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8 Tips to Keep Pond Water Clear Without a Filter

8 Tips to Keep Pond Water Clear Without a Filter

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Ponds are a mesmerizing addition to any garden. However, they need plenty of maintenance and equipment, especially if you want your pond water to remain clear and sparkling. This can be hard to do without a filter.

Well, you can easily clear pond water without a filter by keeping fewer fish in the pond, adding some aquatic plants and pond dyes, and circulating the water.

Do you want to find out more? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know on how to keep pond water clear without a filter, so stick around.

How to Keep Pond Water Clear Without a Filter

You can do many things to keep pond water clear. You can even employ these methods to give your filter a helping hand!

Some ways you can keep pond water clear include:

Avoid Overcrowding

It’s crucial that all pond owners know the exact size and capacity of their pond. This way, they can avoid having too many fish in the pond.

Overcrowding your pond can lead to a drop in the water quality due to built-up fish waste. Naturally, this can make the water dirty, especially without a filtration system.

Not only does having too many fish in one pond create an unclean environment, but it can also harm the fish. The fish can suffer from many illnesses, sores, fungal growth, and stress.

For this reason, you should know how many fish to keep in your pond. First, you should calculate the size of the pond.

Though the rule of thumb is to keep one inch of fish per gallon of water, every fish is different. That’s why you should determine the size of your fish as they might need a larger space.

Additionally, you need to keep in mind that fish can grow and reproduce rather quickly. So, make sure to allow room for the fish to grow, as well as keep track of any new additions to your fish family!

Keep Aquatic Plants

It goes without saying that plants make everything fresher and cleaner. Yet, there are specific types of aquatic plants that can keep your pond clear without the need for a filter.


Hornwort is definitely a pond favorite for its many benefits. This aquatic plant is gorgeous, low-maintenance, and most importantly, helps clean the water.

Moreover, hornworts are resilient, so they’re able to thrive even if your pond doesn’t have a filtration system. The plant can consume excess nutrients and waste from your pond, all the while oxygenating the water.

What makes hornworts excellent for cleaning water is that they’re fairly fast-growing. This means even more filtration in almost no time.

Water Hyacinth

Water hyacinths can completely transform the way your pond looks. This is one of the most gorgeous aquatic plants you can grow, and it can also help clear up the dirtiest ponds. This plant can even decontaminate wastewater!

Unfortunately, water hyacinths have their drawbacks. It’s rapid-growing, which means that in a matter of weeks, it can completely take over the pond.

Sure, this means more efficient cleaning. Still, this aggressive rate of growth makes it hard to eradicate water hyacinths. In fact, many consider this plant a weed.

Water Iris

If you want to add more color to your pond while still keeping it clean, a water iris is the way to go. Though water iris only grows on the margins of the pond, this blooming plant can help your pond become crystal clear.

To explain, water iris roots extend, reaching the pond’s water. This way, the plant can purify any excess nutrients and waste from the pond, as well as oxygenate the water.


Cattails are basically natural filters. Besides their unique shape, these plants have an extensive root system that can easily remove any sediment and waste found in the pond.

Additionally, you don’t have to frequently maintain cattails. Simply planting the plant along the margins of your pond should do the trick. Then, the plant is able to germinate and extend its rhizomes to the pond, removing waste.

Use Pond Dyes

Though many people use pond dyes for aesthetic purposes, these dyes can actually clear the water. So, you’ll be able to completely give up pond filters!

There are many reasons pond dyes work so well in clearing pond water. First, these dyes give your pond a sparkling blue color that’ll surely make it look clearer, even if the pond is still unclean!

Mainly, pond dyes work by stopping the growth of algae and other weeds and fungi. That’s because the dyes block sunlight from reaching the water, thus stopping photosynthesis.

With less sunlight, the temperature of the water drops. Most weeds, fungi, and parasites can’t grow in the cold.

However, pond dyes aren’t permanent. These dyes only last a couple of weeks before the pond water returns to its normal state. You’ll need to apply the dye regularly for the best results.

Feed Your Fish Less

You might think you’re doing the pond fish a favor by feeding them often. However, overfeeding the fish can be the reason your pond water isn’t clearing no matter how hard you try.

When you overfeed the fish, two things might happen. First, the fish might eat the excess food, leading them to develop fatty liver disease.

Most often than not, excess food can decompose in the water. This produces toxic by-products, such as nitrites and ammonia.

Other than harming the fish, these by-products can alter the chemistry of the water. There’s also no way to remove the food remains without any filters.

So, it’s better to calculate the exact amount of food that your fish needs. If you’re unsure, it’s better to underfeed your fish. Just make sure they’re healthy!

The quality of the food you give your fish also matters greatly. Many fish owners feed their fish spoiled food without realizing it.

If the food isn’t fresh, it’ll easily degrade in the water. This leads to excess waste. More importantly, though, the fish might get sick!

Agitate The Water

Keeping the water moving is crucial to maintaining a pristine, clear pond. You can easily keep algae at bay by agitating the water every couple of days.

To clarify, this is a sure way to oxygenate the water. When the water is still, oxygen moves to the surface, so the bottom layer loses its oxygen.

This might lead to fish deaths and the growth of anaerobic bacteria. This bacteria is responsible for the unpleasant smell of wastewater.

In addition, stagnant water is an invitation for the buildup of waste and algae. Naturally, most algae can’t grow in turbulent bodies of water.

By circulating the pond water, any debris that might’ve settled at the bottom of the pond will move to the surface. This makes it much easier to clean.

There are many ways you can aerate your pond. You can add an airstone, or you can even install a water fountain!

Keep Ducks

A duck pond is a dream come true. The lovely ducks make for a great sight, and the best part is, they can clear up your pond!

Ducks basically eat anything. This includes algae and waste in your pond. They’re natural pond cleaners.

Also, if you’re having problems with other pests such as frogs, snakes, or insects, ducks might be the answer. The ducks will eat these troublemakers as well!

The major drawback when it comes to ducks, though, is that you’ll need to clean up after the ducks. So, while you’ll have clear pond water, ducks can leave quite a mess in your yard.

Change the Water Regularly

The most straightforward way to maintain water quality is to change it regularly. Evidently, you can’t routinely drain your pond and refill it.

The best solution is to partially change your pond water. Typically, you’ll need to top off the pond water once a week.

A general rule most pond owners go by is changing about 15% of the water weekly. Yet, if you’re not using a filter, then you might need to up that amount.

To change the pond water, you’ll first need to drain the desired amount from the pond. Then, add clear water to it.

That said, you can’t get away with using water from a hose. It’s crucial that pond water is completely free from chlorine, so you’ll need to dechlorinate the water first.

Manually Filter the Pond

All of the above options can help maintain a clear pond. Yet, the best way to ensure water’s clarity without a filter is to put in some elbow grease.

What’s more is that if the pond water is already mucky, none of the above methods can effectively remove the excess waste.

The first step in cleaning the pond is to remove any leaves, string algae, and visible waste from the surface. Then, you should invest in a rake or a net to bring out any waste from the bottom.

You should filter the pond water as often as possible. Usually, it’s best to clean the pond before changing the water.

Final Thoughts

So, how to keep pond water clean without a filter?

First, you should avoid overcrowding your pond. Second, you can grow some aquatic plants, like hornwort, water hyacinth, and cattails. These plants will help make the pond clear.

You can also use pond dyes. Moreover, feeding your fish less will eliminate the excess waste that leads to pond problems.

Keeping ducks can also help with the process, as they can eat algae and waste. Finally, you can perform water changes or manually filter the pond.

Hopefully, this will help make your pond clean without spending a fortune on a filter.


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