How to install a pond filter

In a previous guide we went through the pros and cons of each main type of pond filter. With your choice made, here’s how to install them. 

How to install a box filter

Box filters work via gravity so they need to be placed above the pond. For ground-level ponds, the box should be placed at the edge of the pond, with the outlet projecting over so the filtered water drops back into the pond. 

If you have a waterfall, either keep the filter box on the edge of the pond and use a separate, second pump, “T” off the filter feed and send one hose up to the waterfall, or place the box at the top, behind the waterfall. 

Place the box on a strong, level surface, where you can easily get to it for maintenance. Outlet pipes on box filters should only be extended with caution, and most are better left short, as the manufacturer intended. Don’t be tempted to reduce the diameter of the outlet pipe, run flexi hose off it, or run it uphill, as the box will likely flood. 

If the placement of a box filter is inconvenient or unsightly then a pressurised filter may well be for you. 

Box filters sit poolside and water cascades back into the pond

How to install a pressurised filter

Pressurised filters have the most flexible fitting options. They can be buried in the ground up to their lids or placed a long way away from a pond or waterfall, behind a tree or in a shed. This makes them especially useful when a waterfall is required but you don’t want the filter to be seen or spoil the natural look that you’ve created.

Decide if you want to bury the unit or not and if you do, use a spade to dig a hole and place it in it. If you don’t want to bury it place where you would like it and run a hose from the pump in the pond to the inlet on the filter. And then hose from the filter outlet either to the top of a waterfall or back to the pond. If it comes with a built-in UVC, make sure the cable is long enough to reach a power point. 

Some pressurised pond filters also have a third outlet to flush waste away. This can be left bare, with dirty water jetting a short distance into the garden when flushed, or a hose can be connected to take the water to a drain or a flowerbed.

Pressurised filters can be buried out of sight and go on to feed waterfalls

How to install an All-In-One pond filter 

All-In-One filters are the quickest and easiest of all filters to install as they are just one device – a pump and filter combined into one unit – which you place in the pond. If you want to use the fountain facility then place it at a depth where the fountainhead sticks up a few inches out of the water. Fountains need the pump to be level if they are to produce an even rose of water. If the pond bottom is uneven consider a model with an angle adjustable fountainhead for perfect levelling. 

Tie some string to the filter so that you can retrieve it without pulling the power cable, then place the filter in the pond.   

All-In-One filters sit in the middle of the pond

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Jeremy Gay is an author, lifelong fishkeeper, and aquatic specialist. He's a former editor of Practical Fishkeeping Magazine, UK editor at Reefbuilders, a former aquatic store manager, and has collected fish in Sri Lanka and the Amazon. He's been on tv and radio, contributed to Koi Carp and Gardeners World magazines, been a product tester, a judge, and a product developer. Jeremy is here to guide and advise you on all things tropical, pond and marine, from set-up to stocking, health, feeding to breeding, as well as solving many common fishkeeping problems along the way.

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