November 19

Best Pond Filter Ultimate Buying Guide for Budget Buyers


Everyone loves sitting by the pond as long as the water is fresh, clean, and clear. However, once the algae, organic debris, and other natural pond pollutants begin to accumulate, your koi’s favorite place could turn into their worst nightmare. To protect your fish and maintain a healthy environment for them to live in, you will need to use the right filtration system. 

Filtration is necessary because it removes small particles of solids like food waste and other debris before they sink and accumulate. This will keep your pond clean, and it will also allow the water to stay clear enough for you to see your koi and any other fish you choose to put in there.

best koi pond filter

While there’s a huge variety of fish pond filters and pumps in the market, one size never fits all. It’s important to have all the requisite information about the external pond pump and filter so that you can find the most suitable option.

This extensive guide about pond filter systems will surely help – and don’t miss out on our roundup of the top 10 fish pond filter and pumps systems below!

Types of Pond Filtration Systems

Before you go out and buy a certain type of filtration system, you need to know the benefits and disadvantages of each one. Here are some of the most common types on sale today: 

Mechanical Filter Systems 

This is the simplest filtration system available. It consists of a pump that moves water from your pond into a filter chamber and then back into the pond. The water runs through a series of filters that trap larger particles like leaves and twigs.

Chemical Filter Systems 

Since larger debris can be easily trapped using mechanical filtration systems, filtering out smaller particles is the only other way to keep your pond clean. Chemical filters use activated carbon or special resins to remove harmful toxins from your koi’s environment. This will allow you to enjoy a cleaner, healthier pond.

Natural Filter Systems 

Many experts consider a natural pond filtration system the best option because it uses biological processes for cleaning instead of chemicals. There are two types available – deep-water culture and submerged vegetation – that perform various functions such as filtration and erosion control.

Koi Pond Filter Systems for Every Part of the Country 

If you’ve done a bit of research on your own, you will find that there are basically two different kinds of pond filter systems – external or internal. Depending on your region, you can get one over the other. Since space is usually limited in urban areas, having an external system may be a better choice because it’s smaller and doesn’t take up too much room. However, an internal system might work best in rural locations because the water from the pond gets pumped externally to a filtration tank instead of being filtered by equipment installed inside your property. 

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To help understand this concept better, here’s a quick guide: 

External Pond Filter Systems for Urban Areas

These are the most popular choice because they’re compact and easy to transport, especially if you need to move them around often. They are also very useful if your yard is on a slope because it’s easier to drain water from an external system than an internal one. A submersible pond pump is used to draw dirty water from the fish pond, send it through a filter box, and finally put out clean water back into your pond. These also come with various filtration systems that you can choose from depending on your needs.

Internal Pond Filter Systems for Rural Locations

Since there’s plenty of room in rural locations, you can install extra equipment inside your house or property without worrying about space limitations. Internal filters are easier to maintain, making them perfect for serious koi hobbyists who want the cleanest possible water for their fish. Since they work like ordinary home plumbing systems, you can attach an external filter pump to push dirty water outside. This way, you can get rid of excess debris without having to scoop it out by hand.

Choosing the Best Pond Filter System

Here’s a quick checklist of things to consider when choosing your ideal koi pond filter system: 


Do you have enough space inside or outside your house? If not, do you mind moving your filtration equipment once in a while?


    How much are you willing to spend on this equipment? Can your budget accommodate top-of-the-line units, or perhaps you’re OK with a standard system?


    How often will you have to clean and maintain your equipment? Can you handle cleaning filters without assistance, or would it be better to self-clean the filtration system?

    Ease of Installation 

    If you have no idea about plumbing or koi pond filter systems, do you want something easy to install, so there aren’t any problems along the way?

    Pond volume 

    Are you just starting out, or do you already have enough experience in keeping koi fish? Usually, the bigger your pond is, the more powerful and efficient your filter system should be.

    Filter Type 

    What kind of filter do you need for your specific needs? Do you want a prefilter, waterfall, pressurized filter, pond skimmer, or just UV sterilization? 


    A prefilter fits around the pump and collects leaves and other debris before entering the filter.

    Waterfall filter

    Waterfall filters divert water from the pond and pass it through a series of spray bars before it gets filtered. 

    Pond Skimmer

    A pond skimmer skims the surface of the pond, drawing in any floating debris. 

    Pressurized filter

    If you need a powerful unit that can clean out debris even in your pond’s deepest areas, then a pressurized filter is a good choice. But, it’s also very expensive. 

    UV sterilizer 

    UV units are very popular because they eliminate harmful bacteria in the pond. They’re easy to install & maintain but can be quite costly.

    pond filter guide


    Basically, koi pond filtration equipment can be divided into 3 basic categories: external filters, internal filters, and pond skimmers.

    External filters are the most affordable type of koi pond filter system. However, they can sometimes become problematic because you’ll need to move them around if you want to drain your pond.

    Internal filters are the most expensive filter systems, but they’re also more convenient because they’re self-contained. They also offer the best filtration, usually rated at around 20 times more per square foot than external filters.

    Pond skimmers are the most convenient option since they can be used to clean your koi pond without help. You simply draw out the debris with your net every time you feed the fish. As for internal filters, they’re usually compact enough to fit in tight spaces, but not always. You might need to choose a different filtration system if you don’t have much space to work with. In this case, a pressurized filter is usually the best choice.

    Top 10 Koi Pond Filter Systems Available Today

    Below are our top picks for the best pond filter system across various categories. Each of these ponds is unique and perfect for different kinds of koi hobbyists.

    #1 TotalPond Complete Pond Filter with UV Clarifier 

    Black TotalPond Complete Pond Filter with UV Clarifier

    buy at amazon

    The TotalPond Complete Pond Filter with UV Clarifier is a good choice if you want a convenient pond filtration system on the market. This impressive unit can clean 20,000 gallons of water per hour. Plus, it’s easy to install and doesn’t require complicated tools or special skills to put together.

    This pressurized filter system is great because it automatically cleans the water of debris, so you don’t have to. It also includes a UV clarifier that eliminates harmful bacteria in your pond’s water while leaving the good bacteria intact. The best thing about this pond filtration system is that it has an automatic sand filter cleaning feature, too, so you’ll never have to worry about replacing or cleaning the pond water filter.

    The only downside we could find is that you might need to hire a professional to install this unit for you. But, if you can afford the cost and want the best koi pond filtration system available, then look no further than TotalPond.

    #2 Danner 02211 PM1000 Mechanical Pond Filter

    Danner 02211 PM1000 12-Inch by 12-Inch Mechanical Pond Filter

    buy at amazon

    The Danner 02211 PM1000 12-Inch by 12-Inch Mechanical Pond Filter is a great choice for hobbyists who want a compact and powerful koi pond filtration system. This mechanical filter offers a lot of power per square foot, especially considering its very affordable price tag.

    This Danner mechanical can clean up to 1,000 gallons of water per hour and is made from tough and durable materials. It can last for about 10 years, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it anytime soon. And, its compact design ensures you can install it virtually anywhere. Plus, you can even combine it with other components from the Danner line to create a more comprehensive filtration system.

    The only real disadvantage of this filter is that it doesn’t include an automatic cleaning feature. But, if you don’t mind regularly scooping out the debris in your koi pond, then it’s a great choice for small hobbyists who want a powerful and efficient

    #3 VIVOHOME VH515 CPF-2500 Pressurized Biological Pond Filter 

    Black VIVOHOME VH515 CPF-2500 Pressurized Biological Pond Filter

    buy at amazon

    This one is surely expensive but worth every penny. The VIVOHOME VH515 CPF-2500 Pressurized Biological Pond Filter with 13-watt UV Sterilizer Light offers the best filtration of any internal koi pond filter system. It’s made from multiple layers of media designed to keep your pond safe and healthy at all times.

    Plus, this koi pond filter can eliminate up to 99 percent of the waste that enters it. That means you’ll never have to clean out the debris yourself, thanks to this efficient filtration system. Also, because of its powerful UV sterilizing light, you don’t have to worry about algae or other types of water contaminants either.

    This pressurized system is self-contained and includes everything you need for installation without any additional hardware. And, its compact size makes it a great choice as an all-in-one koi pond filtration system for hobbyists who want a simple and convenient solution. However, this powerful internal pump makes loud noises, which can be a bit of an inconvenience. 

    #4 CNZ ALL IN ONE Pond Filter System

    CNZ ALL IN ONE Pond Filter System

    buy at amazon

    If you want an affordable and efficient koi pond filtration system, then the CNZ ALL IN ONE Pond Filter System with 13W Sterilizer 660GPH Pump is a great choice. This unit combines mechanical and biological media to filter your water quickly and thoroughly, so it’s always clean and safe for fish.

    It comes complete with all the equipment you need to install quickly without any additional tools or hardware. And, due to its compact design, you can put this koi pond filter just about anywhere around your yard. Plus, it also includes an ultraviolet sterilizer to help keep algae at bay. But, this system makes quite a bit of noise when it operates, thanks to the powerful pump inside.

    Furthermore, the CNZ All in one pond filter system comprises a single unit system, 4 removable side clips, and a power cable, making it easy to access and maintain. While the submersible design helps disguise it and make it less noticeable, this koi pond filtration system might not be a good choice if you’re very sensitive to noise.

    #5 OASE BioSmart 5000 Pond Filter

    OASE BioSmart 5000 Pond Filter

    buy at amazon

    This is an easy-to-use and efficient internal koi pond filter perfect for medium ponds. It can clean up to 5000 gallons of water (if there are no fish in the pond). The OASE BioSmart Pond Filter provides mechanical, biological, chemical, and UV filtration, so you don’t have to worry about debris, algae, or other contaminants. And, its compact size means you won’t have trouble finding a place to set it up.

    Plus, this OASE filter is also self-adjusting, which means you never have to worry about messy clogs or jams when you’re using it. It’s equipped with internal valves that open and close based on your water needs, so you always get the right amount of filtration without any problems. And, because this unit can handle both fresh and saltwater types of ponds, it’s perfect for hobbyists who want one filter system they can use in multiple locations.

    This koi pond filter comes with all the components you need to install it quickly doing the labor yourself. Plus, its compact size makes it a great choice for small ponds, while its low price makes it affordable for just about anyone. Unfortunately, this unit’s filter bags are not very durable and might tear or rupture if you’re not careful.

    #6 POND BOSS Filter Kit with Pump for Koi Ponds

    POND BOSS Filter Kit with Pump

    buy at amazon

    When you need a powerful koi pond filtration system that’s easy to install, the POND BOSS Filter Kit with Pump for Koi Ponds is a great choice. This robust and small pump filter can handle up to 500 gallons of water and features two layers of foam pads to filter the water. 

    The first layer consists of coarse foam to trap the major particles in the water. In contrast, the second layer has smaller pores to catch progressively smaller particles. The package also includes plastic “bio-balls” to help establish beneficial bacteria in the water. 

    Not to mention, it has all the equipment you need to get started, including an energy-efficient 320 GPH fountain pump, 16 inches power cord, a diverter valve to control flow rate, and more. Overall, it a very easy to use (just drop it into the pond) and an efficient pump for Koi ponds. 

    #7 TotalPond 871980305191 Universal Pond Pump Filter Box

    TotalPond 871980305191 Universal Pump Filter Box

    buy at amazon

    Another small pond filter system that’s easy to install, the TotalPond Universal Pump Filter Box, is a great choice for 500 gallons ponds. It’s tiny, super cheap, and does the job just about right. 

    This filtration set comes with all the components you need to get started in one compact package. It includes both coarse and fine filter pads, two replacement cartridges (to keep your pond sparkling clean), multiple bio balls, plus an adjustable flow control valve to divert water to where you need it.

    However, this is just a filter box. The pond pump is not included in the package. Another downside is that this filter box is only compatible with different TotalPond filter pumps. So, if you’re looking for a versatile filter box that can be used with different pumps, this might not be the best choice.

    #8 Pondmaster PMK1350 Pond Filter – DNR02213

    Pondmaster PMK1350 Pond Filter

    buy at amazon

    A great choice for hobbyists with medium to large ponds, the Pondmaster PMK1350 Pond Filter has a powerful 350 GPH pump that propels water from your pond into an attractive fountain. This koi filtration unit is made of heavy-duty plastic. Its base can be secured into the floor or ground to keep it safe during operation.

    It also comes with a powerful yet energy-efficient pump that never clogs due to the built-in back siphonage prevention system. This excellent feature keeps debris from reaching the impeller, allowing it to run smoothly for years without any issues.

    The Pondmaster PMK1350 uses a special “bio-logical” filtration system that eliminates the need for messy and expensive chemicals. Instead, all you have to do is add some beneficial bacteria and let nature take care of the rest! The downside? This koi pond filter is a bit pricey and may be out of reach for some hobbyists. But, if you can afford it, it’s money well spent, especially if you have a large water garden.

    #9 Aquascape Pond Filter and Waterfall Spillway – 77020E

    Aquascape Pond Filter and Waterfall Spillway

    buy at amazon

    Ideal for creating cascading waterfalls around your pond, the Aquascape Pond Filter and Waterfall Spillway is a versatile filtration system that comes with everything you need to create natural-looking waterfalls. 

    This attractive unit houses two separate filters, which can be used independently or together, depending on your needs. 

    The first one is a powerful mechanical filter with a water capacity of 500 gallons per hour. In contrast, the second one is a biological filter that enhances the growth of beneficial bacteria. Both filters are made of high-quality materials and feature a lid with a large opening to make cleaning easier. 

    The whole filtration system can be adjusted to various heights using side plates. It has a dedicated pump with 400 gallons per hour capacity. However, if you wish to use this filter system as a pond skimmer, be aware that it doesn’t come with the necessary attachment. Apart from that, Aquascape Pond Filter is your ideal DIY solution for Small, preformed ponds and container water graders. 

    #10 Goplus 4 in 1 Pond Filter Pump 

    Goplus 4 in 1 Pond Filter Pump

    buy at amazon

    It is an excellent choice if you need a filter system that can be used with different ponds (regardless of their size) simultaneously. The Goplus 4 in 1 Pond Filter Pump is an all-in-one powerhouse that helps keep your water garden clean and healthy. 

    With 660 gallons per hour capacity, it’s one of the most powerful units on this list. This koi pond cleaner purifies water and enhances its circulation through the use of built-in fountain jets. As a result, it not only keeps your fish safe from dangerous debris but also brings oxygen to the bottom of your water garden, which further stimulates plant growth and the overall health of your aquatic friends.

    Goplus 4 in 1 Pond Filter Pump is designed as a versatile filtration system that can be used with different pumps and water sources, including waterfalls and fountains. It’s also very easy to install and maintain. The only downside is the lack of space between the impeller and pump shaft, which causes clogging and significantly reduces its lifespan (the manufacturer recommends replacing it every six months).

    Final Thoughts: What Are Ideal Filter Systems For My Pond(s)? 

    The truth is that no type of filtration equipment will work effectively if you don’t maintain it regularly and keep debris off the unit itself. However, picking the right filter system for your koi pond is a good foundation that can provide years of worry-free operation. And, as we’ve explained in this article, there’s plenty to choose from in today’s market! So don’t wait anymore and pick one that matches your needs, available space, and budget.

    Do you use one of the best pond filters mentioned above when caring for your small water gardens? If so, which one and why? We would love to know, and we’re sure other hobbyists would like to find out as well!


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