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Summer is here, the shape of your new pond has been dug out and the liner is in place. It’s pond season and you can already hear the gentle trickle, picturing yourself sat beside your new pond in the sun watching the fish…But there’s that business with the pond filter… which one? There’s no perfect answer as every pond is different, but here are the main things you need to be thinking about when setting up filtration on a standard pond with no waterfall or fountain:
Set Yourself a Budget
There’s not much use in browsing around the hundreds of pond filters available until you have worked out how much you have to spend on the pond. Your filtration system is one of the most important features of your pond, so if you are going to cut any corners in setting your pond up, we don’t recommend you cut them here.
Working out what level of filtration you need
This is perhaps the most important factor in choosing a filter. Here’s how you do it: Step 1: Work out the volume of your pond. For roughly square, rectangular or circular ponds you can do this by using this formula:
Length x Width x Depth = Volume
3m x 2.5m x 0.6m = 4.5mᶟ
4.5mᶟ = 4500 Litres
Step 2: Now we are really getting somewhere. We know the volume of your pond, and for the purposes of demonstration we will use this 4,500L as our example pond. Now you need to think about what you want in your pond. If you are keeping normal fish (eg, Goldfish) you need to double the hypothetical volume of your pond. This is because the amount of waste in the pond is doubled by the fish, meaning there is more for the filter to deal with.
Normal Fish: Volume x 2 = Filter Size required – MINIMUM
Example: 4500L x 2 = 9000L filter required – MINIMUM
This is fine for normal fish, however if you are going to keep Koi then we need to quadruple this figure. This is because Koi produce a huge amount of waste and your filtration system needs to work four-times as hard to keep up:
Koi: Volume x 4 = Minimum Filter Size Required
Example: 4500L x 4 = 18,000L Minimum Filter Size Required
Now we have our true figure and we can choose a pond filter that can handle that volume of water. It’s best to pick a filter that matches the volume as exactly as possible, but sometimes that isn’t possible. For our 18,000L example pond, we would select a 20,000L filter, but first we need to think about pumps and UV.
When it comes to pump fed filters, you need to select a matching pump that will feed your filter with the amount of water it needs to run at optimum capacity: Most filters state their maximum flow rate in terms of litre’s per hour and matching that is the best way forward. This means that you can treat all the water in your pond roughly every hour, meaning your pond will be as clear as possible. If your filter is going to be much higher than the pond’s surface then you may want to consider a bigger pump to help with the ‘lift’ required in pushing the water higher against the force of gravity. Choosing a pump that’s too large for your filter may mean there might not be much water left in your pond: instead it will be overflowing from the filter-box and lost to the earth.
Some pond filters come with a built in UV Filter Clarifier appropriate to the size of the filter, and some don’t. You need to decide if you want one included or whether you will buy a separate ‘In Line’ UV running into the main filter box. UV Filters comprise of a fluorescent tube emitting Ultra Violet light that forces algae to clump together, making it easy for the sponges in your filter to catch them as the flow past, cleaning your water.
For a safe and efficient pond, you need to look at the electrics involved. Choose a place for your pond that means you can lay the cable needed to run the filter and pump, and you may want to consider a Switchbox to run the electrics through, making them safer.
Got a little pond?
If you pond is particularly small, you can skip all this and get an ‘all in one’ type filter-pump. These are pumps that act as fountains or run small waterfalls that suck in the water through a built in filter and push it out vertically and they are quite handy for smaller ponds.
The advice given in this article so far has concerned normal filter and pump setup on an average pond. If you are thinking about anything more complicated then that’s great and whatever you’re planning it can be achieved more easily than you might think: You can set up waterfalls, fountains, bottom drain filters and lots more but you will need to read up on their slightly different setup. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for blogs on these great pond topics too!