## I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose?

Linda – Broomall, PA

A: Fun springtime project ahead! As you’re discovering, building a pond with a waterfall involves some planning and careful consideration—which includes selecting a waterfall pump. Your choice is important because it’ll determine how high you can make your waterfall and how much water will flow down it.

You want more than a trickle, right? Before you go pump shopping, crunch these numbers first:

How high will your waterfall be? This measurement is your head pressure, which is the total number of feet from the top of your waterfall to the top of your pond’s surface. If you’re building a 5-foot-high waterfall, for instance, your head pressure is 5 feet.

Pro tip: If the tubing from your pump to the waterfall is longer than 10 feet, add 1 foot of head pressure for every 10 feet of distance (always round up). So in the example above, if your tubing is 14 feet, add 2 foot of head pressure for a total of 7 feet.

2. Flow Rate

How much water do you want pouring over the falls? This number is your flow rate. The average flow rate is 1,500 gallons per hour for every 1 foot of waterfall width. If your 5-foot-high waterfall is 1 foot wide, you should go with a pump that moves around 1,500 GPH; if it’s 3 feet wide, you should go with a pump that moves 4,500 GPH or so.

Pro tip: If you prefer a lighter water flow, calculate 1,000 GPH for every 1 foot of waterfall width. For a heavier flow, use 2,000.

Going Shopping

With those numbers in hand, you should have a pretty good idea what kind of waterfall pump you’ll need to buy. To make the chore easier for you, we recommend:

For lower-flow waterfalls: If you’re designing a smaller waterfall, check out The Pond Guy® MagFlo™ Pump and The Pond Guy® SolidFlo™ Pump. The MagFlo™ line includes 290, 460 and 590 GPH models with maximum head of 6½ to 7½ feet; the low-profile SolidFlo™ line includes 600, 1,200 and 1,600 GPH models with maximum head of 8 to 11½ feet.

For higher-volume waterfalls: If you’ve got a mini-Niagara Falls in the works, you’ll need a beefier pump, like The Pond Guy® RapidFlo™ or the ShinMaywa® Norus® waterfall pumps. The RapidFlo™ comes in 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 GPH models with 20 to 32 feet of maximum head pressure. The Norus® line includes 3,300 to 11,000 GPH models with maximum head of 19 to 48 feet.

Pond Talk: What advice would you give to someone choosing a waterfall pump?

### 7 Responses

1. Building a water wall which is 7ft long 6ft high returning to a pond what is the best way to pipe it and what size pipe to use

• This will depend more on the size of the actual waterfall width and how much water flow is required. For example if your waterfall will be 2 ft wide you will want between 3,000-4,000 gallons per hour of water flow at 7ft of head pressure. You would need either 1 1/2″ or 2″ plumbing to carry this amount of water.

2. I am building a stream with a small pond at the base. The height differential from the bottom Basin to the top base in his four feet. I have 32 feet of piping. In addition I have four separate waterfalls on the stream. What size pump do I need

• Hi Brian – When you say you have 4 different waterfalls I’m assuming you mean that the water will drop 4 times on the way down the stream you are constructing and not 4 separate places where a waterfall will be starting? If that is the case than you will have 4 ft head pressure for height, plus 3-4 ft head pressure for distance. Generally you want a pump that will flow around 2,000 gph per foot of width at the base of your waterfall for a moderate flow. Since you did not mention the stream width, if we assumed for example, that your stream were 2 feet wide you would want to find a pump that would generate approximately 4,000 gph at 8 ft of head pressure.

3. I’ve had great luck with Tetra Debris-Handling pump. 2 sizes to choose from. Low in cost and electric, nothing seems to clog it is a huge benefit. It fits in a big skimmer too.

4. With a pond, you’ll probably be running it 24/7 so check electricity usage (watts). Some pumps use much less power (\$\$). Also you need a pump rated for continuous operation. Pumps not designed for this, like sump pumps, will fail quickly. Also consider low water shut off valves. A dry pump is a dead pump!