How to Build a Pond Filter System

Save money and the environment while building a pond filter system. It's better for the fish, too!


  1. Image titled Pond filter Step 1.png
    Find an old plastic trash can with lid. Create a drainage hole in the can, on the side near the bottom. Position the can so that run-off from the drainage hole will return to pond.
  2. Image titled Pond filter Step 2.png
    Fill the can with clean filtration material.
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    Submerge a waterproof pump into the pond. Run the exit pipe from the pump to the top of the filled can.
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    Turn on pump. Water will flow out to top of can, through filter material, back out through drainage hole and into pond.
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  • If you want to attach the water inlet to the bottom of your container you can find the hardware (it will be listed as a rain barrel plumbing attachment). The benefit of moving the water up, is you create height for a waterfall and if the filter plugs up you pond won't go dry. You will need to start with a container with a spout or lip, the bigger the better and use lava rock for filtration, it works great.
  • You can alternately fill the garbage can with half clean gravel, then top with sponge filter material.
  • It is possible to make small version of this made from a plastic shoebox. Smaller version may be located in the pond, attached AHEAD of pump so that pond water is sucked through the filter, rather than poured over it.


  • Electrocution may occur if electric pump is not installed correctly.

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Categories: Outdoor Water Features