Home > Maintaining Your Pond > Pumping Your Pond

Pumping Your Pond

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 24 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Feature Pump General Pump Solids

Adding a pump gives the pond a heart able to drive the circulation of water through filters and UV clarifiers, fountains and waterfalls, giving the whole water feature a new dynamic dimension while helping maintain a healthy environment at the same time. A visit to the local pond suppliers or a quick search online will soon reveal a bewildering array of makes, models and sizes – and it can often seem a little difficult knowing where to start with all the types on offer. Fortunately, if you have a pretty good idea of what you want your pump to do, then making the right selection need not be too daunting.

Types of Pump

There are three main types of pump for the garden pond, each with its own particular characteristics. Small “feature” pumps are intended to drive bubble fountains and ornamental pebble pools, most coming with a fountain head already attached and for the right application; they provide a relatively cheap way to bring moving water to the garden. While they are perfect for the likes of a half-barrel water feature on a patio, their capacity is usually too low to be of much use in full-size garden ponds. To deal with these larger quantities of water, something bigger is needed – the traditional pond pump being a scaled-up and more robust version, typically with an enlarged pre-filter to keep solid material from damaging the mechanism. This type of pump is ideal for most garden ponds and the perfect choice for fountains – most come with a selection of suitable jets in the box – since the pre-filter prevents the nozzle holes from being clogged.

The last of the three – called “solids handling pumps” because of their ability to allow small particles through without the risk of damage to their workings – were principally developed to meet the needs of bio-filters, which require relatively powerful pumps. Their design has brought greater reliability and lower maintenance to the water garden, making them ideal for use in waterfalls too – though not, obviously, for fountains.

Sizing the Pump

Having decided what sort of pump to buy, the next step is to consider how big it needs to be. Most of the common problems – and disappointments – with moving water stem from the wrong size pump being used. For a waterfall a handy rule of thumb is to look for a capacity of around 150 litres of water per hour for every one centimetre width of waterfall – a 20cm wide waterfall needing a 3000 litre per hour pump, for instance. To produce an impressive fountain, rather than a feeble trickle, check how high the pump can be expected to drive the water; all other things being equal, the greater the height, the better the display. If the pump is primarily to be used to feed a filter, bear in mind that ideally the entire volume of water in the pond should pass through the filter every 90 minutes or so – with a fairly accurate idea of the amount of water your pond holds, the rest of the calculation is easy.

Of course, many pumps feed filters, which then pour into waterfalls and large numbers of ponds have waterfalls and fountains – though it is seldom a good idea to use one pump to drive both. If you do want a cascade effect and a fountain, buy separate pumps. A common solution which many pond-keepers have adopted is to use a solids handling pump to run a combined waterfall/filtration system 24 hours a day and a suitably sized ordinary one to drive a fountain – which can be switched off at night or when not required.

Light and Power

Most pond pumps require an electrical supply, either mains or low voltage and it is clearly necessary to install them safely – ideally with the advice of a competent electrician – as water and electricity are not a good mix at the best of times. Alternatively, you might wish to consider one of a growing number of solar powered pumps which have also become available – though for obvious reasons, they are generally not suitable for uses where round the clock running is necessary, such as filtration for a fish pond. If pond lighting is also to be installed, now can be a good time to think about doing that too, particularly since many of the pump manufacturers, including Heissner, Hozelock and Oase, offer pumps with clever lighting effects built-in.

With the recent advances in pump reliability and performance, there has never been a better time to add moving water to the pond. Equipping your water garden with a pump improves water quality, aerating, mixing and circulating, providing at the same time the opportunity to filter and clarify for a vastly improved pond environment. It also lets the whole thing come alive with the sight and sound of running water – the real reason many people build a pond in the first place!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Davo
    Re: Your Top Pond Questions Answered
    Why do i have continual white froth on top of my small patio pond. I have now only got 3 very old goldfish left in it The…
    23 September 2017
  • fishy
    Re: Raised Ponds
    hi ive built a raised pond, the top edge is perfectly level but the one end is lower than the other buy at least a couple of inches... will this mean…
    23 September 2017
  • Puzzled
    Re: Your Top Pond Questions Answered
    We have just cleaned out, relined and filled a garden pond which was filthy and leaking (we moved into this house a year…
    20 September 2017
  • PondExpert
    Re: Choosing the Right Fish for Your Pond
    Bill - Your Question:What fish will not eat frog spawn or tadpoles Our Response:We don't know of
    12 September 2017
  • Bill
    Re: Choosing the Right Fish for Your Pond
    what fish will not eat frog spawn or tadpoles
    10 September 2017
  • Linjay
    Re: Fish Diseases and Ailments
    Like Lyndy 2Jun Our fish are dying with no visible signs of anything wrong. The water is clear, ph fine, Any ideas what could be…
    3 September 2017
  • johno
    Re: Digging Your Pond
    good morning all, hopefully someone can advise me on my issue filling a preformed pond I have dug the hole, packed with sand at the bottom,…
    29 August 2017
  • talora
    Re: Aerating Your Pond
    I want to use "Paddle Wheel Aerator" in my small pond. May I put my queries?
    25 August 2017
  • lindyloo
    Re: Choosing the Right Fish for Your Pond
    shkenny your stickleback is a male making a nest to attract a mate for breeding. as the female lays the eggs in the…
    18 August 2017
  • kev1
    Re: What Could be the Reason for all the Fish Dying?
    if you have water lilies and they are overcrowded they are also like a jungle below the water line fish…
    2 August 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the PondExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.