What is the right filtration for my pond?

Beautiful garden pond with amazing pink water lilies or lotus flowers with a fountain in the centre

This can be one of the most significant purchases for a pond and the most important thing for your ponds health (and your sanity). If you are thinking of building a pond taking the time to understand what filters do and which one is right for you might be the difference between a successful low maintenance pond and a constant headache.

So filters have four main jobs in our eyes (and the fourth is redundant if you nail the first three!) 

Firstly you need to have an effective mechanical filter. 

Mechanical filtration catches the solid particles. It can be a sponge, specialised koi filter matting, vortex chamber filters, skimmer boxes, rotating drums that self-clean, or a myriad of other fancy devices. 

 As long as it catches the particles! 

There is a very fine balancing act here between premium performance and the amount of maintenance required (or $ spent). An ultra-fine mechanical filter (like filter wool for your aquarium).

Finer sponge filters catch every particle leaving very clear water – but will need lots of maintenance – sometimes 3-4 times a day.

Alternatively, you can have a very open weave matting that only catches the largest or particles and requires very little maintenance.


Close up of mechanical filter matting.


The best-case scenario is to have multiple layers. One very open weave, then a finer one, then finer again. Bingo! Super clear water and minimal maintenance – so how do you do it without these types of complicated, ugly filters? Read on for how we do it in our pond builds or contact us for a personal recommendation.

Large weave filter matting.

Unfortunately clear water can be a silent killer as it can be full of nutrients invisible to the eye.  Because of this a filter has to do more than catch the particles.

Secondly, you need to remove the nutrients.

So how do you remove the nutrients? Well, this is two parts – the first is the Nitrogen Cycle – breaking down and detoxifying the leftover fish food, fish waste, leaves and decaying organic matter (the sum total of which is called detritus).

Aerobic beneficial bacteria break down this detritus into ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. They like a good supply of oxygen-rich water full of nutrients. They then do their job – but they are a fussy bunch and do not like to be disturbed. Cleaning the filter media that the beneficial bacteria grow on can completely kill your filter for 30 days or more. This can have catastrophic results for your fish and the pond in general. There are two ways to fix this – one is to have separate mechanical and biological filters (very easy to do) – the other is to set up a system that only cleans with pond water – and we have a wide range of filters that can do that.

This detoxifying biological filter needs to be sized to the water volume and the amount of waste produced. Obviously a pond of 3000 Litres with 10 fish will need a different filter to a pond of 3000 litres with 50 fish so we would encourage you to get in contact us for a personalised recommendation.

 Click here to contact us for more information.

The bacteria that break down the ammonia and nitrite (which is the deadly stuff) require oxygen to do their job, so it is a good idea to pair this filter with a skimmer to get the oxygen-rich water or to add an additional aerator to your pond system.

The winning filtration combination!

This combination pictured above works very effectively. It is one of the professional systems we install on our koi ponds. The skimmer catches the large particles and delivers oxygen-rich water to the pressure filter which traps the medium-sized particles, kills single-celled algae with the built-in UV, and is easy to backwash; then it goes through the larger biological filter which polishes the water and has a much larger biological surface area and aquatic plant tray for removing nitrates and phosphates.

By separating things in stages like this, this system is super easy to maintain and very low maintenance but can handle a very high stocking load. It also offers a measure of redundancy by having more than one filter. And the best part is they integrate into the landscape so you don’t even see them- but are still easy to service.  A perfect example is the below set up from one of our own builds.


Sometimes we need to resort to different systems because of pump limitations, and this is one of the professional systems for ponds using a pool pump.

Filter systems for setups that are using pool pumps and don’t wish to change pumps.

And we want to keep it fairly simple – no one wants one of these!

Thirdly you need to break down the nitrates and remove the phosphates.  

The removing of nitrates is actually a different bacteria again, and they like to have a slower flow of water that is devoid of oxygen. This can be challenging to achieve and quite often requires a very large filter for this to be effective.

A porous volcanic stone is quite often the best way to cultivate these bacteria in small quantities as the porous area inside the stone makes the perfect environment for the slower flow.

There are a few things to look out for here before you rush off to grab 50 bags of volcanic stone. While these bacteria like a slower oxygen-deprived area to grow in, creating spaces that are too deep without water movement and oxygen can lead to sulphur producing bacteria which can lead to fish deaths.

The volcanic stone also has a habit of compacting over time and catching debris particles between the stones which can be counterproductive.

 If you are considering building your own filter, please get in touch for some design help before you get started.

Getting confusing, right?  You need oxygen-rich water for the aerobic bacteria, oxygen-depleted water for the anaerobic, different flow rates for each bacteria type. You can grow deadly gas-producing bacteria if you get it wrong. So how do we do it in our systems so effectively

Well – The three filter system we pictured before is one way. A lot of the aerobic bacteria live in the first filter and need the faster flow of water as it spins around in the canister. If these bacteria are doing their job, the water that feeds into the larger biological filter will now be ready for the anaerobic bacteria to do their job. These guys get the ideal conditions by spreading the filter media out over a larger area (which gives them a slower flow of water) and by putting them in a bag we can periodically clean out any debris to keep them at their optimal performance. This generally also forms the start of the waterfalls, which puts the oxygen back into the water to keep this cycle going.

Clever right?

How can we create the same filtration on a larger scale; for larger ponds, dams, or even lakes.

We use an Eco-System approach; by using rock and gravel in our construction, we create a massive surface area that is perfect for cultivating the right amount of bacteria. We have taken Mother Nature’s ideas and refined her design into the ideal Wetland Filter.

A wetland filter can be custom built to fit into any sized area and to whatever size is required (depending on the pond size).


The wetland is an intelligent system that has a false floor for easy cleaning and even dispersion of the water flow into the entire filter. There are then several layers of different gravel grades which gradually separate out the particles in sections (so it doesn’t clog up).

It has aerobic bacteria living in the bottom area where the water comes in, and anaerobic in the top layers of finer gravel where the water has already been through the other aerobic areas. By using the different grades, we also create the different flow rates required by both different bacteria, and we have an area on the top of the filter that is perfect for growing marginal plants.

The plants that grow in the top of the filter absorb excess nutrients – particularly phosphates.

With this intelligent design we can actually strip out the nutrients faster than they are being produced, so there is nothing for the algae to grow on – this is how we create beautiful natural swimming ponds without chemicals.

The plants that grow in the top can also be edibles for the kitchen or flowering plants that attract other insects which leave larvae in the water. These larvae actually fill in any gaps in the ecosystem and consume anything that hasn’t already been filtered out. They also make tasty snacks for the fish!

We can actually make a pond zero maintenance (almost) by using these principles; building with rock and gravel, using a skimmer, building an intelligent filter system and incorporating enough plants.

Seems too good to be true????  Well, it’s not. We have lots of delighted customers with very low maintenance systems that didn’t believe it could be this effective.

If you are wondering about the scale and how big can they go? Well there isn’t a limit. 

Mother nature has been doing this successfully for centuries.

Large lake with wetland filter.

The final piece of the puzzle is algae control/treatment

As I mentioned earlier, this is redundant if we get the filtration right from the beginning. You can see the wetland filter approach removes the nutrients leaving nothing for the algae to grow on but sometimes that isn’t an option and we need to add a Uv light and an Ion Gen and possibly use liquid treatments as well.

Algae comes in three main groups (when looking at how to kill it) Single-celled – Multicelled – and Hybrid varieties.

The single-celled algae can be easily controlled with a UV light. There are a lot of pressure filters that have these integrated into them (like the one we used in combination above) or as separate units for more specific pairing to a particular pond or pump (flow rate is important).



The multicellular algae (string algae) can be controlled with the ion gen system. The Ion Gen and Uv can be used in combination together for better results.


The Hybrid algae varieties are much more challenging to treat. They generally will require specific treatments designed for individual situations. 

Cyanobacteria algae are great examples of mother nature finding a way to adapt to treatments. It is neither a single-celled or a true multicellular algae, and unfortunately, that also makes them harder to deal with in the pond. There are also cyanobacteria’s that combine with diatom algae’s to form a slime in the pond.

This is where the liquid treatments would come in very handy, but we would encourage you to get in touch first. We often need to address the underlying issue first before tackling these algae’s and the right diagnosis and advice is essential here.

When you are trying to maintain the right balance and prevent excess sludge build-up, keep enough beneficial bacteria in the filters, keep phosphates down, clarify those last few rouge particles or just detoxify the town water from topping up, we have a treatment that does all that in one bottle called (wait for it) “Maintain”.

Pretty simple right – everything you could add to maintain your pond in one treatment.

This is also much more effective when dosed regularly, and towards that end, we have a specialised auto doser that can do that automatically for you.


Talk to us about your next pond and we can incorporate all of these elements into your design to give you an amazing pond that practically looks after itself.


How to Plan and Design a Fish Pond

There are a few different types of fish ponds, but we find that most can be categorised into formal ponds or ecosystem ponds.

We want to take you through the process of how an ecosystem fish pond works and how to get the best natural result that mimics nature’s ponds.

It is essential to understand this before attempting a formal fish pond. A formal pond typically has a few of these elements removed, which as you can imagine leads to technical challenges in maintaining water quality.

In this article, we want to explore the Ecosystem Fish Pond.

Ecosystem fish ponds work by replicating the systems in nature and have a 5-part recipe – sounds simple right? Well, it is quite straightforward.

Image from Aquascape Supplies Inc.

In nature, the ecosystem that we are trying to model our ponds after is called an Oligotrophic Aquatic Ecosystem. This is typically defined as having clear water with a rock and gravel substrate and very little organic matter in the water – which is how water clarity is achieved.

So, in a human-made construction, we need to ensure we don’t have debris settling in the fish pond – this would lead to a build-up of organic matter.

The best place to start is to use a good-sized surface skimmer to mechanically pull the surface water (and the floating debris), into an easy to clean basket or intake bay area.

We also use a series of circulation jets in several strategic locations to push all the water back to the skimmer area, which allows the debris to be removed from the system (once you clean the skimmer basket).

This is super important because it prevents these organic compounds from sinking and decaying in the fish pond. This physically removes them from the system, but it also takes the oxygen-rich water from the surface and sends it to the filter.

The magic sentence there is “oxygen rich water”! The beneficial bacteria and the whole world of micro and microorganisms that live in the biological filter and process the fish waste require lots of oxygen to do their job.

These beneficial bacteria break down the toxic ammonia and ammonium from decaying organic matter and detoxify it. 

All of these processes are called the nitrogen cycle and was something your science teacher probably wanted you to learn in school.

There is a particular group of people that believe a fish pond should have a bottom drain and draw water down to the bottom where it feeds into pipework and filters.
We advise against this for several reasons.

We don’t like the idea of having a hole in your fish pond right at the bottom – you can guess the catastrophic results to all the fish and equipment if you had an issue and got a leak.

As we mentioned earlier, the water from the surface is full of oxygen, which is essential for the biological filter. The water from the bottom of the fish pond will be considerably lower in oxygen and mean the same biological filter will not be nearly as efficient.
But forget the performance of the filter and the risk of losing everything if there is a leak, and consider the inhabitants of the fish pond for a moment.

The beautiful koi fish that we put in the fish ponds have ventrally located mouths (they point down) with sensory barbels to help them find food on the bottom.

The ancestors of the koi are the Amur Carp, which lived in the Amur river (this is why we create river-like currents in areas of the fish ponds). They would graze on the bottom of the pond looking for microorganisms to feed on.

There usually is a healthy population of microorganisms living in the benthic areas (bottom of the fish pond) that help process waste and maintain the water chemistry. The koi use these barbels and dig around in the gravel looking for delicious Copepods, Amphipods or a myriad of other tiny creatures.

Having all these tiny elements helps create a complete cycle, and this wouldn’t be possible in a bare liner or concrete fish pond.

We also like to encourage the responsible housing of animals in an environmentally sustainable way by creating and replicating the processes that happen in nature.

In the same way that you wouldn’t keep a dog in a tiny apartment without being able to go out and run, play, dig, chase a ball (and sniff out other dogs), we want to give the fish the right amount of space, excellent water quality, healthy diet and quality of life – this includes letting them play in the water currents and dig in the gravel.

It is our job as pond builders to help give them all of this in a way that is aesthetically appealing to us, environmentally sustainable and low maintenance.

How big does my fish pond need to be? And where should I locate it?

So, one of the most important things to consider is where you will view your fish pond from. Ideally it should be close to the house and visible from the living areas. Sometimes there can be logistical challenges in doing that with underground services and incorporating paths, decking, outdoor entertaining areas etc.

Your fish pond should be in an area that gets at least partial sun. The fish and plants need the sunlight to maintain their health, but you should use some common sense here too. If you live in an area that is prone to extreme temperatures, then that should be taken into consideration when designing.

A great way to combat extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations is to go deeper. A deeper pond will have a much more stable temperature. This is more important than some people give it credit for – oxygen can become limited in warmer water and 30 degrees centigrade is extremely dangerous. A temperature drop of more than 3 degrees rapidly (over a few hours), can also shock the fish and cause other stress-related problems.

With extreme weather events becoming more commonplace than we would like, it is vital to future-proof your fish pond and protect your investment.

A small fish pond is harder to manage than a bigger one. Going bigger will help make the water chemistry and temperature more stable. A smaller fish pond requires a lot more monitoring to stop fluctuations (and stability is the secret to success in all aspects of fish keeping). For example, if you went away and asked your neighbours to feed the fish – it is a lot easier to overfeed and run into water chemistry problems in a smaller pond.

FYI – the most common regret our customers have is always “I wish I had made it bigger”. We don’t leave behind unhappy customers, and there is always a way to add or extend your fish pond. Still, it is obviously much easier and cheaper to do it the first time. If you are concerned about the budget – ask us how we can start with basic filtration and add to it over time to keep the initial cost down and give you a bigger fish pond to begin with.

Also consider deciduous trees – this is a no brainer. If it drops lots of stuff it is going to make your life a bit harder. We have a range of solutions to overcome this if the perfect location has lots of falling leaves. We can increase skimmers, circulation pumps, filter sizes and have a myriad of other solutions that can be tailored to your specific site.

How many fish can I have?

This is a very open-ended question and can be up for interpretation. One of the biggest concerns with overstocking is the impact on water quality – we can help you upsize your filters, boost the performance of your existing filters, and increase the dissolved oxygen in your pond.

This doesn’t take into account fish wellbeing and mental health – hey, if dogs can have anxiety, fish can be happier with more space, right?
A great way to give you a guide to the amount of fish in your pond would be to say that for every 100 litres you can have 6.5cm of fish length – so if you want to have 10 koi @30cm long you should have a volume of around 4615 litres.

Please keep in mind that your fish will grow. This advice is obviously intended as a guide only.

How long does a pond pump need to be on for?

The biological filter requires a consistent flow of oxygen-rich water to do its job, and the pump should run 24/7. The pumps we use are very economical and only use a minimal amount of electricity. A typical pond pump can move the same amount of water as a pool pump for a fraction of the electricity.

If you were to run your pool pump 24/7 and move around 10,000 litres per hour, you would probably get a $3000 electricity bill per year (depending on your electricity rates, type of pump, off-peak etc. etc.). The same volume of water from a quality pond pump would probably cost $150 per year.

There are further savings to be made by installing multiple pumps or variable speed pumps. You can have the main filter pump separate to the circulation jets and even have an additional pump to boost the water flow to the waterfalls and decorative water features. We like to think of this as putting the pond into “party mode” when you want to entertain or drown out the noisy neighbours.

So – what is the 5-part recipe?

Well, it is really quite simple.

The five parts are:

  1. Rock and Gravel – This protects our liner, gives a natural appearance and lots more. The rocks and gravel become home to the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that process the nutrients in the water. 
  2. Mechanical and Biological filtration – The mechanical and biological filtration catch and filter the waste and nutrients in the pond.
  3. Plants – The pond plants use up excess nutrients, they provide a haven for frogs and other aquatic organisms that form part of the ecosystem, and look great!
  4. Fish – Well, what is a fish pond without fish? The fish also help to make sure debris doesn’t settle in the bottom, control mosquitoes, and can be very relaxing.
  5. Pumps and Plumbing – The necessary parts to join it all together.

Look out for another blog on the construction and tips to build your own fish pond using this 5-part recipe and how it all comes together.

Guide to Fountains and Water Features

The word “fountain” can mean a lot of things to different people, but of course the first image that springs to mind is a stylish water feature. 

As a water feature, a fountain can be grand, or it can be delicate. It can be a deluxe, dominating spectacle, like the wow-factor water features in Las Vegas (The Fountains of Bellagio). Alternatively, a fountain can be seen as the calming element of a botanical, outdoor space to encourage mindfulness, complementing a Japanese zen garden for example, with a koi fish pond and trickling decorative water feature.

There are just so many beautiful variations of what we consider a fountain to be that we couldn’t possibly cover them all in one post! A good place to start understanding more about fountains and their adaptability, is to explore their fascinating history…

A Short History of the Fountain

Today, a fountain can be described as a piece of architecture that allows water to travel from a source to a basin, bowl or into the air either for drinking purposes, or for a decorative effect.

The world’s first examples of fountains can be found in ancient Mesopotamia around 5000 years ago (3000BC!). Making use of a natural spring, water poured from the source into a series of man-made basins, designed for drinking water and washing. Examples of ancient fountains can also be found in Greek and Roman archaeological remains, featuring bronze or stone masks of animals or heroes.

There’s no doubt water played an important role in human history, but fountain technology was extremely valuable as it allowed us to use technology to shape and play with water to suit our needs. Fountain builders have been celebrated throughout history!

In the mid to late 16th century, fountains were actually considered as a stop on the path to illumination, forging a new career known as ‘hydro-mechanics’, or ‘fontanieri’ in Italy. These fountain builders were employed to create special effects using a combination of water and gravity, but also entrusted with the important task of supplying clean drinking water to towns and cities.

The Best Fountain Builders

Fountain builders were highly respected, both as artists and civic engineers. Those with the skills in hydro mechanics, physics and sculpture were often called on by European royalty to build functional water features in palaces or for public works. Their work would also include creating water gardens and decorative fish ponds. 

Examples of famous fountains throughout history:

  • King Louis XIV of France commissioned fountains in the Gardens of Versailles to show his dominance over nature
  • Garden Desigenrs of Moorish and Muslim faith used fountains to create miniature versions of the Gardens of Paradise
  • 17th and 18th Century decorative fountains in Rome signalled the restoration of Roman aqueducts and celebrated the Popes who commissioned them
  • King Fahd’s Fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, shoots water 260m above the Red Sea

By the late 19th Century, indoor plumbing was popular so city fountains became less functional, and more decorative. Mechanical pumps were invented, which not only allowed water to be recycled through fountains, but to jet it high into the air for great effect!

Water Features Today

Fountains have evolved over the last few thousands years, and it is interesting to consider how far the technology has come. Fountains can now be controlled by a computer, or even linked up with music and lighting effects with automated display settings.

There are many decorative and functional reasons for fountains today:

  • Drinking fountains in public spaces
  • Memorial to respect people or historic moments
  • Park feature
  • Entertainment (i.e. musical fountain)
  • Shopping centre feature
  • Children’s playground feature
  • Garden water features (i.e. fish ponds)

As there is such a huge range of uses and designs for fountains, we will look specifically at garden pond fountains in detail first.

Garden Pond Fountains

A garden pond fountain can be as simple as a plastic spreader on top of a pump to create patterns with the water. Most people have seen these, or possibly had one in their garden before.

They are cheap and easy to install, but can be problematic when used in dirty water. This is because the pumps and fountain spray heads can block up. This is why finding the right pump or filter system for a garden pond is important.

Beautiful garden pond with amazing pink water lilies or lotus flowers with a fountain in the centre

How to create the right Fountain Filter System

We can help you to find the right type of filter system to help keep your water clean. This will ensure you can add a fountain to your garden pond without any hassle.

To operate properly, garden fountains need to connect with a pond that is at least 50% wider than the width of the fountain spray – meaning most garden fountains are quite small as they are limited by the size of the pond. Typical fountain sprays from the above types of smaller units range from 15cm to 1m.

We can help you to make your garden feature fountain much more interesting by moving the system onto larger pumps that don’t have the mechanical pre-filter (sponge) on the front of them, plus larger fountain heads. Larger heads can come in plastic, brass, stainless steel and a variety of materials better suited to a stylish architectural water feature design.

Looking at even larger pumps with bigger nozzles is also an option. Top class pumps can get a large amount of water moving, which is ideal for designing impressive watercourses, waterfalls or for powerful displacement of pond water to spillways. The sky really is the limit when it comes to commercial applications! 

There are infinite possibilities of pump and fountain combinations to achieve the desired outcome.

Fountain in the middle of a pond
Jet of fountain closeup

State of the Art Water Fountains

Beautiful fountain splashing in the park pond on a summer day

There are many large-scale applications of the same pump and fountain head designs that are attached to a large float and situated in a dam or lake. You have probably seen these kinds of fountains at a golf course or in a public park before.

We can offer many years of hands-on experience working on customised water features and fountain projects. We work with the world’s best hydro mechanical equipment and are specialist installers for many leading companies. 

On every project, our team are happy to take care of the finer details:

  • We specify the right type of pump
  • We specify the right type of plumbing size
  • Power requirements
  • Water feature lighting
  • Fountain heads 
  • Details on reservoir size
  • Connections to auto top-up and overflow
  • Filtration and water quality management 
  • Practical advice on what will work well – and what will be high maintenance

Sometimes our advice is as simple as choosing the right type of nozzle, which will make the world of difference to your water feature!

Urn and Bowl Water Features

If an urn and bowl is your first thought when you think of a garden water feature – you aren’t alone. 

These types of urn and bowl water features are very popular. They give you all the sights and sounds of a water feature, but with very little upfront cost and minimal maintenance. Urn and bowl water features are super easy to install and don’t require any mechanical knowledge or special tools.

To help you create a beautiful backyard water feature, we offer  some simple DIY fountain kits featuring with everything you need delivered directly to your door. The package includes a quality reservoir that holds enough water (there are so many that don’t!) and won’t collapse when you put the water feature on it. Then there is a great selection of water features and a quality pump, with the right plumbing. 

These simple bowl and basin systems can be improved by adding a larger reservoir and upsizing the pump for a more dramatic effect in your garden. When we build these, we normally use a rubber liner filled with Aquablox (called a pondless reservoir). 

A pondless reservoir can be custom built to any size or shape making it the ideal – and scalable – solution to almost any water feature.

Upgrade your Water Fountain

Let’s say you have a pondless reservoir in place, a larger pump, and still want to make your urn water feature more appealing – what is the next step?

We install a group of similar features.

This is a great way to get bigger bang for your buck. A group of similar features can all run out of the same reservoir and from one pump. The pipe from the pump just needs to have a tee piece and valves. The more urns – the more tees and valves needed. 

The process is pretty simple, but we are happy to help specify the right plumbing and pump if you need a hand. 

Next – how do we make simple urns more appealing in a three-dimensional setting?

Well we can build them up higher by building up more of the Aquablox already used in the reservoir. This allows you to add a whole new dimension to the feature quickly and easily – but with structural strength

For a truly multi-dimensional feature we can create a pondless reservoir and have multiple water feature urns and bowls at different, cascading heights. We can plumb them with one very economical pump, install some colour changing lights, have remote controls for the pump speed and lighting, plus add some stone, wood and plants for colour and texture variation. 

This will look amazing.

For example, we recently completed a similar project on a Sydney property. This urban water feature now has a 20-year waterproof guarantee with our rubber pond liner, plus it can be enjoyed by all the residents in the apartment block, from all angles.


We are currently working on a commercial project where we will be combining some state of the art pumps, with high-end lighting and cloud-based controllers sending signals to the pump and lights. This setup will allow us to control water speed, water height and even display colours. 

Watch this space for updates – we would love to share it now, but don’t want to ruin the surprise.

Look out for our upcoming blogs on Commercial Fountains and Water Parks

Look out for our upcoming blog on Incorporating Architectural Elements into Fountains (and thinking outside the box)

How to Choose the Right Pump for your Pond

How do you actually go about choosing the right pump for your pond, or fish pond?

There are a few things to consider before looking at the different models, benefits and pricing available for pond pumps.

  1. What is the purpose of the pump?
    i.e. Running the filtration on your dirty fish pond? Driving a very small, clean fountain? Operating a 30m waterfall? Or is it for a commercial application?
  2. Is there any plumbing already in place for your pond?
  3. How far away is the powerpoint from your pond?
  4. Is power consumption an issue for your existing pond?
  5. Is maintenance currently an issue for your existing pond?


Water Requirement

Once you have determined your answers to the above information, start looking at the required amount of water. For example, a sheer descent water feature requires an average of 3000L per hour, per 30cm. Alternatively, you might have a particular filter that requires 5000L per hour.


Pipe Length

Next, you need to look at the length of the pipe. How high does the pipe go above the pump (head height)? How many elbows, or bends, are there in the pipe that may increase the friction (and give you less water at the end)?

The combined total of all these measurements is called the dynamic head pressure.

The total dynamic head pressure will determine the % of water lost through friction in the pipes. This is very important, otherwise, you might find your new pond pump isn’t big enough.

Having the right sized plumbing becomes very important.

Pipe Size

If your pipe is too small, you will have very limited options. There is a maximum amount of water you can fit through each sized pipe at normal operating pressures. If this feels a little too technical for you, we are happy to help you work this out for your individual situation.


These days, most pumps have a 10m cable on them, but there are a few that differ. Some of the newer, controllable pumps don’t have the full 10m to the receivers and therefore have bigger connections on them (which will require a bigger conduit).

A lot of smaller fountain pumps only have short 3m cables – this may need to be considered when purchasing a new pump for your pond, or fish pond.

There are a few select pumps that can have a much longer cable on request. However, this must be manufactured in the factory beforehand to maintain the warranty.


Energy Efficiency

While most submersible pumps are 300% more efficient than a pool pump, there are still significant differences between the cheap, Chinese-manufactured pump, and a quality German-designed pump.

Considering the cost of electricity, it is worth paying a little extra in exchange for a more efficient pump. By doing this, you can quite often find up to 50% difference in electricity consumption, which can result in a few hundred dollars in savings on your annual power bill!


Choose your Pump

Now you are ready to look at the application and select the right type of pump for your situation. Some pumps are designed to push high volumes of water at low head heights, while others are designed to suck up dirty water without clogging, or designed for fountains with really high head pressures – all of these, demand a slightly different pump design.

It is important to differentiate between pumps for dirty water and clean water as the impellor style changes. This can have a big effect on performance. There are pumps that can do both but you definitely pay a premium for this.

If you need more of a fountain style pump with higher head pressure but have dirty water, sometimes it is worth considering a “dirty” water pump and separate filter to keep the water clean enough to use a fountain pump.

Oase Aquagarden Barracuda 10000Aquagarden Barracuda pumps provide solids handling capacity up to 6mm (series 2 up to 7mm). Features include BSP threaded inlet and outlet, suitable for optional prefilters.Learn MoreAquaScape AquaForce 2700The Aquaforce 2700 Pond Pump provides flow-rates up to 10000LPH.
This pump is a submersible pump designed to run 24/7 for constant flow in your pond. Perfect for streams and waterfalls or just for running into a filter.
Learn More
AquaScape AquaSurge 3000The AquaSurge submersible pond and waterfall pumps are designed for 24/7 use and will provide enough water volume for a stream or waterfallClick Here

Case Study

Question: I have a fish pond. What pump do I need to push 10000L per hour through my filter box? The pipe is 40mm in diameter with very few bends. The filter is only 50cm above the pond. Power is close by, and I have no problems cleaning the pump out once a month…

Answer: In this case, we would recommend a filtration style of pump, from a decent brand, with a reasonably low power consumption, as it will run 24/7 and their fish are relying on it to keep them alive and breathing.

These would all be great choices:

The AquaScape AquaForce 2700 is our preferred choice here as it:

  • Can handle solid particles and dirty water
  • Offers the right water flow
  • Accepts 40mm pipe fittings
  • Has a 10m cable and 3-year warranty
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • PlUS has a really low power consumption!


Every Pond is Unique

We realise there are quite a few things to consider when choosing a new pond or fish pond for your property. We would be more than happy to use our many years of hands-on experience to help you choose the right pump for your unique situation.

To access our expertise, simply get in touch directly.

Russ Helps Queensland’s Wildlife HQ Zoo

In late February, Russell flew up to Queensland, along with other Certified Aquascape contractors
from interstate, to help build a pond for a breeding pair of Gibbon monkeys at WildlifeHQ Zoo on the
Sunshine Coast.

This project was part of a giveaway for a worthy cause, promoted by our main supplier – Aquascape
– on the Youtube channel of Greg Wittstock, ‘The Pond Guy’.

You may have seen these guys before on Nat Geo’s show, ‘Pond Stars’.


All materials were donated, while we donated our time to build this amazing new setup. We tried to replicate what the Gibbons would find in their natural habitat, including waterfalls, shallow water, deeper sections, logs to access the pond, tropical plantings, plus a very low maintenance system.

We got to work alongside both our familiar colleagues from interstate, plus the Pond Stars’ team and the last 10 Artists of the Year (a group of people awarded for showing exceptional artistic talent in their pond builds). It was an amazing experience to work directly with so many highly-experienced, talented pond builders.

I think the results speak for themselves.

While we were building, we even had a visit from the local Channel 7 and Channel 9 news teams.

The whole thing was built in just under 6 hours in typically hot, steamy Queensland rain. A pretty amazing feat!

Once the plants establish a bit more and the water has cleared (which normally takes a few days), it will look amazing.

At the end of the project, the WildlifeHQ zookeepers even brought out some Australian icons for the visiting Americans to get their photos with.

If you are ever in the area, we would love you to stop by and have a look at what we created for the Gibbon monkeys in this truly special pond project.

Fish Ponds and Care Guide

What you need to know to maintain your fish pond!

As a Master Aquascape Contractor, Anything Wet follows Aquascapes Ecosystem approach to building and maintaining ponds.

The Ecosystem Pond: Your 5 Part Recipe for Success (From Aquascape)

The five parts of a beautiful pond recipe are the foundations of an Ecosystem Pond. Not only are the five elements the cornerstone of an ecosystem pond, but understanding how and why they go together is also the basis for successful pondering.

(1) Rocks & Gravel:

  • Rocks and gravel lining the entire pond’s bottom is an essential element to a healthy water feature.
  • In a rock and gravel filled pond, beneficial bacteria colonise on the surface of the stones and break down any waste from fish or debris, minimising its accumulation. By adding bacteria periodically to your water feature, you will help this process along by replenishing the bacteria that live on the rock and gravel as well as the filters.

(2 & 3) Plants & Fish:

The plants and animals you put in a water garden are also vital to its overall health and function. 

  • Fish consume algae and insects that inhabit a pond, and your aquatic plants use fish waste as fertiliser to grow. Keeping the right amount of fish and feeding them appropriately will contribute to the lower maintenance of an ecosystem pond.
  • Aquatic plants help in absorbing the nutrients from the water that contribute to algae growth. A pond filled with a vast amount of aquatic vegetation will be much less likely to accumulate algae than one void of plants or fish.

Fish play important roles in balancing and maintaining the ecosystem of a pond.


(4) Filtration, Mechanical, & Biological:

  • Filtration is a necessary piece of any ecosystem pond. A mechanical filter, like a pond skimmer, is needed to capture wind-blown debris before it sinks to the bottom of the pond and possibly overloads the system.
  • Biological filtration, usually handled with an external source, allows the pond’s water to flow through, creating additional biological capacity to that already in the pond, which will break down the harmful waste. By properly handling surface debris and having the right amount of biological filtration for the pond’s needs, your ecosystem pond will function at its optimal levels.

(5) Recirculating System, Pump, & Plumbing:

Not only do you need the right sized pump, but you also need the properly sized pipe to handle an ecosystem pond’s recirculating needs. The entire body of water should be circulated a minimum of one time per hour to function properly. This can be reduced in extremely large ponds or dams.

Not only does moving the water in an ecosystem pond draw surface debris to the catchment area in the skimmer, it passes the water through the biological filtration material where the bacteria can do their job. Getting the water flow back into the pond over rocks aerates it, adding oxygen back into the water.

As we have stated, fish are an integral part of any healthy ecosystem pond.

They eat aquatic pests, and mosquito larvae which breed on the surface of even the smallest amount of still water and of course provide movement and colour within the pond. As far as pets go, they are quite low maintenance and cost very little to keep.

There is a wide variety of fish you can put in your pond. We will touch on a few, but talking with Russell about your specific circumstances will give you the best ideas.


Goldfish come in a large variety of sizes, colours and shapes. They are incredibly hardy and tend to do well in most outdoor environments. They don’t like extremes in temperature: cold or hot but tend to be quite adaptable to their environment. They are reasonably fast-growing fish and will grow to the size of the environment they are kept. Popular Goldfish breeds that are easily kept in outdoor ponds are Shubunkins and Comets. Both are easily purchased from your local aquarium in various sizes and colours. 



KOI, after goldfish, are the next most popular of pond fish. They are related to the goldfish but are stockier in shape and can grow up to 80 centimetres.


Their remarkable colours, temperament and hardiness make them an ideal fish for the pond. Koi are great pond fish but are banned in all Australian states except WA and NSW because of the potential risk of them being released into the waterway and threatening the native fish in the region.  


Koi will quickly learn to recognise the voice and footsteps of the person that regularly feeds them and will even take food from the hand. They are calming to watch and will live for up to 100 years.

Koi can be kept in almost any size pond, but as these fish can grow quite large and live for many years, we don’t suggest Koi for ponds of less than 5000Litres. There is a myriad of ways to keep Koi in a smaller pond than this, but you might need to build a bigger pond later on.


Koi secrete a hormone into the water which will stunt their growth when it reaches sufficient levels (have you heard that old wives tale about growing to the size of the pond? This is why). Hence, as part of a long term management plan, we recommend doing a partial water change a few times a year. If you have a very large pond, we have large scale alternatives or could implement a rainwater harvesting system in preparation for a partial water change.


A Koi pond requires a filter and pump that runs 24/7. The more biomass of the fish in the pond, the larger and more efficient the filter needs to be. Koi are active fish and enjoy some water flow, so it is essential to have sufficient flow in the pond. We quite often have a dedicated pump and filter, and a second pump running some circulation jets that keep the water circulating (and also improve the filtration by pushing everything into an area where it can be sucked up into the filter). As larger fish and biological filters both require large amounts of oxygen, we also recommend adding an aerator to the water to supply additional oxygen. This will drastically improve your water quality and help future proof your pond.


There are a lot of fantastic Koi foods available now. The higher quality foods have stabilised vitamin and minerals, and all the essential stuff that is quite often overlooked Omega 3, spirulina, garlic and other crucial things for overall fish health and colour enhancement. Good quality food is also digested and absorbed better and results in lower levels of nutrients in the fish waste. So- put simply, a good quality fish food is one of the best things you can do to improve your ponds water quality and the health of its inhabitants. 


Koi will spawn naturally just before summer, but often the parents will eat their own eggs. When breeding Koi, the eggs have to be collected quickly and raised in a second smaller pond or have lots of rocks and plants to hide within. The spawn produced by the fish can put massive stress on the pond and very quickly overload the filters. If your pond is unfiltered, this could cause the whole pond system to crash and kill the fish.


There is a wide range of native tropical fish that can also be successfully kept in an Ecosystem Pond. 

  • Rainbow Fish (Melanotaenia, Chilatherina and Glossolepis species): Rainbowfish are generally the most popular of our native fish to be kept in ponds. They are community fish and have a range of amazing colours. The majority of rainbowfish don’t grow longer than 100mm and the minimal amount that do, are excellent community fish. Note that it has been discovered that they have the potential to grow longer in ponds than they do in the wild. This could be due to the availability of food in the pond or that they have a higher chance to live longer.
  • The Glass Perchlets Ambassis species. These small species are closely related to the Glass Perchlets sometimes offered in shops, which come from south-east Asia. The Australian species tend to be a little larger. They are non-aggressive to typical community fish and appreciate an occasional feed of live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia or black worms. 
  • The Desert Goby Chlamydogobius Eremius is a small bottom-dwelling fish native to Artesian springs from the North of South Australia. It is peaceful and readily accepts flake foods. If offered a deep cave this species may breed in the community pond; the male will guard the eggs. Hard and alkaline water is preferred.
  • The Fly-Specked Hardyhead, Craterocephalus Stercusmuscarum has been around the pond hobbyist for many years and is a well-accepted pond fish. It readily accepts flake foods. Very peaceful and prefers to be in a school of 4-6 fish.
  • Gudgeons, Hypseleotris species. There are several species of Gudgeons suitable for community ponds—the one most commonly available in the Empire Gudgeon, a beautifully coloured and well-behaved fish.
  • The tiny Threadfin Rainbow, Iriatherina werneri comes from Northern Australia and New Guinea. It is a beautiful little fish with long flowing fins. It should not be kept with fin nippers. The Threadfin Rainbow makes a great display with very small fish like Spotted Blue-eyes.
  • The Purple Spotted Gudgeon, several Mogurnda species are not suitable for keeping with small fish, but this fish is an exciting and colourful species for a community pond containing medium to large fish.
  • Eel Tailed Catfish, Neosilurus species. This group of small catfish are generally suitable for a community pond though they may eat an occasional small tetra size fish. They do not have a problem with larger fish. 
  • Peacock Gudgeon, Tateurndina ocellicauda a small fish (to 40mm) with colours to rival the Killifish in blues, red and yellow. These fish could breed in a cave in the community pond.
  • The Blue-eyes, Pseudomugil species, are a group of small fish which make excellent community pond specimens. They are generally peaceful and readily accept flake foods. Keep the different “tribes” from different rivers separate.

 This content was originally posted on ANGFA ORG  to read more visit their website about cold water and special species.

Safety for your Ecosystem Pond

To keep your fish safe from predators, we recommend having your pond planted with a range of water plants. Plants will provide shelter and shade for your goldfish and grow on the nutrients produced by the fish waste. The plants also attract insects with their flowers which further offer food for the fish. Plants are an integral part of a healthy pond ecosystem.


Providing fish caves and rocky outcrops will also provide shelter for your fish and give A filter is vital to keep the water clear and to remove waste.


 Fish waste can become toxic reasonably quickly without a biological filter, and it is important to size your filter (and the pump that pushes the water to the filter) correctly for your pond and the number of inhabitants.


 If the pump and filter are set up correctly, the outlet from the filter can oxygenate and circulate the water creating the perfect environment for your new fish. We still recommend adding some plants as well as they form part of the overall solution.


A fish pond should be at least 60 centimetres deep and even deeper in areas prone to extreme temperatures. The deeper the pond – the more it is insulated by the surrounding soil. A larger body of water is also slower to change temperatures, so it is more likely to survive freezing or extreme heat.


During winter, you may notice that your fish will become slow, stop eating and stay towards the bottom of the pond. This is normal in the colder months and once spring appears they will become more active again. 


The temperature of the water regulates their metabolism. Below 12 degrees are considered to be “hibernating”, and you don’t need to feed them. Them somewhere to get out of the sun and away from predators.

Shop Predator Control

AquaScape Protective Pond Netting- Large (4.2mx6m)Click HereAquaScape Protective Pond Netting- Small (2.1mx3m)Click HereAquaScape Blue Heron DisplayClick Here

Feeding Your Fish

We recommend feeding your fish daily in summer, every second day in spring and autumn and once a week in winter. This can be adjusted to suit your particular situation too.  Only feed what can be consumed in 2 minutes! Excess food is polluting the water and growing algae. Leaving excess food floating around for the fish to come back to in a few hours is not beneficial to the fish or the pond. Scoop out any excess immediately and adjust the amount fed tomorrow until they are getting just what they can eat.

Feeding your fish on holidays

If you are going away and getting someone to come and feed your fish, we are pleased someone is coming to check up on your fish.  BUT, Irrespective of the individual level of pond knowledge and interest – I can guarantee they will overfeed your fish! We get quite a few call-outs to ponds full of dead fish because they were chronically overfed. I strongly recommend getting a seven-day pillbox and only leaving out enough food for the time you are away. 

Do not leave a full bag of food and instructions on how much – it never ends well. There are automatic fish feeders available, but they are a short term solution in our opinion – they are prone to not working effectively. Fish can survive quite a long time without food – so don’t feel bad if no-one can come in for a week, they will survive.

Contact Us Today

Dam and Lake Improvement Basics

Aerating Fountain

Once we have adequate aeration and circulation we need to stimulate the natural beneficial bacteria that will break down the sludge at the bottom and consume the nutrients that feed the algae.

This can be done with a liquid and a pelletised product – the pelletised product is great when you are
starting off as it will sink to the bottom and slowly release the goodies where it is really needed.

The liquids are fantastic to use in combination and as a maintenance product – there are even stimulant products for these beneficial bacteria and enzymes.

Once we have that under control we then need to look at controlling the nutrient source.

Whether it is soil run off, stormwater catchment, falling leaves, overstocked with fish or something else there is a way to control it and we can discuss this in your consultation.

We then look to get some aquatic life growing to further reduce the nutrients, improve the aesthetics and provide a habitat for some local wildlife. We can discuss planting out the banks and creating floating islands full of aquatic plants.

The most popular way to start is Subsurface Aeration.

Subsurface Aeration

What is Subsurface Aeration?

Subsurface aeration is designed as an alternative source of aeration taking oxygen to a pond’s lowest depth along the bottom. Diffused air systems utilise an air compressor, located on the shore, that delivers oxygen through a hose to a special diffuser lying on the pond bottom.

Subsurface aeration is the more economical option in comparison to the alternatives, it is super effective at aerating and circulating  – particularly when we start talking about the more technical things like breaking the thermocline.

Benefits of installing subsurface aeration:
  • Oxygenation can help limit nuisance vegetation and algae by facilitating the conversion of pond nutrients to forms that do not sustain algae growth.
  • Reduces the accumulation of sediment at the bottom of the water body, which is one of the most common signs of an ageing pond.
  • Reduces anaerobic bacteria which can produce ammonia and hydrogen sulphide, which can be toxic to other organisms and produce foul odours.
  • Gives aerobic bacteria  (good bacteria that feed on the same nutrients as weed and algae) the oxygen they need to thrive
  • Quiet and Cheap to run
What products can I purchase?
  • Wind-powered and solar options available.
  • An air compressor with weighted air tubing and a weighted diffuser.
  • A higher output unit with many diffusers in a ventilated cabinet installed up to 100m away from the waters edge.


Weighted Aeration Tubing 3/8″X Per MetreClick Here

10″ Rubber Membrane Aeration DiffuserClick Here

Some of our Available Options:

Solar and Wind with options to upgrade panels or the windmill size to generate more power and run more diffusers.
Because there are so many variables we encourage you to email us your street address and we can start by having a look via google earth. We can then give you some ballparks before booking in a consultation.

Floating Fountains  – These are what most people want but a lot of people don’t realise the cost that comes with them.
Here is a brief overview of the basic ones available.
Again there are a lot of variables so please reach out with some details and we can give you a better estimate before booking a consultation.
We also recommend adding liquid and pelletised treatments with these units and then looking at erosion and planting options.

The Best and Most Professional Solution

Is to build an intake bay area in one end of the water (it’s like a height adjustable skimmer for really large water bodies) and to pump the water to the other end and into a wetland filter. We build the wetland filter up slightly higher than the dam so the water can flow back to the dam via some nice waterfalls.

This is moving into a far more effective solution as you are now filtering the particles out of the water and pushing the water through a very cleverly designed wetland that will remove the nutrients from the water with a massive population of beneficial bacteria and aquatic plants.
The waterfalls aerate the water and we get circulation by sucking from one end and returning to the other.

There are tonnes of options here too. We can add streams, multiple waterfalls, multiple suction points and multiple filters depending on how many million litres you have and what sort of biological load there is.

These will of course work extremely well in conjunction with a sub surface aerator as well.
We need components like these, plus a power supply, quality pumps, an excavator, a few truck loads of different filter mediums, aquatic plants, large boulders and an artist to build the waterfalls.
This type of solution starts at $30K

Aquascape Wetland Filter Kit
Aquascape Intake Bay Kit

And what does all this look like – well have a look at this. This video is of the completely man made swimming lake at the Woodford folk festival in QLD.

It was constructed over 4 months from July 2019 with the grand opening just before Christmas (even though it was up and running for a few weeks prior) It was excavated, lined with a quality underlay and then a rubber epdm liner (well quite a few rolls joined and seamed together), the rock walls and natural river gravel floor, beaches and island were all made by a very talented team.
It is managed with the same intake bay, and wetland filters, waterfalls and sub surface aerators.
It is 6m deep in the deep section and holds 9 megalitres (9 million litres)

We were one of the talented crews to work on this amazing project and are master certified aqua-scape contractors.

If you are interested in something like this we would love to chat.

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Spring Cleaning Tips for your Decorative Pond or Water Garden

Spring is the perfect time of the year to have a close look at your ponds and think about how to make them look their best for the coming year. Is there anything that you struggled with last year that we could help with? 

Early spring is the perfect time to give your pond a larger clean to remove any sludge build-ups. This will help set it up for the coming warmer season. Pockets of sludge that are left in the pond feed algae growths and can create other health issues for the fish if they are left for too long. 

Prevention is far better than a cure. 

To know what to look for, first check to see if there is a layer of muck at the bottom of the pond. This will include leaves and algae. If your water is discoloured and has an odour it’s well worth doing a full cleanout.

Here are a few tips for your Spring Pond Clean:

● Remove all larger debris from your pond using a net.

cleaning your pond

● If you have fish in your pond, make sure to get a holding tank ready for them. Fill the tank with the existing pond water.

● Once you have safely transported the fish to the holding tank, completely drain the pond. 

● Use a high pressure water cleaner to hose the rocks and remove any algae, muck and other build up of debris.

● Repot your water lilies to encourage growth and flowers.  Adding slow-release fertiliser will also help with their growth. If you have noticed their leaves getting smaller, that is a sign they are root bound and need to be repotted. We have a large selection of Water Lilies and other water plants available for purchase and get regular deliveries from the water plant wholesalers – if there is something you are after please get in touch 

● With the pond drained, now is also the perfect time to change your UV globes. These to need to be changed every year in order for them to work properly. We keep most globes in stock and have your equipment details on our database. We can send you the right globe if you want to DIY or we can do this for you with a pond service.

● Reconnect any filters and pumps once your pond is clean.

fish bag

● Refill your pond and be sure to add in some pond detoxifier to remove chlorine and other toxins. Transport your fish to a fish bag or small container. Re-acclimate them by floating them in the newly filled pond for roughly 15-20 minutes, this will get them used to the changed temperature in the pond.

You’re done! Sit back and enjoy your sparkling oasis.