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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.

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