I first started dreaming of Koi keeping some several years ago. I had always been put off by lovely looking ponds that always turned to green sludgy water midge ridden and smelly whose owners always ending up filling them in.
Then I started some research and trawled all that I could in an effort to learn as much as I could about Koi and ponds.
After some years later I decided that it was a possibility to start and fulfill a long dream of keeping Koi. I did not want to start at the usual garden centre level and neither at the high end of the hobby but knew that to keep the fish in the best conditions then it required good filtration.
This was a year and a half ago and at that time the best filter reviews I could find from all the usual sources, web and specialist shops said Nexus. I then designed the pond and went to look at the Nexus in operation.
Then it struck me that my garden and design really could not fit a NEXUS as it took up far too much space and the pit I had to have just to house the filter and all the add-ons was BIG. Plus I roughly calculated that the filtration alone would cost me approx £2,700 at the time.
I was hesitant due to the filter size plus the smelly boiling to clean and flush it really did put me off. So I trawled yet again and hey presto found a man promoting ERIC. I started to read about the filter and what I read made sense to me however I was concerned about parting with a chunk on money on a little known product. I sent an email to Peter Waddington and then phoned him to ask a few questions. My concern and I say that one of my concerns was about purchasing a little known system that had no mass production and if parts failed or he popped his clogs it meant that future parts if needed would be impossible to get due to it being his own designed filter.
Whereas if I opted for Nexus as they are mass-produced I would hope as a larger company parts were readily available and easier to get.
He assured me that nothing would go wrong with the ERIC.
I went to see my very first Koi show knowing that Peter would be there to view what the ERIC was like. I then on the spot gave Peter my order. One of the other attractions for my choice of ERIC for me was no add-ons that I have read so much about which seemed to be needed by my visits to see them in action at dealers premises.
My builders started under my instruction and I oversaw the work and said what I needed them to do. Peter also spoke to my builders to make sure that all was understood. The build went perfect. Matt Cameron came and delivered the ERIC and fibre-glassed and done the plumbing for my pond.
The big fill started in September 2010 with 5,000 galls and the Eric started up. Fish were introduced at the start of October. 8 fish were introduced and being a new Koi keeper with no experience I monitored the water weekly. I was asked by the supplier of my fish as to what filter I would be running and I said ERIC, and I was told there should be no problems with that and the water should be perfect.
I had read so much about NPS that I was not really enjoying the Koi keeping as I was worried that something would soon start to go astray. I took readings every week and found that my readings were mostly 0.
After a 4-week period I started to get a reading of .25 Nitrite and .2 Ammonia. With a cut to the amount of food I was adding and my regular flushing this returned to zero, perfect water again and this has held right to present.
Now onto the filter itself……..
It has really been a dream, there are no horrible filter clean outs, and the filter is easy flush and clean. The EricMats still look new and the brush box just flushes clean.
One of the early problems and the weakest part of the filter as I could see it was a little rubber ‘O’ ring on the standpipe that flushes to waste. This was such an easy part to obtain when it perished and through wear just worn out, it did not put me off the filter and I still think it is the simplest I have seen on the market.
Now from a woman’s point of view there are a few things that I found difficult. The standpipe does take a little effort to place back into position and seal the unit and I think perhaps that could be something to look at in the future.
Also I discovered the hard way that it really does well to have a spare standpipe as I made the mistake of trying to insert the pipe whilst the filter was refilling by gravity, and well -needless to say head to foot and water are words that were used as well as a few expletives!!
Also lifting out the Eric mat blocks is a little more work if ever it was needed as it is quite a tight fit into the filter box but thankfully they had only been lifted out the once in over a year of running the filter. Although there was no weight to the items and removing them was minutes.
A few months ago in the summer evening when doing a flush of the filter I noticed that there was a cloud of murkiness going into the return when I turned the pump back on after flushing. I contacted Peter Waddington for a replacement ‘O’ ring and happened to mention this. He suggested I take off the cover remove the Eric mats and look at what is in the filter.
On doing this I found a gritty yellow sandy material. I sent the photograph of to Peter and said that I thought it was some treatment I had placed in the pond for blanket weed as that was gritty in the bottom and never mixed up in the water completely.
Peter explained that would not be the cause and seemed very excited and thanked me for bringing it to his attention. He then explained that the material was from the biomass that was dying off and regenerating itself and in so doing has been giving me excellent water readings.
The material washed away with a hosepipe and the filter ran perfectly clear again and there is just a small build up at the moment to wash out.
Peter also informed me that the air diffusers he originally had were showing problematic and air pressure would drop over time and they became less effective at air in the filter and the turbulence they created.
Now my concerns about purchasing a little known filter from someone I had never heard of has been completely negated. I have had replacement ‘O’ rings supplied to me with a very prompt service. I could very easily have been told that the debris in the filter was a result of my actions but I was told what it was and how to resolve it by modifying my unit to the design of the new ERIC that has had a lot of the issues I saw addressed and modified in their design.
I was also sent replacement air diffusers which I am to fit as I have looked at the amount at present and the filter is receiving nothing like it had when installed.
As I had no experience in ponds or Koi before I joined a Koi club and went on club visits. I was amazed at the size of filters in comparison to ponds and the work they take to maintain and keep clean. Some were almost the same size as a pond! A friend who is upgrading his pond showed me his bargain buy of a Multi chamber. Again I was amazed at the size of these as they take up so much space.
One of the other things I think is really important is the ease of maintaining an Eric. If you are disabled/wheelchair user then a longer standpipe could be the answer to easily maintaining a pond and as we are all getting older we want an easy life.
For me ERIC filters are the answer.
Over a year on running I have never had any problems with fish (only the one that damaged itself in a bag in transit) all have grown well and look as good as the day I bought them.
Now looking forward to the summer to enjoy the pond again.