Following the Pond Guru’s informative video on rebuilding canister filters a number of US customers have been inquiring whether GreatWave sells Foam Filters. The answer is sort of.
Foam Filters are not yet listed on the site. Something we hope to remedy fairly soon, but I have sold a few sets for evaluation.
What’s to evaluate you might ask. Well, like a lot of things the more you learn about foam, the more you realize you don’t know much.
When I was first asked about Foam Filters I brushed off the inquiry thinking that Filter Foam of all varieties was readily available from any number of sources. GreatWave has no interest in becoming a general purpose aquatic store. There is no way this little operation could compete with the large number of pond and aquarium shops, not to mention the national pet store chains on most items.
GreatWave sells Endless River Koi Pond Filters and related accessories and Biohome Media. Both of these product lines are exclusive to GreatWave in the US market. That is our niche and we’re more than happy with it.
But after Richard’s video the inquiries became more frequent and I started scouting around and found that foam like the Pond Guru recommended was not in fact generally available in the US. You can find it on Ebay, but it’s coming from overseas, so your shipping would be more than the product cost. Always irritating.
And so, I reconsidered my position and began looking for a US source for a high quality Filter Foam. Once again I was surprised how difficult this was.
If you search for foam you’ll find a number of sources, but it quickly becomes clear that almost all of them are selling foam for packaging or furniture. If you look for filter foam more than likely you will see it is for air filters.
Why does this matter. Most foam is close celled. Completely worthless for filtration. The foam must be open celled or reticulated. An interesting process where they essentially blow up the cell walls with a flammable gas. As you might imagine they don’t have a facility for that on every corner.
Even so, there is quite a bit of reticulated foam available, but most of it is used for sound deadening or air filtration. OK, why do we care about that. Well any foam used in furniture, construction, packaging or air filtration must be flame retardant.
I don’t know what they use for this. There is very little technical information on foam manufacture available on the internet much to my surprise, but I’m willing to bet whatever chemicals are used are not something you want in your water.
And so this leaves us in search of the limited sources of filter material suitable for water filtration. I’ve located a source and have purchased a limited amount of foam. Most of this has been cut into 12″x12″ squares. The sheets I have are 24″ wide so I can provide custom filters 24″x?” if required.
I currently have three types of foam; Coarse, 10 ppi, Medium, 20 ppi, and Fine, 50 ppi. The Coarse and Medium foams are convoluted (egg crate design) and 2 1/4″ thick. The Fine foam is 1/4″ thick and flat. They are not as pretty as the Pond Guru’s foam, 3 shades of grey, not 50.
GreatWave Foam Filter Set
You might wonder why aren’t these aren’t on the site. GreatWave doesn’t do much, but we pride ourselves on dealing with high quality products that we believe in and do a great job for what they’re designed for. As a koi keeper with no aquarium it posed a problem, how to gain experience with this new product to see if it fills the bill.
I sent a few sets out for evaluation. As inquiries continued to come in, I offered a few more sets to customers at my cost if they would report back. However, so far no feedback, so I had to come up with other ideas to gain some real world experience that would allow us to offer this product with confidence.
Fortunately, my friend, Kevin Pham, Genki Nishikigoi, has a fairly large aquarium at his store he uses for quarantining small koi. An Eheim 2217 filter is installed on this tank.
Kevin agreed to allow me to rebuild his filter using the GreatWave Foam Filters and Biohome Ultimate. The following two videos document the start of this testing. I just paid Kevin a visit this afternoon and he commented on the clarity in the tank after making the change.
We’ll continue to monitor this setup in future videos so you can see the results for yourself. Probably around the end of May, we’ll take down the filter and check out the Foam Filters. If all looks well at that time, we’ll be offering them for general sale.
Eheim Filter Rebuild – Part 1
Eheim Filter Rebuild Part 2
Foam Filter Evaluation