Polyester Batting as Filter Material

turkeyguyJuly 16, 2008

After walking around in my 2000 gal pond yesterday rearranging plants, removing string algae etc I stirred up enough gunk to leave the water rather murky. Pond has neither filtration or aeration. Fish load is minimal (6 goldfish) and has several pond plants and parrot feather and WH finally reproducing to cover maybe a third of water surface.

Been thinking of acquiring a 100 gallon stock tank and use 10-20 pounds polyester batting as filter material. Is there anything better? Can the batting be cleaned for reuse? Water will be delivered to the tank using a 20 gal/minute sump pump. This filtration will be as needed as no electricity at site so will depend on extension cords at least for now.


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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Don't use the batting as permanent filter material. It gets clogged and dirty and should be considered disposable.

Many use plastic scrubbies from the dollar store. You can also wad up nylon bird netting.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:41PM
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I've used it a few times from Wally world...it traps material..but tends to break up easy...goes in as a pillow comes out as a handfull...is the best that I can describe it...but hey...it's another excuse to drink a few cold ones taking care of the filtration equipment at your local Koi pond LOL.....Dave

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 8:33PM
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I made a mini-skippy for my much smaller pond. I used a thick polyester fiber cushion along with loose polyester stuffing material (the same stuff sold as filter floss for indoor aquariums). Filters particulates great and apparently works well as a biofilter, too since the water quality has tested excellent. I do plan to toss the polyester filling at the end of the season and just keep the more rigid cushion for next season.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:21PM
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I used quilt batting one year as people said it helped with algae/dirt in the pond. It did but the fibres also got wound around my pump (external). Three years ago I bought 3 matala mats, one black, one green, and one blue. Each are 24 x 48 and are in my settling chamber. They are very easy to clean just take them out and slam them down on the pavement. Sometimes I hose off the blue one (finest grade) as it is the top layer in sc and gets the most algae sticking to it. I use my sc for water changes/dechlor and as mechanical filter not as a biological filter. In my biofilter I have springflo in the one and nylon scubby/birdnetting in the other. Both are in a net bag for removal and cleaning in pond water. I'm not sure which works better but the springflo has more "brown" stuff clinging to it than the scrubbies.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 1:49AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

In a 100 gallon stock tank, I would suggest using bird netting, scrunched up, a layer or two of blue, cut to size furnace/air conditioning filters [not the fiberglas type]plus nylon pot scrubbers, packed in basket type containers [from the dollar store] and a final layer of polyester quilt batting to fine tune the water.
Those are all great filter materials and are easy to clean, with the exception of the batting, that should be replaced at the begining of the season.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 6:45AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

I forgot to add, floating water lettuce or water hyacinths in the stock tank along with the filter materials mentioned above,. Will give you one Jim Dandy filter system.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 6:48AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Dave, are you sure you bought the polyester fibre quilt batting, as I have never had a problem with it breaking up.
I believe the cotton fibre quilt batting will break up, because of it being in water over a long period of time.
But not being a quilter[or a quitter], I'm not a 100% on the characteristics of cotton batting.LOL

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 7:02AM
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basilbird(z6 RI)

Definitely don't use cotton batting! It gets super yucky immediately. I find polyester batting to be quite easy to clean. I'm amazed that it will come out of the skimmer green and gunky but be hosed off and nearly white again in no time. The resulting dark green water is making my tomato plants the envy of the neighborhood!

Batting is a little different from stuffing (which will break up into chunks). Quilt batting is more sheet like and (unless you really try to pull it apart) will keep its sheeting tendencies. Stuffing is the same stuff, but designed specifically to take on any shape at all. Having no allegience to being orderly and flat, it tends to fall into it's own little factions.

who used to sew quite a lot quite a long time ago!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 9:17AM
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Horton...It was that polyester pillow shaped bag @ Walmart..When I was cleaning my filter recently it just came apart in my hands as I was trying to pull it out...I made sure the polyester wouldn't hurt the fish before I put it in the filter......

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 5:20PM
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I've been getting batting from local craft stores. First was not quite 1/4" and next was not quite 1/2" thick. I make 12" squares to cover my pondmaster filter in my little pond.

I'm tossing them every day or so as my pond is in full algae bloom so I'm using it to pull as much organic muck out as I can.

I don't leave it in long enough for it to fall apart but it does make a very good gunk filter.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 7:03PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Same place I purchase the polyester batting I use, Dave.
I'm really surprised that it broke up.

Have you done a pH test lately to see if it is low and the acid content of your pond water is eating at the quilt batting. ;-)
Maybe it's just that beer that your adding to the pond, that's rotting the batting? LOL

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 8:12PM
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Do believe I'll get the 100 gallon Rubbermaid stocktank (can use later for a Skippy) and try the 10 lb pack of polyester batting from Wallyworld. If it doesn't work, well I'll be out $16 of my beer money, LOL


    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 9:15PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Maybe it is because you all are not crafters that you don't notice the difference in the materials you are describing. The quilt batting is made up of very long fibers that are matted together in a way that makes the whole thing retain its shape. If you are using it folded up in the Skippy the layers will even wind up clinging to each other sorta like velcro. The good stuff rarely sheds fiber and keeps its shape.
Cotton isn't used much any more because it has a tendency to lump up and lose its shape. The fibers are not nearly as long as polyester fibers. It is also more expensive than polyester and it is much heavier.
The bagged stuff for pillows and crafts is the trimmings fron the edges of the big sheets and the material that escaped the mats. All of it is very short fibers so it is easy to push into small spaces. Sometimes it is even chopped so you get some dust. It is very easy for the short fibers to get loose and wind up in the impeller.
If you have a choice, get the more expensive batting. It has more fibers with more cohesion. It is usually only a dollar or two more. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 2:58PM
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The gunk in an unfiltered water garden should settle back out in a day or two.

In my above ground tank I simply syphon off the bottom for an occasional water change.

Are you using the loose fiber fill or the "sheets" of quilt batting that comes in bed sizes?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 3:21PM
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mammasue, you are correct. Just came in from watching the goldfish going through their antics and noticed I could see the bottom (3 feet) again but just barely. Has been clearer and perhaps it will be in a day or two.

Wonder how a temporary filter, whether batting, furnace filters, pot scrubbers etc would work? Would carry tank in a garden trailer, drop in the pump with hose in tank at pond side and run for a few hours, hmmmm.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 4:44PM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Dale, I use a temporary set up in the spring and fall to thoroughly clean the bottom of my ponds.
It is a fifty gallon drum cut in half, with an old mattress cover as the filter material.
I either use a sump pump that I move over the bottom of the pond or my shop vac, to suck up all the junk that has accumulated over the months.
I have a bottom drain in my large pond, but there is still spots where the yuck collects and has to be sucked out.
It does a great job of cleaning and filtering the water.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 5:26PM
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Horton...Maybe it's that cheap beer I dropped in there...I was really bummed about that...you know...That's alcohol abuse! LOL...Sounds like I need to buy the higher dollar quilt batting...and maybe even the higher dollar beer....Happy Ponding!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 6:04PM
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Some quick suggestions on what you are asking and doing.

Don't turn the filter off. Basically everything in it will rot, and when you turn it back on you can kill everything in your pond.
Longer version, it goes anaerobic.

If you use the poly from Wally World, rinse it first. They use a phosphate plastisizer in the manf. Rinsing it will not put so much phosphate in your pond.

If you use the poly stuffing, or even the batting, a easy way to use it is to make a pillow. Take a nylon potato bag, orange bag, etc and stuff it. Or you can just buy marine bags from Collins Cottage.

I buy the poly pillow stuffing from Wally World, stuff it in a marine bag from Collins, then rinse it good. When I need to clean the filters, I just grab a few bags, rinse, and replace. I keep the scrubbies in small bags too. I would rather grab a few small bags than one big one. Plus, with lots of small bags, I can rotate the filter material around.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 8:52PM
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