Plant filter

Want to create a plant filter in your pond that replaces a pond pump, pond filter and unnecessary chemicals?

Then follow our expert 6-step plan and build your own plant or helophyte filter.

Save at least €1000 euros and avoid common mistakes with the "Simons Pond Advice Book.

Order all the aquatic plants you need for your plant filter easily and quickly through our online shop.

Helophyte filter swimming pond plant filter pond
Sumpfpflanzen category
Making plant filter pond
Simon van der Velde

A plant filter is perfect if you want to keep your pond clear naturally. It replaces mechanical filters and pumps so you contribute to strengthening the world's biodiversity.

Simon van der VeldePond specialist and aquatic plant breeder

Others bought this for their plant filter

Plant filter swimming pond

Plant filters replace pumps and filters

There are different types of plant filters, such as helophyte filters, swamp filters, swimming pond filters and plant filter trays.

All of these filters have one common function: to naturally purify your pond. They use substrate, pond bacteria, oxygenating plants and purifying aquatic plants to accomplish this.

Save money by getting rid of unnecessary products to keep your pond balanced. Follow our step-by-step plan for an optimally functioning plant filter, which not only saves costs, but also reduces maintenance. Let nature do the heavy lifting and enjoy your beautiful pond more!

A helophyte filter is a type of plant filter that uses specific water purifying plants called helophytes. These plants are great for extracting nutrients from the water, helping to purify your pond. This natural process replaces the need for mechanical pumps and filters. Such a filter not only creates a healthy ecosystem for your pond but also contributes to the biodiversity of your garden.

By making creative use of these natural filters, you can maintain a pond that is both aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sound. Our step-by-step plan helps you make the right choices when setting up your plant or helophyte filter. That way, you'll create a balanced and self-sustaining pond island that you can enjoy to the max with minimal effort.

filter pumps / UV lamps vs Plant filter

Filter pump and UV lamps Plant filter

Filter pump and UV lamps

Plant filter

❌ Regular & time-intensive ✅ Minimal & simple
❌ Often needed ✅ Chemistry-free, natural filtration
❌ Higher current expenses ✅ One-time investment, lower maintenance costs
❌ Technical ✅ Natural & aesthetic
❌ May be harmful to some organisms ✅ Promotes biodiversity
❌ Higher energy consumption ✅ Energy efficient
Swamp filter swimming pond

Build your own plant filter in 5 steps

1. What kind of plant filter?

Before you get started installing a plant filter, it is essential to research which type will best suit the type of pond you have in mind.

Swimming pond: For a swimming pond, it is best to choose a helophyte filter or swimming pond filter.

Koi pond: For a koi pond, it is advisable to choose a screened swamp filter or a plant filter tank. This will prevent the fish from accessing the plants.

Mirror Pond: For a mirror pond, we recommend a swamp filter. With a swamp filter, the pond maintains a sleek appearance.

2. Determine dimensions

After choosing your plant filter, it is important to think about its size in relation to your pond. We recommend setting up about ⅓ to ⅔ of the pond surface as a plant filter. An ideal depth for the plant filter is about 40 cm. Then fill most of this with a layer of pond substrate of about 30 cm. In a plant filter, you use a thicker layer of substrate than in the rest of the pond. This is necessary because the plant filter has a smaller surface area, but still needs to filter efficiently. In this way, you ensure that your plant filter contributes effectively to the purification of your pond.

3. Substrate

For an effective plant filter, pond substrate is an excellent choice because of its porous structure, which leads to better filtering performance. First, calculate how much substrate you need for your plant filter. Make sure it contains about 30 cm of substrate, with a 10 cm layer of water above it. In the rest of the pond, depending on the type of pond, apply an 8-10 cm layer of substrate to the bottom. In a swimming pond, you leave out this layer of substrate because it is not comfortable during swimming. In this way you ensure a well-functioning plant filter and a pleasant swimming pond.

4. Furnish plant filter with pond filter plants

Ensure that a proper ratio of plants is maintained when setting up the plant filter so that the filter works optimally.

Oxygen plants: 

  • Strong oxygen plants are: Ground Featherweed, Needleweed or Lid Stem. 
  • Minimum of 2 baskets of 8 oxygen plants per 1,000 gallons of water.

Purifying aquatic plants: 

  • Best purifying aquatic plants are: Pied Calamus, Sumpf schwertlilie, Pikeweed, Swan Flower.
  • Minimum of 2 baskets of 8 aquatic plants per 1,000 gallons of water.

5. Pond bacteria

1 bottle of Bacta Clear from 1 to 20 m³ (1,000 to 20,000 liters of water).

Plant filter pond

Plant filter planting plan

We give you of information on how to set up and plant a plant filter in a completely natural way so that the use of filters and pumps becomes unnecessary.

1. Pond substrate: for a good start

Pond substrate

A good start is crucial when setting up your pond, especially an actively used swimming pond. To avoid future problems, it is important to lay a solid foundation. A layer of substrate at the bottom provides stability, attracts beneficial bacteria and helps plant roots to anchor themselves. Our pond substrate, consisting of durable and porous stone grains, requires minimal maintenance and will last a lifetime. This makes it an excellent investment for a clear and healthy swimming pond. For an effective plant filter, pond substrate is an excellent choice because of its porous structure, which leads to better filter performance. First, calculate how much substrate you need for your plant filter. Make sure it contains about 30 cm of substrate, with a 10 cm layer of water above it.

Simons advice for pond substrate

Use 120 liters of substrate (6 bags) per m3, so that you have a layer of about 30 cm of substrate in the plant filter.

Pond substrate - 40 liters

- 40 L covers 1 m² ↥ 10 cm
- Heavy duty quality for the best filtration
- Extra porous: optimal plant growth

 39,95

In stock

2. Plant filter as a natural filter

Swimming pond plant filter

A plant filter is a valuable addition to your swimming pond, mirror pond or garden pond. Although it is not always pleasant to have aquatic plants in the swimming area, they are essential for a healthy pond. With a plant filter, you can screen aquatic plants from the swimming area, allowing them to perform their functions without disrupting your swimming enjoyment. It is very important to place enough aquatic plants in the plant filter to keep the water clear and healthy,

Simons advice for filter plants

Use a minimum of 16 filter plants per 1,000 gallons of water.

Filter Plants Set - 120 Helophytes

- For 5 - 10 m²
- 120 plants
- Placement: -1 to -20 cm

 279,95

In stock

3. Oxygen plants: keep water clear and healthy

Want to prevent an algae explosion of floating or filamentous algae? Then make sure to place plenty of oxygen plants in your pond early in the season, around March or April. The top layer of water warms up quickly once the first rays of sunlight appear, causing algae to start growing. Existing ponds also need additional oxygen plants. The lower water layer, where oxygen plants overwinter, warms up later than the upper layer. This causes oxygen plants to grow slower than algae, which is a common problem in natural pools.

No one wants algae in their pond, and certainly not in a swimming pond. Most problems in plant filters and swimming ponds are caused by a lack of plants. Therefore, always invest in additional low-growing oxygen plants such as Needleweed and Acreweed. These plants cover the water surface and prevent the sun from quickly warming the water. Moreover, they convert carbon dioxide in the water into oxygen, which contributes to the death of algae.

Simons advice for filter plants

Always make use of Acreweed and Needleweed as perennial oxygen plants. Place 4 to 8 plants per 1 m², depending on how quickly you want to see results.

Anti Algae Plant Filter Package - Large

- For 10 - 20 m²
- 96 plants
- Placement: -1 to -80 cm

 479,95

In stock

4. Water lilies: prevent algae with a water lily

Pond with water lilies

Water lilies are not only beautiful aquatic plants, but they also serve an important function in ponds. These graceful plants provide shade that reduces the warming of the water surface. As a result, they help stabilize the water temperature and reduce algae growth by filtering light. Water lilies can be placed either in a plant filter, where they help purify the water, or loose in the pond for a beautiful and functional addition to the natural environment.

Simon's advice for water lilies

A water lily thrives in as little as 10 inches of water and can then produce flowers. There is room for a water lily in almost any plant filter, with a minimum of 1 water lily per 0.5 to 3 sq. m.

White Water Lily - Nymphaea Albatross

- Large water lily
- Full-grown height: 10 cm
- Placement: -10 to -100 cm

 25,95

In stock

5. Pond bacteria

Bacta Clear for a clear pond

Finally, it is important to add a bottle of Bacta Clear to your pond water twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. This ensures that your pond remains clear and balanced. Bacta Clear contains a mix of two types of bacteria that remove waste products from the water. This increases oxygen levels in the water, which in turn promotes the growth of pond plants. One bottle of Bacta Clear is suitable for ponds up to 20,000 liters and is not harmful to humans, plants or animals.

Simons advice for pond bacteria

1 bottle of Bacta Clear from 1 to 20 m³ (1,000 to 20,000 liters of water).

BACTA CLEAR

- Pond bacteria for 1,000 to 20,000 L
- 100% eco: clear water fast
- Safe for humans, plants & animals

 29,95

In stock

Simon van der Velde

Simon van der Velde: Expert on ponds and an advocate of biodiversity and sustainability

Simon van der Velde is an expert in ponds with more than 35 years of experience in designing dream ponds. He is the founder of "Van der Velde Aquatic Plants," a company focused on creating biodiverse and natural ponds without the use of pumping systems and filters. Simon's vision goes beyond creating beautiful ponds; he also wants to contribute to the restoration of biodiversity in the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world. In addition to his work as a pond specialist, Simon is a passionate nature lover and is committed to preserving nature and the environment. He inspires people to take a sustainable approach to their gardens and the natural environment. Simon's passion for biodiversity and natural lifestyle makes him an advocate for sustainability and a key player in restoring the natural balance in our world.

3 tips from Simon for implementing the roadmap

Planting plan for a pond without pump and filter
  1. Unfortunately, a common mistake: the pond is already filled with water while the pond plants have yet to be placed. This makes it difficult or even impossible to place all the plants in a good, sturdy spot. Simon therefore recommends starting first with a thin layer of pond substrate in an empty pond, after which you only allow a small layer of water into the pond. You can now step through the pond with boots on to place the aquatic plants in place in the substrate. Then top up with substrate. Is everything set and firm? Only then fill the entire pond with water.
  2. If you have a somewhat larger pond, it is smart to work from the inside out. So you start in the lowest zone and work outward step-by-step. You end in the shallowest zone (swamp zone).
  3. When placing the aquatic plants, also pay attention to what depth is best for optimal growth. This is indicated on the packaging of our pond plants. Do you like a lot of plants? Then place the baskets or crates against each other.
pond advice book

Want more helpful tips?

Learn about common mistakes and get a handy planting plan, along with plenty of valuable tips in Simon's Pond Advice Book.

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Would you rather have one of our specialists look at it with you? Fill in our pond advice form with your wishes and preferably a photo and receive a free proposal without any obligation.

Simon van der Velde

Simon van der Velde: Expert on ponds and an advocate of biodiversity and sustainability

Simon van der Velde is an expert in ponds with more than 35 years of experience in designing dream ponds. He is the founder of "Van der Velde Aquatic Plants," a company focused on creating biodiverse and natural ponds without the use of pumping systems and filters. Simon's vision goes beyond creating beautiful ponds; he also wants to contribute to the restoration of biodiversity in the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world. In addition to his work as a pond specialist, Simon is a passionate nature lover and is committed to preserving nature and the environment. He inspires people to take a sustainable approach to their gardens and the natural environment. Simon's passion for biodiversity and natural lifestyle makes him an advocate for sustainability and a key player in restoring the natural balance in our world.

Pond advice and tips

Frequently asked questions about plant filters

Pond Advice

A plant filter is a general term for a water treatment method that uses aquatic plants to purify water. A swamp filter and a helophyte filter are specific types of plant filters. A marsh filter uses Sumpfpflanzen to purify water, while a helophyte filter specifically uses helophytes (reed-like plants).

A plant filter purifies water through plant roots and microorganisms that live in the root zone. These organisms break down harmful substances, such as ammonia and nitrites, and absorb nutrients, making the water clearer and cleaner.

Several types of aquatic plants can be used in a plant filter, including oxygen plants such as hornwort and waterweed, as well as Sumpfpflanzen such as iris and calamus. The choice of plants depends on the specific needs of the pond.

In many cases, a well-designed plant filter can reduce or even eliminate the need for mechanical filters. However, it depends on the size and type of pond, as well as the fish population. Some ponds may benefit from a combination of plant filters and mechanical filters.

Maintenance of a plant filter includes regular pruning of aquatic plants to prevent excessive growth, removal of dead plant material and checking for blockages. It is also important to regularly check water quality and plant health.

Plant filter

A plant filter is a natural and effective way to purify water in ponds and aquariums. It works by using aquatic plants and their roots to remove impurities from the water while adding oxygen to the water. Plant filters contribute to a healthy and clear environment for fish and other aquatic organisms, while reducing the need for mechanical filtration.

Helophyte filter

A helophyte filter is a specific type of plant filter used to treat wastewater in wastewater treatment plants and ponds. It uses Sumpfpflanzen, such as reeds and cattail, to remove organic and chemical pollutants from the water. Helophyte filters are environmentally friendly and effective in improving water quality through the plants' natural purification processes.

Swamp filter

A swamp filter, specifically designed for swimming ponds, is a crucial part of the pond system. This filter uses Sumpfpflanzen and substrate to remove organic matter and contaminants from the water, ensuring clear and healthy swimming water. The natural purification process in the swamp filter contributes to a pleasant pond swimming experience without the need for chemical treatments.

What substrate in plant filter?

To create a healthy and balanced plant filter, it is recommended to put a porous pond substrate on the bottom. The pores of the stone granules allow pond bacteria to settle that help break down silt and keep the water clear. In addition, the substrate provides a good base for plants to take root and grow healthily, whether placed in a basket or with a plug.
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Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.
Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.
Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.
Tips, advice and substantial savings
I would like to share my experience with you, and advise you to solve any pond problems and reduce pond maintenance. As a result, you can easily save hundreds of dollars.