Pictured is a small pre-filter
Matala is very versatile. Matala's characteristics lend it to many applications.
Most peoples initial reaction when they see Matala is "Hey, this looks like good stuff!"
Well, it is, but it has to be used properly. Many filter designs will benefit.
The Black Matala can be used as a support grate for other layers of media due to it's very sturdy and open design. In a settling chamber the Black will slow down and trap very large particles and hair algae. The Green Matala can follow thereby trapping a medium size particle. Both Green and Black clean out very easily by simply shaking the pieces out before draining the sump. When you use the Black or Green Matala for solids filtering you may use the garden hose to spray clean them. The dirt falls off very easily. The Blue and Gray Matala will filter out a much smaller particle and yet still maintain good flow distribution. In larger systems all four types can be used in sequence to essentially remove all solids.
Biological Filter (Water Purification)
As you know, a good biofilter needs a lot of surface area with open spaces between for good aerated water flow. A high surface area is useless if the passageways are so small that water flow cannot penetrate. The filter must provide an even distribution of water flow to prohibit channeling and anaerobic conditions. The filter must also have interstitial spaces which are the small areas directly between the filter media which provides an area where the bacteria can fill up in a bacterial matrix. Usually the water flow through these spaces moves a little slower than in more open areas. This provides an aerobic flow of slow moving water and is an excellent environment for a stable population of bacteria to grow in. The Blue and Gray Matala provides for these requirements. Did you know that a biofilter produces it's own waste called detritus. Even with total prefiltration some biofilters can plug themselves up with detritus.
Picture shows detail of Black Matala showing growth of bacteria in interstitial spaces and showing bacteria flocks
Detritus will settle out on the top or the bottom of an upflow filter or on the bottom of the tank in a downflow filter. Detritus is actually good in small quantities. Tremendous bacterial growth is occuring on it. However, excessive detritus which is trapped in the media or built up anywhere can turn to sludge over time. Matala lets the detritus move on through so you can drain it from the system as needed.
Be careful when you clean biological Matala. A vigourous shake up and down in the filter is often all that is necessary. Very dirty mats will clean properly if you pour pond water through the mat. Large filters can leave the Matala in place while cleaning. Why take it out if you don't have to.
A truly functional filter system will utilize a mechanical / solids filter followed by one or more biological filters. In this way the solids are kept from the bio chamber and the bacteria can grow in a high oxygen environment without disturbance for a long time. Many multiple chambers allows for cleaning one filter at a time thereby reducing any drastic changes to water stability. This type of system if properly designed does not just filter your water, it purifies and conditions it. Multi-chambered systems encourage healthy living water and promote stability.
Gravity Fed Systems vs. Pump Fed Systems
Gravity fed filters will fully utilize the Black Matala since the solids will not be ground up. The Green will also give excellent results following the Black. Most of your solids can be removed in one or two chambers in this way. Your final chamber should utilize the Green, Blue or Gray Matala.
Pump fed filters will better utilize the Green as a solids filter since the fine solids will be more numerous after the pump. Follow up with the Blue and the Gray Matala for biological filtration.
The Black Mat is very sturdy and can be used as a support grid for any of these systems if desired.
A gravity fed system helps maintain stability in the pond because the waste particles are not ground up into juice by the pump. This controls excessive microbial growth due to lower overall dissolved waste.
You will notice from the pictures that many systems stand the Matala vertically on edge and the colors are staggered upright next to each other. This is actually how Matala should be used.
The passageways through the edge of the mat are non-restrictive. For example, by combining a Green mat next to a Blue mat, eg. gr/bl/gr/bl/gr/bl sequence, you will get a faster flow of water through the Green ( less resistance ) and a slower flow of water through the Blue mat. Water travels the path of least resistance and so will the dirt along with it. This puts more dirt into the Green and conserves the Blue. .
The Green Matala cleans easier than the Blue; the Blue is not loaded with dirt so the bacteria are not dealing with high organic loads. If you neglect the filter, this effect will also spread the dirt out more evenly through the filter chamber, as the Green plugs up more flow is forced through the Blue. We have tested this theory for over 4 years now and it does work.
Your first look at Matala will convince you of the benefits of sequential and progressive filtering. The obvious use is to lay the pieces flat in a tank, one on top of the other. In a small filter this is very useful since 2 or more colored layers may be used to spread the dirt out within the tank. A single tall barrel type filter will also benefit from 3 or more layers stacked horizontally. Larger systems will more fully utilize Matala stood up vertically on edge with colors staggered. Square and rectangular tanks are perfect for Matala. Round tanks will require R-Matala coils, choose from 8 precut diameters.
Every system will require individual considerations. We have tried Matala in many types of systems for over 4 years and seen excellent results.
Matala works perfectly with upflow filter designs. The ideal configuration would be the Matala stood vertically rather than flat. This allows for easier cleaning. All you do is grab an individual piece and shake it up and down to clean it. If your filter chamber is packed to tight, take out one piece first. Laid flat you will have to remove all the pieces to get to the bottom dirty piece. Stagger your vertical pieces with different Matala densities to achieve better solids removal or better biological filtering depending on the tank capacity. A Green piece next to a Gray piece for example will give good flow around the Gray one and trap solids in the Green one. Similar to the typical honeycomb effect seen in Japanese matting filter methods, however you will be trapping dirt as well. Place a Blue or Gray piece flat on top to finish.
The same types of configurations will work for downflow as for the upflow but you might want to utilize a top sheet as a prefilter piece. This will also function as a water flow distributor.
Filter pads may need to be removed from the tank to clean on a downflow design. Because of the open design of Matala, shaking vigorously in the filter will release most of the dirt thereby maintaining the bacterial film.
Another great design with Matala. Dirty water comes in on one end and travels through various layers of Matala to extract dirt before the biological pieces at the end of the line.
Cleaning simply involves shaking the pieces up and down in the tank to remove the dirt. Very dirty layers may need to be sprayed off. Fortunately, the Matala is so open that a quick hose with pond water is all that is necessary.
The rigid structure and the different available densities of Matala makes it a perfect media for use in trickle filters. Due to the structure of Matala the trickling water will tend to spread out more evenly over the different levels of the bio-filter. One should select the density of Matala depending on the expected fish load, feeding quantity and frequency.
Matala can be used in aquarium filtrations in the following designs:
This beautiful 500 gal. saltwater aquarium is filtered with Green
Matala in the pre-filter and Gray Matala in the wet/dry biofilter.
Due to Matala extremely high surface area vs. its free flow design, bacteria will colonize in mass.
The picture to the left is an actual photo of a small community in Belgium figuring a waste water treatment recycle experiment.
These brown fuzzy strands are actual bacterial growth.
Besides its use for mechanical and biological filtration Matala can be used for: