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Pond Pump FAQ

What size pump do I need?

The pump is one of the most important equipment purchases you will make for your water garden. It is the heart of the pond, circulating water to the filter and keeping the ecosystem healthy. Because it runs constantly, it must be both dependable and energy efficient. The pump you choose is based on the size of your pond and the pumping capacity in gallons per hour (gph). The pump should circulate the entire volume of the pond at least every hour. So, if you have a 1000-gallon pond, you need a pump that handles at least 1000 gph. When in doubt, you should purchase a slightly more powerful pump. You can always slow or divert the flow of a pump, but you can't increase it.

What pump should I use for a waterfall?

To choose the proper pump for a waterfall, you first need to understand pump head height. This is the water pressure generated by a pump. The maximum pumping height is the height a pump will raise water straight up resulting in zero gph of water flow at the top. As the height of any pump discharge increases, the flow will decrease. For example, a 1000 gph pump may pump 850 gph at a height of two feet, but only 500 gph at a height of ten feet. To calculate the pump size for your waterfall, decide the width of the spillover you want and determine the vertical distance from the top of the waterfall to the pond surface. Every inch of spillover width requires between 100-200 gph of water flow at the height of the waterfall. For example, if you want an eight-inch wide stream over a waterfall that is four feet above the pond, you need a pump with a flow rate of at least 800 gph at a height of four feet. Again, when in doubt always purchase a slightly more powerful pump. You can always slow or divert the flow of a pump, but you can't increase it. For a light flow, you can figure 50 gph times the width of your waterfall (in inches), 100 gph for a average flow and 200+ gph for a strong flow.


 Can I turn off my pump at night?

No! Not if you have fish. Nighttime is the absolute worst time to turn off the pump. During the day plants take CO2 from the water and give off oxygen. At night, however, plants take oxygen out of the water and give off CO2. Aeration is vital to your fish and lack of aeration will kill.

What are permanent split capacitor pond pumps?

Large Volume Plastic pumps - These pumps utilize a permanent split capacitor (PSC) motor sealed in a Stainless Steel Housing, which in turn, is surrounded by a plastic case. The PCS motor allows these pumps to use less energy than other pumps of similar flow capacity. The motor also produces less heat ; therefore, the pump does not require oil internally. These pumps are ideal for use in waterfall and stream applications, found in water gardens.

What are Epoxy Encapsulated (Potted) pond pumps?

Epoxy Encapsulated (Potted) Pumps - These pumps feature an epoxy-encapsulated motor, plastic housing, and radial lip seal on the motor shaft. They provide enough power to effectively operate a water garden, statuary or tabletop fountain. Algae build-up does not affect these small, powerful workhorses. In fact, they may even be used in some harsh, industrial-type applications. These "potted" pumps are usually more compact in size than an oil-filled pump of equal flow capacity.

How do you calculate the approximate Gallons of Water in a circular pond?

Circular pond: 3.14 X diameter X average depth X 7.5

How do you calculate how many gallons of water in a pond?

Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.48 = Gallons

What size pump should I use in my pond?

By turning over the water at least once an hour through the filtration system you will reduce the amount of maintenance required. A 3,000 gallon pond will require pumps that can handle at least 3,000 gallons per hour of flow.

How do I figure the head required by the pump?

Measure the vertical distance from top of water level to discharge point (top of waterfall) and add 1 foot for every 10 feet of elevation.

Should I use an external or a submersible pump for my pond?

In both the external and in the submersible pumps, the mechanism is simply: a set of turning blades that pressurize the pond water and force it into motion. Submersible pond pumps are easier to use than external pond pumps. They sit directly in the water and are inexpensive, unlike external pumps that you must place outside the pond. Submersible pumps are easy to install and run without priming. They can be used to power all but the largest water features.

What size tubing should I use to maintain an adequate flow in my fountain?

To maintain adequate flow, use a larger diameter tubing. Make the tubing as short and straight as practical, and be sure it doesn’t kink during installation. Minimum tubing sizes are: 1/2-inch diameter for flows up to 120 gph; 3/4-inch diameter for flows up to 350 gph ; 1-inch diameter for flows up to 1000 gph ; 1 1/4 inch for flows up to 1500 gph ; 1 1/2 inch for flows up to 3000 gph You can “telescope” together a series of incrementally larger sizes to make the transition. Vinyl hose comes in increments of ¼” in inside diameter (ID) and has about 1/16” wall thickness. The smaller tubing will fit snugly inside the next consecutive bigger size.

My outlet only has two slots; can I remove the third prong from the pump cord?

DO NOT REMOVE the third prong from the plug . These pumps are supplied with a 3-prong electrical plug, the third prong is to ground the pump to prevent possible electrical shock hazard. A separate branch circuit is recommended.

The pump cord is too short; can I use an electrical extension?

Do not use an extension cord. If there is no outlet near, we suggest that you have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet installed there by a professional electrician.

The cord is too long; can I cut it?

Do not cut plug from the cord. If the plug is cut or the cord is shortened, then this action will void the warranty.


Can I plug in the pump in any 115 volt outlet?

No…….The National Electric Code requires that a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) be used in the branch circuit supplying fountain pumps and other pond equipment. We suggest that you have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet installed there by a professional electrician.

How high can the fountain spray be?

The height of the fountainhead should be not more than half the width of the basin to minimize over-spray and wind-carried mist.

How wide should my basin be to minimize fountainhead over-spray?

The width of your fountain's catch basin should be more than twice the height of the fountainhead to avoid most water overspray and wind-carried mist.

I have no leaks in my basin; Why is my pond losing water?

If you recently cleaned your fountain, waterfall, or the pump filter, you may be losing water in your pond due to over-spray. A pump running more efficiently will produce more pressure that can cause intense splashing and over-spray. Over time the splashing will decrease the pond water level. Examine rocks and other decorative elements around your water feature for any signs of significant dampness or splashing, and adjust your pump capacity accordingly.