All about biofilters- How they work and how to maintain them

Biofilters, also called biofalls, are an awesome tool in maintaining a clean, clear water feature.  Biofilters combine Mother nature’s way with containerized water gardening to clean the water using beneficial bacteria.

The filter systems I am familiar with are black plastic boxes with filter pads, or bio balls, or strips of tangly plastic inside them.  The water from the pond is pushed up into this box of filters and pours over the lip molded into the box. It looks like a square pitcher.

These filter things- mats, balls, strips, have the big important job of hosting bacteria.  Microscopic beneficial bacteria live in the cracks and extensive surface area of all that “stuff”.  An empty box would not have enough surface area to host all that good bacteria which is why the biofalls box is stuffed full.

The bacteria live inside the biofalls and as the water rushes through the bacteria break down nutrients in the water, naturally cleaning it up.

Other things get pumped into the biofilter in the water too; dead leaves, bits and pieces of plant material, mud etc.  A well-built pond will have a skimmer near the pump to pull out most of the leaves and debris before it ends up in the biofalls but the small stuff does get moved into the biofilter.

When to clean a biofilter:

We recommend removing the filter mat, bio balls, or plastic strips once or twice a year to do a deep clean.  This is especially good to do after deep cleaning your pond when debris has been loosened. Spring clean before starting the pond and fall clean after the autumn leaves drop.

How to clean a biofilter:

Simply remove the filter material, lay it on the ground, and rinse well with a hose until the water runs clear and no debris is visible. Place the clean material back in the biofalls box and add a scoop of beneficial bacteria to restart your helpful colony!  You may want to add bacteria every day for a week and then once a week, depending on the water quality and input factors.

1. Remove filter

2. Rinse filter

3. Add beneficial bacteria

Dirty filter

Clean filter

Clean filter

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