How to Choose the Right Pump for Your Water Garden Pond

Pond pumps aren't just for improving the aesthetic value of your water garden pond.  Even small ponds need the oxygenization that a pump will provide.  Oxygen is vital for maintaining aquatic plant life and any fish that you stock your pond with.  Pond pumps create aeration by circulating outside air throughout the water.

Your choice of pumps is vast, and will depend on your needs.  One of the main factors to consider is the size of your pond.  Any pump that you choose should, at minimum, circulate at least half of the water volume of your pond per hour.  In other words, if your pond contains 1500 gallons of water, then your pump should be able to circulate 750 gallons per hour.  This will ensure adequate oxygen reaches the plants in your underwater garden.

There are two basic types of pond pumps: external and submersible.  An external pump is mounted on the outside of your pond.  They are normally used if you want to create effects, like water falls, in your pond.  More than one pump can even be used if your pond is large enough, to create multiple levels or more than one waterfall.  The aesthetic effect(s) of using an external pump are beautiful and can add a great deal of value to your pond and home. 

While it is often fine to use an external pump with a smaller pond (200-1000 gallons of water), a submersible one is adequate.  They are typically simpler to install and operate, and make more sense for use in small ponds.  One disadvantage to using a submersible pump is that they tend to wear out faster than external pumps.

It's important to choose a pump in harmony with the proper filter.  Filters are essential to the health of your pond.  If too much debris is allowed to accumulate in a pond, it may eventually settle at the bottom and decay, releasing gases which are potentially toxic to vegetation and fish.  Debris can also clog the pump, causing it to malfunction and even break.  Most filters go under the water.  However, there are also external filters, like the Cyprio brand, which also helps cleanse the water with beneficial bacteria.  Larger ponds may need to employ the use of a skimmer along with a regular filter.  A skimmer is a pond's first line of defense against accumulating debris, providing clearance of larger items like leaves which may float on the surface.  Skimmers eliminate these particles before they reach the internal filter.  They can also aid the pumping action of external filters when placed on the opposite side of waterfalls.

Another option in pond pumps is the solar variety.  As their name implies, they are powered by solar energy.  This eliminates the need for close proximity to an electrical outlet.  It also means that no power cords are necessary, improving aesthetics and reducing the hazards associated with cords.

Pond pumps are rated according to their output.  You'll need to look for this rating, noted as GPH (gallons per hour).  The larger your pond, the higher GPH rating you'll require.  Too low, and your pond may not get the level of oxygen needed to sustain plants and fish.

When looking for a quality pond pump,  consider features such as:

  • Large intake slots.  The Hozelock Titan brand produces a pump with extra large ones.  This helps to minimize the risk of clogging the pump with debris.
  • A good warranty.  Whatever pump you choose, make sure it comes with a strong manufacturer's guarantee, like the OASE brand which offers a five-year warranty on many of its pumps.
  • All-in-one kits.  Companies such as Beckett Water Gardening sell kits which contain everything you need for creating your backyard oasis.

Whether you have a farm pond, or a simple backyard water garden, choosing the right pump will maximize your enjoyment of your pond.  It will also provide greater benefits to the environment and surrounding area, creating an eco-system that is symbiotic with all of its inhabitants, plants and animals alike.

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