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Pond Pump buying guide

Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

118 guides

Consisting of a liner or tank with a fountain, waterfall or filtering system, a garden pond can hold 300, 500, 1000 or 2000 liters. And to get nice clear water: the filtration pump is crucial! Flow rate, granulometry, lift height: all our tips!

Important features

  • Flow rate
  • Granulometry
  • Lift height

What are the different types of pond pumps?


Filter Pump

Essential! Any pond worth its name must have a filtration system. Without this device, your pond will quickly turn into a nauseating swamp. The primary purpose of the filter pump is to recycle the water in a closed circuit through a filter. This filtering removes any suspended particles and/or waste from the pond (dead leaves etc.). In general, a filter pump is instantly recognizable due to it's large filter - normally at least 10 mm.

Pump for waterfalls and fountains

These pumps allow a certain amount of water to be raised from a low point (the bottom of the tank) to a high point (the top of a waterfall).

This pump's mission is to circulate a fraction of the water from the tank into a separate, closed circuit located outside the basin (usually slightly higher than the water level). Unlike filtration pumps, pumps for waterfalls and fountains have a fine mesh screen.

Pump for water jets

As seen in Versailles, jetting pumps are used to project water from the pond into the air. They are equipped with an ejector package primarily composed of two elements: a rod (rigid vertical tube connected to the pump), and a nozzle (shaped like a jet, which susequently shapes the water). Due to this distinction, these models are un-missable. Some also offer additional features, such as a valve to open or close the water flow and a check valve to prevent any unplanned defusing. In order impede the nozzle(s) as least as possible, their strainer is made of very fine mesh (+/- 1 mm).
The majority of the pumps being installed directly inside the tank, they are referred to as submersible pumps. The advantages of this model lie in the fact that there is far less risk of temperature rising or fuses blowing. 

However, for large or very massive ponds, surface pumps are available. Similar to swimming pool systems, this type of pump is installed in a control hub (sometimes underground), facilitating maintenance and upkeep.

What are the characteristics of a pond pump?

Depending on the type of pump, the implicated technical characteristics can differ. It is therefore important to clearly identify your needs and the specificities of your installation.


Filtration pump: granulometry

The filter pump must have use granulometry (or biological filter) of at least 10 mm. This means that water containing up to 10 mm impurities can be pumped without getting blocked. Anything scooped up by the pump is filtered. Any particle over the designated size will be caught by the filter. The most important factor to consider is its flow rate (expressed in m3/h or in l/min). The ideal pump would be based on the calculation of the pump's capacity to pump the entire contents of the pond every 2 to 3 hours.

For example, if you have a 15 mbasin you will need a pump with a minimum flow rate of 5 to 8 m 3/h (or 80 to 130 l/min). If your filter is not installed in the vicinity of the pump, be sure to leave yourself a margin to compensate for the  pressure loss (due to the length of the pipes, the height difference between the pump and the filter, etc.). If you follow these guidelines, the water will remain of good quality, clear, and the development of micro-organisms (algae etc.) will be limited.

Waterfall, fountain pump: head height

The primary characteristic of this type of pump is the head height - expressed in meters. Depending on your installation, you will need to determine the height difference between the pump and the top of the waterfall or fountain. Your choice will then be oriented towards a pump that will be apt to push the water to this height, all the while maintaining a proper flow rate. Generally, manufacturers will provide a graph or table for each pump indicating the flow rate for each height. Please note that no matter what water pump you are using, the higher the head height, the lower the flow rate will be. 

Pump for water jet: lift height

Like waterfall and fountain pumps, jet pumps are selected according to the height of the lift that they are capable of generating. If you desire a higher water jet, the pump must have a increased head height. However, it is very rare to find a pump capable of sparying over 2.50 m. The flow rate in this case is just a minor detail. Depending on the shape of the nozzle(s), one or more jets can be configured to different forms: vertical jet, blanket jet, a multitude of small jets, etc.

Tips for choosing and using

In order to prevent blowing fuses, on really any type of pump, always consider fitting your ejector package with a check valve.
With regard to the power supply of your pump, make sure that the associated electrical network has a thermal cutoff. Otherwise, in case of wheel locking (turbine) or a fuse blowing, the motor will burn.
For maintenance, it is recommended to remove the pump from its tank to clean it at least once a year. Check that there is nothing impeding the turbine's rotation and verify that the electric cables are correctly sealed. At the same time, you can also disassemble and clean the check valve(s) .
No matter which kind, always refer to the manufacturer's recommendations to better maintain your pump.
Electricity and water are not very compatible! Always check that the power supply is switched off before servicing your pump. Also be very vigilant, when doing a dry-run, do not leave your fingers, or any tool near the wheel - or through the filter!

More Information

For passionate and novice gardeners and landscapers follow the links below for gardening-related accessories, advice from our editors and more helpful guides:

Other ways to spruce up your garden:

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Guide written by:

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff 118 guides écrits

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

I'm a trained electrician who started off working in large-scale industrial projects. Most of my early career was spent taking on huge electrical installations. I like to think that no job is too big for me, and after all the experience I'd gained, I started managing teams of electricians.

I like to learn on the job, so around ten years ago, I moved into building and construction. As a site manager, I've overseen the building of small residences, sport facilities, and even theatres!

Working with my hands is something I love to do in my free time as well. For four years now, I've been restoring our home in the Welsh countryside. I even built a conservatory for my wife, who loves watching the sheep behind our house.

Whether it's patios, interior design, roofing, plumbing or electricity - I love giving it all a go! I've even made my family DIY converts and together we've built almost everything we have from scratch. My experience, both in the field and in my workshop, has taught me a lot and I'm happy to share what I've learned. No matter how big or small your project is, I'm here to answer your questions and help you choose the right tools and equipment.

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