What Kind of Charcoal Is Best for Ponds?

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Activated charcoal is used in aquarium filters to remove bacteria, waste material, and odours from the water. As water runs over a reservoir of activated charcoal, the porous material absorbs and traps foreign and unwanted contaminants.

As a result, water is left sparkling clear, and highly suitable for the tank bound fish. The same benefits are created in larger ponds by activated charcoal filters and filtering products.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is used in large filters for outdoor ponds. The superior adsorption qualities of activated charcoal make it one of the most popular choices for outdoor water filters. When the water passes through the charcoal filter, the impurities, microorganisms, bacteria and odour causing contaminants are caught in the charcoal's porous surface, trapping them until the filter is replaced, or the charcoal is cleaned. For outdoor ponds, charcoal filters are often made from plastic 55-gallon drums. The water is pumped into the top of the drum, falls downward over a number of chambers filled with charcoal, and then returns to the pond.

Charcoal SumiBalls

Charcoal SumiBalls are placed directly into the pond in order to purify the water. The product is made from a high-grade, organic, activated charcoal which is moulded into the shape of a ball. The activated charcoal is encased in a porous, ceramic shell. The balls can be placed directly in the pond water, and function best when placed in an area which features flowing water. As the water flows over the balls, bacteria and contaminants are removed, creating sparkling clear water. This self-contained filter makes pond maintenance much easier than traditional carbon filters. Pond owners enjoy the full benefits of activated charcoal filters without the mess of periodic filter filling and cleaning.

Regular Versus Activated Charcoal

The charcoal in charcoal briquettes is a completely different form of charcoal from activated charcoal used in aquatic filters. Regular charcoal is made in a process using high amounts of heat in a low oxygen chamber. As a result, the carbon-wood charcoal burns well, for a limited amount of time and turns into ash. Activated charcoal is exposed to oxygen only at the last minute during processing. As a result, the activated charcoal is hard and very porous, making it a good filter for small particles. Carbon-wood charcoal will break down into bits when soaked in water, and therefore increase pond contamination, rather than helping clean the water. Activated charcoal performs poorly if used in the grill for a weekend BBQ.

Purpose of Carbon Filters

Water is a breeding ground for all types of bacteria, plants and microscopic animals. When these naturally occurring life forms are allowed to breed in a large pond of stagnant water, it is only a mater of time before the microscopic population explodes, and virtually takes over. Algae, microbes, bacteria from fish faeces, decomposing leaves and branches are sources of water contamination. They are naturally filtered in a running stream or river; however, in pools and ponds, the natural growth of these contaminators accelerates. Therefore, when planning a pond or water garden for the back yard, homeowners should include some type of filtration device. Activated charcoal filters or SumiBalls recreate the natural filtering action of a running stream, and keep the water clean by trapping contaminants before they increase to undesirable levels.