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

Picture of a Waterfall

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 theCalculating Pump Size Chart top of the waterfall to the water’s surface. For example: Let’s say that height is equal to 5′.

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.
  • Do I Need Aeration in the Hot Summer Months? – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Picture of Three Diffusers in a Bottom Bubbler Aerator

    Q: Do I need aeration in the hot summer months?
    - Several Customers

    A: We are just starting to enter into the hottest days of summer. Are you and your pond prepared to deal with the scorching heat? The need for aeration in your pond during these temperatures is far greater than any other part of the year. Although most pond owners are aware of this fact, few know the true reasons behind the need.

    The Need For Aeration
    First, let’s start with the actual need for aeration in your pond. Every pond is a “time bomb” just waiting to go off. A pond that has just been excavated is usually nutrient free, making it easy to take care of. This stage in a ponds life is called Stage 1, and may only last one year depending on nutrient inputs. Man-made ponds and lakes tend to gain large amounts of nutrients in a short period of time, often after only a couple years of existence. When a pond enters this period of excess nutrients, it is called Stage 2. Once a pond enters this stage, you will begin to experience large amounts of algae and weed growth. Also during this stage the pond will develop a large buildup of organic debris at the bottom of the pond called “muck”. The “muck” in your pond will slowly decompose and release nutrients into the water column. These excess nutrients will cause more weed and algae growth. Along with the nutrient spike, the water body will also experience a rise in toxic gas levels. Also, when organic material decomposes, it uses oxygen in the water, causing dangerously low oxygen levels in the depths of your pond. Because ponds without aeration normally become thermally stratified, the toxic gasses created on the bottom buildup in the cool water underneath. A change in temperature, a heavy rain, or sometimes even high winds can turn the water over allowing the toxic, oxygen-deprived water at the bottom to mix into the top layer leaving your fish without oxygen and causing a fish kill.

    Fountains vs. Bottom Bubblers
    Many pond owners will turn to fountain aeration or surface aerators to experience some form of aesthetics for their dollar. While fountains are aesthetically pleasing, they will only draw surface waters. This leaves the bottom of the pond uncirculated and does nothing to eliminate toxic gases underneath. A better alternative is to consider a bottom bubbler. The bottom bubbler will circulate the entire water column, and eliminating the thermocline. This allows the organisms present to utilize the entire pond, not just the upper layer. The best option for a bottom bubbler is the Airmax® Aeration system. In combination with aerobic, “muck” eating bacteria (such as Pond Clear Natural Bacteria), the system can eliminate up to 5 inches of “muck” per year.

    How Airmax® Aeration Works
    The system consists of a high quality air compressor which is mounted in a cabinet housing unit. The compressor pumps air through a lead free self-weighted air hose and out of the diffuser plate on the pond bottom. The diffuser assembly comes with air stones that inject oxygen into the pond directly and create a column of medium bubbles lift and circulate the entire water body. This keeps the oxygen levels even throughout the pond or lake. Something that is important to keep in mind is how to run the compressor. The aerator is as simple to run as plugging in the cord, and to reduce stress on organisms in the pond you should follow this start-up procedure.

    Starting Up Your Airmax® Aeration System
    When an aerator is first installed it is important that you don’t begin running it constantly right away. If the aerator rotates the water column too quickly, it can actually cause a fish kill by moving the toxic gases throughout the pond in one fell swoop. The best route to take is to run the aerator for only 30 minutes on its first day, then shutting it off for the remainder of that day. The second day you should run the aeration system for one full hour then turn it off. The third day double to 2 hours, then to 4 hours the next, 8 the next, until you are running your system all day. This process will take 7 days to accomplish. Not only should this process be followed the first time an aerator is installed, it should be followed every time the aerator is turned on after an extended shutdown.

    Relax…
    Now that we’ve covered the different needs and phases of pond aeration, lose the headache, and relax in the heat knowing you’re on your way to a healthy pond ecosystem.

    Additional Information For The Reader
    Airmax® Aeration is the 1st step in the 4-Steps To The Perfect Eco-System and is by far the most important. Steps 2, 3 & 4 are conveniently placed in a combined package called a ClearPAC. The ClearPAC is our all-in-one solution to a clear pond including Pond Clear Bacteria, Nutri-Defense pond clearer, and Natures Blue dye.

    Treating Common Fish Diseases: How to Treat Anchor Worms. – Water Garden Q & A

    Picture of Koi with Anchor Word

    Q: Treating Common Fish Diseases: Anchor Worm

    A: What are Anchor Worms? Anchor worms are small crustaceans that start out their life as free swimming and find a fish to burrow their way into. The anchor worm will bury themselves into the fish’s muscles where they live for several months while developing. After developing, they make their way out of the fish, a process that often leaves bad wounds. Right before the anchor worm dies, it will release its eggs. The cycle is then repeated over and over again.

    What are the Symptoms of Anchor Worms? First off, an obvious sign is a very visible parasite attached to the body of the fish. In early stages, it will look like a red sore or pimple. The fish will also “flash” or try and scratch the parasite off its body by running itself into rocks.

    What Causes Anchor Worm and How can I Treat It? Anchor Worms are not caused by high levels of fish stress. Fish are usually infected by newly added fish already carrying the parasite or newly added aquatic plants that have anchor worm larvae on them. Since Anchor Worms’ larvae are free swimming in the water garden, the whole body of water must be treated to get rid of future cases. This can be accomplished with Dimilin. Dimilin is specifically designed to treat Anchor Worms. Although Anchor worms are a parasite in many cases a secondary bacterial infection will occur due to the open soars. To help fight against this secondary infection it is recommended that PimaFix be added along with the Dimilin.

    There is an Oil Slick Film Covering My Pond. How Do I Get Rid of It? – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Algae, Duckweed, Watermeal & Pollen Identification

    Q: There is a brown rust-like film/oil slick covering my pond. Do you have an idea what this might be and how to get rid of it? - Several Customers

    A: There are several things this could be: Algae, duckweed, watermeal or pollen.

    Determining if Algae is a Problem: Filamentous Algae will float around the pond’s edges in mats while Planktonic Algae will make the whole body of water to look like a “pea soup” green color. If this is the case, using Algae Defense Algaecide will provide quick control. Follow up with Pond-Clear for long-term clear water.

    Determining if Duckweed or Watermeal is the Problem: Duckweed and Watermeal are very rapid growers and will cover an entire pond if they get out of control. Looking to the pictures to the left, you can see that Duckweed is a small plant the size of a pencil eraser, while Watermeal is about the size of the tip of a pencil. If you determine that you have Duckweed or Watermeal, your only long-term option is WhiteCap Aquatic Herbicide. If you only require short-term control (3-4 weeks) for an event or party PondWeed Defense may be used.

    Determining if Pollen is the Problem: What may look like a greenish, brownish algae, may actually be pollen. Pollen may even cause an oil-slick or film on the surface of the pond. There is no magic product that will give you a quick fix. Many times a heavy rain will settle it to the bottom. In many cases if your pond receives good circulation from an aerator or fountain you will not see pollen becoming much of a problem.

    Why is One of My Koi Is Bumping Into Another? – Water Garden Q & A

    Picture of One Koi Bumping Another

    Q: I have koi in my pond and one of them is constantly chasing the other fish by bumping and nuzzling the other fish on their bottom side in front of the tail and behind the ventral fin. Is there a reason for this behavior?

    A: Yes there is a reason for this. The fish getting bumped into is a female carrying eggs, while the fish doing the bumping is the male. The male fish is trying to knock the eggs out of the female so it can fertilize them. This is very common, but it is best to keep an eye on the fish during these times to make sure no injuries happen. Also, if you would like the koi to have babies, I would suggest making sure you have a sufficient amount of bog and submerged plants. Koi are known to eat their own young and adding aquatic plants will create hiding spaces for the babies to allow them time to grow.

    Controlling Sago Pondweed – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Picture of Sago Pondweed

    Q: Sago Pondweed is taking over our pond! What can I do to get rid of it? - Sue of DePere, WI

    A: We are hearing more and more customers having an issue with pondweeds that are taking over their ponds. One we hear a lot about so far this year is Sago Pondweed. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service describes Sago Pondweed as:

    “[...] a perennial plant that arises from thickly matted rhizomes and has no floating leaves. The stems are thin, long and highly branching with leaves very thin and filament-like, about 1/16 of an inch wide and 2 to over 12 inches long tapering to a point. The leaves grow in thick layers and originate from a sheath. The fruit is nut-like 1/8 to 1/4 inches long and 1/10 to 1/8 inches wide.”

    There are a couple ways to treat Sago Pondweed. These solutions will not only treat Sago Pondweed but also a majority of other pondweeds as well.

    For spot treatments, the best product to use is Pondweed Defense. Its fast acting and works very well. One gallon of Pondweed Defense will treat up to 5,000 square feet of Sago PondWeed.

    If Sago Pondweed is getting out of control, then the best product to use is WhiteCap. WhiteCap is a long-term solution and will treat the whole body of water. One 8 oz bottle will treat up to a 1/4 acre pond with an average depth of 4′.

    After the Sago Pondweed has died off, it is very important to rake it out. If the dead vegetation stays on the bottom of the pond, over time it will break down into “muck” and create more food source for other algae and
    pondweeds. The Easy to Use Pond & Beach Rake is a great tool to accomplish this.

    Why Are My Aquatic Plants Dying? – Water Garden Q & A

    Picture of Water Hyacinth
    Q: My aquatic plants that I bought are turning brown and soggy around the edges. What could be the problem?
    -Shelly of Jacksonville, TX

    A: This is a very good question and it starts with testing your pond’s pH levels. The nuetral pH level in water 7.0, but if the pH gets up to 8.5 or higher it will have a harmful effect on plants. If your pH is high, you can use pH Drop to slowly bring it back down. Another thing to do is to test your tap water’s pH level. If this level is high, you may want to count on using pH Drop every time you do a water change or after it rains.

    Controlling Duckweed & Watermeal – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Q: I think I have duckweed and watermeal. It’s taking over my pond! I can’t seem to get ahead of it! What do I do?
    - Several Customers

    Picture of DuckweedA: Duckweed and watermeal are very prolific growers and can cover a pond before you know it. When covering a pond it can look like algae, but up close you can see it’s not (see pictures on the left). You can try to rake the duckweed and watermeal off the pond’s surface but more will be back within the week. The absolute best way to get rid of duckweed and watermeal is to use a product called WhiteCap. WhiteCap works by inhibiting the weed’s ability to produce carotene. Without this ability, chlorophyll is rapidly degraded by sunlight and the weeds die. The only water use restriction is a 30 day irrigation restriction.

    WhiteCap will also get rid of many other submerged weeds in the pond and will produce season-long results in as little as 30-45 days.

    Picture of WatermealFor more information on Whitecap and the aquatic weeds it will control, click here.

    Do I Need an Aerator During the Warmer Months? – Water Garden Q & A

    Picture of a water garden with a koi aeration system

    Q: Does my water garden need an aerator during the warmer months of the year? -Several Customers

    A: That depends on a two things: Fish Load & Depth.

    Fish Load: The greater the fish load, the higher the oxygen demand. A water garden aeration system is highly recommeded for high fish loads.

    Depth: If your water garden is deeper than 24″, it is important that the water towards the bottom is also being circulated. In a skimmer/waterfall filtration system, the water will circulate across the surface of the water and leave the water towards the bottom stagnant. Adding an aeration system will prevent any stagnation by lifting the bottom water towards the surface. See our selection of Water Garden Aeration Products.

    What Type of Aeration System Do I Need? – Pond & Lake Q & A

    Q: I know I need aeration in my pond, but I’m not sure what type of aerator is right for me? - Several Customers

    A: We all know why ponds need some type of aeration system (If your not sure why ponds need aeration, read the article Aeration in the Summer Heat), but there are many types of aerators on the market from Bottom Bubblers to Fountains to Windmills. The type of aerator needed for a pond depends on a few factors.

    Picture of the Airmax Aeration System

    Airmax Bottom Bubblers: An overwhelming majority of ponds fit into the category of Bottom Bubbler aeration. This system comes with a cabinet that sits on the shore. The cabinet houses an energy efficient air compressor. This compressor is then connected to a 4-stone diffuser plate(s) that sits on the bottom of the pond. This 4-stone diffuser creates medium sized bubbles that not only allow for adequate aeration, but also circulation. Many pond owners assume that since power is not located by the shore of their pond, that a Bottom Bubbler will not work. Just to clarify, a Bottom Bubbler can be placed up to 1,000 feet from the pond using direct burial airline. To select which sized Airmax Bottom Bubbler aeration system will work for you, click here to read about it in our online catalog.

    Picture of a Decorative Fountain at nightFountains: Fountains are a great aesthetic piece for any farm pond. Fountains rest on the surface of the pond, pull water from below and push it into the air to make a decorative spray pattern. Because of the way they are

    designed, they will only pull water from about 6 feet down. When a pond is deeper than 6 feet it’s best to go with both a Fountain as well as a Bottom Bubbler to have adequate aeration. When the pond has a

    depth of 6 feet or less then a fountain will act as both an aerator as well as a decorative piece. Please note: Depending on your pond’s size, you may need more than one Fountain to properly aerate.

    Picture of a Windmill-Powered Aeration System

    Windmill: Windmills are primarily designed for decoration. If a pond is located where no power is available, then a windmill is really the only option to allow for some aeration. It is important to keep in mind that windmills only come with one stone and do not cover a large area. Also, they need constant wind

    to have constant aeration. Windmills are available in 12′, 16′ and 20′ towers. Windmills do not provide continuous aeration and should not be used as a direct substitute for electrical powered continuous aeration systems.

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