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Choosing The Right Pump – How to select the right pump for your pond or waterfall | Learning Center

Building a pond with a waterfall involves some planning and careful consideration, which include 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.

Before you go pump shopping you will need to measure your landscape and determine the look you want to achieve:

  1. Head Pressure: 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 GPH.

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 this task 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™ Pump or the ShinMaywa® Norus® Pump. 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.

2 Responses

  1. This might be a repeat from me, if so sorry.
    The information on choosing the right pump is extremely helpful.
    Have one question if you don’t mind answering. Should I use a submerged pump or an above the ground pump and what might be the difference is using either. My filter recommends an above the ground pump but currently I am using a submerged pump that seems to work.

    • Hi Ed – For most pond applications you can use either type of pump. In-line (above the ground) pumps allow for easier access to the pump or possibly easier to hide. although they generally can not handle a lot of head pressure on the intake side, so they have to stay near the pond. Submersible Pumps can sit directly in the pond’s bottom or in a skimmer. I’m not sure why your filter would specifically suggest an above the ground pump over a submersible but generally the choice just depends on what works easier with your setup and preference.

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