Answering Questions and Setting the Record Straight With Fuzzy Tech
You will not find Fuzzy Tech described in any book, but it is a throwback from fuzzy logic, which is in text books, and is a very complicated mathematical theory which allows computers to function with seeming reactive intelligence. We may have coined a phrase in using the term fuzzy tech, but fuzzy tech it is the way in which we will describe the complicated fluid dynamics of water flow in our closed filtration system in a way that most anyone will be able to understand. Considering that Aquadyne has redesigned and manufactured an existing technology into an exceptionally functional patented bead filtration technology. There will be every attempt in the world for other manufacturers to come up with some reason why we have failed, so that they can still claim to have the "Best" system. So lets just take a step into the Fuzzy Tech world of Aquadyne.
The most common comment that you will likely hear is: "It looks like a sand filter"
We'll handle the obvious first. Cats are cats and dogs are dogs, but an Aquadyne system is anything but a sand filter. We do use a specific sand filter tank body and control head, but that is all. The tank is merely a platform that we have used to make major modifications to create an entirely new end product. Much the same way as auto makers use a common chassis to build many different cars. Although, Aquadyne is the only company nationwide who has filed a US Patent for using bead technology in a sand body. But we did not stop there. We have specific rights reserved which protect our central diffuser column which is the key component and reason for the success of the Aquadyne filtration systems.
Competitors who do not sell or have access to a bead system will tell you that pressurized filters do not work because the water flows too fast through the media to be called a biological filter, all in the name of selling you a messy filter pad (and/or) brush filter system.
We have a ball with this one. This is a classic case of seemingly very knowledgeable people not having a sufficient amount of knowlede to effectively help customers and not be concerned with just selling something. This one will take a bit longer, but we promise that it will not be boring. We will assume for the purposes of illustration that we are using a 3900 GPH pump on an Aquadyne 2.2 system, which has a 24 inch tank width. Imagine yourself in your backyard with half of Home D's plumbing department at your fingertips. (At least that's the way it is at our place.) We will first hook up our 3900 gph pump to a one inch pipe and turn it on. Look out!, because the water will shoot about 15 feet into the air! You are putting out a lot of water at high pressure, due to the restriction of the water flow into the 1 inch pipe. Consequently, due to the friction created by pressure on the inside of the pipe, you have "friction loss". (More on that later.) Now, lets put a 1 ½ inch pipe on the pump and turn it on. What Happened? The water came out of the pipe under less pressure due to the increase in pipe size. Consequently, the water now only shoots 6 feet into the air. Wow, the water is slowing down! Are you getting it yet? Now lets put a 2 inch pipe on the pump. The water shoots only 3 feet in the air. How about a 4 inch pipe. The water shoots only one foot into the air. A 6 inch pipe only spills water out about 4 inches above the rim of the pipe. Well, how about a 24 inch pipe. That is exactly what you are doing with the Aquadyne 2.2 bead filter system. You are pushing water through a 24 inch tank with the media evenly spaced within the tanks full circumference. Sure, the water goes into and exits the tank very fast, but once inside, it is forced to slow down, just by shear volume. the water only speeds back up just a fraction of a second before it leaves the discharge port of the control head. If a 24 inch pipe were in the open air supplied by a 3900 gph pump, the water would only fall over the edge of the tank , without shooting anywhere. Just how slow do they seem to think the water needs to go? The Aquadyne system is more accurately described as a closed system rather than a pressurized system. Using most energy effecient pumps, you will likely not even get a pressure reading on the gage in the filter cycle, providing that your plumbing head loss is low. The flow rate inside the entire vertical column of the Aquadyne is just as slow if not slower than any other high volume filter on the market. They may just not tell you the truth, because they themselves either do not know the truth about fluid dynamics or they simply spend their energy selling high profit low quality products.
As for the bead systems not being a biological filtration system, is is very odd that several renownd major Universities in the United States have conducted research on Bead Filtration Systems and the data shows that Bead Filtration is far superior to common pad, mat, or filamentous fiber or tubular filter medias at consuming all forms of waste products such as Ammonia and Nitrite, even at excessive and sometimes double loading of aquaculture environments. We actually have a major Koi dealer here in the State Of Georgia that will still look you in the eye and tell you that they are not credible. Why? They want you to buy a box of their high profit high maintenance filter pads and brushes that one will loathe the day thay brought them home.
How do you like fuzzy tech so far?
Keep in mind the illustration of the water flowing so slowly through the 24" pipe and we will take you a step further and explain why sand filters, and lava rock, or gravel filled sand filters are not good alternatives for pond environments, and sooner or later anyone who installs one will tell you the same. First of all, the conventional format of a sand filter is a down flow system, meaning that the water comes in from the top and flows to the bottom of the tank for filtration. This is the way that gravity works also. Therefore it is only natural for all of the dirt and debris to fall, by gravity and water flow, into the media bed. But, the drawback is that gravity keeps it there, allowing the dirt and sludge to accumulate in the bottom of the tank. Remember the fuzzy tech illustration where the water flow through the 24" pipe just ran over the edge even though 3900 gph of water was forcing its way up? Well, with such a slow vertical movement of water, how much heavy dirt and debris do you think will get washed out of the media on the bottom of the tank? Sure, you will get dirty water out of the tank on a back wash, but it is only the very fine material that is light enough to be caught up in the slow moving 24" column of water. The rest of the sludge remains held in the tank by gravity and continues to accumulate clogging the areas between the heavy media. Consequently, eventually you will have to physically open the filter and break up the media almost every time you backwash. Especially once the beneficial bacteria cycles on the media, which causes an even further sticking together of dirt and debris. This is what is called channeling. Only very small areas of the filter remain unclogged during a backwash, that usually re-clog very shortly after restarting the filter. Most importantly, the clogging of the media causes dead (anaerobic) areas which are subject to creating Hydrogen Sulfide which is lethal to fish and the result of the decomposition of septic waste products. Hydrogen Sulfide has a rotten egg smell, and is very distinguishable from the normal odor of a healthy backwash. A healthy backwash will be quite pungent, but it will have a slightly sweet smell.
On the other hand, through redesign of a proven technology, Aquadyne reverses the water flow of the original product and creates an upflow filter through the use of our patented central diffuser column. Aquadyne uses a positively buoyant (floating) bead media to overcome the problems associated with older filter designs. By using upflow, the media is in the top of the filter rather than in the bottom. Water is first released into the bottom of the filter, and allowed to flow up through the media against gravity. Gravity holds the heavier solid waste in the sediment settling area in the bottom of the filter tank for instant removal once the sludge drain valve is actuated. This design further keeps the filter from clogging because the bulk of the heavy waste never gets caught in the media at all. Only the finer particulate waste produced by the pond environment gets caught up in the media itself. From a mechanical standpoint the greatest feature of our inverted media design is that when you backwash the force of the water pressure unloads the compacted state of the beads and opens the free spaces between the media to release the trapped fine sediment particles. But unlike conventional down flow filters, gravity works in our favor by allowing all of the sediment to fall by gravity into the settling area of the tank to be discharged to the waste line by either the backwash waste or the sludge drain. By using the inverted media, and locating a sludge drain in the bottom of all our filter models, gravity does not have an opportunity to cause any sludge or other waste to be held inside. As a bonus, the Aquadyne offers as part of its control head, a complete rinse cycle. No other bead filter on the market today offers this function as an integrated standard feature. By using the RINSE cycle, you will rinse all of the micro-fine particles from the top of the bead media as it compacts itself back into its normal filter state. Most other bead type systems dump a "brown dirt cloud" back into the pond after their so called "cleaning" cycle, which the filter is supposed to take back out of the water in a few hours. Wait a minute, the dirt cloud is going where? Right back into the filter! Remember, sludge (fish waste) and debris is a breeding ground for pond parasites, especially when the debris builds up for extended periods of time, bad forms of bacteria begin to form such as Pseodomonads, as well as fungi such as Branchiomyces, both of which can be lethal. And unlike brush and pad type filters, the Aquadyne system removes all waste from the filter each time you backwash. With pad and brush type filters, the sludge is held in the brushes and pads for long periods of time unless you muck around and clean your pads constantly, which is what most people want to avoid in the first place.
Frequently Asked Questions
For some time now there have been asked a set of questions that tend to repeat themselves, so we thought that we would answer them for you ahead of time. So here are some answers that you can sink your teeth into.
Question: We have a pond that seems to do well, except that we have to constantly get in the pond and clean the filter pads. It's messy, takes too long, has to be done at least three times a week, and is the one thing that we hate about our pond.
Answer: The Aquadyne system came into existence because it's designer was tired of the same chore. The Aquadyne's dedigner first purchased a Bubble Bead filter system, and it worked so well that he became a dealer for bubble bead. Soon after, the Bubble Bead clogged, and boy what a nightmare to unclog! The first reaction was, man, what will ever happen if all those people we sold a bubble bead system to start having the same problem. Well, never admit the obvious out loud, because ever since the development of the Aquadyne to solve the pesky clogging of the Bubble Bead systems, KCA, out of ethical obligation to our customers, offered to replaced every one of the bubble bead filters with an Aquadyne system at no net cost to the customer.
Question: We have clear water, but the fish swimming around the bottom, keep sediment particles floating around in the pond which cloud the water and never seem to go away.
Answer: One of the wonderful benefits of the Aquadyne systems is that they will remove all of those micro-fine particles from your pond water. After your Aquadyne filter cycles (when the beneficial bacteria is established), the bacteria creates a thin bacterial colony on each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of beads. This bacteria is Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter, which consumes the Ammonia and Nitrite waste that your fish produce, These bacteria also serve another purpose as well. If you have ever seen a Sea Anemone, they have small finger like fronds that extend out to grab particles of food from the ocean. In much the same way by comparison, the bacteria will trap the very fine particles that are floating around in your pond and cause the particles to stick to the bacteria coated beads, where it stays until you backwash it off..
Question: How often do you have to clean the Aquadyne system?
Answer: The Aquadyne system should typically be backwashed about once per week. If you have a heavy fish load in your pond, you may need to backwash twice weekly. Either way, the typical backwash cycle takes less than five minutes, and you never get your hands wet.
Question: Can you over backwash the Aquadyne system?
Answer: Yes you can. The aquadyne system needs to be backwashed as little as possible for it to function properly, yet you don't want to wait weeks between washings. If you backwash the system too often, you can cause excessive damage to the bacterial colonies that are growing on the beads. During a backwash the beads rub together as they release the dirt and debris that they have trapped on their surfaces. If you backwash too often, the dirt and debris will not have a chance to thicken on the beads surface for optimal filtering.
Question: What happens if you do not backwash the Aquadyne system for up to a month?
Answer: Due to the design and size of the Central Diffuser Column, it is virtually impossible for the filter to get so clogged that the water flow would stop. If the filter system did clog and the media was completely full of debris, the water will sideslip the central diffuser column and exit the filter, bypassing the clogged media and avoiding pump damage. All other bead systems on the market use small transfer and diffuser tubes inside their bodies, which number one, cause flow restrictions (whether they admit it or not), (remember the fuzzy logic of friction loss in small piping). The central diffuser column in the Aquadyne is a whopping 6 inches, with no restricting elbows of any kind in the bead filter chamber or the central column. And number two, many of the other systems have a maximum operating pressure of only 15 PSI. What good is that if your filter clogs. Even most weenie pumps that would operate a bead system can pump over 15 PSI. The result is that you will blow the spin welded fittings out of the ends of other polyethylene filters. All models of our Aquadyne systems have a whopping 50 PSI pressure rating from the factory and no "spin welded" fixtures. Even our Sludge Valve and Blower Riser bulkhead are schedule 80 PVC (overkill!) By example of pressure, the flow restriction of the Aquadyne system is so low that you would have to use a pump of several horsepower to attain anything close to 50 PSI. If your filter runs for a month without a backwash, you can with every confidence, perform an advanced backwash to dislodge and discharge the debris. Only in the rare case of a severe clog would you have to spend 15 minutes to remove the control head, stir the beads through the generous 6" opening, reattach the control head, and perform a normal backwash.
Question: Do you ever have to replace the bead media inside an Aquadyne system?
Answer: Under normal use for which the Aquadyne system is intended, the beads will last a lifetime. They are made of a very strong surgical grade polyethylene material which will not break down. Many competitors will use less expensive powder filled media that can break down over time.
On occasion, you may notice that you loose a few beads through the sludge drain when you open it, but you would have to loose many pounds of beads over the years before the systems performance would started to weaken. If for any reason you loose a significant amount of beads, they are quite cheap to replace.
Question: How much power does the system use?
Answer: The Aquadyne system is passive in its functions. The only power that you will use is the power that it takes to run your pump which circulates the water in your pond. During the backwash cycle, the Dynamax air blower runs for 3 minutes to loosen and prewash the media. This cost will be only pennies per week.
Question: We turn off our pump in the winter. Does this affect the Aquadyne system?
Answer: Yes and No. If you turn off your pump for the winter, you will need to winterize the filter and pump (if external). First you will give the filter a good backwashing. Then you will drain the filter body and control head by placing the control handle between any two functions and removing the winterize cap from the bottom of the filter tank, allowing all of the water to drain. If you leave the water in the filter, the filter may freeze solid and burst the tank.
Question: Will the beneficial bacteria die in our filter if we turn the system off?
Answer: Some of the bacteria will die off if the filter is left to sit without circulation after a few days, because there is no food in the form of waste coming through the filter to make them thrive. But, even if drained, enough of the bacteria will survive, especially in an established pond, to re-seed and jump start the filter the following season. Always perform a backwash and rinse cycle after the filter has been sitting idle, even for a few days. This will clear any septic waste or sulfides that have formed while the filter was off.
Question: If we medicate our pond, and use the RECIRCULATE mode to bypass the filter, will the medicine not kill the bacteria in the filter, once we return the filter to the regular filter position?
Answer: Most medications biodegrade or evaporate (degass) at different rates during and after treatments. Depending on the medication used, it is always advisable to make at least a 50% water change after a medical treatment. If it is not cost prohibitive, due to having to replace thousands of gallons of water, a 80% water change is ideal. A 50 to 80% water change will greatly reduce any hazardous effect that a medication might have on your filter, with few exceptions. Even if your filter is exposed to most medications, it will only suffer a temporary slump for a couple of days. Beneficial bacterias reproduce by the billions per day, and it doesn't take long to re-establish a healthy colony.
Question: It seems that it would take quite a bit of water to backwash the filter.
Answer: We love this question! Not that we are going to tell you that it only takes a tea cup full. But rather to illustrate the all important water change that most people never provide for their fish. By appropriate measure, each different size of Aquadyne filter requires different amounts of water to perform a cleaning cycle. We will first say that each system requires less water to backwash than you should already be draining to give your fish a fresh drink, or rather to replace base elements and nutrients that can be depleted over time. To put it simply, you should always change at least 10% of your pond water each week, filter or no filter. Fresh water is loaded with minerals and elements that are critical for your fishes physical health. By comparison, we too need the minerals and elements that are in water, so that our bodies can remain healthy and nourished and able to maintain a healthy immune system. If you do not perform periodic water changes the fish will absorb all of the available minerals and there will be none left to continue supplementing their health. Remember how our bodies need calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, etc. Fish are no different. Typically, you will only loose an inch or two of water from your during a backwash cycle. That will likely represent only a 5% water change, so it will not hurt to be a little generous and use a little extra water during a backwash, your fish will appreciate it.
Thank you for your indulgence, as we are quite aware that we have taken up more than a few minutes of your time in reading about our "Life Support Systems" for ponds. Hopefully you can at least appreciate how important filtration really is, and that if a truly great system is within your budget, you should at least get what you pay for, and also that just any filter will not do. We cringe at what we see being sold to consumers on the market today, all in the name of "We have the best filter that you can buy". That is why you will never see that statement in any of our advertising or promotions.
Even if you choose not to purchase an Aquadyne filter at this time, This literature is packed full of information and concepts that are vital to the success of a healthy pond. Koi Camp Aquariology is a people company and not focused just on the bottom line. We strive to be concerned for your success in pond keeping. We are here, and available daily to prove it. Remember, we have stood in your shoes and scratched our head much as you are doing now, wondering which way to go next. If you think that we may be able to help you, do not hesitate to drop us a line.