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How to Choose Pond Pumps,Waterfall Pumps and Pond Filter Pumps

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Pump Size Calculations :


- How Do I Properly Size a Pump to Create the Waterfall I’m Looking For? – Water Garden Q & A


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Need more details and numbers see below   ..  ???

Q: How do I properly size a pump to create the waterfall I’m looking for? – Several Customers



A: We get this question asked to us quite a bit. The following process will help you in determing the correct pump size for a waterfall:


Step 1: Determine the Head Pressure (Head)


Head equals the total number of feet from the

top of the waterfall to the water’s surface. For example: Let’s say that height is equal to 5′. see the drawing below ..


Step 2: Determining Desired Water Flow


In general, you will need 1,500 gallons per hour (gph) for every 1-foot of waterfall discharge for an average flow. The discharge is considered where the water enters back into the pond.

For example: Let’s say the width of our waterfall is 2′. This would mean we need a pump of approximately 3,000 gph.


Step 3: Putting It All Together
In our example, our head pressure is 5′ and the approximate gph of our desired pump is 3,000 gph. This means would need a pump that would pump 3,000 gph at 5′ of head.


Other Notes: :


  • For a heavy waterfall flow, use 2,000 gph per foot of waterfall discharge.

  • For a lighter waterfall flow, use 1,000 gph per foot of waterfall discharge.

  • If the tubing from the pump to the waterfall is greater than 10′ then it is recommended to add 1 foot of head for every 10′ of tubing.

  • We also have a calculator on our website to help calculate this formula for you. Click here to view the calculator.


Articles About Ponds and Water Gardens


- How to calculate the amount of water you need for a waterfall


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A pond pump is designed to pump water from the reservoir at the bottom of the waterfall back up to the top of the waterfall.  It is important to have just the right amount of water to make sure the pump runs optimally.


  • If you have too much water, it will spill over the water reservoir and make a flood outside the pond when you turn the waterfall off. 

  • If you have too litte water, the pump will run dry, have air pockets, or cause exessive noise, all of which can decrease the life of your pump.

How to calculate the right amount of water for your waterfall


Use this formula: 


Length of waterfall x width of waterfall x (0.25 x Depth of water) = how many cubic feet of water you need running down your waterfall, also called water in motion.  


Of course, we don't normally measure water in cubic feet.  There are 7.48 gallons per cubic ft of water.  Muliply how many cubic feet of water from the formula above x 7.48, and you will have how many gallons of water you need.


To find out how much water you need for the entire system, multiply the amount of water in motion you need x 2.5.   This will give you enough water to keep the pump submerged at all times, and not have an overflow when the pump is turned off.


Here is an example:


Length = 10ft     Width = 3ft    Depth=.5 inch

Calculate Water in Motion: L x W x (0.25 x D) x 7.48

10 x 3 (0.25 x 0.5) x 7.48 = 28.05 gallons

Calculate Total Amount of Water:  Water in motion x 2.5

28.05 gallons x 2.5 = 70 gallons

This means that you need a reservoir that can hold 70 gallons of water! For pondless waterfalls, water matrix are a great way to store larger volumes of water in a smaller footprint, which gives you more flexibility on design.  





 software to plan your pond : 

Planning a Pond Design  ..  click here .. 

Another good article :


- How to Size a Waterfall Pump


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The size of the pump you need for a waterfall feature depends on many factors. The width of the waterfall, the length of the water drop, the thickness of the curtain of water and the length of the tubing between the pump and the waterfall all affect necessary pump size. Pump flow is measured in gallons per minute or gallons per hour. For a medium flow, you need a pump that moves about 1,500 gph per foot of waterfall width.

1- Measure the waterfall weir, which is the width of the water across the top of the fall. Round up to the nearest foot.


2- Measure the height of the waterfall from the weir to the surface of the water where the fall hits. This is called the head. The head is the amount of mechanical or gravitational resistance the pump will have to overcome. If you have 90-degree angles in your tubing, add 1 foot of head for every one to two turns. Add 1 foot of head for every four fittings or adapters in the tubing. Add 1 foot of head for every 10 feet of tubing between the pump and the fall after the initial 10 feet.


3- Multiply the length of the weir by 1,500 gph for a medium flow -- about a 1/2-inch curtain. Use 1,000 gph for a lighter flow or 2,000 gph for a heavier flow. Look for a pump that will move the correct number of gallons at your waterfall's head height. For example, a 3-foot weir requires a 4,500-gph pump. If the pump is rated in gallons per minute, divide the gph by 60. A 4,500-gph pump is equivalent to a 75-gpm pump. If the waterfall is 5 feet high with 20 feet of tubing and three turns, get a pump rated for 4,500 gph at 8 feet of head.

- How to Size a Fountain Pump 


Selecting a pump for your pond or fountain involves more than just choosing a particular style or design. Submersible fountain pumps come in many sizes and you should choose them based on how much water your water feature holds and lifts within a given period. Most small fountains and ponds require the simplest submersible pump, designed to re-circulate 50 gallons or less an hour. Larger ponds with fountains or waterfalls necessitate a more robust pump. The most important element in sizing a fountain pump is determining the maximum head height rating and maximum lift.




















1- Measure the diameter of the fountain spout with a tape measure. You will be calculating the gallons per hour, or GPH, by multiplying the diameter by 100. For example, if your fountain spout is 1 inch in diameter: 1 x 100 = 100 GPH, your pump will need to be rated at 100 GPH.


2- Measure the entire height of the fountain from the pump to the fountain head or spout. This measurement determines the maximum head height rating, which is how high the pump will need to lift or push the water to reach the fountain head. This measurement is different from the “pumping height” which is the measurement from the outlet port on the pump to the top of the water.


3-Look at the pump package for fountain specifications. For example, you might see the following specifications on a fountain pump package: Pump type, submersible; GPH, 170.0; maximum lift (inches), 49.0; horsepower (HP), 0.01; UL, CSA Safety Listing, Yes; warranty, 2 years.


4- Choose a pump that is at least one and one-half times the head height for optimal performance. For example, if your fountain is 30 inches tall, find a pump with a maximum lift of 45 inches or more. Choosing a pump with a maximum head height that is higher than your fountain ensures a strong water flow into the fountain and out of the fountain head. You can always use a flow reducer to slow the flow, but you would have to purchase a stronger or higher rated pump to increase the flow.

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-  Brands , Companies and suppliers  :

















- Know- How and instructions for pump selection ..






-  pond pump size calculator ..






-   Solar pond pumps : 









Videos : 

3 points determine which Pond, Waterfall or Filter Pump is needed:


  • Purpose of the Pond Pump (circulating the pond water,powering a Pond Filter, Fountain or a Waterfall)

  • The size of the Pond Pump needed/wanted for the stated purpose

  • The type of Pump best suited for the application

Once the size of the pond pump is determined one has the information needed to shop for Pond Pumps.  Our Pond Calculators  (not available in mobile) can help.


Please read below for further information and a comprehensive guide to choosing pumps as well as an overview of the different types of Pond Pumps, Waterfall Pumps, and Fountain Pumps.
Information about large application Pumps like Aerating Fountains and Aeration  which used in large areas , golf courses , public gardens .. etc 

To Determine the Size of the Pond Pump Needed:


First, Identify the purpose(s) of the pond pump. For example, is the pond pump responsible for powering a pond filter, a fountain in or around the pond, and/or a waterfall? Answering these questions will help you size the pond pump properly.


A Pump for circulating the Pond Water Only and/or 
Run a Pond Filter System:


If the pump will be chosen to circulate pond water only, then choose a pump that circulates the pond volume at least once per hour. Calculate pond volume using the following equation: length x width x depth x 7.5 = gallons.


Alternatively use our pond calculators or download or Formulas E-Book.



A Pump for powering a Waterfall and/or Waterfall Filter as well as circulating the Pond adequately:

  • Sizing a pump for a waterfall involves determining the width the waterfall is, how high up from the pond surface the waterfall starts, and how many feet of tubing will be between the waterfall and pond pump.

  • A good rule of thumb is to choose a Waterfall Pump that moves 100 gallons per hour for every inch of Waterfall width.Select a less powerful Pond Pump for gentle water falls and for aggressive  waterfalls use a more powerful pond pump.

  • For example: if the Waterfall is 18 inches wide, an 1800 gallon per hour pump is suited nicely. For a gentler Waterfall, use a 900-1800 gallon per hour Pump and for a more aggressive flow use a 2400-3600 gph Pump. These numbers can be adjusted for any waterfall size.

  • Selecting a Waterfall Pump is based on not only the flow rate, but consideration must be given to the pump strength needed to deliver the flow rate to the elevation needed.Example: if the waterfall is 3 feet above the pond surface (measured straight up), and there is 20 feet of tubing in the line, then, the pump will need to deliver the prescribed flow rate at 5 feet.1 foot of height has to be added to the elevation of the waterfall for every 10 feet of tubing that is in the system.  This is defined as “max head” or “total dynamic head” and is explained in detail below.In most cases, if a pump is sized for a waterfall it will also be strong enough to circulate the water at a rate that keeps the pond clean. Occasionally, depending on the type of filter being used, the pump needed for a waterfall is too large for the pond filter and a second smaller pump may be needed to power the pond filter separately.See below for previously published articles on this subject.

900 GPH Vs. 1500 GPH on a 12″ Waterfall Spillway

Types of Pond Pumps, Waterfall Pumps, and Fountain Pumps :

Pond Pumps are re-circulating and most often Submersible Pumps that power Waterfalls, Water Fountains and Pond Filters in garden ponds. Pond Pumps are the heart of the Pond, the main Pond Pump must run 24/7 to keep the Pond Water healthy and oxygenated and should consequently be chosen with care.


Pond PumpsFountain Pumps, and Waterfall Pumps have to be engineered for continuous duty (as opposed to a Sump Pump, for example, which only runs intermittently). Energy efficiency and durability are very important because Pond Pumps have to run continuously for many months. In many koi ponds, pond pumps run all year. The savings that are realized by buying a low price pond pump could evaporate quickly through higher energy bills as well as the need for frequent replacement of the pump.


Magnetic drive Pond Pumps are often a good choice because they are energy efficient, compact and durable – but they are not very good at lifting higher than 4 or 5 feet. Direct Drive pumps are better able to lift water to higher elevations and pump very large volumes, but their energy efficiency tends to be lower. Recently, some manufacturer’s have designed a new breed of “hybrid” Pond Pumps that utilize the best of magnet and direct drive to improve both lift and energy efficiency. Hybrid pond pumps utilize magnetic technology with a cupped impeller therefore delivering large volumes of water efficiently at low, medium, and semi-high head heights.

How Pond Pumps and Waterfall Pumps are Sized and Maximum Head

Another consideration is the size of the Pond Pump  needed to power the water feature of the Pond. Pond Pumps are rated by the gallons per hour (gph) or per minute (gpm) produced at various heights. The top height the pump can lift the water up to is called “Maximum Head” or “Max Head”. The “Head” is measured straight up from the water level of the pond. Any horizontal/diagonal flow is then measured by its length and 1′ of “Head” added per 10′ of horizontal/diagonal distance. At “Max Head” a Pump only produces a thin stream or even drops of water (depending on Pump size).


More on Sizing a Pond Pump & Waterfall Pump


Years ago the prescribed flow rate of a chosen Pond Pump was to be able to circulate the pond at least once every two hours. This was to save on energy consumption and to keep the cost of the pond down. Now, things are more energy efficient, pumps are less expensive, and, circulating the water once an hour (Koi Ponds need to turn over the water once per hour or more often). seems to produce cleaner ponds. This means, for example, that a Pond that holds 500 gallons should be powered at a minimum by a 250-gph Pond Pump. If a Waterfall or Pond Filter is to be powered with the Pump, then the height and width of the Waterfall and/or the flow rate of the Pond Filter have to be taken into consideration. This can substantially bump the recommended pump size up.


As previously discussed, if a very high or powerful Waterfall is desired and it does not have a Waterfall Filter that accepts high low rates, and a pond filter is to be used, it is often necessary to use a separate pond pump for the pond filter. Many ponds use pressurized filters because they are easy to use and easy to maintain. They are limited by the pump size therefore limiting the waterfall flow. This is why many ponds with pressurized pond filters have two pond pumps. 

Clog resistant pond pumps and magnetic drive pond pumps are best suited for this application.

Clog Resistant and Solids handling Pond Pumps and Waterfall Pumps

Pond Pumps that are not housed in a Pond Skimmer are sometimes subject to clogging due to debris inherent in established Ponds. Manufacturers have taken great pains to design new “clog resistant” and/or “solids handling” Pond Pumps . These pumps are performers and do a great job of reducing the need to clean the Pond Pump. These newer, much more maintenance free Pond Pumps are available both as magnetic drive Pumps and direct drive Pumps.

External Pond Pumps

External pumps have advantages, too. Typically used in applications where larger pumps are desired, external pond pumps can be remote located and use very little power. External, or in-line, pond pumps can be used with pond skimmer filters to draw water from the pond and plumbed to most waterfall spillways or waterfall filters. Higher grade external pumps are very quiet, use very little energy, and last for many years. 

- Pond Pump size 

- Pumps types :

How do you size a pump for a water feature?

5 Pump Display. How To Pick The Right Pump For Your Pond.

Koi Pond Pump Size Calculator

How-To-Video - Selecting The Right Pump

10 Best Pond Pumps 2017

Understanding Pond Pumps And Filters- Different Categories - Pond Filter- Fountain Display

Pond Pumps and Fountains

solar powered pond pumps an introduction

- Solar Pumps : 

8 Best Solar Water Pumps 2017

tiny waterfall and pond solar powered pump

These are selection criteria to choosing a pump:


  • Calculate your pond volume in litres:- Estimate the surface area of the pond in square metres(square feet) then multiply this by the average depth, not the maximum depth, of the pond in metres(feet). This will give the pond volume in cubic metres(cubic feet) which is then multiplied by 1000(28.4) to give the approximate pond volume in Litres.

  • If you are going to install a filter make sure it is designed for a pond of your size and be guided by the recommended flow rate. Be aware that if the filter is to be positioned above water level check that the pumps performance at the total height above the water level (Head)that the water needs to be raised It is worth adding approx 10cm to this height for every 1m of pipe run to allow for the resistance of the hose. As a general rule try to filter the entire volume of the pond every 1-2 hours.

  • Often a Ultraviolet steriliser is used in conjunction with a filter system. Make sure it is compatible with your filter system and your fish stocking rates, not forgetting that fish will grow ! A UV system for a 10000 litre pond which is heavily planted, in partial shade and with only a few goldfish will not be able to cope with the same size pond devoid of plants, in full sun with several large Koi carp.

  • When a waterfall is to be installed it will require about 265 litres per hour for every 25mm(1inch) width of the lip of the return to give a thin continuous sheet of water. Again the head and length of hose should be allowed for.

  • Fountain pumps are a straightforward choice and is purely down to your preference of spray pattern and to make sure that all the water falls back onto the pond surface and not emptying your pond especially important in windy weather.

  • As a general rule it is better to have a pump with a greater capacity than you need as it is a fairly simple job to restrict the flow to match your needs but you cannot extract more performance than the pump is designed for.

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