Malcolm advertised his units under the name of ‘Cyprio’ and his units were black polythene domestic header tank ‘seconds’ bought very cheaply from the manufacturers in all manner of sizes.
Malcolm simply drilled a 1” hole to connect the pond pump to the inlet of the box by way of a drainage specification tank connector (trust me, he’d have sealed it with Blu-Tac if he thought he could have got away with it)!
He’d either have the entry on some days under the gravel media supported by a cheap wooden frame and some perforated PVC sheet that made the water rise up through the gravel or on other days (depending on his particular mood) he’d have the entry at the top via a plastic spray bar (his proud invention) and let the water fall down through the gravel and exit by many perforations on the base of the unit.
Whilst it was always a welcome surprise for his customers, as to who would get the top or bottom feed versions, Malcolm had missed one minor design flaw.
You see Malcolm never considered what would happen if these units were left unattended for a long period of time as he never mentioned boring things like ‘maintenance procedures and intervals’.
And when the gravel finally blocked, trust me it blocked! Of course he never replied to the letters telling him the entire pond had been pumped onto their gardens that had resulted in one burned-out pump and an entire collection of Koi dead on the bottom of the now empty pond.
Malcolm had no time to deal with such petty matters because by then, he had cornered the entire UK pond filtration market and guess what?
The water garden centres of the UK that were increasing at a rate of knots were also stocking his Cyprio units on their shelves!
Of course, the units were a complete disaster and Malcolm knew this better than most. They later went on to become the most despised name by the Koi enthusiasts of the day and the derogatory term of ‘Black Boxes’ stuck. But this only produced extra sales from the newcomers, simply because they were ‘cheap and cheerful’ and also his newfound retailers could make a darned good profit margin from them!
I still know of NO other pond ‘filter system’ that can even approach the massive sales clocked up over the years by his Cyprio units. I do believe Malcolm’s ‘Coup de Grace’ followed around 1997 when he sold his entire ‘Cyprio’ business to Hozelock for a price said to be around £4,000,000.00!
Which confirms the old Yorkshire saying of ‘Where there’s muck – there’s brass’!
That done and settled, Malcolm upped sticks, moved to Spain, built a luxury mansion with a tennis court and still, as far as I know, plays every day.
Sadly, Waddy’s first two polypropylene super filters never had anything remotely like the same success of Malcolm’s boxes; although the better of the two did show the multi-chamber ‘rise and fall’ system for the very first time.
We are still in 1980 here, and as far as filtration was concerned, we in the UK were still completely in the dark ages. I made my second pilgrimage to Japan in 1979, determined to get to the bottom of the ‘filtration thing’ for once and for all.
The firm beliefs of the most avid UK enthusiasts in those days were that if our Japanese counterparts used anything at all in their endeavours, then it simply HAD to be of major importance to us over here.
I returned from that trip with sparse details and photos of pond drains, standpipes, discharge boxes, pond wall side feeds, concrete filter systems, ready-made Wakishimizu filter units, Biotron lamps to eradicate green water and Zeolite.
The ‘word’ from Japan was that we should dedicate one third of the system volume to the filtration and who were we to argue?
For starters I drew a scale model of a typical Japanese breeder’s concrete indoor pond system and had it published in the BKKS monthly magazine for all to see and marvel at.