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RHS New Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

RHS New Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

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Selecting The Proper Pond Pump

by Shawn McCulloch

Whether you own a preformed, or liner pond, a pond pump plays a vital role in maintaining balance in any garden pond or water feature. It's no surprise that stagnant bodies of water, are inviting to mosquito infestations, which are a major concern with West Nile Virus. Not only do these stagnant ponds have a wretched smell, they look un-appealing, and will be very un-inviting to guests or wildlife. This is why pond pumps are of the utmost importance, to regularly circulate water and maintain the health of your pond.

Pumps are available in both submersible and external (out-of-pond) models. For smaller ponds (up to 1000 gallons of water), a submersible pump is the more economical and practical option. Submersible pumps can be placed directly in the pond and require relatively little installation. They are free of distracting noise, and for smaller ponds, can easily be utilized to drain your pond.

In previous years, the main flaw of submersible pumps was the seals rupturing and releasing oil coolant into the pond. However, newer models have fixed that issue, and are now magnetic-driven, which don't require coolant. "Mag-driven" pumps are slightly more expensive, but are reliable, and save money on electricity.

Pumps are sized by gallons per hour (GPH) output at one foot of lift or height. The lift or height pertains to how high the water is being pumped. For example, quiet often pond owners have a waterfall or mini stream, the moment the water is fully circulated and reaches its maximum height before running back to the pond, is the figure you are looking for. Manufacturers usually offer charts that break down the power of each size pump according to incremental heights of one foot. It is recommended that you circulate your body of water at least once every 2 hours. So your pond pumps GPH needs to be half the total amount of gallons of the pond. For example, if you have a 1000 gallon water feature, you will require at least a 500 GPH pump.

Calculating the proper pump for waterfalls is a bit more difficult, because you must estimate your waterfall's height. To do so, you must measure the vertical height from the top of your pump to the top of your waterfall. In addition, you must add another foot of height or lift for every 10 feet of hosing you will be using (this will allow for loss of volume from resistance within the hose). To calculate the required pump GPH, a general rule of thumb is that each inch of width of the channel will require an extra 100 GPH. For example, if your stream or waterfall spillway will be 10 inches wide, you will need a pump that produces an excess flow of 1000 GPH at your waterfall's height. If this concept seems confusing, contact your local or online pond expert and ask for advice or more information.

If you plan on fish in your pond, your water circulation demands will be drastically increased. Fish rely on the oxygen in the water to survive, hence a proper pump for a fish pond must ensure that extra oxygen is both introduced into the pond, and distributed throughout the pond. Specific pumps are more suitable for these garden ponds. These pumps have oxygen intake valves and a unique air/water mix system which effectively increases the oxygen concentration in your pond.

Choosing the appropriate pond pump is a very crucial decision, if you are un-sure always ask questions, your pond will you thank you for it!

About The Author

Shawn McCulloch has been a contributing writer for gardensupermart.com for over 2 years. He is a water garden enthusiast who enjoys the outdoors, sports, and travel.

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Garden Design: A Book of Ideas

Garden Design: A Book of Ideas

by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus
A comprehensive sourcebook of the best contemporary ideas for garden owners, architects and designers.
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