Thankfully, at that time I had taken on the lease of an adjoining unit in order to increase my water space and the concrete block filters I designed were perfect for brushes, filter mat cartridges and heavy aeration below them.
In spring 1985, I invited others to come and see the water produced by the new systems. By pointing out the advantage of being able to finally ditch the gravel media of old (plus the laborious cleaning of it), these items gradually became in great demand by both the UK enthusiasts and the Koi dealers who seemed to be then springing up everywhere.
The lightweight media also allowed my ready-made units to be made more economically as they no longer needed to support the gravel beds with heavy wooden frames and perforated PVC sheets.
In late 1985 my very first Vortex Unit was delivered to Infiltration, it stood 75” tall and had a diameter of 54”.
Initially both enthusiasts and the Industry met it with roars of laughter, but within a few short months, every filter manufacturer in the UK started to produce their own cheaper mini-versions in order to get a share of the market.
My idea behind my original design was that a circular unit would be far more robust than a square one and by adding a ‘gentle flow’ of pond water into a large circular box by gravity, would produce the necessary centripetal action that would take mechanical solids down to the steeply coned base for removal by a 3” ball valve sitting at the very base of the cone.
It was easy to witness the collection and removal of the assorted debris just by looking. This was impossible to see in the smaller versions, as the ‘spin’ was FAR too fast.
I have no idea as to how many other ‘vortex units’ my original unit inspired manufacturers all over the world to produce them, and nor would I like to guess how many have been sold since then. But by the late 1980’s it was rare to see any Koi pond filter system without some version of a vortex unit.
In spring 1986, by pure chance, I passed by some tailored upward-flow filter mat blocks awaiting collection and delivery by the carrier after they had been shrink-wrapped and addressed. These had been made to order for customers who had given us their specific sizes. Usually these were between 24” to 30” square with a depth of 9”, the particular one that caught my eye was an 18” cube.
I lifted the cube, looked at it and wondered if it would perform just as well by placing it on its side in a cheap tailored box that too held water with a width and depth of 18” and by subjecting the block (or blocks) to a horizontal flow of water rather than the standard upward-flow units?
At home later that night, out came the paper and pencil, and after an hour or so I had come up with the first ever horizontal-flow pond filter system!