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Last updated: February 22, 2021
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Whether you have a pond for koi, beauty, or both, getting the best pond fountain can improve the health and appearance of your pond. A pond fountain not only adds to the serenity of your pond, but it also aerates the water so that algae can’t built up and your fish can breathe easier.
In order to help you find the best pond fountain for you, we considered dozens of the most popular fountains on the market today. Our Editor’s Choice award ultimately went to the Alpine FTC102 pond, which offers a beautiful LED-lit water display and plenty of flow to keep your pond clean. Competition was fierce, though, so we also conducted full reviews of five of our other favorite pond fountains.
The main thing we looked at when choosing the best pond fountain was the pump. After all, the pump is the heart of every fountain and determines what size pond it will be good for. We also considered the fountain material and size since these affect how they will look in your yard. Finally, we considered extra features like LED lights and multiple spray patterns. Below, you’ll find reviews for all of our top six pond fountains. Plus, check out our Buying Guide to learn everything you need to know about how to choose the right fountain for your pond.
"Because koi are considered to be a messy fish, this fountain with its nine-watt UV clarifier in the pump housing will make a great job not only like a fountain but also by killing algae and harmful bacteria."
This beautiful and simple floating pond took our Editor’s Choice award for its all-around quality. This pump is designed for ponds up to 500 gallons, and since it’s floating you don’t have to worry about fishing it off the bottom for maintenance and cleaning. Better yet, the fountain is extremely compact – just a foot in diameter and six inches high – and weighs under eight pounds.
What really sets this fountain apart from the rest of the pack for users is that it looks good. The spray isn’t enormous – it shoots about three feet off the water’s surface – but a set of colored LED lights in the fountain base allow you to color the spraying water. At night, that creates a really pretty effect that you won’t get with most other pond fountains. Helpfully, the fountain pump and lights have two different power cords so you don’t always have to have the lights on when the fountain is running.
Alpine includes a floating board and an anchor kit with this fountain, so users found that installation is extremely easy. They did warn that if you have a lot of debris in your pond, you’ll want to install a pond filter on top of the pump intake. But, that’s fairly easy and inexpensive to do.
The fountain comes with a one-year warranty and users found that Alpine’s customer service team is extremely helpful.
This small floating fountain from Ocean Mist has a lot in common with our Editor’s Choice fountain from Alpine. It’s about the same size and produces a similarly short three-foot spray, although the spray on this fountain is adjustable within a small range. The flow rate is slightly higher, at 600 gallons per hour, but it’s otherwise meant for small- to medium-sized ponds just like the Alpine fountain.
The main reason we liked the Alpine model better than this one is that users noted that this fountain is very prone to clogging. You’ll definitely need to install a mesh bag around the pump intake to prevent debris and sediment from getting in. That in turn entails more cleaning, since you’ll need to ensure the mesh doesn’t get clogged and prevent water from reaching the fountain.
The other thing to watch out for with this fountain is that some users found that it killed their fish. It’s unclear what about the pump or housing is bad for fish, but if you have koi or other fish you’ll probably want to avoid this fountain.
Otherwise, this fountain is very aesthetically pretty. It comes with multi-colored LED lights that shine at night. As for the Alpine fountain, the pump and lights are on separate power cords so you can easily turn the lights on and off at will.
This fountain from Sting Ray is one of the best pond fountains for koi ponds. That’s because it contains a nine-watt UV clarifier in the pump housing, which does a very good job of killing algae and harmful bacteria growing in your pond. While that might not be important for beauty ponds, UV sterilization is incredibly helpful for keeping your fish healthy.
On top of that, the pump helps to clean up after the biology of your pond. Zeolite crystals in-line with the water flow suck ammonia – fish waste that can build up in the water – out of your pond. At the same time, the fountain contains bio balls that allow beneficial bacteria to grow and further reduce the ammonia concentration in your pond water.
Users also liked that this fountain comes with three different spray nozzles. In addition to a traditional fountain spray, you can simply create a small waterfall that doesn’t distract from the rest of your yard.
Still, pond owners did find some small issues with the design of this pond. They noted that it doesn’t sit well on the bottom of the pond unless it’s very securely anchored down. In addition, some users found that the fountain has an issue with the tubing connecting the pump impeller and UV tube, which can occasionally cause loss of flow.
What we liked:
Includes UV clarifier, zeolite crystals, and bio balls
Inexpensive option for cleaning fish ponds
Three spray nozzles
What could be better:
Need to be secured to bottom of pond
Issue with internal tubing causing occasional loss of flow
This fountain from Lawn Lake Fountains is for the big ponds out there. The 10,000-gph flow rate means this fountain is designed for ponds that are up to an acre in size and relatively deep.
The high-flow spray nozzle on this fountain can be adjusted between seven different spray patterns depending on what you want. The most constricted patterns shoot water 10 feet high or 10 feet wide – still a huge area compared to the smaller pumps we looked at – while the largest spray settings can send water 34 feet into the air or 36 feet away from the fountain. Keep in mind that this means your fountain should be at least 10 feet by 10 feet, and probably much larger if you want to use this fountain.
This fountain is semi-floating, meaning it can either rest on the bottom or float depending on the depth of your pond. Fawn Lake Fountains recommends a water depth of four feet or more, and users found that this held up for real-world use. Included with the fountain, you get a 100-foot underwater power cable and 50 feet of mooring rope. Note that you can also purchase a night light kit separately if you want to create an evening display with your fountain.
Overall, this fountain isn’t cheap – but for the amount of flow you’re getting, it’s a great value. Customers were very happy with Fawn Lake Fountain’s customer service, too, which is nice to know when investing in an expensive pond fountain.
If you want to clean up your pond without adding to your electrical bill, this solar powered pond fountain from Eco-Worthy is for you. The fountain doesn’t have a power cord at all, instead relying on the included 20-watt solar panel for power.
That’s good and bad. On the one hand, you really won’t pay anything to operate this pump. On the other hand, you’re dependent on sunlight to keep your fountain operating at its full potential. The pump doesn’t have backup electricity, so it won’t run at night and may run sluggishly on cloudy days. That’s not the worst since algae also requires sunlight to grow, but algae can grow with a lot less sunlight than this fountain needs to operate.
It’s also worth noting that this fountain is only good for relatively small ponds. It’s rated for a maximum flow rate of 360 gph, and it will often run at much less than that if you live somewhere cloudy or wooded. Keep in mind, too, that you only have a 16-foot cord to connect the pump to the solar panel – so you panel needs to be located in a sunny spot within 16 feet of the center of your pond.
With these constraints in mind, though, users were pretty happy with this fountain. It will work to keep your pond clean, just not clean enough to host fish in your pond as well.
What we liked:
Doesn’t add to your electrical bill
Two fountain heads
Adjustable for up to seven feet of water depth
What could be better:
Pump will stop running at night and in cloudy weather
This beautiful bamboo pond fountain from Bamboo Accents is the perfect addition to a small pond. It creates a very different aesthetic than the other fountains we looked at – it’s much more zen and would be as at home in a Japanese garden as in your backyard pond.
The fountain is very small – just three feet tall – and the flow rate is minimal compared to other fountains. So, you’ll only want to use this for small ponds or for visual effect rather than for cleaning a medium-sized pond.
The pump is located at the base of the bamboo, so the best way to set this fountain up is with the pump buried in an underground reservoir. It doesn’t have to be in your pond, as you can run plastic tubing from the pump to your pond. However, users note that the included power cord is very short, so you’ll want to invest in a waterproof extension cord.
In addition to being inexpensive and very pretty, this fountain is also quiet. The output creates a soothing dribbling sound rather than a splashing sound, and the flow of water from the pump is muted by the bamboo construction. Overall, this fountain is a great choice if you can make it work with your pond design.
What we liked:
Very quiet and visually pretty
Pump can suck water through plastic tubing
What could be better:
Included power cord is very short
Very small with low flow rate
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve learned more about our six favorite pond fountains, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Pond fountains are designed to work with different sizes and types of ponds, not to mention that they come with plenty of different features. In our Buying Guide, we’ll take a look at why you need a pond fountain and how to choose the one that’s right for your pond.
How to pick the pond fountain?
While the spray may be the part of a pond fountain that you can actually see above water, there’s a lot more to choosing the right pond fountain for your needs that that. Here, we’ll take a look at the most important features you’ll want to consider when picking a fountain for your pond.
The pump is at the heart of every pond fountain, so it’s well worth spending some time thinking about what you need here. The most important consideration is the flow rate of the pump, which is typically measured in gallons per hour (gph). Flow rates can vary a lot – from less than 400 gph for the Eco-Worthy solar fountain to 10,000 gph for the Fawn Lake Fountains model.
You can estimate what flow rate you need according to how much water is in your pond. As a rule of thumb, all of the water in your pond should circulate through the fountain at least once per hour, and potentially more often if you have pond fish. So, if you have a 500-gallon pond, you’ll want to get a fountain with a flow rate of at least 500 gph.
The majority of pond fountains today are made of plastic. It’s not only good at sealing out water from the electronics, but it holds up very well and won’t allow algae or other pond scum to grow on it easily. Better yet, plastic is entirely safe for fish and most plastics used in pond fountains is designed not to leach chemicals into your water.
You can find some pond fountains that include metal components, like the Fawn Lake Fountains unit. While metal is very durable, the downside is that it needs to be cleaned on occasion – otherwise, algae can grow on the metal and degrade it over time.
If you want a fountain primarily for decoration, there are also some other materials available. The Bamboo Accents fountain, for example, is made primarily of bamboo. This isn’t meant to be submerged, since wood will warp and break down over time if it is. So, if you opt for a non-standard material, be sure to consider how it will work with your pond design.
When thinking about size, there are a few different things to take into account.
First, the fountain unit itself shouldn’t be so large that it takes up half the space of your pond. Most of the units we reviewed are fairly compact, so this won’t be a problem for medium-sized ponds.
Second, you need to make sure that the fountain head can reach the surface of your pond when the fountain pump is at the bottom of the pond. All of the fountains we reviewed except the Bamboo Accents fountain have extendable heads that work for ponds six feet deep or deeper. If you have a pond deeper than six feet, you may need to place the fountain in a shallow part of the pond or place it on an elevated platform.
Finally, consider the area of the spray. You want all of the water circulating through the fountain to return to your pond, not to be splashed into the grass and trees beside your pond. So, a pond with a smaller area will need a smaller spray cone. Thankfully, several of the models we looked at come with multiple spray nozzles so you can adjust the areal extent of the fountain.
The weight of your pond fountain isn’t a huge concern since most fountains weigh less than 10-15 pounds, but it is worth considering. After all, you’ll need to get the fountain into your pond and occasionally pull it out for cleaning. The lighter your pond fountain is, the easier this process will be.
When you buy a pond fountain, you’re planning to put a mechanical pump underwater. While that generally works, it’s good to be protected with a manufacturer’s warranty in case there’s a leak or problems with the pump motor. All of the pond fountains that we reviewed come with a one-year warranty to ensure that you’re getting a functioning product.
Extra features can help you match your pond fountain’s display to your style and ensure that it’s easy to use in your pond. For aesthetics, look for features like colored LED lights, which you’ll find on our Editor’s Choice fountain from Alpine. In addition, it can be nice to have multiple spray nozzles to modify the look and size of your fountain’s spray – you can even change spray patterns according to the season if you want to.
Another extra feature that’s worth looking for, especially if you have fish living in your pond, is a UV clarifier. A clarifier helps to kill harmful bacteria and algae by zapping them with UV as water passes through your fountain. You’ll find this feature on the Ocean Mist fountain, which earned it our pick for use in koi ponds.
What are the pond fountains for?
Pond fountains help your pond look good and stand out by shooting a stream of water into the air. But, that stream of water also has a specific purpose that helps keep your pond clean and healthy.
The number one reason to use a pond fountain is to avoid the growth of algae. Most small ponds are naturally stagnant, which means that algae and bacteria can grow rampant if you don’t do anything to stop them. Most pond owners don’t want to spend their days skimming scum by hand, so they turn to a pond fountain instead.
By circulating water continuously through your pond, a fountain can dramatically cut down on algal growth. There’s simply no time for algae to grow before it gets sucked into the fountain and shredded up as it’s shot into the air.
If you have fish or other critters living in your pond, a fountain is also essential for keeping it aerated. In the absence of a fountain, the only way for oxygen to penetrate the deeper parts of your pond is by diffusion – which is a very slow process. By launching water into the air, water particles are instantly mixed with oxygen and help return it to the pond from the air. For fish, that means they can breathe more easily and live in less stressful conditions
How to install the pond fountain?
Installing a pond fountain isn’t overly difficult. Before you get started, though you’ll want to get most or all of the water out of your pond – it will make the process a lot easier.
Most of the time, you won’t want to simply place your pond fountain on the bottom of your pond. It will get mucked up with sediment and debris and quickly stop working. Instead, get a terracotta pot to put on the bottom of your pond – you can either flip it upside down and put the fountain on top of it, or fill it with rocks and put the fountain on top of the rocks.
Once the fountain is in place, make sure it’s weight down. Gravel and rocks work great for this purpose, and they’ll also help keep debris from getting sucked into the fountain.
Finally, pull the electrical cord back out of the pond with you. Refill the pond before you plug in the fountain, or else the motor will be running without being able to establish pressure.
If you have a floating fountain, installation is much easier – simply push the fountain out onto your pond and you’re good to go. If you want to anchor it, you can tie the fountain to any heavy object like a rock or terracotta flower pot.
In general, you should expect to pay between $100 and $125 for a high-quality fountain pond with a flow rate of around 500 gph. However, you can certainly find more premium fountains – the 10,000-gph Fawn Lake Fountains model costs more than $1,000. If you’re on a tight budget, the Bamboo Accents fountain costs less than $80.
If you have a water fall pond, you are already getting the benefits of moving water and aeration. You could add a fountain if your pond has an area where water collects, though, and the process for setting it up is largely the same as for any other type of pond.
A pond needs to be deep enough that your fountain’s pump can be completely submerged – that’s really the only requirement. In most cases, that means you need about a foot or two of water (although with just one foot of water, the pond head might extend far out of the water).
GPH, or gallons per hour, is a measure of a fountain’s flow rate. The flow rate in gph should equal the total amount of water in your pond in gallons, so that all of the water in the pond is circulating through the fountain at least once per hour.
The three top picks from our pond fountain review are the Alpine FTC102, the Ocean Mist Small Floating Fountain, and the Sting Ray 1200. The Sting Ray fountain is perfect for koi and other fish ponds, since it includes several built-in mechanisms for cleaning up the biology of your pond. Zeolite crystals and bio balls help to remove ammonia waste from fish, while a UV clarifier stops the growth of harmful bacteria. The Ocean Mist fountain is a floating LED-lit fountain that’s good for ponds up to 600 gallons in size. It was a close competitor for our Editor’s Choice pick, but keep in mind that you’ll want to add a mesh filter over the pump to keep out debris. The Alpine FTC102 fountain was our overall favorite and the best pond fountain thanks to its excellent design, simple operation, and beautiful LED lighting. The fountain makes it easy to put on a show in your yard every evening, and the floating design ensures that this pump is simple to maintain and relatively free of clogs.