The Ultimate Guide To Pond Water Level Control

The Ultimate Guide to Pond Water Level Control

Anthony Barnes

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Ponds are an excellent water feature to have in your garden or backyard. It’s a great way to provide a focal point for your garden as well as help any nearby wildlife.

However, you will need to ensure that the water level of your pond is regularly maintained so that you can get the best results.

This will avoid a sad looking pond that doesn’t have a lot of water in it. It will also avoid any unwanted overspill which could waterlog the ground around your pond.

But how can you control the water level in your pond (see also ‘Installing A Preformed Pond‘)? Today, we’re going to cover everything that you need to know about pond water level control.

There won’t be anything that’s worth knowing left that’s not covered in our ultimate guide to pond water level control!

So let’s get stuck in with everything that you need to know!

How To Use A Float Valve Or Pond Auto-fill Valve

One of the easiest ways to manage your pond’s water level is to opt for a float valve, or a pond auto-fill valve.

These are particularly useful for those who are working to a budget and don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend.

Float valves can be known by several different names, including an auto-fill valve or a ballcock valve. These can be used to prevent smaller ponds from running out of water. 

But how does a float valve work? The answer is that this is a relatively simple device that features a floating device which will sit on the surface of your pond.

The valve will then close or open, dependent on the amount of water that is around it. 

So if the level of your pond’s water drops at any point, your float valve will then sink into your pond.

It begins to release the door of the valve itself, which can let water flow into your pond via a hose pipe that you will have hooked it up to.

The water level of your pond will then start to rise, causing the float valve to do just as its name suggests: float. This will then close the valve’s door when it has reached the optimal level of water.

Interestingly, you may find a similar type of valve in your toilet cistern.

This works in much the same way, allowing water to fill the basin when you press the flush function, and then allowing water to become stored in the cistern ready for the next use.

You can find all manner of float valves for your pond. The best thing is that you won’t need any kind of electric power to get the float valve to work, and you won’t need to pay a plumber to install it for you.

All you will need to do is connect it to your garden hose, then allow the float valve to do its thing.

Seeing as the water for your pond will be coming directly from the faucet, it may be worth installing a filter attachment to remove any unwanted chemicals such as chlorine.

How To Use A Mounted Regulator For Pond Water

Another fantastic method for beginners to consider is using a mounted regulator for pond water.

This won’t need any kind of power in order to work, and is fairly simple for a beginner to install in their pond.

It is slightly more advanced than a float valve, as it features a leveled chamber inside the mounted regulator so that it can better regulate the level of your pond’s water.

A mounted regulator will need to be installed on the side of your pond’s bank.

This will prevent it from being influenced by any current that might occur overtime and influence the water level as can sometimes happen with a float valve.

Even though a mounted regulator was originally designed for using in pools, it will be perfectly fine to use in a garden pond (see also ‘How To Shade A Garden Pond‘) as well.

But how does a mounted regulator work? Well, the main chamber will be located in the pond itself, ideally below where you would want the waterline to sit.

You can use the included hardware to move this up or down as needed. Inside this main chamber is a float valve, which will be arguably more accurate than the standard float valve that we covered more above.

This is because it won’t be as easily influenced by conditions such as water flow as well as the elements.

You will then need to hook up your mounted regulator to your garden hose so that it can fill your pond as needed. The mounted regulator will then work much in the same way as a standard float valve.

When it senses that the level of your pond water has dropped, it will release more water into the pond. It will close the valve door when it senses that the levels have reached where they need to be.

A mounted regulator will be much more accurate and reliable than a standard float valve.

Again, you may wish to use a filter to remove harmful chemicals such as chlorine, seeing as the mounted regulator will still be using your mains water supply.

The only thing to bear in mind is that it will be a little trickier to hide the mounted regulator along your pond bank.

It will be more obvious than a standard float valve, however, it will still be small enough to conceal using cleverly placed pond foliage or even stones.

How To Use A Subterranean Auto-fill Canister

Searching for something that will be a little more permanent than a mounted regulator or a standard float valve? Then a subterranean auto-fill canister will be just the thing for you to install next to your pond. 

This type of water level management system needs to be buried below ground next to your pond, and works similarly to a skimmer box.

You will also need additional pipework for your subterranean auto-fill canister installation.

Even though your subterranean auto-fill canister will need to be placed underground, it will still need to be close to your pond so that it can do its job properly.

This will mean digging a hole within 10 feet of your pond, and then connecting your supply of mains water to the canister as instructed by the manufacturer. 

You will then need to install an equalizer pipe between the subterranean canister and your pond.

This will work much like the other two pond water level control methods that we have covered in more detail above.

It will monitor the level of your water, and then refill your pond when it notices that the water levels have dropped very low.

Inside the subterranean canister is a float valve which will be used to monitor the water level in your pond.

This will help to top up the pond when it notices that the water levels have dropped significantly, but will also automatically switch the door closed when the water levels get back up to where they need to be. 

Unlike the standard float valve, however, the subterranean auto-fill canister is highly accurate and incredibly durable. So you likely won’t have to replace it as often as if you were to opt for a standard float valve.

The obvious downside to the subterranean auto-fill canister method is that it needs a lot more effort in terms of installation.

You may even benefit from paying a professional to install this for you so that you don’t damage your garden too much. Subterranean auto-fill canisters tend to pair best with ponds that have been newly built.

The Ultimate Guide to Pond Water Level Control (1)

How To Use An Electric Alarm Water Control System

Last but not least is the electric alarm water control system!

As you have probably guessed, this is one of the more expensive and potentially complicated methods for managing the water levels in your pond, as it will need to be hooked up to your mains electricity supply.

However, it will be worth the effort and investment, as it is arguably the most accurate of the 4 different methods we have covered in this guide.

So how does an electric alarm water control system work exactly? Well, this type of water level management features a control box, an electric anti-siphon valve, and a water probe.

All of these elements combine to efficiently maintain your pond’s water level, and you won’t have to worry about any complicated installation methods as you have to with a subterranean auto-fill canister.

What’s even better is that your electric control box can be fitted quite a distance away from your pond (see also article on heating your pond). So you can install it on a wall in your home, where you can easily control the pond levels as required.

You will be able to easily see via your fancy new control box as to what the pond water level is looking like.

It will tell you when the water level has dropped significantly via an alarm sensor, and it will also tell you whether the whole water management system is working as it should be. 

The alarm sensor will be able to monitor the water levels thanks to an electronic probe which will be added around the optimal water level.

So when this sensor notices that the water level has dropped below it, this will then send a signal to the control box, which will then signal the electronic valve to let in more water.

Your electronic valve will typically be hooked up to either an irrigation system or your mains water supply.

Once it has been signaled by the control box, it releases the water into your pond via a specialized water line, which you will have connected to your pond beforehand.

Just like with the other 3 methods that we have covered in more detail above, once the sensor probe senses that the water level has reached the optimal level, the electronic valve will close off the supply of water.

For the best placement of your water supply line, we would suggest installing this next to your pond’s skimmer box.

This is because the water will be quieter and more discreet when it is refilling your pond. However, you can place it at another point of your pond if you would prefer this.

The only things to bear in mind with this type of pond water level management is that you will need to know a little about electronics and plumbing.

You may find it easier to pay a professional to install this system for you so then you can rest assured that everything has been installed properly. 

Why Is It Crucial To Maintain The Water Levels In Your Pond?

So why is it important to keep an eye on the water level in your pond, anyway?

This is because over time, your pond may lose a significant amount of water without you even noticing.

If the pond has lost a little bit each day, after a month it will amount to quite a lot of water. So it can be quite hard to tell by eye whether your pond needs topping up or not.

Now this might not be too much of a concern if you have a pond that doesn’t contain any fish.

You can simply top up the water as and when you need to. However, in the event that you have fish in your pond, this makes water level management absolutely crucial.

If there has been a drop in the level of water in your pond, there will be less dissolved oxygen for your fish to ingest.

With less oxygen in the water, this can lead to excess bacteria or algae appearing, and will make the water very poor quality for your fish. It will result in the fish struggling to survive.

Not to mention that any plants that you have in the water will suddenly have their roots exposed, which can hamper their growth.

If there’s just a small dip in the water level of your pond, this isn’t something to be overly concerned about. This is a natural occurrence and will be balanced out by additional rainfall.

It will be if you live in a hotter climate that you will need to be concerned, particularly during the summer months.

In these areas, the natural evaporation rate will be faster than the pond will be able to naturally replenish itself.

Severe water level depletion can also be caused by other factors such as damage to the lining of your pond or other types of leaks.

Because it’s quite hard to tell by sight whether your pond has dropped too much, it will be essential to use one of the 4 methods that we have mentioned above for pond water level management.

In Summary

And there you have it! You now know everything there is to know about controlling the water level in your pond, as well as why this is so important.

There are 4 different methods that you can use to manage the water level of your pond: a float valve, a mounted water regulator, a subterranean auto-fill canister, or an electric alarm water system.

Each of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages.

Some are more expensive than others; some are more complicated to install than others; some are more rudimentary than others and aren’t as durable for long term use.

It will all come down to your personal preference and what kind of maintenance you would prefer to use for monitoring your pond’s water levels.

It will be best to think over each of the 4 pond water level management methods that we have covered in more detail above and have a think about which would be the best fit for your pond.

You may find that a simple float valve will be more than enough for your needs. Or perhaps something a little more advanced will be right up your alley.

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age