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How to Pick the Right Pond Pump

Posted on Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Choosing the right pump is essential for water clarity and overall pond health. The pump is the life force of the pond. Stagnant water quickly attracts algae and mosquito larvae. Water in a pond must be circulating and ideally filtered. A pump can be used to power a filtration system, waterfall, fountain, or water feature. Waterfalls, fountains, and other features are decorative, but also play a vital role in the pond’s ecosystem. They keep the water flowing and oxygenated. There are many different pumps to choose from, ranging in function, features, and strength.

Pump strength is measured in GPH, which stands for gallons per hour (1 gallon equals 3.8 liters). Deciding what strength and kind of pump you need depends on how much work the pump needs to do. The smartpond calculator is an easy way to get an estimate of essential information such as pond volume, pump size (in GPH), liner size, and ideal stock level (how many inches of fish your pond can safely handle). In order to use the calculator you’ll need to know the shape of the pond, as well as the length, width, maximum depth (how many feet at its deepest point), minimum depth (how many feet at its shallowest point), and how often the pump needs to turnover the pond water. The turnover rate is how many times per hour the pump needs to push all of the pond water through the filter or waterfall. We recommend using a turnover of 1 to 1-1/2 times per hour.

For example, let’s say you want to build a rectangular pond. It will be 6 feet in length, and 3 feet in width. At its deepest, it will be 4 feet deep and at its shallowest, it will be 1 foot deep. You want the pond to turn over the water 1-1/2 times per hour. According to the pond calculator, your total pond volume is 335.7 gallons. The suggested pump size is 220 GPH, and the ideal stock level of fish is 44 inches. You could safely run your pond with the smartpond 210 GPH pump, as it is closest to the 220 GPH recommendation.

If you want to power a waterfall or fountain, your calculations are going to be a little different. As a rule of thumb for waterfalls, you need 100-GPH for every inch of waterfall width for a nice even flow. If you would like a greater flow use 200-GPH per inch or 50-GPH for a trickling effect. Be sure to add more power based on the height of your waterfall from the water level of the pond. If you’re looking to power a fountain, you should focus on the “lift” or “pumping height.” Measure how far the water will have to travel from the water level to the fountain itself and then find a pump that lifts higher than that measurement. For example, if it’s 12 inches height difference from the water in your fountain basin to the top of your fountain, you want to get a pump that has a pumping height that’s more than 12 inches. All smartpond fountain pumps are listed with an ideal pumping height chart on the side of the packaging.

smartpond offers a wide variety of pumps that can be used for small projects, waterfalls, fountains, or to power filters. All of the pumps are oil-free, energy efficient, have adjustable flow control, and have a quiet operation, which is important for tranquility and fish happiness.

What else to consider?

Built in UV clarifiers maintain water clarity by reducing microorganisms and harmful bacteria. A pre-filter or Pumpshield™ will help with debris. Motors can be damaged or clogged by the intake of debris, and it can lower efficiency and require additional maintenance. Pumps can burn out and be damaged if they do not have enough water running through them. That is why it may be helpful to look for a fountain pump that allows for low water pickup or low water shut off are a great option. Low water pickup allows pumps to work in lower water conditions without burning out. Some pumps detects when water levels are too low and shuts itself off. A pump with a connected LED as an aesthetic option will illuminate water features at night.

Choosing the right pump is important for pond health and aesthetics. The wrong pump can be too weak and not push enough water through the filter or circulate frequently enough. A waterfall, fountain, or spitter looks quite sad without enough power behind them. A pump that’s too powerful can cause unnecessary water agitation. A little bit of measurement and research will make the choice easier. If you have any questions or issues, you can call smartpond representative at 1-888-755-4497, Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM.

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