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7. Pumps - Sizing and Choosing
Plumbing Diagrams View All Pumps Go To Plumbing
Moving water is one of the most appealing aspects of pond keeping. Selecting the right pump for the job is an important step in having a successful pond. Think ahead - most people add more and more features - filters, fountains and/or waterfalls - over time making adequate pumping an important issue. The pump is the life’s blood of the pond so this is not the place to cut costs. Pumps are under a heavy work load and must operate constantly and reliably 24 hours a day throughout the spring, summer and fall. Pumps that are too small for the job will clog more frequently, operate inefficiently and eventually fail. A pump failure can be devastating to the animal life in the pond.
When choosing a pump take into account the functions it will perform. Pumps vary widely in type, size and purpose. Fountains or still, quiet, unfiltered pools benefit from water movement by small pumps to inhibit the growth of string algae and to break the surface for oxygen exchange. Larger pumps are required to power waterfalls, filters and fountains and it is important to select the best pump for the job. The choice can be made to power water features with an individual pump for each feature or a single, larger pump can be chosen to power all the features in a pond. Sicce Pond Pumps are good, reliable pumps and are available in sizes for every application.
External or Internal?
Two types of pumps are commonly used for water gardens, internal or external. Internal pumps are placed on the bottom of the pond and are connected from there to filters, waterfalls and fountains. Internal pumps require protection from the debris that accumulates on the pond bottom. Placing the pump in a potting container filled with fibrous material to catch debris is a quick and inexpensive measure to extend the life of the pump. Sump- type pumps, like Danner Waterfall Pumps and SICCE Master DW Pumps, can handle larger debris but will perform better over a longer period of time with protection.
External pumps are situated outside the pond in some kind of protective housing and are connected from there to filters, waterfalls, and fountains. Like internal pumps, externals should be protected from debris entering the pump. An Aquarium Life Support Systems Intake Screen is an excellent pre-filter for larger internal and external pumps. Combinations of internal and external pumps for different functions are perfectly acceptable. Most pumps, whether internal or external, must not be run dry to avoid permanent damage to the motor.
For very large water features, when both flow and energy efficency are considerations, external pumps should be used. Priming pots increase efficiency when used in conjunction with external pumps. Dolphin and SICCE make superior external pumps. Though more costly, Dolphin pumps are considered by many Koi enthusiasts the best and most reliable pumps available.

Factors to Consider When Selecting A Pump:
Head Pressure
Head pressure, the manufacturer’s rating of flow at a given height or elevation, and maximum pumping height must be considered when deciding on a pump. Flow rate reported by manufacturers is the maximum, no-load flow rate for the pump. Filters, fountain heads, waterfalls, plumbing and pipe and intake distance from the pond, combined with the maximum pumping elevation determine a pump’s final output.
Amperage Troubleshooting & Maintenance
the lower the amps the lower the operating costs a pump failure can be deadly to livestock. Periodic checks and following manufacturers' maintenance recommendations helps prevent these disasters.
Maximum Cut Off or Shut Off
the highest elevation the pump can reach Impellers
GPH Impellers do wear out. Danner Mag Drive and Pondmaster pumps, unlike other lines, have replaceable impellers. These pumps are energy efficent and have a 3-year warranty that covers the motor (not the impeller.)
gallons per hour of flow
gallons per minute of flow

Plumbing Pumps with Other Watergarden Equipment
It is always best to use larger plumbing to and from the pump than is required. Avoid 90 degree turns as much as possible, opting instead for sweeping spa hose (flexible PVC) or vinyl tubing. For very large water features, when both flow and energy efficiency are considerations, external pumps should be used. Dolphin and Rainbow Plastics make superior external pumps for watergarden use. Priming pots used in conjunction with external pumps further improve efficiency. Though more costly, Dolphin pumps are more energy efficient and are considered the best and most reliable by many Koi enthusiasts.

The diagrams below illustrate plumbing layouts for maximum performance of each feature.

Use the following pump sizes and plumbing diameters as a guide:
pumps up to plumbing diameter
up to 500gph 1/2"
up to 800gph 3/4"
up to 1800gph 1"
5000gph 1-1/2"
5000gph+* 2"+
* best installed by landscapers specializing in watergardens if you are not familiar with plumbing.
Plumbing an external filter with a UV sterilizer
Plumbing an external filter with a UV sterilizer and an additional pressurized filter

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