Contents

Installing a Pond Pump and Filter

Your water feature’s pond pump filter is the most important part of the overall pond. The design, plants, rocks, and even fish can add some great attractive qualities, but no functional purpose. The pond pump and filter move the water and keep it clean.

Step 1 – Choose the Right Size

Often times, people building a pond in their backyard choose the wrong size pump for their needs. Pumps have a large job that can overwhelm a pump that is too small. A pond pump filter needs to be able to circulate water through a screen-type filter to another filtration tank outside of the pond itself. Then the water is returned through another pipe, usually ending up in a waterfall feature. Most pumps, even ones that are packaged with a pond kit, cannot adequately handle the correct rate that the water must be “changed.”
Changing the water refers to circulating the entire capacity of the pond through the filtration device, thus cleaning the entire pond. However, with biological debris and other debris blown in by wind, the pump does not just have to push along water. A typical “change” rate should at least four to five times an hour. If your pump does not do that, then you should look into larger pumps.

Step 2 – Construct Filter Box

Your filter is not going to go into the water, so it must be placed in some sort of attractive container or a constructed box. You can hide this with plants or rocks if you choose. This container then goes to the side of the pond, on the farthest end from where you will place the pump.
Connect the wire to the electrical box by running wires, through a plastic PVC conduit underground, from the filter to the electrical supply. Using hose clamps you can connect both the inlet hose and the outlet hose, putting both in places where they are going to be hidden from sight.

Step 3 – Install Pump

Run water into the pond until the bottom is covered. This will help you get rid of wrinkles in the liner and show you any low spots. After filling in these spots, and fixing liner, you can place the pump on the bottom of the pond. Your pond pump filter can either be set out freely, or put into a water safe container for aesthetic purposes.
Connect the hoses to the pump to send water to the filter, and begin filling the rest of the pond. After the water is finished filling, plug in the pump, and check to see if the water is running freely (without any clogging or suction noises).

Step 4 – Add Plants and Fish

The major attraction to any pond is not the pond pump filter. It is the plants and fish that you put into it. Let the pump circulate the water for a few days to get rid of any debris from construction and to check the “change” rate. Once everything is set on the pump and the pool, add your biological elements and enjoy.

How to Choose Pond Pumps, Waterfall Pumps and Pond Filter Pumps

More on Sizing a Pond Pump & Waterfall Pump

Years ago the prescribed flow rate of a chosen Pond Pump was to be able to circulate the pond at least once every two hours. This was to save on energy consumption and to keep the cost of the pond down. Now, things are more energy efficient, pumps are less expensive, and, circulating the water once an hour (Koi Ponds need to turn over the water once per hour or more often). seems to produce cleaner ponds. This means, for example, that a Pond that holds 500 gallons should be powered at a minimum by a 250-gph Pond Pump. If a Waterfall or Pond Filter is to be powered with the Pump, then the height and width of the Waterfall and/or the flow rate of the Pond Filter have to be taken into consideration. This can substantially bump the recommended pump size up.

As previously discussed, if a very high or powerful Waterfall is desired and it does not have a Waterfall Filter that accepts high low rates, and a pond filter is to be used, it is often necessary to use a separate pond pump for the pond filter. Many ponds use pressurized filters because they are easy to use and easy to maintain. They are limited by the pump size, therefore, limiting the waterfall flow. This is why many ponds with pressurized pond filters have two pond pumps. Clog resistant pond pumps and magnetic drive pond pumps are best suited for this application.

Clog Resistant and Solids Handling Pond Pumps and Waterfall Pumps

Pond Pumps that are not housed in a pond a skimmer are sometimes subject to clogging due to debris inherent in established Ponds. Manufacturers have taken great pains to design new “clog resistant” and/or “solids handling” Pond Pumps. These pumps are performers and do a great job of reducing the need to clean the Pond Pump. These newer, much more maintenance free Pond Pumps are available both as magnetic drive Pumps and direct drive Pumps.

External Pond Pumps

External pumps have advantages, too. Typically used in applications where larger pumps are desired, external pond pumps can be remotely located and use very little power. External, or in-line, pond pumps can be used with pond skimmer filters to draw water from the pond and plumbed to most waterfall spillways or waterfall filters. Higher grade external pumps are very quiet, use very little energy, and last for many years.

Pond Pumps – Positioning and Setting Up

Submersible Garden Pond Pumps – setting one up in your garden pond

02 January 2014

The most commonly used pumps for pondkeeping are submersible -ie, they are designed to be positioned underwater. There are also dry-mounted pumps which can pull water out of a pond whilst remaining above the surface. Dry pumps are useful in certain situations such as gravity-fed filters often used in densley stocked koi ponds. They can be easier to maintain as they can be easily accessed and don’t have to be fished out of the water. But by far the most common method is to locate the pump under the water so we will take a closer look at this. (Many submersible pumps can also be run ‘dry’ so this is worth checking before you buy). Submersible pumps have a hermitically sealed motor which prevents water ingress. Modern pumps are housed inside a strainer cage which prevents large particles entering the chamber and blocking the impellor. Older pumps utilised foam inside the strainer cage but this was prone to getting blocked over time so is rarely found with newer pumps. The pump should be positioned at the bottom of the pond yet within easy reach for maintenance. A top tip is to attach cord or rope to the pump so it can be easily lifted out of the pond – never lift a pump by its electrical cable as this is dangerous. Ideally maximum circulation should be created involving as much of the pond water as possible. For instance, if the pond has a waterfall then the pump should be located towards the opposite end of this otherwise if the pump was placed under the return flow of the water then only part of the pond water would be in constant circulation. If there is a lot of sludge in the pond then it may be necessary to lift the pump off the floor of the pond to avoid the pond blocking up with dirt and debris – this can be achieved by placing a stone block on the bottom of the pond and placing the pump on top of this. Modern pumps are extremely low maintenance though periodic cleaning of the strainer cage and impellor are recommended for optimal smooth running. Ensure pump is full of water before it is turned on.

A pond filtration system can be a great way to keep the ecosystem in your pond clean and healthy. Knowing the different characteristics of your pond will help you decide on the best pond filter for your needs. Here are a few tips on what to look for in a pond filter system and a few reviews to help you start shopping.

Best Pond Filters in 2020

Don’t get overwhelmed when you are shopping for a pond filter system. Even though there are many types and brands of systems, all you need to do is figure out which features you need for your particular pond.

Model
Pond size
(gallons)
Flow Rate
(gph)
UV Clarifier
OASE BioSmart
(Editor’s Choice)
5000
10000
1600 – 2700
1600 – 3600
Check Price
OASE Filtral UVC 700
700
250 (pump incl.)
Yes
Check Price
TetraPond Bio-Active
1500
2500
4000
2500 – 4500
2500 – 4500
2500 – 4500
Yes
Check Price
Best Choice Products 4000
2500
Max 4000
Yes
Check Price
Pond Boss FM002P
500
320 (pump incl.)
Check Price
TetraPond GreenFree UV Clarifier
660
1800
4400
8800
Max 330
Max 900
Max 2200
Max 4400
Yes
Check Price
Jebao Pu-36
8800
Max 4400
Yes
Check Price
Fish Mate 1000PUV
1000
Max 650
Yes
Check Price
TetraPond Filtration Fountain Kit
100
250
500
325 (pump incl.)
325 (pump incl.)
550 (pump incl.)
Check Price
Jebao CF-10
1000
2000
3000
4000
790 (pump incl.)
1000 – 2500
1320 (pump incl.)
2500 – 3500
Yes
Check Price

UK Best Pond Filter System

product
pond size, l
FLOW RATE, l/h
UV CLARIFIER
All Pond Solutions PFC
(Editor’s Choice)
5000 — 50000
6000 — 13000
Yes
Check Price
Blagdon Inpond 5 in 1
2000 — 9000
650 — 3000
Yes
Check Price
Oase BioSmart 36000
(Best for Large Ponds)
36000
8000
Check Price
Pontec PondoMax
1500 — 17000
1500 — 17000
Check Price
Fish Mate 5000 SUV
(Best for Small Ponds)
1000
1200
Yes
Check Price

When you start shopping for a pond filter system, there are many factors to consider. The most important are the volume of your pond and the rate of flow, which is half that of the volume so that you can look for a filtration system that will be adequate for your needs.

Once this has been determined, you can decide what other features you would prefer including having it above or below the water line and how the filtration system filters out debris. Finally, it is also important to read some reviews to choose one of the best pond filters.

1. OASE BioSmart – Best Large Pond Filter

Ideal for medium sized ponds or ponds that have an average size fish load, OASE BioSmart gravity filters features a multi-stage biological and mechanical filtration system. Although it is a compact package, OASE BioSmart channels water through a series of filter foams creating an environment of beneficial bacteria. This process also converts harmful nitrites and ammonia to nitrates that will support any plant life that you have in the pond.

OASE BioSmart filters are filled with a filtration capacity and several features like a built-in cleaning mechanism and water temperature gauge. In relation to its size, this high surface area filter foam gives you excellent s biological filtration capabilities, this is a good choice for small ponds with a low fish load.

OASE BioSmart filter is very user-friendly with its cleaning indicator and sludge drain feature. It also works in specific zones that help to encourage the settlement of the beneficial bacteria.

It is recommended for use with the AquaMax eco-premium 2000 pumps or the AquaMax eco-classic 1900 or AquaMax eco-premium 2000 pumps, and it is designed for ponds that hold up to 10000 gallons.

Manufacturer Pond Size Recommendations

BioSmart 5000
BioSmart 10000
Max Pond Size (No Fish)
5000 Gal
10000 Gal
Max Pond Size (Small Fish)
2500 Gal
5000 Gal
Max Pond Size (Koi)
1250 Gal
2500 Gal

Final Words

For a user-friendly filter option, OASE BioSmart filter comes with both a sludge drain feature and a cleaning indicator. With the built-in cleaning mechanism and the temperature gauge, OASE BioSmart is full of features to keep your pond healthy and clean.

Pros

  • Has the best maximum pond size on our list
  • Has an automatic cleaning system
  • Has a temperature gauge

Cons

  • The outtake is a little flimsy and will pop off and leak
  • Need to provide your own connections for the outflow

2. OASE Filtral UVC 700 – Best Small Pond Filter and Pump

OASE is one of the few brands on our list that not only specializes in aquatic products, but places an extra focus on the filtration and pump segment of that market. While OASE makes it a point that their products have the delicate ecosystem of aquatic biomes accounted for, their products simply incorporate that information into their design rather than let that information lead their design.

Ultimately, this means that the OASE brand lineups will be far better for the water than it is for the fish. This is not to suggest that OASE products are not great for fish ponds as well, but they are definitely more focused on the pond as a complete biome than they are the animal residents within.

With that in mind, the UVC 700 offers a decent all-in-one system at a fairly reasonable cost. In fact, for an all-in-one system, this may be the best deal around.

That being said, there are some strict limitations in regards to when this pond filter is appropriate. Specifically, you will only want to use this filtration system for a fairly small pond. At 700 gallons total, this is the third smallest pond filter on our list. However, that limitation is only compounded by the pump that is included. While the included pump definitely adds to the value of this pond filter, it is also fairly weak and only produces 250 GPH – the lowest flow rate out of any product we reviewed.

In fact, the flow rate of the UVC 700 is so low that it makes the supposed “waterfall” feature of the pond filter all but useless.

Granted, this feature is little more than decoration, but it is still disappointing that one of the selling points turns out to be misleading to downright inaccurate. That being said, the trickling drip that the “waterfall” actually still performs the function of oxygenating the water that it filters.

OASE UVC-series Introduction

Pros

  • Has a UV clarifier
  • Is an inexpensive pond filter
  • Pump is included with the pond filter

Cons

  • Only suitable for a small pond
  • Has the lowest flow rate
  • Not powerful enough for the fountain setting

3. TetraPond Bio-Active – Best Pressurized Pond Filter

TetraPond is one of the few brands on our list that actually got into the water gardening business from the inside out. By that, we mean that instead of focusing on the water itself, TetraPond originated as a company designed to provide products focused on fish. The parent company, Tetra, actually got its start almost half a century ago by innovating the fish food market when its founder, Dr. Ulrich Baensch from Germany, innovated the flake fish food that is most commonly used today.

From those humbler beginnings, Tetra Werke branched out into three distinct market niches: fish, reptiles, and ponds. As such, it should come as little surprise that the TetraPond utilizes a number of features designed to make your pond not only clear but more habitable to the scaled denizens of your water garden. Two aspects of the Bio-Active specifically accomplish this task.

First, the Bio-Active uses a mechanical filtration that involves the combination of filters with bio-active media. This media is really just a mixture of bacteria and other microorganisms that take ammonia and other pollutants and turns them into relative nitrates which in turn feed the aquatic plant life in your pond. Once the water has been cleansed of non-living and chemical pollutants, it is then sent up a central chamber where a powerful UV bulb sterilizes and kills single-celled algae. The dead algae then clumps at another stage of the filter where you can backflush them out safely.

Though, you will actually need to provide a number of additional components for this to work properly. For one, this pond filter does not come with its own pump. While that is not necessarily uncommon for high-end pond filters, it does present a bit of an issue with this one in particular. This is because the TetraPond Bio-Active features the largest flow rate range. At a minimum of 2500 GPH and a maximum of 4500 GPH, the pump you purchase to power this pond filter will need to be fairly powerful.

Tetra Pond Bio-Active Pressure Filter Lineup
With UV Clarifier
Up to 1500 gal
Up to 2500 gal
Up to 4000 gal
Without UV Clarifier
Up to 1500 gal
Up to 2500 gal
Up to 4000 gal

Pros

  • Has a good maximum pond size
  • Has the highest flow rate we reviewed
  • Has a UV clarifier
  • Overall good quality parts
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Pond filter requires a separate pump
  • Flush port requires additional filter or line
  • Leakage and open flush port require water refilling

4. Best Choice Products 4000 – Best Koi Pond Filter

Best Choice Products, of BCP for short, is definitely the least likely brand to appear on our list. Founded a little more than a decade ago, the brand started by selling budget pool tables wholesale. Since expanding, BCP does not specialize in any product related either to fish or water garden care. In fact, BCP is one of the few brands we reviewed that does not provide any kind of specialization at all, instead preferring to rely on a broad net of markets that include nearly every conceivable consumer product.

That said, it is a bit surprising that the BCP pond filter performs as well as it does since fish and water gardens often require a fair degree of specialized knowledge to ensure a strong and balanced ecosystem. That being said, the BCP is not without its faults, and the lack of specialization has definitely led to a product which is far less convenient than many of the other options on our list – though not necessarily less effective.

In terms of where the BCP excels, this is a good choice for a pond filter with Koi fish. This is due to a combination of the flow rate that the BCP can use and its cleaning capacity.

At 4000 GPH, this is one of the fastest cleaning filters we saw. Moreover, this filter is rated for a 2,500-gallon pond. While that is a medium sized pond, Koi actually do better in ponds that are at least 1 1/2 meters deep. In all, this pond filter would easily be able to handle the better depth of 2 meters while still providing 2m x 2m in width and length.

Unfortunately, the inconveniences of the BCP pond filter will add time and energy to its maintenance as the filtration system itself does not always work exactly as advertised – though it is not known for breaking. Specifically, the backflushing feature of this pond filter is little more than lip service. If you actually want to clean the filters properly, you will have to disassemble the BCP and then reassemble it again.

Pros

  • Features an excellent flow rate
  • Has a UV clarifier
  • Is fairly inexpensive

Cons

  • The electronics are not durable at all
  • Flush port leaks and requires additional line
  • Fragile and time consuming to clean

5. Pond Boss FM002P – Best All in One Pond Filter

Pond Boss FM002P includes an eco-friendly water kit that includes the nozzle and pump, plus it is energy efficient, quiet, and good for the earth. When you purchase this kit, you save money instead of purchasing the pump, filter, and nozzle separately. It runs on a single cord and is good for ponds that are 500 gallons or less.

Pond Boss FM002P specializes in energy efficient and innovative water gardening products so that you can maintain, create, and enhance your own pond. It is a durable and eco-friendly option that operates quietly in your yard.

Final Verdict

Pond Boss FM002P Filter Kit with Pump is an eco-friendly option that is quiet and energy efficient.

This is an innovate garden product that lets you enhance your pond area.

Pros

  • Fountain is perfect for aeration and has a nice relaxing sound
  • Great product for the price
  • Gives you crystal clear water

Cons

  • Base is too light in the water and has to be weighted down
  • Fountain head is not variable

6. TetraPond GreenFree UV Clarifier – Best Pond Clarifier

When you want to keep your pond clear and free of algae, TetraPond GreenFree UV Clarifiers is worth checking out. It uses an ultraviolet light that will kill suspended green algae as it is pushed into the clarifier, the UV light gets rid of the reproductive capability of single-celled algae. The dead algae clump together and are pumped out of the clarifier and removed by your tank’s filtration system.

Your pond can be free of algae in five days when you use the Tetra UV Clarifiers, and it will make your pond completely free of algae long term. The TetraPond UV Clarifiers are durable, easy to install, and easy to conceal and they are designed for use in ponds up to 8800 gallons.

In conclusion

The TetraPond UV Clarifiers can get your pond free of algae in about five days.

The UV light works to remove the reproductive ability of the single-celled algae in your pond to make it cleaner and healthier. Plus it is durable and easy to install.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Hooks up easily
  • Kills algae within days

Cons

  • Some problems adapting the hoses to work
  • Needs fairly low flow rate to be effective

7. Jebao Pu-36 – Best Pond UV Filter

If you are looking for a filtration system that features a UV Light, the Jebao Pu-36 works to kill single celled organisms like viruses and waterborne bacteria. Also used to kill protozoa and fungi, the sterilizer is used to control algae and is recommended for ponds as well as fresh and saltwater systems.

It is equipped with an ultraviolet lamp that gives off a germicidal ray that will disrupt or alter the RNA or DNA of bacteria, protozoa, and algae. Jebao Pu-36 can be either installed horizontally or vertically, and it is best to place your UV sterilizer after you have placed your filter.

Jebao Pu-36 Sterilizer kills and alters single-celled organism like bacteria and viruses. The ultraviolet lamp will help to control the algae in your pond and works in fresh or saltwater systems as well.

Pros

  • Has a great UV light for the price
  • Works well for small ponds
  • Easy to install and works better than expected

Cons

  • Takes a long time to clean larger ponds
  • Some problems with replacement bulbs

8. Fish Mate 1000PUV – Best Pond Filter for Small Pond

For small pond owners, the Fish Mate 1000PUV is a good option to keep your pond clean and clear. It uses a combination of UV and biological filtration for crystal clear water up to 1000 gallons.

This is an easy to install system that can be placed above or below the waterline. It is also easy to maintain.

Check out Fish Mate 1000PUV Pond Filter for an easy to install system that works both above and below your pond’s waterline. This is an easy to maintain system that includes both biological and UV filtration for clear water.

Pros

  • Very easy to install and hide
  • Pond will be crystal clear within a week
  • Easy to clean, perfect for a small pond

Cons

  • Some problems with leaking

9. TetraPond Filtration Fountain Kit – Best Pond Pump Filter Combo

For ponds between 250 and 500 gallons, the Tetra Pond FK5 Filtration Fountain Kit is a great choice. It also added features to your pond with three fountain heads that include spray, frothy, and bell pattern. The fountain heads include a swivel adjuster and diverter assembly.

This is a Submersible filter that reduces fountain and pump clogging while keeping the pond clean. It also includes a fine and coarse pad, plus fitting and tubing for the pump connection. The submersible pump can drive 325 gallons per hour.

For small ponds, the TetraPond Filtration Fountain Kit will not only keep your pond clean, but it comes with three fountain heads to choose from. It also has a submersible filter that helps to reduce pump and fountain clogging. Pros

  • Easy to put in the pond once it is assembled
  • Great all in one solution
  • Filter works well, easy to clean

Cons

  • Takes a little while to balance correctly
  • Assembly can be confusing

10. Jebao CF-10 – Best External Pond Filter

If you have a natural pond, you should check out Jebao CF-10 pressure filter. It comes with a backwash facility, cleaning indicator, and an integrated 13-watt UVC, plus a UVC viewing window. Jebao CF-10 uses both mechanical and biological filtration and is a good choice for ponds up to 1000 gallons.

The mechanical filtration uses two foam discs that collect various sizes of debris and encourages the grown of beneficial bacteria to help break down harmful pollutants. The biological filtration has a habitat for the beneficial bacteria to grow, so it can turn the ammonia and nitrite toxins into useful nitrates that are good for a healthy pond environment. The UV lamp then kills and clumps together the algae spores so that they can be removed.

This effective filter uses a UV penetration Quartz glass tube for the water to pass through under the UV lamp allowing the penetration of the UV rays to be effective. It helps to keep water closer to the UV lamp to maximize the UV efficiency.

It is recommended to use with pond pumps that have the capability to pump between 850 to 1320 gallons of water per hour.

To sum up

If you are interested in a little more high tech UV filtration, Jebao CF-10 Pressurized Pond Bio Filter uses special UV penetration Quartz glass to make the UV rays more effective. The UV lamp helps to remove algae from your pond for a more healthy environment.

Pros

  • For the money, it is a great UV filter
  • Very simple to put, keeps the water crystal clear
  • Backwash features is great

Cons

  • Materials seems cheap
  • Need to buy a size larger than what it says for your water capacity

Best Pond Filters – Buyer’s Guide

The purpose of a pond filtration system is to balance and clean your pond’s ecosystem. There are a couple of different types, so you need to know the special characteristics of your pond and how each of these types of systems will work for you.

The reason for a filtration system is to get rid of dirt, sewage, and biological waste.

As these things constantly accumulate in your system, they can ultimately harm the environment in your pond and possibly your fish.

The filter will pull out any materials that are harmful to your fish from your dirty pond water and then release the clean water back into your pond.

Pond Filter Types

  1. In-pond Sponge Filter. Used for smaller ponds that are 500 gallons or less, this filter is attached to a pump and may use an extra bio-chamber to guarantee cleaning.
  2. Skimmer. This filter catches large debris before it even has a chance to rot at the bottom of the pond. It draws water from the pond so that it can catch large waste pieces by drawing them into the filter. This is a good filter for either larger or smaller pond.
  3. Pressure Filter. This mechanical filter will force water to move through a sponge that acts as a debris trap to remove dirt and particles. This type of filter can be placed either above or below the waterline, and it is good for ponds that are about 5000 gallons.
  4. UV Sterilizers. This is technically not a water filter and is often called a clarifier. The purpose of a sterilizer is to kill organic particles by altering their cellular structure. These microorganisms include algae, viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
  5. Waterfall Filters. This is a mechanical filter that uses mesh, balls, or ceramic beads to filter out harmful substances. It is placed over the water and is ideal for ponds that have 1000 gallons or less.

Benefits of a Pond Filter

  • Clear water. One of the best benefits is just clear water so that you can see your fish and have a beautiful, clean addition to your yard.
  • Balance. While the system cleans out the pond, it also improves the balance of bacteria in the pond. When you add fish to your pond, it increases the bacteria life cycle, so to keep everything healthy, it is important to find a good balance between bacteria and nutrients. This type of balance can only be maintained with a biological filtration system.
  • Additional Features. Some filter kits will come with a waterfall or fountain feature which can be a nice visual addition to your pond while helping to increase the aeration of the water.

Features of a Pond Filter

Submersible or External

A pond filter can be placed above or below waterline depending on personal preferences.

A submersible can be hidden in your pond landscape underwater, but they will require more cleaning over time. Above ground filters can take away from your landscaping, but they are easier to maintain since they are easier to reach.

Filter Volume

Your main consideration when choosing a filter should be the number of fish you have and your pond size. The more fish you have, the more bacteria will accumulate. The larger the pond you have will also affect what type of filter to purchase, so make sure to check and see what size pond the filtration system you are considering is capable of cleaning to get the right amount of filtration in your pond.

Filtration Type

Three types of filtration systems including biological, mechanical, and chemical. Most ponds will not use a chemical filter, so you are more likely to see the mechanical and biological, with some of the more modern systems even combining the two.

Mechanical systems are good for both small and large pieces of debris, plus it keeps the water clear by catching all of the awful dirt that gets caught in your pond over time. A biological filtration system helps to keep a good balance in your pond water so your fish have a healthy environment to live in.

If your pond is contaminated with pollutants, a chemical filtration system is essential for ponds where there is a risk of chemical pollution, but it is not necessary for most ponds.

UV Clarification

UV clarification uses a strong UV light in your water intake pipe to make algae clump together in large pieces. These large clumps will get caught easily in a mechanical filtration system keeping your pond cleaner.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pond Filters

Which Pond Filter do I need?

Answer All ponds with fish will require some level of filtration. Choosing the proper filter is dependent on many things:

  • pump size
  • pond size
  • number of fish
  • hours of sunlight
  • percentage of plant coverage.

It can be confusing, but there are mainly just three types of filters: submersible, gravity-fed and pressurized.

  1. Submersible filters are just that submerged directly in the pond. These are nice for smaller applications where external filtration is not an option. General filtration media is often filter pads. Some are even available as kits which included a pump, UV and often a fountainhead. Their downside: you actually have to physically get into the pond to pull them out to clean them. So there is some level of increased maintenance with submersible filters.
  2. Gravity-fed filters or waterfall filters are some of the most cost-effective and low-maintenance systems available for your pond. How these work: your pump pushes water through an inlet and they fill from the bottom up through filtration media and then overflowing via gravity. These are generally installed at the tops of waterfalls, creating a nice even flow at their start.
  3. Pressurized units are just that pressurized, so as water enters and exits these units, the exit is still under pressure. So these units can be installed anywhere around the pond, unlike the gravity-fed filters which have to be installed above the water level. These can be partially buried. Most even have UV clarifiers and the majority have backwash capabilities making cleaning a breeze.

Best Required Accessories

Conclusion

The best pond filter you can purchase is the one that matches the needs of your ponds. Making sure to assess your pond and get the right volume amount is important in choosing a good pond filter system. It is important to read reviews and choose the system that will give you a clean and healthy pond that will let your pond ecosystem thrive.

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Table of Contents

Best All In One Pump and Filter Kit 2020 (Top Small Pond Models)

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If you have a small garden pond, or a preformed pond, having a large filter and powerful pump is likely overkill and not a cost effective solution. Luckily, there are various pond kits on the market which include both a filter and pump designed exclusively for small garden ponds. In this article, we’ll cover what we believe are the best small pond filter and pump kits, and include comparisons so you can find one that suits your needs.

US Pond Owner? We recommend..UK Pond Owner? We recommend..

Does my small pond need filtering?

All-in-one kits are great for small ponds or preformed ponds

If you have a heavily planted small pond without fish, your pond plants may be enough to provide your water with sufficient natural filtration. With that said, if you have goldfish or Koi, even with plants, it’s recommended to invest in a filter and pump for a more stable and balanced environment. Filters will provide your pond with more beneficial bacteria, which will help break down harmful substances and help with water clarity. If you have a pond below 1000 gallons, you really don’t need to pay huge amounts for a powerful filter and pump. A smaller and more cost effective all-in-one solution should be more than enough for most small ponds to provide adequate filtration and water flow. These come with both a filter and a pump and are very easy to install and maintain. Newer models are tend to include a UV light for algae removal as a bonus!

Benefits of an all-in-one pond kit

One of the main benefits of purchasing an all-in-one kit is the savings! Generally all-in-one solutions are much cheaper to buy when compared to purchasing each component separately. Also, since the pumps are usually a much lower wattage in comparison to dedicated pumps, you will be paying less to run the kit monthly.

It’s also just a more convenient option for small pond owners, as there is very little in the way of plumbing or installation. Everything is included in the box, and the unit can usually be installed and working within an hour.

If your pond is over 800 gallons (3000 litres) and you have fish, however, we recommend investing in a more powerful filter and pond pump. Kits are ideal for smaller ponds but may not be enough to effectively filter a larger pond which accumulates more waste build-up. If you have a larger pond with fish, check out our guides below on purchasing a great dedicated filter and pump:

  • Best Large Pond Pumps
  • Best Large Pond Filters

Do I also need UV light?

Most small pond kits come with a submersible pump and small filter which provides mechanical and biological filtration, but you can also find some with have the added benefit of UV. If you suffer with green pond water caused by algae, choosing a kit which includes a UV clarifier light will help eliminate the algae. The light will destroy the algae as it passes through your pump and it will be collected within your filter and broken down by beneficial bacteria.

Filter and pump kits with added UV are usually a bit more expensive, but they’re worth the investment if you care about water clearness or suffer from algae overgrowth in warmer months.

Things to consider when purchasing

1) Is the pump strong enough for your pond?

As a general guideline, ponds without fish should have a complete water turnover every 2 hours. A pond with fish would need a water turnover every 1 hour. So, if you had a 500 gallon goldfish pond, you would need to select a pump rated 500+ GPH to ensure your pond water is effectively filtered every hour. If you don’t have any fish in your pond, you can select a weaker pump and be safe. Most all-in-one kits have pumps which range from 300-1000 GPH, so be sure to select the correct pump for your pond size and amount of fish.

2) Is the filtration sufficient?

All pond kits will include filtration media that provides 2-stage filtration; biological and mechanical. If you have a larger pond, or a pond with fish, having more filtration media and a stronger pump is recommended. Usually sponge media is included as a common mechanical media, and bio-balls for housing bacteria. The more variety of media, the better, as this will allow the maximum amount of debris collection and beneficial bacteria colonization.

3) Do you want a fountain display?

If you want a fountain for your pond, which will also help with aeration (oxygenation), you’ll want to select a kit which includes a fountain attachment. Most all-in-one pond filter and pump kits provide this option, as well as allow you to run the pump and filter without he fountain if desired. If you want to fit your own fountain head, you’ll have to cross-check the fitting sizes to make sure it’s appropriate.

4) Do you have algae (green water) in your pond?

Depending on if you want to remove algae from your pond, you may want to consider purchasing a unit with an added UV clarifier light. Since these products are aimed at ponds below 1000 gallons, a UV light rated between 5-10w will be more than sufficient to provide fast and effective green water removal.

The Best All-in-one Pond Filter and Pump Kit – Reviews 2020

Due to the different brands available between the US and UK markets, we’ve researched and divided our categories to provide both American and UK pond owners a review on the best small pond pump and filter kit models available. We have listed below our best pond kit picks available to both the US and UK market.

US – Best Small Pond Kits

1) TotalPond Complete Filter Kit Review

Our first small pond pump and filter combo is TotalPonds complete filter kit. This compact pond kit contains a 300 GPH pump rated at 23w, and a sturdy filter box which contains 2 layers of sponge media and a set of bio-balls. Also included in the package is a fountain head with 3 different head attachments for different displays, as well as the required 1/2 inch ID hosing to get started.

Designed for small ponds, TotalPonds complete kit would be a perfect fit for ponds up to 500 gallons without fish, or ponds up to 300 gallons with Goldfish. The pump is strong enough to provide effective flow for filtration to take place, as well as display a 4ft high fountain. The pump is submersible, along with the rest of the unit, so will need to sit on the floor of your pond to work.

The filtration is a standard 2-stage mechanical and biological process, with the box containing 2 types of sponge media and a set of bio-balls. The first sponge is course with larger holes which can trap larger debris, and the second sponge is finer to catch smaller debris. The bio-balls are optimized for beneficial bacteria colonization, and the kit provides a good amount to get your population started. The media sits very neatly in the box, and overall, provides a very strong filtration system for such as small filter box. The only issue is the filter mesh and media will become clogged very fast in debris-heavy water, so we don’t recommend this kit for ponds which have a lot of muck and debris buildup.

The fountain is optional, but is placed into the top of the filter box and then positioned above your surface water. So long as the filter isn’t clogged, you will be looking at approx 4 foot of fountain height – which is very respectable! Sadly, the fountain attachments are a bit fragile and the fountain itself can topple if not positioned firmly. Make sure the box is placed on a very flat space and sturdy section of pond floor for best results.

This is a fairly basic small pump and filter kit, so no UV light is included. You would need to purchase a separate clairfier if you have problems with algae, or consider a different kit which includes UV support. If you have a small pond which is shaded away from the sun, and don’t have issues with overgrowth of algae, the lack of UV shouldn’t be a problem!

Monthly running costs?

Assuming a charge of $0.10 per kWh (national average), the cost to run the pump per month would be $1.65 per month. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

Great for very small ponds Good filtration Easy to setup and install No UV light included Fountain not sturdy

  • Pond size: 50-500 Gallons (300 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 300 GPH (23w)
  • Type of filtration: 2x Sponge media & Bio-balls
  • UVC Strength: No UV
  • Fountain: 4ft height – 3 attachments.
  • Power cord: 16ft
  • Hose Size: Fits 1/2 inch (ID) tubing
  • Warranty: Limited 1 Year

2) Laguna PowerClear Multi Filter Review

For ponds that need a little more power and have trouble with green water! Lagunas PowerClear is a compact but surprisingly powerful offering, featuring a 580 GPH submersible pump and a 2-stage filtration system. The pump is self contained within the main box, alongside the filter media, and runs at a very low 18 watts. This would be a very good all-in-one solution for ponds up to 1000 gallons where monthly savings are important, as the pump is very energy efficient in comparison with its flow rating. The pump is also quiet in operation, which is a plus!

The unit provides a fountain attachment for a single fountain display, and the pump is capable of a 6 ft maximum fountain height. This is a really good lift height for such a small box, but the connections are a bit fiddly to install. You’ll need to take care when attaching the fountain head and hose, as it can easily crack under pressure.

The filter is housed alongside the pump, and provides both bio and mechanical filtration. 1x ridged sponge foam media is included and an optimized bio-brick wall for bacteria colonization. The sponge media is nice and thick, but we would have liked to see an extra, finer layer of sponge for maximum debris removal. The bio-brick, however, provides great bacteria housing, and works fantastic as a biological filter. The design is unique and highly optimized for harmful substance breakdown, so would work well in a fish stocked pond.

In terms of installation, everything is very straight forward. A single 32ft power cable is included, and this is the only cable that needs to be plugged into the mains. The box is weighted and balanced so will naturally sink and sit neatly on the bottom of your pond. The fountain attaches to the top of the box, with the head attachment needing to be placed above the water surface. If you don’t want to use the fountain option, you can simply remove it and the box will act as just a pump and filter combo. This will also allow you to place the box much deeper than you could with the fountain in place.

As a final benefit, Lagunas PowerClear comes with a powerful 13w UV light which will quickly remove all pond algae. This strength is more than enough for green water in a small-medium sized pond, and will also help reduce free-swimming harmful bacteria levels overtime.

Overall, a fantastic all-in-one pump, filter, fountain, and UV clarifier that would be perfect for ponds up to 1000 gallons, or ponds up to 600 gallons with fish.

Assuming a charge of $0.10 per kWh (national average), the cost to run the pump per month would be $1.30 per month. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

If you also run the 13w UV clarifier alongside the pump, you would be paying an additional $0.90 a month on top of the pumps running costs.

Energy efficient pump Strong UV clairifer Good fountain height 3 year warranty Mechanical filtration could be better

  • Pond size: 400-1000 Gallons (600 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 580 GPH (18w)
  • Type of filtration: 1x Sponge foam media & Bio-brick
  • UVC Strength: 13w
  • Fountain: 6ft height – 1 attachment.
  • Power cord: 32ft
  • Hose Size: Fits 1/2 inch (ID) tubing
  • Warranty: Limited 3 Year

UK – Best Small Pond Kits

1) All Pond Solutions Filter and Pump Review (CUP-305 model)

Another all-in-one pond solution which provides pump, filtration, algae removal, and a fountain display! The All Pond Solutions CUP-305 pond kit comes with everything a small pond owner needs to get started. The pump is submersible and housed in the box with the filtration media and UV clarifier, and provides a flow of 1000 LPH. It can easily power the filtration of a 2000 litre pond, or a 1000 litre pond with fish, and is fairly energy efficient at only 19 watts.

The filter is fantastic, and includes a generous 3x sponge foams for larger debris, a floss pad for finer debris, and optimized bio-balls for bacteria. The filtration media is tightly packed, and should be perfect for fish stocked small ponds and ponds with a lot of buildup. If your pond is quite dirty, the media may need to be cleaned often in the first few weeks, but after the pond water clears and you have a healthy bacteria population, only a 1-2 month clean is likely necessary.

The CUP-305 unit comes with a small 5w UV clarifier for green water removal. The UV light is slightly weaker than dedicated clairifers and Lagunas offering, but it is still more than enough for small ponds. The lower wattage also means monthly savings! If you have a lot of algae present, however, and your pond is closer to 2000 litres in volume, it may be better to invest in a 10w+ UV light for maximum algae removal. The larger CUP-311 model contains a 11w UV light, so would likely be more suitable.

A fountain is supported and the pump provides 1.6m of water lift for the display. The fountain attaches to the top of the box, with the fountain head being above the water surface. It’s very easy to attach, feels sturdy, and comes with 3 different attachment heads for various displays. There is also two small water control valves on the outlet hose of the fountain so you can control the flow and height of your display, which is very useful.

Overall, this is a great all-in-one pond kit which provides great filtration, a flexible fountain, and an energy efficient pump for smaller ponds. If you have problems with algae buildup, or a lot of fish, the larger CUP-311 model may be more suitable as it has a stronger clairifer and pump compared to the smaller CUP-305 model.

Assuming a charge of £0.10 per kWh, the cost to run the pump per month would be £1.37 per month for the CUP-305 model. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

If you also run the 5w UV clarifier alongside the pump, you would be paying an additional £0.36 a month on top of the pumps running costs.

Great filtration system Low monthly costs Flexible fountain display Easy to setup and install UV light weak on CPU-305 model

  • Pond size: 2000 litres (1000 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 1000 LPH (19w)
  • Type of filtration: Coarse foams x 3, Floss pad x 1, Bio balls x 25
  • UVC Strength: 5w
  • Fountain: 1.6m height – 3 attachments.
  • Power cord: 10 metres
  • Hose Size: 12, 20 and 25mm hose
  • Warranty: Limited 2 Year

2) Blagdon Pond All-in-one kit Review (2000 model)

Another pump and filter kit is Blagdons 5-in-1 complete solution for ponds. This kit provides a pump, filter, UV light, and fountain, with the 5th benefit being general water aeration which our other models also all provide. The pump is weaker than the All Pond Solutions model, rated at just 650 LPH, but would be more suitable for smaller ponds or preformed ponds due to its low wattage. The pump would be suitable for 1200 litre ponds without fish, or 650 litre ponds with fish, and the 10w power rating will mean it costs much less to run monthly.

Included in the box is mechanical and biological filter media, in the form of 2 layers of sponge, a polymer wool sheet, and ceramic bio-balls for bacteria. The filter system is very good, with the sponges being different sizes for maximum debris collection. For the finest of debris, the polymer wool sheet will easily catch this which sits on top of the sponges. The ceramic bio-balls sit on the bottom of the filter and there is enough for a decent sized beneficial bacteria population to thrive. The filter media is easy to remove, and is easy to clean when necessary.

One of the things we love about this particular model is the addition of a bright LED spotlight for a great nighttime fountain display! If you want to run the fountain at night, the spotlight does a great job of illuminating the water. Included are 3 different fountain head attachments for various displays which are sturdy and easy to attach. The fountain gives a good height of 1.25m, and just looks great when combined with the built-in back light.

The unit also comes with a low power 5w UV clairifer which kills algae as it filters through the box. This should be more than enough to remove green water in ponds up to 1000 litres, but you may need a stronger light if you suffer wit a lot of algae or have a much larger pond.

Since the pump and UV light run at such low wattage, this is a very cost effective all-in-one choice for smaller ponds which don’t have large amounts of algae buildup. If you also want a fountain which is a bit more fancy at nighttime, you really can’t go wrong with the Blagdon 5-in-1 2000 kit.

Assuming a charge of £0.10 per kWh, the cost to run the pump per month would be £0.72 per month for the 2000 model. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

If you also run the 5w UV clarifier alongside the pump, you would be paying an additional £0.36 a month on top of the pumps running costs.

Very cheap to run Great filtration system LED fountain light Easy to setup and install Not suitable for larger ponds

  • Pond size: 1200 litres (650 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 650 LPH (10w)
  • Type of filtration: 2x Sponge media, polymer wool, and ceramic bio-balls
  • UVC Strength: 5w
  • Fountain: 1.25 m height – 3 attachments.
  • Power cord: 10 metres
  • Hose Size: 12, 20 and 25mm hose
  • Warranty: Limited 3 Year

Pressure filter

A pressure filter is a compact filter, very user-friendly and easy to clean. The filter takes care that the pond water remains clean and clear. A pressure filter is particularly suitable for ponds with streams, waterfalls or fountains.

How does a pressure filter work?

A pressure filter consists of a round container with filter materials. On top there is a cover with hose connections and the operation. Water is pressed through the filters under pressure of the pond pump. With the help of bacteria the filter removes the dirt particles from the water. Subsequently the water is pumped back through the hose in the pond again. As the pressure filter can properly stand high pressure, it is capable to bridge a difference in height. It is therefore ideal, when applied in combination with a waterfall or fountain in your pond.

Connecting a pressure filter is not difficult. A pressure filter can be installed both under and above water. If you purchase a proper filter, it will always be accompanied by a clear and usable manual.

Purchasing a pressure filter

As a pressure filter functions with high pressure, it is wise to purchase a properly functioning one. It will last longer, require less maintenance and present less problems. Besides you should reckon with the content of your pond. A pressure filter is used in ponds having a content ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 litres. A condition for the use of pressure filter is that there are few or no fish in your pond, but a sufficient number of plants, because the filtering capacity of a pressure filter is less large whereas plants help to keep a pond clean.

You use a filter depending on the situation, wich may differ for each pond.

DIY Koi Pond Filter

Keeping your Fish Happy and Healthy

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It’s obvious; fish breathe water through their gills. So, it stands to reason that you need to keep it clean, right?

Koi, even though they can actually breathe air, are no exception.

Plus, as bottom feeders, they do tend to muck up the water, which means that most of the time you can’t even see them, and that’s most of the enjoyment of having koi or other fish in your pond.

So, filter the water!

This does two things; one, it takes out any larger particles of organic matter that the fish disturb from the bottom of the pond, and second, it adds more tiny molecules of oxygen, which benefit the fish when they breathe it.

There are only a few parts to making this pond filter, which you may or may not have already. I’ll bet you have a big 20 liter bucket in your shed.

Make sure it’s a food grade one, not one that had paint or other chemicals in it. One from the deli or ice cream parlour is best and much easier to clean.

You can get special crystals or spray which are harmless to fish to make sure they have no residue in them.

Fish Safe Cleaners from Amazon;

The next thing is a pond pump to lift the water from below the surface of the pond up to the filter. Get one that is strong enough.

A Selection of Pond Pumps from Amazon;

The final thing is lava rock. I generally use the kind that is meant for landscape mulch, but as long as it’s in big enough pieces, the type for barbecues will work also.

Lava Rock options from Amazon;

So now you’ve assembled all your supplies, here’s how you make the filter;

Drill holes near to the bottom of the bucket using a drill size smaller than the smallest pieces of lava rock that you’ll be using.

You can start about one to two inches from the bottom, several lines deep.

This is to allow the cleaned and filtered water to flow out.

The definitive number of holes will depend on the size of your pond pump. The larger the pump in terms of gallons per hour, the more holes you will need.

The amount of water going into the filter should equal (approximately) the amount draining out of the bottom.

Drilling the holes on only one side of the bucket will allow you to make a waterfall at the same time by placing the bucket on a slab of rock so the water will fall a few inches into the pond, making a win/win situation; a trickle of water to please you, and more oxygen in the water to please the fish.

Dump the lava rock into the bucket, and rinse well to get any dust or small particles out (before it goes into the pond).

Drill a larger hole in the lid of the bucket to insert the hose of the pump. Lots of bucket lids have a hole already in them, so if it fits, omit this step.

Place the bucket higher than the koi pond, and hide it with some larger rocks, a decorative pot or a bin made of wood. The water should have some way to drain back into the pond, such as a waterfall.

Things to watch for;

  • The water could evaporate more quickly than usual because of the air that is being added to it, so monitor that for a few days, and add more water to the pond if necessary.
  • The bucket will be heavy with the weight of the water and the lava rock – make sure it’s stable and can’t tip.

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Simple Homemade Pond Filters

Building simple homemade pond filters can help keep costs down for your backyard water garden landscaping project. Just as effective as store-bought models, do-it-yourself pond filters provide both biological and mechanical filtration to keep pond water clear and healthy.

Materials

The correct materials make all the difference in homemade pond filter efficiency and easy of building. Start with a large plastic tub or bucket with a tight-fitting lid. This container can be fashioned into a submersible filtration system. Collect various filter media materials such as small rocks, plastic balls such as wiffle golf balls or purchased bio balls and filter mat or floss. Materials such as loose-pack quilt batting can be used as well. You will also need a piece of plastic screen.

Depending on the set-up of your pond filter and pump mechanism, you will also require various hoses and tubes, such as PVC pipe. Their widths and lengths will depend on the sizes of the opening on the pump and the size of your pond.

Construction

Begin by cutting a large hole in the lid of the bucket or plastic tub with a utility knife. This is where the water will flow into the homemade pond filter, so it should be large. Carefully measure the diameter of the pipe or hose you will attach to the pond pump and then cut a hole for it on the side of the plastic container. This hole should be near the bottom of one side.

Use fish-friendly sealant, such as that for an aquarium, to attach the PVC pipe or hose to the hole on the side of the filter box. This hose should be long enough to reach the pond pump when positioned in the water garden. Use the same sealant to attach the plastic screen to the inside of the top lid so it covers the hole completely.

Setting up the Homemade Pond Filter

Before placing the simple homemade pond filter in the pond, add the filter media. Start with a layer of small rocks a few inches thick. The rocks should be angular to maintain good space between them for the water to pass through. Pour the plastic wiffle or bio balls in the filter next. These will provide lots of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on. These colonies are vital for removing dangerous chemicals such as ammonia from the pond water.

Finish the filter media pack with floss, filter mat or quilt batting. Close the lid of the container tightly and attach all hoses or tubes if not already done. Sink the container into an accessible part of the water garden and allow it to fill with water completely before turning on the pond pump to begin drawing water through this simple, yet effective, homemade pond filter.

5 DIY Pond Filter Ideas & Tutorials (With How-To Videos)

by Tory Jon | Last Updated: January 25, 2020

Pond Academy is reader-supported. Buying through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

By making your own pond filter, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars!

It also gives you the opportunity to make a filter to your exact specs – the size of the filter, the media type, and so on.

Here are 5 DIY pond filter ideas with step-by-step instructions, how-to videos and a materials list for each one.

Plus, I highlight my recommended DIY pond filter plan below!

Psst! Pin This Page For Future Reference

How To Make A Gravel & Sand Filter For Fish Pond

This is an effective DIY barrel filter for large ponds (even when stocked with lots of pond fish) and uses natural gravel of varying sizes to clean the water. This is not a biofilter, but you can pump the water from this filter to a biofilter then to your pond or water garden.

It’s best for pond pumps rated up to 2500 GPH. Any more than that and you risk the fine gravel/sand fluidizing and not effectively filtering debris.

  • 55-gallon drum
  • 3” bulkhead fitting x 2
  • 2” shower drain
  • 6’ ABS pipe (1.5” diameter)
  • 90 degree fitting for ABS pipe
  • 3 way fitting for ABS pipe
  • End caps for 1.5” ABS pipe
  • Bricks x 4
  • Gravel (3/4”, ½” and pea)

Instructions

  1. Cut holes in the lid of the drum to allow room for the Saws all blade to cut the lid off, then carefully cut the lid off.
  2. Keep the lid and drill a hole every square inch with a 3/8 drill bit.
  3. Next, take a 3” hole saw and drill 2 holes about 8” from the top on opposite sides of the drum.
  4. Use a sanding bit and a rotary tool to clean out the holes.
  5. Insert the male end of a 3” bulkhead fitting from the outside in. The female end should be on the outside.
  6. Use silicone caulk on both ends before screwing both the male and female ends to make the seal waterproof.
  7. Repeat steps 5-6 for the other 3” hole.
  8. Flip drum over and drill a 3” hole on the bottom and install a 2” shower drain. Silicone caulk around the drain.
  9. Make sure you use a 2” one-way check valve at the shower drain to stop water from flowing out of the drum into the pond pump.
  10. Next, we will make the air manifold using 6’ of 1.5” ABS pipe, a 90-degree fitting and a 3-way fitting. Attach the 90-degree fitting to the end of the 6’ pipe, and attach the 3-way fitting to the 90-degree fitting.
  11. Cut off pieces of your 6’ pipe and attach to the ends of the 3 way fitting, so all 3 reach the edge of the inside of your drum.
  12. Glue all the fitting joints and glue on end caps to the ends of the 3 pipes coming off the 3-way splitter.
  13. Next drill holes every inch on the bottom and sides of each of the three protruding pipes.
  14. Place air manifold into the drum, with the 3-way splitter end on the bottom and place the 4 bricks strategically around the pipes.
  15. Then slide the lid that you previously drilled holes into down into the drum, lying flat (the gravel will sit on top of this).
  16. Fill the drum with first a layer of ¾” gravel, then ½” gravel, then pea gravel, then a layer of chicken grit or large sand.
  17. The drum will need to sit on blocks to allow room to hook up the pond pump to the bottom of the drum.
  18. You can optionally send the clean filtered water from this drum to a biological filter or straight back into your pond or water garden.

Easy Homemade Pond Filter With 5 Gallon Bucket

This extremely simple and quick DIY pond filter goes together in about 10 minutes and is recommended for pumps rated at about 300-400 GPH. Included are instructions on how to hook up the MJ1200 pond pump by Cobalt.

If you’re interested in making a pond filter without electricity, this would be a good smaller filtration system to pair up with a solar pond pump.

  • 5 Gallon bucket with a lid
  • 1” or larger bulkheads x 2
  • PVC pipe
  • Bio balls (and any other pond filter media you like)
  • Never-clog air stone
  • Airline
  • Optional pump used in video: MJ1200 pump by Cobalt (if you don’t have an existing pump)
    – Elbow, threaded coupling, 1” to ¾”
    – ¾ to ½” Barb
    – Standard 5/8 plastic tubing – 6’ (to connect to the pump)
    – Hose clamps
  1. Flip bucket upside and drill a hole the size of your bulkhead. Make sure the hole is not in the center of the bottom of the bucket, but more off-center (towards) one of the sides.
  2. Install the bulkhead in the hole you just cut in the bottom of the bucket.
  3. Next, drill a hole in the center of the bucket’s lid for the other bulkhead.
  4. Install the bulkhead in the hole you just cut into the center of the lid (flat side of the bulkhead should be on top).
  5. Cut the PVC pipe to about the length (height) of the bucket (just an inch or two short) and attach to the bulkhead in the lid of the bucket
  6. Cut another piece of PVC pipe about 3” shorter than the one you just cut and attach to the bulkhead in the bottom of the bucket.
  7. If using the optional MJ-1200 pump, attach the barb to the elbow coupling. If not, skip to step 12 (keep in mind you will have to connect your pump to the lid of the bucket still).
  8. Then cut a 3” piece of your PVC pipe and connect to the other end of the elbow coupling.
  9. Then attach the PVC end to the top of the bulkhead on the lid of the bucket.
  10. Next, attach your standard 5/8” tube to the MJ-1200 pump and tighten with your hose clamp.
  11. Then attach the other end of your standard tubing to the barb (attached to the elbow) on the lid of your bucket.
  12. Fill the bucket with bio balls (and any other filter media you like).
  13. Lastly, we want to install an airline into the filter to help create a current inside the filter and mix it up. Drill a hole in the top of the lid big enough to thread through an airline.
  14. Attach the air stone to the end of the airline (the end that is in the bucket).
  15. Place the bucket over your pond, so that the bulkhead on the bottom of the bucket drains into the pond. If you don’t want the bucket to be visible, you can hide it and connect hose or pipe from the bulkhead on the bottom and run it to the pond, as long as gravity will drain the water from the bucket, through the pipe, and into the pond.

How To Make A Biological Pond Filter Out Of A Planter

This is an effective and cost-friendly way to make a DIY pond filter that adds a sense of style to your pond or water garden. It uses a mixture of biological and mechanical media for effective filtering. You’ll be up and running in under an hour with this decorative filter!

It’s also another perfect sized filter to try out a solar pond pump if you wanted to filter your pond water without electricity.

So, lets learn how to build this pond filter step-by-step!

  • Planter (If your filter is going be visible you may want to choose a decorative planter)
  • Bulkheads x 2
  • PVC pipe (length depends on your planter. It just needs to be longer than your planter)
  • PVC elbow fittings x 3
  • PVC “T” fitting
  • PVC SCH 40 adapter
  • Hose
  • Hose clamps x 2 (one to connect the filter to the hose and the hose to the pump)
  • Basket (For example, a small clothes basket or a plastic fruit basket that will fit inside your planter)
  • Loofa’s
  • Pot scrubbers
  • Bio balls
  • Pebbles/rocks or lava rocks
  • Optional: Oxygenating pond plants
  1. Trace the hole of the bulkhead on the side of your planter, near the top.
  2. Cut out the hole you traced. You may have to drill a hole first so you can insert your saw blade to cut out the hole.
  3. Check if the bulkhead fits in the hole. You may have to widen the hole slightly.
  4. Install the bulkhead into the hole. (You may need to install another bulkhead on the opposite side to act as an overflow if your filter starts overflowing).
  5. Now we need to install the second bulkhead at the top of the planter where the water will enter the filter at.
  6. Following the same steps above, cut out the hole for the second bulkhead.
  7. Cut a section off your PVC pipe about 3” less than the height of your planter. Set to the side. We will now need to cut the remaining PVC pipe into three different lengths – one that is about as long as the radius of the planter AND two that are equal in length, but about half the radius of the planter.
  8. Connect the longer PVC piece to an elbow connector and the piece that is the radius of the planter.
  9. Connect the PVC SCH 40 adapter to the end of the piece that is the radius of the planter.
  10. Connect the two half radius PVC pieces together with the “T” PVC fitting.
  11. Connect a PVC elbow to the other ends of each half radius PVC pipe. Make sure the elbows point in opposite directions.
  12. Next, connect the remaining “T” fitting opening to the long piece of PVC pipe.
  13. Screw the PVC piece that has the PVC SCH 40 adapter to the bulkhead in your planter.
  14. Tighten the other side of the bulkhead.
  15. Take your basket and put a slit in the side of it so you can slide it around your PVC pipe, which will allow it to slide it down into the planter.
  16. Slide the basket down into the planter, with the large opening at the top of the basket to go down in first (Basically inserting the basket into the planter upside down).
  17. Now we can start adding our own diy pond filter media. Add a layer of loofah’s as the first filter layer.
  18. Next, add sponges/pot scrubbers as the second filter layer. Make sure there aren’t any holes in the sponge layer as we want the water to pass through the sponges completely.
  19. Add a layer of microfilter (like used for an air conditioner) (optional).
  20. Add a layer of bio-balls.
  21. Add another few layers of sponges on top of the bio-balls.
  22. Add a layer of carbon on top (optional).
  23. Add a final layer of sponges (2 layers).
  24. Add a layer of rocks on top of the sponges.
  25. Connect a hose to the PVC SCH 40 adapter.
  26. Screw in the hose with the adapter to the bulkhead.
  27. Tighten the hose to the adapter with a hose clamp.
  28. Connect the hose to your pump and position your planter next to your pond so the filtered water drains into the pond like a waterfall.

DIY Pond Skimmer Filter (With A Garbage Can)

This DIY pond skimmer is an interesting and cheap alternative to more expensive name brand pond skimmers. It does require to be installed before you fill your pond with water. And I would personally make the intake much wider (and rectangle) to make it more useful for larger ponds.

  • 32 Gallon garbage can (If you can find a square that may work better)
  • Closet flange 4” x 2
  • 4 way 1.5” PVC pipe fitting
  • 1.5” PVC pipe – 6’ long
  • 4” PVC pipe – 2’ long
  • 1.5” PVC end caps x 3
  • 1.5” electrical conduit fittings (1 male and 1 female)
  • Rubber toilet gasket
  • Stainless bolts with matching nuts and washers
  • Outdoor silicone caulk
  • Small nylon mesh tarp
  • Large mesh nylon bag
  1. Using your closet flange, mark the 4” inlet hole a couple inches from the top.
  2. Cut the inlet hole you just marked.
  3. Mark the 1.5” outlet hole a couple inches from the bottom of the garbage can.
  4. Cut the outlet hole you just marked.
  5. Put the rubber gasket on the male conduit and place this in the outlet hole on the inside of the garbage can.
  6. Connect the female conduit on the outside of the can to the male conduit.
  7. Cut 4 pieces of PVC pipe, 3 pieces about 5 inches in length and one piece about 8 inches in length**. We will be building the strainer that the water will pass through the bottom of the can.
  8. Connect the 4 PVC pieces to the 4-way connector.
  9. Connect the end caps to the 3 shorter PVC pieces
  10. Silicone caulk the seals.
  11. Drill small holes in all the PVC pipe pieces
  12. Measure and cut a small piece of your 4” PVC pipe and set on the bottom of the garbage can. You will be setting your strainer on this.
  13. Install the strainer in the bottom of the garbage can, connecting the longer PVC piece to your outlet conduit, ensuring the rubber gasket is between the two.
  14. We will now need to dig a hole at the location of our pond where we will set the skimmer. You need to make sure that the water level of your pond will be about ¾” of the way up of your inlet on your garbage can skimmer. It’s very important to get this right.
  15. Place the garbage can in the hole you dug.
  16. Next, dig a trench leading from your hole where the discharge pipe will go.
  17. Attach the discharge pipe to your skimmer.
  18. Next, you will need to install your pond liner, making sure to run the liner up the front of the skimmer and folding it over the top and inside the skimmer.
  19. Place a closet flange over the inlet hole and mark the holes for the 4 bolts.
  20. Drill the bolt holes.
  21. Silicone caulk the face of the flanges and around the inlet opening and connect the two flanges together using the bolts and washers. Allow the silicone to dry.
  22. Once dried, then we can cut out the rubber liner that’s still covering the opening between the two connected flanges.
  23. Cut a 10” long piece of 4” pipe and on one end, cut a 45-degree angle.
  24. Connect the 4” pipe to the closet flange (no need to silicone caulk this).
  25. Fit the mesh tarp inside the skimmer and secure the trap edges to the outside of the skimmer. The tarp will sit below the intake PVC pipe, so you may have to cut out a 4” hole in the tarp to slide the pipe through. This tarp acts as a filter for fine debris.
  26. Take your large mesh nylon bag and slide over the end of the 4” inlet pipe. This will act as a filter to catch large debris like leaves. A bag with a pull cord will work great as you can tighten it around the PVC pipe with the pull cord, this way it doesn’t slide off. You can also use two tiny screws to hold it in place.
  27. For aesthetics, you can place a flat rock on top of your skimmer to cover it up and keep it mostly out of view.

**Note: the size of the PVC pieces may vary depending on the diameter of the garbage can you use. Refer to 1:51 of the video to see how the pipes should fit in the bottom of the garbage can.

Homemade Biological Pond Filter (Recommended DIY Pond Filter)

This is an extremely well thought out DIY pond filter design and is my recommended filter choice (if I’m not buying a store bought pond filter system)

It includes mechanical and biological pond filter media, a clean built-in overflow and can make a perfect cheap waterfall pond filter if desired. I’d also recommend it if you have a koi or other fish pond.

Depending on the size of your pond and pump, you can get a bigger (or smaller) tub to fit your filtering needs. The pond filter in this video uses a 14-gallon tote and works perfectly for a 1000-gallon pond and a 900 GPH pump, so you can use that as a baseline of whether you should go bigger or smaller.

  • 14-gallon rugged tote
  • Bulkhead – 2” slip x slip
  • Bulkhead – 1.5” thread x slip
  • PVC pipe 1.5” – roughly 3’ long (depends on tote size)
  • PVC pipe 2” – roughly 7-8” long
  • PVC end cap for 1.5” pipe
  • 3-way PVC fitting
  • Plastic mesh bottom tray
  • Bio balls
  • Mechanical filter media
  • PVC connector threaded & barbed connector (to connect your pump hose to the 1.5” inlet bulkhead).
  1. Use the 1.5” bulkhead to mark the hole to cut near the top side (one of the short sides) of the tote. This will be for the inlet pipe.
  2. Cut out the hole you just marked with a knife or hole saw.
  3. Install the 1.5” bulkhead through the hole and make sure it fits snug.
  4. Now mark the hole to cut in the side of the tote (one of the long sides) using the 2” bulkhead. Put the bulkhead about halfway up the tote.
  5. Cut out the hole you just marked with a knife or a hole saw.
  6. Install the 2” bulkhead ensuring a nice snug fit.
  7. Take a piece of 2” PVC pipe and drill holes in a straight line around the pipe, about 1/2 an inch from the end of the pipe. (this pipe will be roughly 4 inches long, but the length will depend on how far your outlet hole is from the bottom of the tote.)
  8. Connect this 4” piece to the 3-way connector, with the drilled holes on the opposite end of the connection.
  9. On the opposite end of the 3-way connector, install a piece of PVC pipe that is roughly 3” in length. This will be the top of the overflow.
  10. Connect the 3-way connector to the outlet bulkhead, with the drilled holes end closest to the bottom of the tote and the overflow opening facing the top of the tote. Ensure that the PVC pipe that will connect to the inlet bulkhead inside the tote does not hit this connector.
  11. Now take the piece of 1.5” PVC pipe that is just shorter than the length of the long side of the tote and drill holes in it, down the length of the pipe (in a straight line).
  12. Attach the end cap to this pipe and attach the other end to the inlet bulkhead.
  13. You can optionally drill a hole in the top of the overflow pipe and use a zip tie to secure it to the PVC pipe attached to the inlet bulkhead to keep the pipes secure and from moving around.
  14. Add bio-balls and any other biological filter media to the bottom of the tote. Just fill it up to an inch or two below the top of the overflow pipe.
  15. Cut down the plastic mesh container to fit the inside of the tote and cut a hole or slot where the overflow pipe is so you can slide the mesh container down past the overflow. This will effectively keep the bio media in place.
  16. Then on top of the mesh container, we can place our coarse and fine filter media. Make sure not to obstruct the overflow.
  17. Lastly, you just need to attach your pond pump to the inlet and set your filter next to your pond, so the filtered water can fall back into the pond.

If you make one of the DIY pond filters featured above please let us know what you think and email us some pictures/videos of the finished product!

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