Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions...

Are there plants in the pool?

No, the ecosystem is separate from the swimming pool. The planted ecosystem can be situated alongside the pool with a wall in-between, or can be in a different part of the garden altogether and linked via pipes. Please refer to the gallery for examples of this.

How is an Eco Pool different from a conventional pool?

Conventional pools use poisons in the form of chemicals, salt (a different form of chlorine), ionisers, oxygen,  copper, silver, electrodes (etc.) to kill algae and bacteria. The problem with chemical/sterile pools is that nutrients tend to build up over time, creating perfect conditions for algae and bacteria to bloom. This is why you need to use more and more chemicals in normal pools – because there are more and more nutrients in the system. Eco Pools need less and less care as nutrients are stripped out of the water leaving nothing behind for algae or harmful bacteria.

How much work is involved?

Very little. EcoPools are designed to be self-cleaning as far as possible. Leaf skimmers need to be emptied regularly and the occasional vacuuming of the swimming pool is needed. Because the pumps run continuously, they skim the surface effectively meaning that fewer leaves fall to the bottom.

How much space do I need?

The size of the ecosystem varies according to conditions on the property. A rule of thumb is equal surface area between swimming area and ecosystem for completely plant based systems. We have succeeded with a lot less when shifting the biological engine from plants towards structure more towards microorganism. It depends very much on the environmental conditions that we have to work with. Generally, the bigger the ecosystem, the more balanced and the less subject to change.

What about mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes only grow in low oxygen environments where they have no predators: e.g. in stagnant pools. The water in Eco Pools is highly oxygenated. The ecosystem supports a diversity of predators such as dragonfly larvae, water beetles, skimmers, that eat mosquito larvae. We even have a carnivorous plant that eats mosquito larvae. Therefore – no mosquitoes.


Are Eco Pools more energy efficient?

Yes, significantly smaller pumps are needed because there is no preassurised sand filter. EcoPools has also developed an extremely efficient pumping technology which requires an even smaller pump. Wind/solar generators are an optional extra with some of our designs. EcoPools use less than 60% of the electricity than any other system available.

Can I keep fish in the system?

No. Fish are predators and eat all the small insects and other invertebrates which feed directly on waste material in the pool. An Eco Pool with fish in it is like a savanna with only lions.

And ducks?

Even worse. Ducks tend to carry a large quantity of nutrients into the system. Some of our pools play host to Egyptian geese and migrating wild ducks and we haven’t experienced too many problems, but if it can be avoided, domestic ducks should be kept out.

Do Eco Pools use less water?

The plants in Eco Pools transpire water, which adds to the evaporation of water from the pool, especially in sunny, windy weather. However, there is less backwashing needed. Because of the gentle chemistry of the water, there is no erosion of pipes, fittings or pool shells and therefore less likelihood of leaks occurring. Slow leaks tend to seal themselves over time.

Can an EcoPool have a pool cover?

Yes a pool cover can be installed over the SwimZone with no adverse effects on the system. In fact, having a pool cover will reduce algal growth even further.

How does the system handle suntan lotion?

Products which have natural or organic origins are of course preferable, but the ecosystem can generally metabolise a usual amount of sunblock.

Can Eco Pools be heated?

Eco Pools are generally warmer than conventional pools because the plants in the ecosystem act as solar heaters. If higher temperatures are required, heating can be done, but this needs to be allowed for in the design.

Public / school swimming pools?

Eco Pools are very well suited to public and school environments. Their large size means that nutrients are diluted. Public natural pools are safe and obviously do not contain the high levels of chlorine that are normally associated with them. We have installed the first public Eco Pool in Africa and South America.


Afrisam Architecture + Innovation Award for the Kogelberg Nature Reserve Oudebosch CampAngala Boutique HotelArtistic PoolsBeyer-Honig LandscapersCathy Skillicorn ArchitectsCo-CreatorsEcoPools BrazilEcoPools UKHerald News ArticleHeretoday Sustainability ConsultantsHorizon PoolsHotel Verde @ Cape Town International AirportLe Jardin Guest HouseMunga Village, ZambiaPhakalane Centre for Living RitualThe Amani Initiative at Amani HouseUrban Harvest Edible Gardens