Natural Filters for Ponds


Filtration in a decorative pond is a must if you want to keep it clear and attractive --- especially if you have inhabitants such as fish and turtles. The animals themselves will assist in the pond cleanup to a degree, but a healthy pond requires some sort of filtration. You can perform a range of steps to make a natural filtration system for your pond that include the use of plants and other simple methods.


  • When it comes to pond cleaning, one particular kind of snail may change your view of these creatures. The black Japanese trapdoor snail is sold specifically for backyard ponds because of its algae eating abilities. Hardy enough to survive winter climates, this snail is readily sold at garden centers and shipped worldwide to assist in filtering ponds of algae growth --- especially in the lower areas. The naked eye cannot even see these dark-colored snails while they work. They will possibly breed in your pond; however, keep in mind that fish will often eat the smaller snails. Also take steps to prevent your new pond cleaners from becoming dinner dinner for raccoons before they can do their job; protect your pond from these predators.


  • A symbiotic relationship between the pond and the plants will benefit all. The plants remove pollutants from the water but also add oxygen. Submerged plants such as Anacharis create oxygen and then release it into the water, as the plant grows beneath the surface. Floating plants such as lilies provide shade, which decreases growth of algae; of course, the plant roots filter the water as well. Any plant life in the pond will assist with filtration.

Other Scavengers

  • Tadpoles, plecostomus, mosquito fish and even your Koi or goldfish will assist in pond filtration. Some clean the bottom and side surfaces of the pond, while others eat bug larvae and floating organic material. Keep in mind that tadpoles will become frogs and require relocation to a new home. A plecostomus will grow quite large over time and requires overwintering in cold climates. These creatures add both interest and usefulness to your pond.

Natural Constructed Filters

  • Some sort of water circulation in a pond will prove necessary, and filtering the water in some way or another is usually unavoidable. Create a simple filter with natural materials such as gravel or a separate plant bog. Above all, create an environment where helpful bacteria can grow that filter the water of impurities. If you have a waterfall, you can circulate the water in a small pool at the top and build a deep gravel bed for the water to flow through before it travels down the fall into the main pond. Alternatively, circulate the water through a separate small pool filled with aquatic plant, then allow it to travel into the main pond. The plants are a filtration and bacterial station for the water to pass through; oxygenated and plant filtered water then travels via pump into the main pond.

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