So many of our clients want the raw beauty of a natural pond. Something simple, beautiful, and self-sustaining – without the need for regular scrubbing! Cost and maintenance are a big factor for people considering a pond.

Very often we are asked the question, “Does my water feature need a pond pump and filter?”

There is no simple answer to this, because it depends largely on what sort of pond you choose. The size and position, the number of plants you plan to have, and whether or not you will have fish – to name a but few factors.

When you come across a natural pond, there is no obvious filtration or water aeration system. Indeed, these ponds work with organic matter to clean and maintain a healthy balance and stop them from stagnating and smelling.

The trick to keeping a healthy natural pond is balance.

In its natural state, a pond will contain a variety of plants, fish, and insects. During their life cycle, they will emit waste, eat organisms within the pond, and die. This combination of waste and decomposing bodies adds nutrients to the water. The combination of light and high nutrient levels in a pond provides the perfect environment for algae. But why does algae not choke out everything in a natural pond?

Simply put, the higher order plants get to the nutrients before the algae does. This competition for food prevents algae from getting a firm foothold, and provides a great balance within the pond. So one of the secrets to a healthy, natural pond is to have space to include a lot of living plants.

Microorganisms are also present in abundance in a natural pond. These help to break down organic matter, and add nutrients to the water. In a man-made pond, however, rocks and plastic liners replace soil, stones and wood – which offers no place for these microorganisms to grow. The decomposing materials break down more slowly, removing oxygen from the water as they do so. This provides the perfect breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria which digests this rotting mess – but produces that awful stagnant pond smell that nobody loves.

How do you get rid of anaerobic bacteria? By aerating the water – which is why you would need a pump and filter for your pond in this scenario.

If you want the simplicity of a natural pond – without a pond pump and filter – then you need to create one with the size and depth that allows a healthy abundance of plant life. That is the first step to maintaining a healthy balance and encouraging the beautiful local wildlife to visit.

If you need a little help, then chat to one of our seasoned professionals at Pool Spa. We know ponds, and we will help you to create your own little piece of paradise. Call us on +27 11 793 1381 or visit us at