Clearwater Wet and Dry pond filter review

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Jeremy Gay with a new pond filter that could also be put to good use by the marine fishkeeper!

I’ve long been a big fan of Clearwater Aquatics. It was a pioneer name in Discus and reefkeeping and was the definitive place to go to shop and talk corals with the people who knew about them.

The shop in Leicester has always been known for having amazing corals and being ahead of the game in terms of reef filtration techniques, so I was delighted when contacted about its latest creation – a wet and dry filter.

Such technology is quite well known and utilised nowadays. Beneficial filter bacteria are aerobic — demanding of oxygen — so by introducing more oxygen to a filter you can aid its efficiency.

Trickle filters spray water over biological media where it trickles inside them by gravity and into the tank or pond below.

Wet 'n' Dry filters differ, however, by immersing all the media in water, then rapidly draining off the water and exposing the media to air.

This happens on a cycle so the media is drenched, then exposed every few seconds or minutes.

According to Clearwater, this is more efficient than a trickle filter as all the media is exposed to the tank water.

It claims that water can simply bypass some of the media of a trickle filter, depending on the design.

So why am I announcing a "new" wet and dry filter in 2012 when these were the domain of the 1990s? It’s what they are doing with them now that makes them so different.

Some pond filters, depending on type, may be quite high maintenance, especially if pressurised and using very fine sponges. Many a pondkeeper dreads the chore of cleaning clogged foams.

This biological filter has no mechanical media, so needs no cleaning or maintenance. Combine it with a UV clarifier and Clearwater claims you will have both excellent mechanical and biological filtration.

You could also rig one up to provide extra biological filtration on an existing, filtered pond.

A second described use is quite novel too. Being a marine specialist and handy at all things to do with marine filtration, Clearwater also uses the Wet 'n' Dry to cure live rock.

An empty Wet 'n' Dry can be filled with uncured rock, then connected to a vat of salt water. Seawater is pumped over the rock, it is fully immersed for a few seconds then rapidly drained.

This not only encourages aerobic bacteria on and in the rock, the plunging effect drags off any dead material on it.

Clearwater uses this method to cure all of its own live rock.

Our test model is claimed to filter ponds up to 22,730 l/5,000 gal and should be fed from a pump delivering 2,200-2,800 lph.

Price: £175, or £325 with pump and UVC from Clearwater Aquatics.