Fish Pond Filters with Answered Questions and Pictures
This page is a guide on using fish pond filters and it also includes a series of FAQ with answers. You're welcome to tell us your experiences with ponds, or ask questions at the bottom of this page if you have any.
In order to be forwarded to a list of fish pond filters, click on this link (you will be taken to the bottom of this page)... Of course, if you don't wish to buy yet, feel free to read all information available on this page... Fish ponds are very similar to your aquarium in as much as they are a close environment, needing regular attention to keep them in good condition. The main difference is the size, since most ponds are 500 gallons or more. A similar aquarium would take up half the living room in most homes!
All ponds will require a filtration system whether they are large or small, the fish cannot survive without this piece of equipment, even if they survive for a few weeks, the chances are that they will suffer from the toxins in the water affecting them which means that they will suffer!
But, with a large volume of water comes the need for a filter to handle it. This creates its own problems, as to maintain a high quality of water, the filter must be able to cope with several times the volume of water per hour. So, for a 500 gallon pond, the filter has to have a capacity of at least 5 times that volume each hour, so throughput of the filter would be at least 2,500 gallons per hour. There is also another problem with a pond filter, in as much as it is outdoors and open to the weather. this means that any electrical connections must be waterproof, and the container itself has to be able to withstand the elements.
Pond filters are usually rated to the water volume of the pond, they must be capable of filtering the total volume at least once per hour, preferably twice, you would not be able to use an aquarium filter for a pond as it isn’t powerful enough, on the other hand a pond filter should never be used in an aquarium as they are to large for the smaller volumes of water that aquariums hold.
There are a few different designs for pond filters that need to be set up in different ways; research which method is best for you when you are designing your pond so that you can allow for this.
The first method is a gravity fed filter where the water flows from the bottom of the pond and the pressure created forces the water through pipe work up to the filter which then releases the water back into the pond once it has been filtered.
The second method involves using a submerged water pump which sends the water to the filter and as with the first method; this is then released back into the pond. With both of these methods the filter needs to sit above the waterline to allow the filtered water to drop back into the pond.
Fish pond filters
Fish pond and pond plants
Fish pond pump
Fortunately, the manufacturers are aware of these problems and now produce very high-specification purpose-built units for the job. Pond filters are now in-expensive and come ready to run in most cases. They are built to hide away in the ground, with just the lid showing, all the piping and electrical cables can be buried out of sight and the whole thing hardy shows at all!
The filter unit itself is a multi-chamber, multiple-media filter, offering mechanical, chemical and biological filtering, with easily removed baskets of media for cleaning purposes. This enables a much better maintenance regime to be established and helps to ensure that water quality stays at its best.
Maintaining the filter by keeping the media clean will ensure that the filter runs efficiently and biological filtration will take place to keep your water as pure as possible. When shopping around for your filter always take into consideration the wattage rating as the higher this is the more power it will consume whilst in operation.
If you are using chemical filtration by adding carbon or charcoal to the pond filter, always remember to keep replacing it every 4-6 weeks as this media will become saturated and start to release toxins back into the water.
The filters are usually turned off over the winter period which means that the bacterial colonies will also die off; you must always replace the bacteria in the filter every spring so that it will purify the water properly.
When looking for a pond filter, there are several different suppliers offering solutions at different prices and specifications, so take time to find the best one that you can afford. Some of them also have optional UVC built in, which may save you money in the long run too. Remember that most filters DO NOT come with a pump.
This is usually something you have to buy separately and it is very important that you get the right one to suit your pond. Pumps come in many shapes and sizes, with different output abilities. If your filter is going to be on the same level as the pond, you don’t need such a capable pump as if it is going to be up the bank, a metre or two higher than the water level. Pumps can also be submersible or external, depending on your requirements, and can take different sizes of piping too. A submersible pump with a pre-filter mesh will work in most cases, but there is always the exception to the rule!
Always check whether the pond filter that you wish to use does require a separate water pump, this type of filter does not have the room to place the pump inside the housing but there are some models that is a complete unit with the water pump hidden in the filter, these tend to be for the smaller ponds.
Many pond keepers are keen to run UV filters as well to act as an algal control and to eradicate any viral spores from the water, if you purchase a separate UV filter then it is simply piped into the pipe work before the water reaches the actual pond filter, nowadays there are many pond filters that already have the UV built into the casing making the system much neater and easier to maintain.
Take your time and select the best you can afford, it will pay dividends in the long run!
We found these products on the web:
- Fish Mate Pressurized UV Bio Pond Filters - up to 3000 Gallons, prices vary around $260 per filter - a link to these products is in the following paragraph
- Fish Mate UV & Bio Pond Filter - up to 2000 Gallons, prices vary between $100 and $350 depending on the type
- Biotec Biological Filters - up to 42000 Gallons, prices are starting at $900 in general
- Fish Mate Clear Water UV Bio External Pond Filter Systems - up to 3000 Gallons, prices should start at $135 per item
List of fish pond filters along with links
Aqua-Fish.Net is not related to any of the following sellers!
- Fish Mate UV Bio Pressurized Pond Filters
- Ani Mate / Fish Mate Pressurized Biological Pond Filters
- Fish Mate Pressurized Bio Pond Filter
Recommended articles about filters
- The Purpose Of An Aquarium Filter
- Internal and External Aquarium Filters
- Tetra Whisper Filter
- Aquarium Filter Media
- Canister Filter in an Aquarium
- To Filter or not to Filter a Fish
- External Filter for a 26 Gallon or Bigger Aquarium
- Aquarium Filter Cartridges
- Undergravel Filters
- Aquarium Filer Pads
- About Fish Pond Filters
- Magnum and Penguin Aquarium Filter
- Aquarium Filter Systems
- Under Gravel filter Cleaning
- Diatom Filters for Aquariums
What filter to use and common questions
For every pond that has been set up there has to be a filtration system incorporated into the design to keep the water fresh and free from harmful contaminants. There are many too choose from on the market and all different sizes to suit different ponds. Indeed, many pond keepers have become skilled enough to make their own filters. Hopefully by answering the following questions, it should be clear which filters are required and why they are necessary.
Do I need a pond filter and what methods does it use?
The answer to this question is “yes” if you are planning to keep fish you need a filter with no exceptions to run a successful pond. If you are looking at a natural wildlife pond, then sometimes it is not required. The plant life in the pond will soak up any nitrates present in the water.
As well as filtering the water mechanically (particles are removed as they pass through a set of sponges), it also converts any ammonia that is created by fish waste and rotting vegetation into nitrates by hosting beneficial bacteria that do the work.
How do I know which size filter I need for my pond?
The size of the filter required is rated by the size of the pond. Any filter used should be capable of turning over the total water volume of your pond every 1 to 2 hours. It is virtually impossible to over filter your pond, especially if your stocking level is high. So if you have a pond that contains 500 litres, your filter should be capable of turning over at least 500 litres per hour. If the pond has a few fish with lots of plants then a 500 litre pond will probably only need a filter that is capable or turning over 300 litres per hour.
What types of fish pond filtration systems are available?
There are basically three main types of filter available for ponds.
Gravity return filters
The set up in these requires a pump that feeds the water from the pond up to the filter and then the water is returned by means of gravity. The only drawback with these is the fact that the filter needs to be higher than the water level of the pond for it to work efficiently.
These are ideal for the smaller ponds as the water is fed into the filter via a pump and leaves the filter under pressure as the filter is a sealed unit. These take up less space and can be positioned anywhere.
Gravity fed filters
The gravity fed filter is often used in large Koi ponds, the water is fed to the filter by means of drains in the bottom of the pond and then pumped back into the pond afterwards. These are very complex and usually fitted by experts.
What is a mechanical filter?
A mechanical filter is purely used for removing particles and debris from the water. The filter will contain varying grades of sponges to perform this task. These are sometimes used in very small ponds and do not take up a lot of space.
How do I set up the pond filter?
With any bought pond filter there will be a pump that will feed the filter, this needs to be placed below the water surface at all times. By the means of piping this will be connected to the filter inlet. The filter box needs to be placed at the side of the pond; with some models they can be submerged in the ground to hide them. If the filter is a gravity return, remember it needs to be higher than the water level of the pond. The water is then returned to the pond by more piping.
How will I know if the pump is too strong for the size of my pond?
Any pump will have its rating on the packaging, or even on the pump itself. The rating will be displayed in litres or gallons per hour. The filter that is being used with the pump should also display a rating the same, if both pump and filter match the same rating, there will be no problem.
Why isn’t my pond filter working properly?
Normally the filter will stop working when there is a blockage, this is normally inside the filter as the sponges get clogged with debris. In the summer months when the filter is running 24/7 checks should be made on a regular basis to make sure the filter is working fine. If the sponges are blocked, rinse them out in old pond water- never use tap water to do this.
Check the piping for a blockage, the use of stiff wires pushed down the pipes will move any debris that is jammed.
If the filter is clear and the piping isn’t blocked then it has to be the pump that has broken down. There is only one action to take in this scenario, buy a replacement.
Is my fountain acting as a filter?
This depends on the fountain; certain models will have a small sponge filter built into them but not all models. The main uses for a fountain are for display reasons and to keep the water well oxygenated.
What is a natural water filter in a pond?
This is where a mini ecosystem is created in the pond and the balance of the pond is as near perfect as possible. This will take a lot longer to run properly and a lot harder to get right. Lots of plants are added to the pond; at least 2/3 of the pond will be planted. The plants will then act as the filter along with any bacteria in the water, soaking up any toxins in the pond that are produced by fish waste or rotting debris.
If my water gets polluted how do I clear it?
If the pond water is polluted from outside sources by chemicals or like wise, act quickly to remove it. Large water changes should be performed and add a commercial filter carbon into the filtration system to soak up any toxins. Once the toxins have been absorbed, remove the carbon and perform another water change.
Can I make my own pond filter?
It is quite an easy task to build your own filter without too much hassle. Basically a filter is a box with separate chambers for the media. Keeping this in mind all you need is two chambers that can be converted rain barrels, old dustbins, and plastic storage boxes, whatever you have in hand. In the first chamber place some sponges or brushes to act as debris catchers for the mechanical filtration, and in the second chamber add some bio balls or lava rock to perform the biological filtration. Drill the sides of the chambers and join together with piping, add piping to the side of the first chamber to connect the pump to. Add piping to the side of the second chamber to add return piping and you now have a complete filter.
What media should I use in my pond filter?
Foam, ceramic rings and activated carbon can be used in your filter no matter whether you're running a fish tank or a large fish pond; The filtration systems work always the same way - To remove debris, to perform biological filtration and to remove dangerous substances from water.
Will a filter net prevent large debris blocking the filter system?
This is exactly what the nets are for. On a regular basis gather up debris from the surface of the water, some of the larger particles will clog your filter if they reach it. This is particularly important in the autumn as leaves fall from the trees and any shrubbery around the pond cast their foliage. Covering the pond with a purpose made net will also prevent a lot of the debris falling into the pond.
Is there a kit available to set up a small pond?
There are various kits available that contain all you need for setting up a small pond. It will contain the filter, pump and in some cases the liner that is used to create the pond. Often this is the cheapest way of setting up as everything is rated to the size of the pond and if purchased as one unit a discount is given. Prices do vary a lot between the suppliers so shop around for the best bargain.