How to keep detritus out of fountain pump?

I have one of those small free-standing garden waterfalls, which you can see here:
http://www.wintertime.com/OH/pond.jpg
What with the Japanese maple, the mother fern (slightly visible under the maple, dangling over the pond), and the pandorea (on the trellis above the pond), all sorts of stuff is constantly falling into the water. Not surprisingly, some of it works its way into the lower rear part of the pond where the pump is, and gets sucked into the pump's intake blades. In particular, there are some tiny stems (from the fern? the pandorea?) that are stiff enough to get caught in the plastic blades instead of passing through the pump, which brings the pump to a halt.
I've tried wrapping wire mesh around the bottom of the pump, but the darned little stems still manage to get through. The pump is wedged into the little cave as it is, so I can't use anything that would create more height below the pump.
There may not be any solution to the problem, but I thought I'd ask here in case I'm overlooking anything thin that would allow water to pass through but not stems, leaves, flowers, etc.
Thanks! Patty
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There is a heavy black cloth that I bought from Home Depot to line my french drain project that allows water to pass but nothing else. That should solve your problem.
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That sounds very encouraging. I would find that in the plumbing department? "Heavy black cloth" sounds kind of like garden shade cloth, but you're talking something used in plumbing rather than something used over plants, right?
Thanks also to FW for the tip about using a stocking.
Patty
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Slip a piece of nylon stocking over your wire mesh. You'll have to clean it often, though. Maybe even daily.
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There is a device called a "filter sock" sold in fish supply stores simply for this purpose. They are sold in varying degrees of weave so that the cleaning schedule can be relaxed a tad bit. Also- pool supply stores sell an adjustable net bag type thing ( to fit Jerry-Vacs) that works very well for this purpose and is much cheaper that specialty stores. I have several of them in place in my reef system and they work extremely well.
--
Toni
South Florida USA
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I used panty hose.
A
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