Normally after about October, maybe November, when the temperatures drop, I stop clearing out the pond and the filter. Normally all it does in the winter is keep the water oxygenated and keep the bacteria alive. Actually filtering the algae and crud is not needed. This year has not been the same.
Over Christmas I have been thinking that I may well need to clean out the filter again. I’m not feeding the fish, not even lighter wheatgerm foods, but leaves are still falling in and after a quick look the other day I noticed that algae and crud is still building up in the medium. *sigh*
But it’s raining… Again… And it’s slated to rain for at least the next week so I may have to go out in my wetsuit. This also means that I won’t be able to put my arm in the water, which means no clearing out fallen leaves. I really need to get a long handled net one of these days! B-)
Monday morning there was a break in the weather and, although not warm, it wasn’t pissing it down, so out I went.
I turned the stop key and unplugged the pump. Major note here, people. If you have a gravity return filter you REALLY need to install either a one way valve or a manual stopper. This way if the electric goes off the water doesn’t flow back out of the filter and into your pond taking all the crap with it.
I have a stopper because I have yet to find one way valve big enough to fit my pipe that doesn’t hinder flow.
Look at the state of that medium and water. That should be fairly clear at this time of year. Any rubbish pulled in will be minimal.
Not as much sludge at the bottom as I had feared, although the medium still had a lot caught up in it.
So with a quick rinse and squeeze of the medium it goes back into the filter box. (Don’t forget to use the old filter water to rinse your medium out, you want the good bacteria to stay in the medium. Don’t use fresh or hot water at all.)
I turned the pump back on and opened the isolator (Pump first. Not the other way around!) and checked that I didn’t have any blockages and that the water flowed right. Then, with lid and the slate going back on top, we are done.
With luck I won’t have to look at this now till March/April… But I’m expecting to be back out here in a month unless the temps actually drop.
One thing I did note though is that my water hyacinth is still alive. This is usually the first thing to die off.
Also. Don’t forget that the filter water makes a good general fertilizer. Ok… Not really needed in the wet months of winter, but still a fact to remember!