Advantage Chlorine / Chloramine Filters

The Advantage Carbon Filter is designed to automatically remove any chlorine from city water before it enters your koi pond. The Advantage Chloramine Filter does the same, but for chloramines. Each filter contains over one cubic foot of activated carbon media. Additionally, these filters come with an automatic backwash system. Depending on the amount of water you are sending through the filter you can program it to automatically backwash from once to several times a week. This back washing assures the filter will stay clean and never begin to channel. Channeling is what occurs when a filter starts to plug up and the water begins to create a channel through the filter media. When this happens the water is exposed to only a fraction of the filtering media rather than flowing evenly through all the media thereby greatly reducing the filters efficiency.

How often do you need to replace the carbon media in the Advantage Carbon Filter?

There are a number of variables to consider as to how often the carbon needs to be replaced such as;

  • How much water are you running through the filter each month?
  • How fast is the water running through the filter?
  • How much chlorine is in your city water?

If you are only changing 200 gallons a week on average in your pond, you allow your auto fill to slowly replace the water and the chlorine level in your city water is .02%, one cubic foot of carbon would probably last 5 years without changing.

On the other hand, if you are changing 3,000 gallons a week on average in your pond, you are using a garden hose to quickly refill the pond and the chlorine level of your city water is .05%, one cubic foot of media would probably last 1 1/2 to 2 years.

If you want to be overly cautious you can just change out the carbon once a year. Because carbon filters loose their ability to filter out chlorine very slowly, another option is, after the first year, to start testing the fill water coming from the carbon filter once a month for chlorine. Then, at the first sign of any chlorine in the water, change out the carbon. This will now tell you, in the future, how long you can go before you need to change out the carbon in the filter again.

Chlorine and your pond.

All city water, by law, is required to have a level of chlorine or chlorine type chemical added to it. The purpose of adding chlorine to the water is to kill any bacteria or parasites in the water that might present a threat to public health. The problem with chlorine in the water is that it can be very harmful to koi. Chlorine in the water at low levels will burn the gills of a koi. At higher levels it will kill them.

Adding chlorinated water to a pond in small increments is typically not a problem because the chlorine will usually evaporate before it has a chance to build up. If, on the other hand, you are adding a large amount of chlorinated water at one time you will need to either remove the chlorine from the water before it enters the pond or neutralize it once it enters the pond. You have two options.

  1. You can add dechlorinator (sodium thiosulfate) to the pond before adding the new water. This will neutralize the chlorine in the new water preventing it from harming the koi. The only potential problem with this procedure is that you need to remember to add the dechlorinator each time. Additionally, if you are manually refilling the pond after a water change and forget to turn off the water, even if you added dechlorinator, you could still kill your koi by adding too much water for the amount of dechlorinator you added.

  3. Another option is to install a carbon filter to the water fill line leading to the pond. As water flows through the filter the carbon in the filter automatically removes any chlorine in the water. This option makes sure no chlorine ever enters the pond. A real advantage of a carbon filter over using dechlorinator is that the koi are never exposed to chlorine in the water. When you add new water to a pond you will often notice the koi playfully swimming in the new water entering the pond. They love the fresh water, but this new water has not yet come in contact with the dechlorinator so the koi are swimming in chlorinated water. Finally, a carbon filter protects your koi even when you are not home. If the pond sprung a leak while you’re not around, at least the fill water is chlorine free.

Do you have chloramine in your water?

Some water districts choose to use chloramine instead of chlorine to kill bacteria in their water supply. Chloramine is created by adding ammonia to chlorine which stabilizes the chlorine and greatly increases the time it takes to evaporate. This works well for the water district because they don’t need to use as much chlorine to keep the bacteria levels in the water safe. On the other hand, this creates a very dangerous situation for fish ponds. Because chloramine, on the average, takes 4 times longer to evaporate than chlorine it can quickly build up to a toxic level in the pond. Chloramine just like chlorine can burn the gills of fish. Additionally, as chloramine breaks down it releases it’s ammonia into the pond water. The ammonia can also burns the gills of fish, even at low levels.

You can neutralize the chlorine in chloramine by adding dechlorinater (sodium thiosulfate) but you still need to deal with the ammonia. There are some chemicals that you can add that will both neutralize the chlorine and bind up the ammonia at the same time. You still run into the problem that if you fail to remember to add the right amount of chemical or drastically overfill your pond because you left the fill hose running too long, you could damage or kill all your fish.

Sacramento Koi also make a Chloramine Filter for koi ponds. This filter is identical to
the Chlorine Filter except, instead of being filled with carbon it is filler with a special resin material specifically designed to remove both chlorine and ammonia from the water. This assures that any water entering the pond will be free of both chlorine and ammonia no matter how much water you add.