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Choosing Pond and Water Garden Filters

An essential part of maintaining a healthy pond or water garden is proper filtration. This is accomplished through the use of various water garden filters. There are numerous forces at work that are all trying their best to make your pond water dirty. These forces include decaying leaves/sticks/grass, algae, harmful chemicals like ammonia and fish excrement. Not only is a dirty pond unpleasing to look at, but if housing plants, fish or animals in your pond, clean water is important to their health and survival. The easiest way to keep your pond clean and healthy is to build a reliable filtration system using a quality water garden filter. We’ll start with our recommendations for water garden filters, but keep reading below for more information on what the various types of filters are used for. 

Waterfall Rocks

1) Biological Waterfall Filter

Atlantic FilterFalls - The Atlantic FilterFalls line is a collection of high quality biological pond filters combined with the convenience of a waterfall spillway in a single unit. We like to use a waterfall filter when building a pond since it makes building the waterfall easier while providing an excellent location to hide the bio filter. Each unit features include a strong top grate which can support rocks on top of the unit for camouflage, a quality 1 1/2", 2" or 3" bulkhead (depending on model), two filter mats in addition to a filter media bag for biological filtration (media not included, we recommend Savio Springflo Media!). As a general rule, the flow rate of a waterfall should be a minimum of 100 gallons per hour per inch of waterfall spillway. For a waterfall with more punch, this number could be increased up to 200 gph per inch of spillway.

ModelFalls WidthFlow RateDimensionsPrice 
BF1600 16" Wide 1500 - 3000 gph 21.5"W x 19.5"D x 17.75"H $229.99 More Info
BF1900 19" Wide 1900 - 3800 gph 28"W x 25"D x 21.5"H $339.99 More Info
BF2600 26" Wide 3000 - 6000 gph 34.5"W x 25"D x 23"H $414.99 More Info
BF3800 38" Wide 4000 - 8000 gph 46.5"W x 30"D x 23"H $659.99 More Info
Waterfall Rocks

2) Pressurized Pond Filter - Professional Option

Aqua Ultraviolet Ultima II Pond Filters - The Ultima II series of filters from Aqua Ultraviolet are simply the best pressurized biological filters available on the market. While they cost a little more than some other filters on the market, the higher performance is well worth it. Features include integrated back-flush cycle for easy cleaning and high quality media that never needs to be replaced. The filter is pre-seeded with beneficial bacteria to start colonization quickly. Keep in mind that a pressurized filter can add between 5 to 10' of head presure to the pumping system depending on how dirty the filter is.

Ultima II Filter ModelFlow RatePond SizePrice 
Ultima II 1000 500 - 1200 gph 500 - 1000 gal $519.99 More Info
Ultima II 2000 1000 - 2500 gph 1000 - 2000 gal $684.99 More Info
Ultima II 4000 2000 - 4500 gph 2000 - 4000 gal $1,033.99 More Info
Ultima II 6000 3000 - 7500 gph 4000 - 6000 gal $1,382.99 More Info
Ultima II 10,000 5000 - 7500 gph 6000 - 10,000 gal $1,731.99 More Info
Ultima II 20,000 7000 - 7500 gph 10,000 - 20,000 gal $2,080.99 More Info
Ultima II 30,000 SMV 10,000 - 20,400 gph 20,000 - 30,000 gal $3,785.99 More Info
Ultima II 30,000 TMV 7000 - 7500 gph 20.000 - 30,000 gal $2,762.99 More Info
Ultima II 60,000 15,000 - 20,400 gph 30,000 - 60,000 gal $5,227.99 More Info
Waterfall Rocks

3) Pressurized Pond Filter - Affordable Option

OASE FiltoClear Pressurized Pond Filters- While the Aqua UV filters above are our top choice for external pressurized filters, the OASE FiltoClear water garden filters are an excellent option for a pond owner looking for a great pond filter at a more affordable price. These filters are very easy to install and use, and include a backwash feature that makes cleaning an easy process. What's unique about the FiltoClear filters is that they include a UV light which helps kill single-celled algae that cause green pond water.

ModelMax FlowPond Size with FishPond Size no FishPrice 
3000 2000 gph 750-1500 gal up to 3000 gal $349.99 More Info
4000 3000 gph 1000-2100 gal up to 4200 gal $499.99 More Info
8000 4000 gph 2000-4000 gph up to 7900 gal $599.99 More Info

Filtration systems can vary in size and complexity quite a bit - ranging from quite simple and small to very complicated and large in the case of dedicated koi ponds. On this page, we’ll mainly focus on filtration for ecosystem ponds, which relies on a good biological filtration system, but still makes use of plants and water garden principles to help balance the overall ecology of the pond.

There are a few types of pond water filters that are commonly used in a pond. Let's go over them one by one:

1) Skimmers

The first type of water garden filter that is needed is known as a skimmer. A skimmer is a type of mechanical filter that captures floating debris off the top of the pond. To read more about skimmers, please see our page dedicated to Pond Skimmers.

2) Biological Filters

A biological pond filter contains helpful bacteria within the filter itself that cleans the water on a molecular level. You pond water will naturally build up with ammonia from fish waste or decaying leaves, sticks and grass. A biological filter is used to breaks down the harmful Ammonia into Nitrates, which become a source of food for plants in the pond. Here at Everything Ponds, we would recommend one of two types of biological filters:

Biological Waterfall Filter

many ecosystem based ponds will include a waterfall or water feature of some kind into the design. In our opinion, the best way to incorporate biological filtration into a pond with a waterfall is to use a biological waterfall filter. Not only do waterfall filters provide the biological filtration we need, but they also act as an excellent base for building a great looking waterfall with less effort. The filter acts as both a water collection pool at the top of the waterfall, as well as a waterfall spillway to provide an even cascade of water. It’s important to note that a waterfall filter requires a bit of care to properly conceal into the landscape.

External Biological Filter

If you’re not planning on building a waterfall at all, or are wanting a waterfall that is perhaps a different design than a waterfall filter can provide (such as in the case of a formal water garden), then you can install a stand alone biological filter that sits outside of the pond. The filter has an inlet and an outlet, so it’s your choice what to do with the water from the outlet. You could simply return it to your pond in a low-key way if you want a more tranquil pond. You could also hook it up to a fountain or create a clean waterfall design with a piece of equipment like the Atlantic Colorfalls.

Filtration for Fish

Depending on the size of your pond, the type and number of fish you intend to keep, and the amount of plant life in your pond, the filtration requirements of the pond will change. Generally speaking, the more fish you have, the more important biological filtration becomes to keep the ammonia levels in your pond within safe levels for your fish. For more information on the specific filtration requirements for fish, please read our sections on fish pond filters, or see our overview on koi pond filter media.

Biological/Mechanical Combination Water Garden Filters

Many manufacturers have created filtration systems that are a combination of biological, mechanical and/or UV filters, making it much easier to use a combination of filtration systems in single package. A couple examples of such systems are the Ultima II filters by Aqua Ultraviolet, the ProEco CPF filters or the Tetra Bio-Active pressure filters which both combine mechanical and biological filtration into a single unit.

Submersible Pond Filters

If you have a small water garden or fountain and are looking for a quick and inexpensive way to get some filtration, you can have a look at a submersible pond filter. Although these filters aren’t going to give you the level of a filtration a waterfall filter, or pressurized filter will give you, they will give you some mechanical filtration for filtering out solids from entering your pump. You will also get a small amount of biological filtration as well, although not as much as a dedicated biological filter.

  • Today's Price:
    $27.99
    Pondmaster-PM500-Submersible-Filter

    The Pondmaster PM500 Submersible Pond Filter is ideal for small ponds that need moderate filtration, and space is limited. This filter can be used with many different pumping systems with flow rates up to 500 gallons per hour. It is designed for low profile, in-pond use.

  • Today's Price:
    $42.99
    PM1000 Submersible Pond Filter

    The Pondmaster PM1000 Submersible Pond Filter is ideal for smaller ponds that need moderate filtration, and space is limited. As a slight upgrade in size to the PM500, this filter is versatile and can be used with many submersible pumping systems with flow rates of 1000 gallons per hour. It is designed for low profile, in-pond use.

  • Today's Price:
    $84.99
    PM2000-Submersible-Filter

    The Pondmaster PM1000 Submersible Pond Filter is ideal for smaller ponds that need moderate filtration, and space is limited. As a slight upgrade in size to the PM500, this filter is versatile and can be used with many submersible pumping systems with flow rates of 1000 gallons per hour. It is designed for low profile, in-pond use.

  • Today's Price:
    $124.99
    Pump-Filter-PMK1350

    The Pondmaster PMK1350 Pump-Filter kit contains a filter, pump, and fountain that is great for filtering and aerating very small ponds under 600 gallons.

  • Today's Price:
    $132.99
    PMK1500-pum-filter-kit

    The Pondmaster PMK1500 Pump-Filter kit contains a filter, pump, and fountain that is great for filtering and aerating very small ponds under 1000 gallons.

  • Today's Price:
    $139.99
    PMK1700-pump-filter-kit

    The Pondmaster PMK1700 Pump-Filter kit contains a filter, pump, and fountain that is great for filtering and aerating very small ponds under 1250 gallons. 

It is also possible to build your own water garden filters to a certain extent, please see our section on homemade pond and water garden filters for more information (coming soon).

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