When you’re designing your outdoor water garden or backyard fish pond, you’re usually going to want to find the right mix of aesthetics and functionality. Using a good pond waterfall filter is a great way to get the best of both worlds.
On the one hand, you get the filtration needed to keep your water clean and clear. On the other hand, you’re getting a water feature that will give you ambient noise and add to the design of your pond.
This all happens while you’re saving money by reducing the amount of equipment you need in your pond. This guide is designed to help you find the best pond waterfall filter for your specific situation, so you aren’t wasting time or money searching through them all yourself.
What Is The Best Pond Waterfall Filter?
We’ve taken care of the hardest part of finding the right equipment for your pond. The pond waterfall filters below were hand-selected based on a few different factors, along with reviews from other customers just like you. Each is picked specifically for different types and sizes of ponds.
One of the best pond waterfall filtration systems you’re going to find is the Aquascape Pond Filter & Waterfall Spillway. This kit works great in ponds that are smaller than 1,000 gallons in size. It features a large 12-inch spillway which works perfectly with pumps ranging from 500 gallons-per-hour to 5,000 gallons-per-hour.
The filtration system is designed to use in smaller ponds and is simple to install. All you’re required to do is connect tubing to the filter and your pump, position the spillway, and then turn on your pump, so the waterfall begins to work.
For such a compact size, the waterfall filter moves quite a bit of water. The design features a ridge to help prevent leaks and drips. The internal filtration system is dual-purpose, using both mechanical and biological methods of filtering your pond’s water.
The filtration system also includes bio-activators to help the right types of bacteria begin to grow, offsetting the effects of harmful bacteria. The mechanical filtration utilizes a thick fiber mat to trap larger chunks of debris.
While you can use this waterfall spillway as the only filtration system in your pond, we only recommend that arrangement if your pond is smaller than 500 gallons. The smaller, more compact design is easy to clog when you’re moving more water than 500 gallons at a time.
If you are planning to install this waterfall filtration system in a pond more significant than 500 gallons, we highly recommend installing a secondary filter box to help aid the system in filtering out large and small debris.
If you are planning to use this as your primary filtration system, you may be required to maintain the filter media more often to keep crystal clear water.
It’s worth noting that you will need to connect your tubing and plumbing to the backside of this filter. You’ll want to think about that while you are planning your pond’s filter system. With a standard 5-year warranty, any issues you encounter will be covered by the manufacturer.
Pros & Cons
Did You Know?
In many cases, especially for larger ponds, a waterfall filter may not be enough. In situations like those, you may be required to install a secondary filtration system alongside your waterfall filter to keep your water clean and clear.
2. Waterscapes International BF1250 Pond Filter - high-density
Another excellent waterfall filter box is the Atlantic Water Gardens Waterscapes International Waterfall Filter with 17-inch Spillway. If you’re looking for a wider spillway than what most filter boxes feature, the Waterscapes Internation features one of the widest spillways available.
This filter box is perfect when you require extensive 2-stage filtration, both mechanical and biological, while also ensuring that your waterfall isn’t going to leak or drip. The internal filtration is made possible with a highly-optimized bio-mat that helps cultivate the right types of bacteria.
With a 17-inch wide spillway, this filter box moves quite a bit of water. It’s relatively easy to install, especially compared to many other models on the market and can be plumbed within a few minutes without any hassles.
Even though this filter box features a 17-inch spillway, the filter box itself is designed to be compact and take up minimal space. Even with its small size, though, it still provides excellent filtration with densely packed mats.
You will need to use a stronger pump because of the thickness of the filter media. You can also use bio-balls to increase the surface area that helpful bacteria can use to grow and thrive. The bio-balls give you the third level of filtration that does not affect the waterfall’s flow.
For the price on this kit, if you are looking for a larger spillway to move more water, the Waterscapes International BF1250 Pond Filter is the best that you’re going to find.
Pros & Cons
Did You Know?
A waterfall filter has a hidden benefit that many pond owners don’t necessarily think about. It can provide extra oxygen to the water to help your fish and plants thrive. It’s also cheaper than installing most aeration systems into your pond.
3. Atlantic Water Gardens Pond Filter & Waterfall Spillway - Efficient removal of toxins
When only the widest waterfall will do, you need the Atlantic Water Gardens Pond Filter & Waterfall Spillway. This massive 26-inch fountain is one of the best pond waterfall filter kits we’ve found, especially for large numbers of Koi fish.
The 26-inch spillway from Atlantic Water Gardens is a high-end waterfall filter that features some of the most sophisticated filtrations we’ve ever seen. This filter is perfect for large ponds and ponds that are stocked with large numbers of fish.
It’s also large enough to be used as your sole filtration system. With the internal filter media consisting of thick mechanical filter sponges and a large area for your bio-balls to promote healthy biological filtration, it’s hard to ask for much more.
The filter system works by utilizing multiple layers of foam sponges with enough room left over for a mesh bag of bio-balls. This makes the system incredibly easy to clean. The sturdy grid helps you disguise the waterfall in your rock garden, too.
You can get the kit in two different sizes. The first is a 26-inch wide opening, and the second is a 16-inch wide opening. The larger 26-inch opening supports higher flow rates and can be used with a pump in the 3,000 to 4,000 gallon-per-hour range.
We have not seen many dripping or leaking issues, which is a tip to the quality products that Atlantic Water Gardens is manufacturing. Couple the quality with their lifetime warranty, and this waterfall filter may outlive your pond.
Pros & Cons
Did You Know?
Larger ponds require more significant amounts of flow. If you are considering adding a waterfall kit to your pond, make sure that your pump can provide enough circulation. A higher gallon-per-hour pump is usually required to keep your waterfall functioning, especially with filter media inside of it.
How To Choose The Right Sized Waterfall Pond Pump
Choosing the right size waterfall pond pump can be based on three different factors:
- The purpose of your pump.
- The size of your pump.
- The type of your pump.
The purpose of your pump will need to move water through your filtration system and have enough pressure to keep water flowing through the waterfall. This means you will need to size the pump slightly larger than the number of gallons inside of your pond.
The size of your pump is determined by how many gallons-per-hour it needs to move. With a waterfall, that rating is going to be higher. For instance, if you have a 500-gallon pond, you may need a 1,000 gallon-per-hour pump to support your waterfall correctly.
The type of pump you choose will be determined by how you intend to power it and where you’re going to install it. You can either purchase a submersible pump or an external pump. Both types can be hardwired or powered by solar panels and a battery backup.
Benefits Of Waterfall Filtration Systems
In case you needed a little extra push to help you understand why pond waterfalls work so well, and why they’re so attractive to pond owners, we’ve collected a handful of added benefits. Each additional benefit below is what you’re also buying into when you purchase a new waterfall kit.
It creates a beautiful waterfall effectThis is probably one of the most apparent benefits, but you’re not just getting the waterfall effect, you’re also getting filtration. The combination of both the filter media and the waterfall come together to give you the best of both worlds.
Allows increased filtration
Incredibly easy to hideThe waterfall filter kits we have featured not only function well, but they’re also incredibly easy to hide. They can blend into your landscaping while still providing the waterfall that you’re looking to achieve. This can’t always be done with most secondary filtration systems.
It helps provide increased oxygenationYour fish and plants require significant amounts of oxygen to stay happy and healthy. If you want to increase the amount of oxygen they’re receiving, installing a waterfall kit can help deliver extra oxygen into the water.
Improves current in the waterFlowing water is essential to keep algae from being able to bloom. It also prevents foul odors from collecting in your pond. Installing a waterfall filter will help improve the current moving through your water, so you don’t have to deal with algae or foul-smelling water.
The ambient noise is relaxingAfter you’ve put all the hard work into building and designing your outdoor pond or water garden, the next best thing to do is sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Adding a waterfall kit to your pond adds one more layer of beauty in the form of ambient background noise.
If you have a large pond or large numbers of fish, you may be required to add secondary filtration into the system. A good waterfall filter kit can give you the extra filtration you need while also providing you with a unique water feature.
Different Types Of Waterfall Pumps & Filters
Just adding your waterfall filter kit isn’t enough. You’re also going to need a pump that is capable of moving water through your waterfall. When you’re shopping for a pump, there are a few different types that you’re going to encounter.
The first type is your submersible water pumps. The second type is external pumps. The third type is hybrid pumps. Finally, you have a direct drive and magnetic drive pumps.
Most waterfall kits will use submersible pumps to help keep the pump out of sight. Submersible pumps can run 24 hours per day, seven days per week, while keeping your pond’s water properly oxygenated. These pumps are relatively maintenance-free.
The pump you choose should be designed for use with waterfalls because they are going to run on a continuous cycle. Compared to other pumps that run during specific times of the day, a submersible pump can keep itself adequately cool to extend its lifespan.
One thing that you will want to consider when selecting a pump is that the cheapest pump to buy may not always be the cheapest pump to own. Many of the most inexpensive brands available are using large amounts of energy, which you’ll see in your electric bill each month.
If you are focused on saving energy while saving money on the purchase of your pump, both magnetic drive pumps and hybrid pumps are great options. Direct-drive pumps are another option that saves money each month on your electric bill.
Magnetic drive pumps are designed to be compact while saving as much energy as possible. A magnetic drive pump, however, is not usually used when your waterfall is more than 4 or 5 feet from the surface of your pond’s water.
Direct-drive pumps are capable of moving more water to higher elevations, but you are going to face slightly higher energy usage. This is where hybrid pumps come into the equation.
Hybrid pumps are a combination of both magnetic drive and direct-drive. They’re capable of flowing more water than a magnetic drive pump while also using less energy than a direct-drive pump. That means you can save money purchasing the pump while also saving money on your energy bills each month.
Hybrid pumps utilize a mixture of internal magnets with an impeller and are capable of flowing water efficiently at nearly every power level imaginable.
Even though they are slightly more expensive than both magnetic drive and direct-drive pumps, the added cost savings will more than make up for themselves in your reduced electric bills.
The type of pump you use for your waterfall will, ultimately, come down to the height of your waterfall, the size of your pond, and how much you can spend on the initial purchase of the pump. Spending slightly more on a hybrid or submersible pump can dramatically reduce your maintenance while ensuring your waterfall has sufficient pressure.
Spillways vs. Filters -- Which & Why
When you’re trying to add a unique waterfall and its effects to your pond, you’re going to come across a few different terms. The first is spillway, and the second is filters. While waterfall filter kits are relatively easy to understand, many people get hung up on the term “spillway.”
Spillways are typically a more basic design that allows water to spill down into your pond from the filter box. The spillways utilize internal filtration systems, while basic waterfalls will only move water from your pump back out into the pond.
A waterfall spillway will usually not include an internal filter system. The pump supplies water to the waterfall spillway and then, once full, will allow water to begin pouring over the edge.
For most people, a simple waterfall is going to be enough. However, if you have a fish pond or a planted pond, a waterfall filter is going to be what you want. It’s nearly impossible to add too much filtration to a pond -- more is usually always better.
Increasing the amount of filtration in your pond will ensure that healthy bacteria have enough room to grow while you’re also keeping debris out of the water. Getting these benefits while also being able to enjoy a waterfall feature is just icing on the cake.
Will Your Pump Be Strong Enough?
When you’re thinking about adding a new waterfall or other water features to your pond, you’re going to need to think about how well your pump can handle the added stress. If your pump is already nearing max capacity, adding a waterfall feature to it could damage it.
To understand how big your pump needs to be, we have a simple formula you can use.
First, you’ll want to start by measuring the maximum height your waterfall requires. This is how far off the surface of the water that the waterfall will be before flowing back into the pond. You will also need to take the waterfall’s width into account.
To achieve the greatest effect, you’re going to need to be able to flow at least 100 gallons-per-hour for every inch of width on the waterfall spillway. If you want more flow, you can increase the size to 200 gallons-per-hour for every inch of width on the spillway.
To measure the specific size and flow required by your pump, you’ll want to think about how many gallons are inside of the pond and work from there. For a 500 gallon pond, you’ll start the equation with a 500 gallon-per-hour pump.
Here’s a quick example of using the formula to quickly determine how large your pump will need to be to flow enough water for your filtration and the waterfall, itself:
Let’s assume you have a waterfall that is 10 feet tall with a spillway that is 1.5-feet wide.
To determine how many gallons-per-hour you’re going to need, multiply the width by 30 and then multiply that number by 60 to determine how many gallons-per-hour are required.
For a 1.5-feet wide spillway that moves water 10-feet into the air, you will take 1.5 times 30, which is 45, and then multiply 45 by 60 minutes. That gives you a total of 2,700 gallons-per-hour. Add that to your total gallons of water, which is 500 in this case, to get a total of 3,200 gallons-per-hour.
If your current pump is not rated for at least 3,200 gallons-per-hour, you will need to upgrade it with a newer, more powerful unit. You want to ensure that the flow rate the pump is rated for is closely tied to the amount of flow you need for your waterfall.
Purchasing more pump than necessary isn’t always a good thing. It will increase your budget without giving you many benefits. However, using a pump that is being pushed too hard will cause the pump to fail prematurely.
What’s The Best Pond Waterfall Filter?
After extensive research, we have found that the best pond waterfall filter box is the Aquascape Pond Filter & Waterfall Spillway. It combines ample amounts of flow with a compact design to make it perfect for most people’s outdoor water gardens and fish ponds.
Affiliate links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2021-10-19.
Top Editor's Choice on Pond Waterfall Filter
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Join our mailing list to receive the latest tips and news of our blog.