Homemade bio balls filter media

Written by barry index
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Homemade bio balls filter media
Bio-balls filter media provide beneficial bacteria for the health of your pond. (koi pond image by MPH from Fotolia.com)

Bio-balls filter media is any kind of material that goes into a pond filter used to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in freshwater ponds. These bacteria colonies keep the ammonia and nitrates from building to unsafe levels so the fish and plants stay healthy. Materials that make the best bio-balls media have a lot of surface area for the bacteria to grow on and low packing density so there is more space for bacterial colonies to thrive. You can make homemade bio-balls using nylon scrubber pads for a cheap and effective alternative to commercially available products.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Nylon scrubber pads
  • Pond filtration system
  • Pro-biotic pond bacteria

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  1. 1

    Cut nylon scrubber pads into a variety of little blocks, between 1 to 3 inches in length. Make squares and rectangles and triangles in various sizes. The assortment of shapes gives beneficial bacteria colonies more surface area to grow inside the fibrous scrubbing material.

  2. 2

    Replace any current bio filter material with homemade nylon scrubber bio-balls. Changing the media is completely safe if you are not satisfied with the performance of your current filtration system. Conventional bio filter materials such as lava rocks, plastic balls, polythene beads, sponges and PVC material are less effective than nylon bio-balls because they are heavier, take up more space and are harder to maintain than the nylon shapes.

  3. 3

    Drop the blocks of nylon loosely into the pond filtration system. The blocks should be able to move freely inside the filter as water flows past them. The bacterial colonies consume organic waste matter and need to be able to release healthy byproducts back into the pond water.

  4. 4

    Add the prescribed amount of healthy probiotic bacteria to the filtration system as specified by the probiotic manufacturer. It can take 4 to 8 weeks to reach a healthful balance. Let the sunlight promote bacterial growth by keeping the filter uncovered.

  5. 5

    Plant a variety of pond flora, including hyacinth and taro. Plant life in the pond will cut down on the growth of algae and keep the water clear, allowing the bacteria in the bio-balls to do a more effective job.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep bio-balls moist while cleaning them, and only clean half of them at one time. This will allow the other half to quickly colonise the cleaned bio-balls.
  • Do not clean bio-balls until you see a 1/4-inch build-up of brown film. Avoid using chlorinated water for cleaning; stick to pond water only.

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