Choosing the right pond pump

The right pump is vital to creating a well-balanced and healthy pond.

A healthy garden pond with water feature
A healthy garden pond is a delightful sight

It is essentially the heart of any pond, circulating the water around the pond, through the filters and UV clarifiers.

Millais, Ophelia 1851
Don’t let confusion over your pond pump get you down…

There are many different types of pumps available on the market, which can be confusing to any pond enthusiast, but armed with some basic information about your pond, especially its dimensions, a chat with the experts at your local aquatics shop should see you coming home with the right pump.

When buying a pump it is very important that you get one with an adequate flow rate for your pond or water feature. It is always better to get a pump that is slightly larger than may really be needed as its flow rate can always be reduced if need be. Poor flow could have your water features looking less than its best and if the water is not being properly filtered this can have a drastic effect on the pond’s inhabitants.

An Oase Promax pond pump
Armadillo! Not really, this is a top of the range Oase Promax pond pump…

Your choice of pump size really depends on what it is being used for; if it is for running a filter then you should be looking to circulate all the water in the pond once every hour, whereas if it is to be used for running a waterfall then it is recommended that the pump be large enough to feed 100-150 litres of water every hour for every 1cm of waterfall width.

There are three main types of pump available on the market. Firstly there are small feature pumps designed primarily to run small water features such as bubbling stones and wall features. These will usually come with a small sponge to stop any solids entering the impeller housing and damaging the impeller.

The second type of pump is basically a larger more robust version of the first. These are ideal for running the majority of ponds. Both these types of pump require a small amount of maintenance, once a month, depending on how dirty the pond is. It is worth turning the pump off at the mains and removing and rinsing the sponge pre-filter as these become blocked with debris and reduce the amount of flow the pump produces.

JGP sump pump
For the biggest ponds a sump pump is required

The third pump type is a ‘solid handling pump’ or ‘sump pump’. These are more robust still and, as the name suggests, are designed to be able to pump debris. Most of these pumps can pump debris up to approximately 8mm in size and have no sponge pre-filter, which therefore means far less blocking and maintenance. These are more suited for pond systems which use filters as they produce a high reliable flow rate.

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