Best Small Pond Filter and Pump 2018 (Reviews & Costs)

Best All In One Pump and Filter Kit 2018 (Top Small Pond Models)

If you have a small garden pond, or a preformed pond, having a large filter and powerful pump is likely overkill and not a cost effective solution. Luckily, there are various pond kits on the market which include both a filter and pump designed exclusively for small garden ponds. In this article, we’ll cover what we believe are the best small pond filter and pump kits, and include comparisons so you can find one that suits your needs.

US Pond Owner? We recommend.. US Pond Owner? We recommend..
UK Pond Owner? We recommend.. UK Pond Owner? We recommend..

 

 

Does my small pond need filtering?

All-in-one kits are great for small ponds or preformed ponds

If you have a heavily planted small pond without fish, your pond plants may be enough to provide your water with sufficient natural filtration. With that said, if you have goldfish or Koi, even with plants, it’s recommended to invest in a filter and pump for a more stable and balanced environment. Filters will provide your pond with more beneficial bacteria, which will help break down harmful substances and help with water clarity. If you have a pond below 1000 gallons, you really don’t need to pay huge amounts for a powerful filter and pump. A smaller and more cost effective all-in-one solution should be more than enough for most small ponds to provide adequate filtration and water flow. These come with both a filter and a pump and are very easy to install and maintain. Newer models are tend to include a UV light for algae removal as a bonus!

Benefits of an all-in-one pond kit

One of the main benefits of purchasing an all-in-one kit is the savings! Generally all-in-one solutions are much cheaper to buy when compared to purchasing each component separately. Also, since the pumps are usually a much lower wattage in comparison to dedicated pumps, you will be paying less to run the kit monthly.

It’s also just a more convenient option for small pond owners, as there is very little in the way of plumbing or installation. Everything is included in the box, and the unit can usually be installed and working within an hour.

If your pond is over 800 gallons (3000 litres) and you have fish, however, we recommend investing in a more powerful filter and pond pump. Kits are ideal for smaller ponds but may not be enough to effectively filter a larger pond which accumulates more waste build-up. If you have a larger pond with fish, check out our guides below on purchasing a great dedicated filter and pump:

Do I also need UV light?

Most small pond kits come with a submersible pump and small filter which provides mechanical and biological filtration, but you can also find some with have the added benefit of UV. If you suffer with green pond water caused by algae, choosing a kit which includes a UV clarifier light will help eliminate the algae. The light will destroy the algae as it passes through your pump and it will be collected within your filter and broken down by beneficial bacteria.

Filter and pump kits with added UV are usually a bit more expensive, but they’re worth the investment if you care about water clearness or suffer from algae overgrowth in warmer months.


Things to consider when purchasing

1) Is the pump strong enough for your pond?

As a general guideline, ponds without fish should have a complete water turnover every 2 hours. A pond with fish would need a water turnover every 1 hour. So, if you had a 500 gallon goldfish pond, you would need to select a pump rated 500+ GPH to ensure your pond water is effectively filtered every hour. If you don’t have any fish in your pond, you can select a weaker pump and be safe. Most all-in-one kits have pumps which range from 300-1000 GPH, so be sure to select the correct pump for your pond size and amount of fish.

2) Is the filtration sufficient?

All pond kits will include filtration media that provides 2-stage filtration; biological and mechanical. If you have a larger pond, or a pond with fish, having more filtration media and a stronger pump is recommended. Usually sponge media is included as a common mechanical media, and bio-balls for housing bacteria. The more variety of media, the better, as this will allow the maximum amount of debris collection and beneficial bacteria colonization.

3) Do you want a fountain display?

If you want a fountain for your pond, which will also help with aeration (oxygenation), you’ll want to select a kit which includes a fountain attachment. Most all-in-one pond filter and pump kits provide this option, as well as allow you to run the pump and filter without he fountain if desired. If you want to fit your own fountain head, you’ll have to cross-check the fitting sizes to make sure it’s appropriate.

4) Do you have algae (green water) in your pond?

Depending on if you want to remove algae from your pond, you may want to consider purchasing a unit with an added UV clarifier light. Since these products are aimed at ponds below 1000 gallons, a UV light rated between 5-10w will be more than sufficient to provide fast and effective green water removal.


The Best All-in-one Pond Filter and Pump Kit – Reviews 2018

Due to the different brands available between the US and UK markets, we’ve researched and divided our categories to provide both American and UK pond owners a review on the best small pond pump and filter kit models available. We have listed below our best pond kit picks available to both the US and UK market.

US - Best Small Pond Kits 2018 US - Best Small Pond Kits 2018

1) TotalPond Complete Filter Kit Review

Our first small pond pump and filter combo is TotalPonds complete filter kit. This compact pond kit contains a 300 GPH pump rated at 23w, and a sturdy filter box which contains 2 layers of sponge media and a set of bio-balls. Also included in the package is a fountain head with 3 different head attachments for different displays, as well as the required 1/2 inch ID hosing to get started.

Designed for small ponds, TotalPonds complete kit would be a perfect fit for ponds up to 500 gallons without fish, or ponds up to 300 gallons with Goldfish. The pump is strong enough to provide effective flow for filtration to take place, as well as display a 4ft high fountain. The pump is submersible, along with the rest of the unit, so will need to sit on the floor of your pond to work.

The filtration is a standard 2-stage mechanical and biological process, with the box containing 2 types of sponge media and a set of bio-balls. The first sponge is course with larger holes which can trap larger debris, and the second sponge is finer to catch smaller debris. The bio-balls are optimized for beneficial bacteria colonization, and the kit provides a good amount to get your population started. The media sits very neatly in the box, and overall, provides a very strong filtration system for such as small filter box. The only issue is the filter mesh and media will become clogged very fast in debris-heavy water, so we don’t recommend this kit for ponds which have a lot of muck and debris buildup.

The fountain is optional, but is placed into the top of the filter box and then positioned above your surface water. So long as the filter isn’t clogged, you will be looking at approx 4 foot of fountain height – which is very respectable! Sadly, the fountain attachments are a bit fragile and the fountain itself can topple if not positioned firmly. Make sure the box is placed on a very flat space and sturdy section of pond floor for best results.

This is a fairly basic small pump and filter kit, so no UV light is included. You would need to purchase a separate clairfier if you have problems with algae, or consider a different kit which includes UV support. If you have a small pond which is shaded away from the sun, and don’t have issues with overgrowth of algae, the lack of UV shouldn’t be a problem!

Monthly running costs?

Assuming a charge of $0.10 per kWh (national average), the cost to run the pump per month would be $1.65 per month. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

Great for very small ponds
Good filtration
Easy to setup and install
No UV light included
Fountain not sturdy
  • Pond size: 50-500 Gallons (300 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 300 GPH (23w)
  • Type of filtration: 2x Sponge media & Bio-balls
  • UVC Strength: No UV
  • Fountain: 4ft height – 3 attachments.
  • Power cord: 16ft
  • Hose Size: Fits 1/2 inch  (ID) tubing
  • Warranty: Limited 1 Year


2) Laguna PowerClear Multi Filter Review

For ponds that need a little more power and have trouble with green water! Lagunas PowerClear is a compact but surprisingly powerful offering, featuring a 580 GPH submersible pump and a 2-stage filtration system. The pump is self contained within the main box, alongside the filter media, and runs at a very low 18 watts. This would be a very good all-in-one solution for ponds up to 1000 gallons where monthly savings are important, as the pump is very energy efficient in comparison with its flow rating. The pump is also quiet in operation, which is a plus!

The unit provides a fountain attachment for a single fountain display, and the pump is capable of a 6 ft maximum fountain height. This is a really good lift height for such a small box, but the connections are a bit fiddly to install. You’ll need to take care when attaching the fountain head and hose, as it can easily crack under pressure.

The filter is housed alongside the pump, and provides both bio and mechanical filtration. 1x ridged sponge foam media is included and an optimized bio-brick wall for bacteria colonization. The sponge media is nice and thick, but we would have liked to see an extra, finer layer of sponge for maximum debris removal. The bio-brick, however, provides great bacteria housing, and works fantastic as a biological filter. The design is unique and highly optimized for harmful substance breakdown, so would work well in a fish stocked pond.

In terms of installation, everything is very straight forward. A single 32ft power cable is included, and this is the only cable that needs to be plugged into the mains. The box is weighted and balanced so will naturally sink and sit neatly on the bottom of your pond. The fountain attaches to the top of the box, with the head attachment needing to be placed above the water surface. If you don’t want to use the fountain option, you can simply remove it and the box will act as just a pump and filter combo. This will also allow you to place the box much deeper than you could with the fountain in place.

As a final benefit, Lagunas PowerClear comes with a  powerful 13w UV light which will quickly remove all pond algae. This strength is more than enough for green water in a small-medium sized pond, and will also help reduce free-swimming harmful bacteria levels overtime.

Overall, a fantastic all-in-one pump, filter, fountain, and UV clarifier that would be perfect for ponds up to 1000 gallons, or ponds up to 600 gallons with fish.

Monthly running costs?

Assuming a charge of $0.10 per kWh (national average), the cost to run the pump per month would be $1.30 per month. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

If you also run the 13w UV clarifier alongside the pump, you would be paying an additional $0.90 a month on top of the pumps running costs.

Energy efficient pump
Strong UV clairifer
Good fountain height
3 year warranty
Mechanical filtration could be better
  • Pond size: 400-1000 Gallons (600 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 580 GPH (18w)
  • Type of filtration: 1x Sponge foam media & Bio-brick
  • UVC Strength: 13w
  • Fountain: 6ft height – 1 attachment.
  • Power cord: 32ft
  • Hose Size: Fits 1/2 inch  (ID) tubing
  • Warranty: Limited 3 Year

UK - Best Small Pond Kits 2018 UK - Best Small Pond Kits 2018

1) All Pond Solutions Filter and Pump Review (CUP-305 model)

Another all-in-one pond solution which provides pump, filtration, algae removal, and a fountain display! The All Pond Solutions CUP-305 pond kit comes with everything a small pond owner needs to get started. The pump is submersible and housed in the box with the filtration media and UV clarifier, and provides a flow of 1000 LPH. It can easily power the filtration of a 2000 litre pond, or a 1000 litre pond with fish, and is fairly energy efficient at only 19 watts.

The filter is fantastic, and includes a generous 3x sponge foams for larger debris, a floss pad for finer debris, and optimized bio-balls for bacteria. The filtration media is tightly packed, and should be perfect for fish stocked small ponds and ponds with a lot of buildup. If your pond is quite dirty, the media may need to be cleaned often in the first few weeks, but after the pond water clears and you have a healthy bacteria population, only a 1-2 month clean is likely necessary.

The CUP-305 unit comes with a small 5w UV clarifier for green water removal. The UV light is slightly weaker than dedicated clairifers and Lagunas offering, but it is still more than enough for small ponds. The lower wattage also means monthly savings! If you have a lot of algae present, however, and your pond is closer to 2000 litres in volume, it may be better to invest in a 10w+ UV light for maximum algae removal. The larger CUP-311 model contains a 11w UV light, so would likely be more suitable.

A fountain is supported and the pump provides 1.6m of water lift for the display. The fountain attaches to the top of the box, with the fountain head being above the water surface. It’s very easy to attach, feels sturdy, and comes with 3 different attachment heads for various displays. There is also two small water control valves on the outlet hose of the fountain so you can control the flow and height of your display, which is very useful.

Overall, this is a great all-in-one pond kit which provides great filtration, a flexible fountain, and an energy efficient pump for smaller ponds. If you have problems with algae buildup, or a lot of fish, the larger CUP-311 model may be more suitable as it has a stronger clairifer and pump compared to the smaller CUP-305 model.

Monthly running costs?

Assuming a charge of £0.10 per kWh, the cost to run the pump per month would be £1.37 per month for the CUP-305 model. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

If you also run the 5w UV clarifier alongside the pump, you would be paying an additional £0.36 a month on top of the pumps running costs.

Great filtration system
Low monthly costs
Flexible fountain display
Easy to setup and install
UV light weak on CPU-305 model
  • Pond size: 2000 litres (1000 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 1000 LPH (19w)
  • Type of filtration: Coarse foams x 3, Floss pad x 1, Bio balls x 25
  • UVC Strength: 5w
  • Fountain: 1.6m height – 3 attachments.
  • Power cord: 10 metres
  • Hose Size: 12, 20 and 25mm hose
  • Warranty: Limited 2 Year

2) Blagdon Pond All-in-one kit Review (2000 model)

Another pump and filter kit is Blagdons 5-in-1 complete solution for ponds. This kit provides a pump, filter, UV light, and fountain, with the 5th benefit being general water aeration which our other models also all provide. The pump is weaker than the All Pond Solutions model, rated at just 650 LPH, but would be more suitable for smaller ponds or preformed ponds due to its low wattage. The pump would be suitable for 1200 litre ponds without fish, or 650 litre ponds with fish, and the 10w power rating will mean it costs much less to run monthly.

Included in the box is mechanical and biological filter media, in the form of 2 layers of sponge, a polymer wool sheet, and ceramic bio-balls for bacteria. The filter system is very good, with the sponges being different sizes for maximum debris collection. For the finest of debris, the polymer wool sheet will easily catch this which sits on top of the sponges. The ceramic bio-balls sit on the bottom of the filter and there is enough for a decent sized beneficial bacteria population to thrive. The filter media is easy to remove, and is easy to clean when necessary.

One of the things we love about this particular model is the addition of a bright LED spotlight for a great nighttime fountain display! If you want to run the fountain at night, the spotlight does a great job of illuminating the water. Included are 3 different fountain head attachments for various displays which are sturdy and easy to attach. The fountain gives a good height of 1.25m, and just looks great when combined with the built-in back light.

The unit also comes with a low power 5w UV clairifer which kills algae as it filters through the box. This should be more than enough to remove green water in ponds up to 1000 litres, but you may need a stronger light if you suffer wit a lot of algae or have a much larger pond.

Since the pump and UV light run at such low wattage, this is a very cost effective all-in-one choice for smaller ponds which don’t have large amounts of algae buildup. If you also want a fountain which is a bit more fancy at nighttime, you really can’t go wrong with the Blagdon 5-in-1 2000 kit.

Monthly running costs?

Assuming a charge of £0.10 per kWh, the cost to run the pump per month would be £0.72 per month for the 2000 model. This would be running the pump 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

If you also run the 5w UV clarifier alongside the pump, you would be paying an additional £0.36 a month on top of the pumps running costs.

Very cheap to run
Great filtration system
LED fountain light
Easy to setup and install
Not suitable for larger ponds
  • Pond size: 1200 litres (650 max with fish)
  • Pump strength: 650 LPH (10w)
  • Type of filtration: 2x Sponge media, polymer wool, and ceramic bio-balls
  • UVC Strength: 5w
  • Fountain: 1.25 m height – 3 attachments.
  • Power cord: 10 metres
  • Hose Size: 12, 20 and 25mm hose
  • Warranty: Limited 3 Year

 

2 thoughts on “Best Small Pond Filter and Pump 2018 (Reviews & Costs)”

  1. Hi Chris,

    I’m new to keeping Koi and have set up an 1800 Lt. raised pond.
    I intend to buy the Cup- 311, but this is not an aerator is it?
    So, I thought I would also buy the Oase AquaOxy 500.
    Am I doing the right thing?

    Thanks,
    Nik

    • Hi Nik,

      Big welcome to the hobby! Also, apologises for my slow reply.

      The CUP-311 may not have a dedicated air compressor (aerator), but it comes with a fountain attachment which will provide lots of aeration via surface disturbance. The more water movement you can provide at the surface of your pond, the more oxygen will be dissolved naturally into the system – which is why fountains and waterfalls are great aerators!

      However, depending on your koi stocks, having a dedicated air pump providing additional aeration is never a bad thing. Dedicated compressors, like the AquaOxy, can be especially useful in months where oxygen levels can drop, such as in winter under the ice and in the heat of summer. It will also be essential if you don’t intend to run any fountains or water features, as you won’t have any other means of proper aeration.

      What you have seems good to go, but could I just ask how many koi you intend to stock in this pond? 1800L is actually fairly small by koi standards, so you will need to be extra careful with your stocking level, keep on top of water changes (10%~ weekly), and make sure to test water quality regularly for problems.

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