Choosing the Best Koi Pond Filter

Choosing the Best Koi Pond Filter

Do you own a koi pond outside of your home or business?

If so, you may have considered different ways to protect your Japanese koi fish by keeping the water clean for longer periods of time.

Koi ponds add to the aesthetic beauty of your yard or garden and Japanese koi fish are often called “living jewels” because of their beautiful colors.

But ensuring the health and safety of these fish means taking time to monitor water conditions and perform pond maintenance as needed.

A koi pond filter will help you better care for the Japenese koi fish by allowing you to maintain a better environment for them.

By helping you monitor these conditions more closely, this will be a benefit to both you and your fish!

There are lots of koi pond filters on the market but how can you choose the best one for you?

Finding the best filter means taking into account a lot of different aspects of your pond and what is living in it.

Let’s take a look at some things for you to consider as you begin your search!

Remove Waste

Removing waste from your koi fish pond is one of the most important functions of your koi pond filter system.

While koi fish are truly a marvel to observe, they also create a lot of waste.

They are omnivores, which means they eat things like lettuce and watermelon. While these foods are healthy, they also help contribute to the waste product of these fish. In turn, this waste can lead to dangerous water conditions for your fish.

Part of the mechanical filtration process of your koi pond filter is removing this waste and other solids like leaves and algae, among others.

While it’s easy for a pond owner or gardener to skim out things like leaves or branches, fish waste is a challenge!

This is because fish waste doesn’t have the size or consistency of things like leaves, meaning that the average hand skimmer may not be able to pick it up like it needs to be to ensure enough of it is being removed.

Two of the most important aspects of your koi pond filter system are through the actual mechanical filter itself and the rate your pump flows water into and out of your pond.

The pump flow rate of your koi pond filter should be appropriate for the size of your pond. (But more on that later!)

Not sure what sort of system you should have for your koi pond’s dimensions?

Contact us to learn about your options and to discuss what’s best for you and your “living jewels”!

Ammonia Levels

Koi fish are also known for excreting large levels of ammonia.

This is a natural process caused when the koi breath out of their gills and also through their urine. Although this is a normal process, high levels of ammonia in the water can be dangerous for your fish.

In fact, ammonia levels that are too high can cause diseases to your koi fish, or worse yet, death!

Ammonia is removed from the water through your koi pond filter’s biological filtration system. Ammonia levels are measured in parts per million (ppm), but what’s considered a “safe” level for your koi pond?

Well, none is best.

A high-quality koi pond filter can help you achieve this. But also consider something that a filter cannot do — keep you from overpopulating your pond with too many koi!

As a general rule, you shouldn’t have more than one inch of koi for every 10 gallons of water.

Pond Size Matters

You may be asking wondering, “With all the options for koi pond filters and different pond sizes, how do I know how big the size of my filter should be?”

Well, it’s important to note that the size of your koi pond matters.

Generally speaking, your koi pond filter should be able to turn over the water in your pond every two hours.

But keep in mind, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Like many other things in life, there are other factors to consider.

How deep is your pond? What sort of climate is it in? Does your pond’s location provide for a lot of sunlight or is it shaded?

If your pond has some depth to it, your pump’s flow rate may have to be higher to compensate for this. Once you have dimensions of your pond, you can do some number crunching to get a general sense of the sort of pump you need.

Type of Filtration System

There are different options when it comes to picking the type of koi pond filtration system you want. Some of the most popular options are internal or external systems and skimmers with a unique waterfall combination.

External Filters

External filters are arguably your best bet when it comes to koi fish pond filtration systems.

This is because they offer you the flexibility of a skimmer-style cleaner with the convenience of being easier to clean because they are located outside of your pond.

However, this comes at a cost. While entry-level external filters can start in the hundreds of dollars, top-level systems can cost you thousands.

With this system, your pump is located at the bottom of the pond and pushes water through tubing to a filter situated above your pond. As the water is filtered, it returns to your pond for your koi fish to enjoy.

One of the ways this system can become more expensive is if you choose to add a skimmer to it. If you opt for this option, the skimmer feature is added to the beginning of your tubing system below the surface.

This will give you an added level of purity to the water — which now goes through two filters — providing your koi fish with the safest water.

Skimmer Filters

Skimmer filter systems are a unique filtration system for your koi pond. A skimmer system is installed at or near the surface of your pond.

The water flows into the skimming device, which pulls out debris. From there, it’s pumped to another end of the pond where it’s filtered and returned to the pond through a waterfall.

From there, it’s pumped to another end of the pond where it’s filtered and returned to the pond through a waterfall. These are popular with medium to large size koi ponds.

From an aesthetic aspect, the waterfall feature of this filtration system adds a peaceful characteristic to your koi fish pond for you and your guests.

Internal Filters

If you have only a few koi fish in your pond without an intention to add to it, an internal filter system is worth considering.

As you’d expect from its name, the filtration system is at the bottom of your pond.

It uses a pump to bring water in and filter it. The water typically returns to the pond through a fountain feature.

These are often used in small to medium-sized ponds but because of the fact that the internal component creating space issues, it can limit your ability to safely add more fish.

The Importance of Koi Pond Filters

By now, it should be easy to see why choosing the best koi pond filter is important for you and your fish.

Because of the diet of koi and their natural digestive systems, choosing a koi pond filter that has a good mechanical filtration system is a must. Be sure to choose a filter with a pump that’s proper for the size of your pond.

Ammonia levels can be a major threat to the well-being of your koi fish. A koi pond filter’s biological filtration system should make removing ammonia and other harmful nitrates from your pond its priority.

When it comes to picking the right filter, the size of your koi pond matters. But that’s not all. Other conditions like your pond’s depth and the climate where it’s located mean a lot too.

Choosing the best koi pond filter for you also means considering whether you want an external, skimmer or internal system.

The external filter provides you with the benefit of an internal system while also giving you the convenience of being outside the pond.

Skimmers are unique in that their waterfall feature allows for creativity in with your koi fish pond.

But if you are keeping your koi fish population to a minimum, you might consider using an internal filter.

Regardless of what filter you choose, you need to be proactive. Even with the best filters, keeping Japanese koi fish in your pond means monitoring the activity of your filter and the water conditions.

But this challenge, and the joy of keeping these fish in your pond is what is such a rewarding aspect of all of this.

The Bottom Line

Help ensure your koi fishes’ well-being by buying the koi pond filter that best addresses these concerns in your pond.

And remember to take some time out of your day to sit back and enjoy these fish!

After all, there’s a reason they are called “living jewels”!

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Susan Savad

Susan Savad

Biography As a child, I wasn’t particularly interested in art. I took the usual art classes that most kids take but I didn’t pursue it at home. It was when my husband went into the army that I finally started becoming interested in painting. All of a sudden, I was in Texas, had no job… Continue Reading