How to Install a Pond Filter: The Secret to a Healthy Pond

Behind every healthy pond is a high-quality pond filtration system. Working proficiently behind the scenes, they ensure a clean and habitable environment where fish and other pond inhabitants can thrive.

But do you really need a pond filter? After all, the great lakes and rivers in nature don’t need one – so why do you need a filter in your garden? And, how do you install a pond filter?

If you’re in the process of building a pond in your garden, these are just a few of the questions you might find yourself asking. However, fear not – we’ve got the answers.

In this article, we’ve combined our expert knowledge of pond building to help you create a successful filter system for your pond. From different filters to pond pumps and installation tips, read on to create a thriving and healthy pond.

Two large gold fish swimming through a rock pond, one following the other by its' tail

Table of Contents

  1. What is a pond filter?
  2. Why do I need a pond filter?
  3. Do all ponds need a filter?
  4. The different types of pond filters
  5. How to install a pond filter
  6. Does a pond filter need to be on all the time?
  7. The importance of a clean and healthy pond

Firstly, what is a pond filter?

A pond filter is a device used to control the overall health of your pond. It acts like a mini sewage system, breaking down harmful toxins and waste in the water, including dirt, debris, fish waste, and other materials.

The filter contains a hub of helpful bacteria which is distributed throughout the pond as the water filters through. This good bacteria helps break down harmful toxins and bacteria in the water and control algae levels.

Pond filters come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s vital to choose a filter that meets the demands of your pond if you want it to thrive. If you’re unsure where to start, our previous article on pond filters gives you all the information you need to choose the right filter system for your pond!

Why do I need a pond filter?

Unlike natural ponds, artificial ponds rely on filters to maintain a habitable environment.

In nature, most bodies of water have a natural source of running water, such as a stream, which provides oxygen to the environment and helps flush away dirt, debris, and waste. 

 As artificial ponds lack this, they require a substitute to ensure enough oxygen for inhabitants to survive as well as something to remove and break down debris and waste in the pond.

Without a pond filter, your pond may fall victim to algae and bacteria overgrowth, dangerous debris levels and other harmful imbalances – all of which can make it impossible for fish, plants and other pond critters to survive.

Do all ponds need a filter?

Not all ponds need filters. If you have no plans for fish or you’re looking to build a pond with a lot of plants and a small fish population, you can instead look to create a healthy environment with plants and other greenery.

However, it’s important to note that you will need a lot of oxygenating plants and flora to achieve a natural, healthy balance in your water, and it can take a long time for your pond to reach a level in which it is classed as safe for pond life.

Large purple water lilies and flowers emerge through a pond's water surface, surrounding by flat green water lily pads

The different types of pond filters

At Pond Planet, we have a fantastic range of pond filters to meet the demands of every pond, so whether you’re looking for a filter for a large garden pond or a small, specialised koi pond, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re building a pond for the first time, our range of pond pump and filter kits may be the perfect choice for you. Each kit contains an optimally matched pond pump and filter, ensuring optimal performance and a healthy pond.

Below, we’ve covered the ins and outs of the different types of pond filters to help you make the right choice for you.

Box Pond Filters

Box pond filters are plastic-shaped boxes that contain a complex biological and mechanical filter media system. Pond water is pumped into the box’s top and filtered through the system via gravity. The box filter traps waste and other unhealthy pond bacteria before passing it through the filter’s biological compartments. After this, the water is returned to the pond.

Box pond filters are suitable for ponds of all sizes. However, as their filter system depends on gravity to work, they must be placed above water level and at the highest point possible to ensure the water is successfully filtered back into the pond.

At Pond Planet, we have a great range of box pond filters for you to shop, all from high-quality brands you can trust. We also stock a brilliant selection of pond filter rock covers, perfect for hiding the filter and creating a truly natural look in your garden!

A large black box pond filter

Hozelock Ecopower+ 4000 Box Pond Filter

All-in-One Internal Pond Filters

All-in-one pond filters are combined pump and filter systems installed directly into the pond. They are very easy to install and maintain, making them a popular choice for first-time pond builders.

Due to their small size, all-in-one filters are only suitable for small ponds and ponds with a low fish population. If installed in a larger pond with more fish, this filter style won’t be able to meet the demands of your pond, which can negatively impact its inhabitants.

Large black all-in-one internal pond filter

Pontec PondoPress 10000 Pond Filter Set

Koi Pond Filters

If you’ve ever kept fish, you’ll know how much waste they produce – which can cause havoc to standard pond filters and impact the overall water quality. Koi pond filters tackle this problem head-on. They are designed to handle more pond and fish waste than other filters, allowing pond-owners with plenty of fish to enjoy a healthy pond without excessive maintenance.

Bead filters

A bead filter uses plastic beads to clean out and clarify the pond water. The water is filtered through the beads, which trap, separate and remove particles and waste, including dirt and debris.

Like pressurised pond filters, bead filters are powered by a pressurised pump, meaning there is more freedom regarding filter placement.

Pressurised Pond Filters

Due to their discreteness, pressurised pond filters are one of the more popular pond filters. Their system is the same as a box filter; however, unlike box filters, they use pressure to move water through the system – not gravity.

Suitable for ponds of all shapes and sizes, they can be placed almost anywhere around the pond. You can also partially bury them up to their lids, which allows you to create a natural look in your garden.

Black pressurised pond filter with yellow trim

Laguna Pressure Flo 3000 Pressurised Pond Filter

How to install a pond filter

The health of your pond relies on your filter, so it’s crucial to install your pond filter correctly to ensure it can perform as it should. Below, we’ve covered how to install a pond filter in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Position your pond pump

Before installing your pond filter, you first need to place your pond pump in a suitable place to reach the power outlet.

The ideal position for your pond pump is the base of the pond at the Deepest point, this way debris will naturally fall towards the pump making them easy for the pump to remove.

Of course, as with pond filters, it’s important to choose a pump that meets the demands of your pond. Our range of pond pumps has pumps for all pond sizes, so we’re confident that you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Illustrated diagram showing where pond pump can be fitted in pond, at the bottom of the pond.

What is a pond pump?

A pond pump is a system that moves water to the pond filter. They require an electricity source, so turn off all energy supplies when installing!

Why are pond pumps important?

Pond filters cannot work alone: They need a pump to supply the water so that they can then filter the water.

Step 2: Where should a pond filter be placed?

The placement of your filter is crucial to its performance. As mentioned above, different filters have different requirements to work, so it’s important to note any recommendations the manufacturer delivers. Below, we’ve covered how to position the three most popular filter types.

Box filters

Pond box filters depend on gravity to perform efficiently, so they must always be installed above the pond water level.

If your pond is ground level, you should place the box filter at the pond’s edge so the water can drop back into the pond. If your pond has a waterfall, you should place the filter above and behind the waterfall.

The important thing to remember is that box filters must be located at the highest point of your water system, allowing gravity to drop the water and effectively filter it through its system.

Pressurised pond filters

Pressurised pond filters can be positioned in various spots, so it’s important to consider the final look you hope to create.

You can bury this filter up to its lid in the ground or place it further away from your pond behind your garden shed. Once you have decided on the filter placement, you need to connect the hose from the filter to the pump.

An example of where a large box pond filter can be positioned. Image shows box pond filter partially buried under ground a few meters away from pond waterfall

All-In-One pond filters

All-In-One filters are placed in the garden pond – Simply find a spot in your pond that you can access if and when necessary.

We’d recommend tying some string around this filter before immersing it in the water, as this will allow you to easily pull it out for maintenance and other routine checks.

Step 3: Measure the distance between your pond pump and filter

After you have positioned your pond pump and filter, you need to measure the distance between them. This will determine how much hose you need to purchase to connect them.  

You will need to measure from the pump to the filter and then from the filter back into the pond.

Step 4: How do I connect my pond filter to my pump?

You can connect your pond pump and filter with a rubber hose: Simply use the measurements you have acquired to select enough hose to connect your filter and pump, considering the hose’s diameter and outlet points.

Connect the pond pump to the pond filter inlet, then attach a hose from your pond filter outlet to return the water to your pond.

Black pond hose, spun into a circle like a snake

Oase Premium Spiral Pond Hose

It’s important to place a hose clamp on the hose before you connect it, ensuring a tight and secure fit with no leaks.

Our pond pipe fittings collection has everything you need to safely and securely connect your filter and pump, including hose clips, hose tails, and valve sleeves. We also have a range of pond sealants, perfect for creating a strong and sturdy structure!

Step 5: Turn on the power

Once you have successfully connected your filter and pump, it’s time to turn it on!

Does a pond filter need to be on all the time?

In general, pond filters should be kept on at all times, especially in ponds with a population of fish.

Pond pumps are there for a reason, and the water quality suffers if the pump isn’t running. Running your pond filter at all times will ensure that your pond is kept healthy and happy!

Beautiful white and gold koi fish with whiskers, swimming close to the water surface

The importance of a clean and healthy pond

Filters are crucial to the health of your pond. They control algae levels, clean up dirt, debris and fish waste, and prevent harmful imbalances of bacteria from impacting the water.

Without a good pond filter system, your pond will be uninhabitable, stopping you from enjoying all the joys a pond offers! If you keep your pond healthy, your fish will thrive, and you will naturally draw wildlife to the safe haven you have created.

With this in mind, it’s important to install your pond filter correctly, taking into account the placement of your filter, pond pump, and how you connect the two.

If you’re just getting started, shop our impressive range of preformed ponds and start your pond building journey today. Or, if you’re looking for more ways to bring your pond to life, be sure to check out our fantastic selection of oxygenating pond plants, marginal plants, and floating plants for beautiful plants that are bursting with benefits!

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