smaller organic particles that need them for processing. Chemical filters, can help suck up chlorine, bad odor, bad taste, and organic materials that need to be quickly broken down. The most challenging thing about chemical filters however is the price and replacement. Chemical filters are disposable and shouldn’t be washed; otherwise they can actually work against the harmonization of the water ecology. Activated carbon filters are also very expensive and can have diverse uses depending on the quality and material. Thus it’s good to do some research before deciding exactly which kind of chemical filter to buy, be it coconut shell vegetable base carbon, liginite carbon, charcoal, bituminous carbon, or any mixtures of these with wood, bone or any such filtering carbon based materials.

The kind of water garden being used; weather it be fish, reef, plant, tropical, hardy, bog, or any mixture of these may also enjoy CO2 injection along with the filtering and oxygenation system, which all require a pumping process. These factors add to the energy consumption of a water garden, and must be calculated in the prior stages of architecture. Filtering is a way of achieving balance in the artificial aquatic environment and should be looked at in this way in order to fully understand it. A water garden filter will need maintenance and consume energy. The more low tech the system, the more manual labor, the higher tech the system, the more money, but still a lot of manual labor. But everybody who likes playing in their water garden looks forward to this part, so it would almost be unfortunate if filtering wasn’t necessary. Taking care of a water filter is what brings the spark to the enchanting realm of water gardening itself.




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Posted in Articles by Administrator on August 9, 2005.

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