lol, thanks chaps, I aim to please :)
It'll probably best to start a new thread at some point but I'll try and briefly outline how and why etc.
I had (as most people do) gone through lots of different configurations of pond design and my first and favoured version was a "low energy" pond with sieves, airlifts and anoxic filtration. I'd arrived at this though lots of reading, especially Syd's website and Kevin Novaks book and although it's a bit controversial, I also couldn't and still can't find anything negative about the system. During this time, I really got interested in the different kind of filtration media available, particularly ceramics so started to research where/why/how much etc and to my (non) shock they're pretty much all derived from other industries, particularly the filtration of molten metals. So, time goes by and Mrs BCC is all of a sudden shocked and aghast at the space I wanted for the pond and puts her foot down, throws a sulk and we reach a compromise whereby I can still achieve my 4000 gallons but at the expense of the anoxic and airlift collector chambers. Bums.
Filters end up being more conventional with one of Deano's wonderful Synergy 35 drums to a moving bed and a small footprint shower with ceramic media I had made for me, more about that another time.
Now, pond get's built, falls apart, gets built again at vast expense. Filters are sited remotely in the garage and I'm thinking to myself, jeez, this is costing a fair few quid in electric let alone water changes and there's something nagging at me and yes, after some more reading I recall that water changes are required less frequently with anoxic than with a regular K1 gurgling away so I whipped it all out and got busy with the cat litter finally ending up with 24 baskets in my bio chamber.
I'd only had my fish in for a week and had to rush that as someone was getting shot of a few, I was actually crapping myself that I'd kill them all but actually, I had a very minor ammonia/nitrite spike which required a couple of 10% water changes and within about 2 weeks everything was fine, I was pretty astounded to be honest.
The system was running ok but by now we'd got into the colder months so I was cutting down on feed so realistically the filters weren't really doing a great deal but I wasn't quite confident enough to completely dispense with not changing any water at all so continued with a VERY small trickle in which I still do now. I'm not comfortable ethically with unduly stressing the fish out if there's no requirement to and a little bit of fresh water I'm happy with but it's nowhere near 10% a week, probably less than half that.
Righto..move onto earlier in the year and I've got all this sodding K1 sitting around and have the genius idea to make a bio chamber out of an IBC tank (I was bored) which although the Mrs wasn't too happy about it using up more space in the garage, she never sodding goes in there anyway so it's MY garage :) I knock up the chamber, lob it all all in low and behold, it gurgles like a goodun but another virtual chat with Syd and another member on EK it's deemed pointless having K1 basically working against the anoxic so after a couple of days, out it all comes again and I knock up another 16 baskets in about an hour using this Molar Clay I've found instead of the nasty cat litter. No waste, no dust, piece of pish. Bit of a conversion to the in/out of the chamber and away we go. 40 baskets in total which is supposedly far more than I'll every need as it's one basket per adult fish and I only have 11 lol.
My little shower is still running but that's now more of a trickle and I'll be removing that media bit by bit over a period of time whilst watching the levels.
Water tests with API show zero ammonia/nitrite but I do have nitrates of 40 despite anoxic supposedly being able to deal with these. This may be down to my trickle as that's kinda where they are out of the tap but I'd expect to see them at a much lower level considering the amount of baskets plus the shower so not really sure what's going on there however, I'm not going to make it my life's mission to get them any lower, the fish are fine. I did add a clarity CL10 as well (got is seriously cheap) because I had a fair bit of foam (DOC's) at one point and I have to say, it works a treat. No foam on pond to speak of but the thing sprouts a load every day which goes on an acer and that thing has shot up lol. The skimmer "recirculates" via an outlet on chamber 1 and returns back into the same chamber so there's no ugly great Darlek on the side of the pond.
(Quick thought...Anyone use a Seneye, if so, what's your ammonia reading? Mine hovers around 0.012 - 0.018ppm but has been as low as 0.001, just curious)
I recently treated for Trich and Flukes so was curious to see if the filters were knocked back after a PP and Lernex but nope, no change whatsover, all stable.
One thing I do suffer from though is a really high PH, it hovers around 8.4 but the water round here is super hard but this is something I do want to address.....if we don't move house shortly...I know, I know...but I can have a bigger pond :)
In summary then, does it work...well, yes. It certainly starts working faster than a conventional filter and that's borne out by others findings, does it work as a stand alone system? I can't honestly answer that right now. Does the chemical reaction take place or is the conversion of ammonia down to having lots of gravelly voids for the bacteria to live inside? hhmmm....posssibly. The baskets are dead easy to make, it's a pretty cheap system to install and run albeit the footprint could be large depending on how high you stack the baskets, personally, I wouldn't go more than 4 high as you risk breaking the ones at the bottom.
Would I recommend it to others? Hand on heart? Not until I've run it for another year with a few more fish and the removal of my shower, if it all worked OK after that then I'd take a view. I really think you have to decide whether or not to take the plunge or not, as with any filter, it's really down to personal choice, finances, space, fish numbers etc.
Would I use it on my next pond? Yes, 100%. I'd also be looking to go full circle and use airlifts as well as I've been experimenting with those and my Mk3 version is insanely good.
I'll chuck a youtube video up on here later
Need to do some work now lol