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Pond pumps, circulation and filtration - by Carl Strohmeyer


A general principle (not a rule) of about 50-200 gph per 100 gallons can work
for this (A lower proportional gph for large ponds, a higher proportional gph for small ponds). This can be achieved with more than one pump and even a large aeration device (air stone). As for the air stone, I find they are excellent for vertical circulation, often better than water pumps of greater gph (keep in mind that an air stone aerates the water by breaking surface tension, not by the bubbles in the water; the more surface agitation, the better oxygen exchange). A large double air pump such as a ReSun 9603, Million Air 600, Whisper 800, or Maxima with two air stones can circulate at a rate up to 500 gph. A way to check this is to place the air stone down a narrow PVC tube or aquarium lift tube, then place the top of the tube just above the water level and measure the rate the water fills up a gallon container (one gallon in 15 seconds= 240 gph).
A good water pump is the Via Aqua
2600 , 3300 Pump. Both have sealed electromagnetic motors and ceramic shafts. The Via Aqua 306 can also be used in ponds, however I recommend using either the Filter version or making a pre-filter bucket to protect it due to the standard 306 not having a pre-filter (described below, which is a good idea for any pump unless a Hydro Pond Pre-Filter is used, which cannot be attached to a 306).

You can also place your pump in a DIY bucket pre-filter to protect it from debris and added mechanical and biological
filtration. This is especially useful for pumps added solely to run UV Sterilizers.


I prefer pressurized pond filters such as the
"Clear Stream" for their efficiency and ease of hiding in the ground.
These filters include
the popular Tetra and Cyprio, which are excellent too, but over priced. Pressurized filters can be buried in the ground or place behind a water feature easily. These filters are one of the best mechanical filters available for the price and are also excellent bio filters.

But there are many excellent filters available.

Hydro Pond filter, koi
For small ponds (and even medium-large), large sponge filters are excellent bio filters and reasonable mechanical filters. They are inexpensive, easy to service, and simple to attach with either a power head pump or and air stone. There now is a specific Pond Sponge Filter called the
Hydro-Pond, there are two models; one air driven, one pump driven. They are useful up to 1500 gallons and more can be used for larger ponds or in combination with other filters. The Hydro Pond IV makes an excellent pre filter for pond pumps before water is circulated to another filter such as a pressurized filter.
I highly recommend the Hydro Pond filters for pond owners on a budget, owners of small ponds, are just to add redundancy to existing pond filters

Bio falls are also excellent pond filters. I do not recommend the old style Becket or Pond Master Submersible filters; they clog easily, are hard to service, and are not efficient filters. Multiple types of filtration are also excellent, such as a pressurized filter- bio falls combination, or a pressurized filter- sponge filter combination.

A filter that is also used is pool style sand filters. I have used these filters in many of my largest pond installations (over 5,000 gallons). Despite what pundits for these over priced monstrosities say, they are not designed for ponds. They compact and the water tend to follow the path of least resistance thru these filter, leaving areas on anaerobic bacteria producing poisonous Hydrogen Sulfide. DO NOT be fooled by their high price (often approaching $1000), I can tell you from vast experience with them that they are NOT worth it!!

One other filter of note is the barrel style filter by Tetra and Coralife; these are excellent bio filters, but poor mechanical filters. They also are hard to hide as they have to use gravity to poor water back into the pond after the pump first supplies these filters with un-filtered water.

For more pond filtration (such as veggie filters) and general information, please see this article: http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/ClearPond.html

Professional aquarium maintenance experience since 1978 as the owner of one of the larger aquarium maintenance companies in LA, CA.

I have been in the hobby since 1969.



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