Does a Pond Need a Pump?

If you love wildlife and enjoy spotting different animals in your yard whilst sipping your morning coffee, then you should consider installing a pond to provide food and protection for little animals like birds, frogs, beetles, and fish.

However, what puts some people off from creating a pond in their garden is the maintenance that comes with it. The easiest way to keep a pond aerated and keep the water clean and healthy for any fish or plants living in it is through a pump. 

Having a pump comes will minimize the maintenance that’s needed to do.

The pump keeps the water looking appealing in your garden and encourages wildlife to come to visit. Not only that, but you’ll also get to enjoy the sound of running water that can be very relaxing when you’re in your yard.

Although there are some downsides to having a pump such as it will need to be cleaned out regularly to keep filtering the water properly otherwise it may break down from the buildup of gunk. They also require electricity to run so will increase your bills slightly every month.

So there are both positives and negatives to having a pump in your pond, but the real question is, does a pond really need a pump?

Does a pond need a pump?

If you’re planning on having fish in your pond, then it’s highly recommended that you have a quality pump to keep the water aerated and clean, otherwise, you’ll have to manually pick out debris and algae from your pond using a net, or drain your pond occasionally and fill it back up with water.

It’s not fair to put fish in an unhealthy environment, so don’t even consider building a pond without a pump or filter. To put it straight, without a proper filtration system and pump in your pond, your fish will become ill and soon die as they’ll be unable to breathe.

If you’re planning on building a pond for the sake of it and don’t really care about the cleanliness of the water (but let’s be honest, what’s the point in this?) then you won’t have to worry about installing a pump. Although, you will find that the water will quickly become stagnant and growing algae will make it look gross.

Algae does not mean your pond water is unhealthy, it plays a vital role in the nitrates that are left over when the filtration system has broken down plant and fish waste. However, no one particularly wants green water in the pond in their yard, especially if you have built it for aesthetic reasons.

Can you have a small pond without a pump?

If your small pond doesn’t have fish in then you won’t need a pump to keep the ecosystem balanced as it will serve as a wildlife pond that will just have plants and natural bacteria growing in and around it.

However, if you do want to encourage the growth of plants in your pond and encourage local wildlife to come to visit it, then you can install a solar-powered pump to boost the natural productivity of the water.

You’ll need to place the solar panel display in a part of your yard that gets good sunlight to power the pump on its own; they can also come with rechargeable batteries that will keep the pump running when there is no sun.

For small ponds, you can buy special additives which you put in the pond to clean the water and remove harmful waste levels from the pond. On top of this, you should try to use a net to get out any big leaves, algae, or debris from the pond to keep it clean.

If you’re not going to use a pump, then you should aim to clean and empty the pond at least once a year by removing all plants, water, and fish and refilling it.

However, try to refill your pond with collected rainwater as water from the tap is additional chemicals and nutrients which can upset the ecosystem of your pond when everything is placed back in.

Do pond pumps use a lot of electricity?

The amount and cost of electricity that you use with your pond pump will depend on the size of your pond and also what size/type of pond pump you’re using.

Typically a larger pond will require a more powerful and larger pump which costs more money to run, whereas a smaller pond will only need a small pump and may be relatively cheap to keep running.

The smallest pumps can use around 15 kWh a month whereas ones for large ponds can use over 400 kWh a month. On average, you could be looking at paying between $2-$50 extra month running your pond pump depending on the size of your pond and how powerful your pump is.

How do I build a pond without a pump?

The first step of building a bond without a pump is digging your hole for the pond. Make sure there are areas within the hole which are deeper and more shallow than others for microhabitats to form.

Cover the hole with a flexible liner (PVC) and then put aquatic soil or gravel into the base of the hole to fill with collected rainwater, or allow the rain to naturally fill the pond up. Once filled you’ll be able to pop in your aquatic plants into the pond or onto the surface which can help clean the water and also encourage visiting wildlife to go in the pond.

The submerged plants into the pond will act as shade for the water so it won’t dry out and also reduce the growth of algae in the pond.

If you plan to get amphibians or fish to keep in your pond then you’ll have to consider getting a pump as this will ensure they have a happy and healthy life in your yard.