pump selection


Old 06-27-04, 01:32 PM
hvac4u's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: NW atlanta
Posts: 3,147
pump selection

i have built a terrific water feature in my backyard thanks to the info provided here.

now i am buying the pump... total rise for waterfall is 5 ft, linear run 10 ft, bottom pond 200 gallons, top 170. spillway is 18 inches wide. i figure a 1500 gpm at 5 ft head pump is enough to power the fall, a small fountain, and the rest i can discharge back into the lower pond, using ball valves to get the flow i want.

does this sound right? what pump is the best for this application?

i am planning to make the filter assembly myself out of a milk crate, media and bioballs. will it work?

thanks to fenwalt's input on the padding for the liner (earlier post) i got it FREE .

i am probably going to use PVC for the piping, including underwater. will the glue hurt the fish? they will not go in for at least 2 months after install. how about paint? i will have to paint the PVC. is regular cheap black spray paint going to do it? or will this too kill my guppies?

thanks for such good advice

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Old 06-27-04, 02:56 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: sw VA
Posts: 3,100
Hi Mike,

I'll try to help some if I can.
Sounds like you're on the right track. Even with the 5 foot lift a 1500 gpm pump will be a nice waterfall. Do you plan on putting the pump in the filter?
This can sometimes present problems due to clogged filter media and then restricted flow to the falls. I did alot of reading and research prior to 'breaking ground' and since I have some overhead tree branches I opted to use a skimmer system. My pump is in my skimmer. The outflow is directed to my waterfall and my skippy filter. Actually, there are probably more than a dozed different ways to plumb a pond.
In lieu of painting pvc pipe you could use black plastic and various fittings(T's, elbows, etc.) using ss radiator type clamps. All my lines are outside the pond so the pvc worked fine. Once dry, the pvc cement is not a problem to plants or fish.

Pump selection is difficult to answer. I was always familiar with the quality of Supreme/Danner equipment during my aquarium days(70s & 80s) so I bought a Pondmaster 3600 for my 3000+ gal pond. It's been running 24/7 since Nov without any problems. To protect my pump I also installed a mechanical float switch that will cutoff the elec if the pond level lowers below my skimmer weir door for any reason.(No problems yet!).
Beckett may also have a pump the size your looking for. Many ponders use them also.

Any homemade filter can work fine as long as the load(fish population) is not too great, and the proper flow goes to the filter. A good filtering rule of thumb is to "turn the pond over" about once every hour.
I hope this helps -
Come back if you have more questions,
Old 06-28-04, 05:31 PM
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thanks fred for the excellent info.

a few thoughts

lower pond is @ 200 gpm. will 5 changes per hour be a problem for fish getting sucked in? i am thinking of reducing the weir to @ 12 inches, and down grading to 1000gpm.

i have seen that danner is highly rated, and i use beckett pumps for applications in my trade, HVAC. both are good quality. are you familiar with calpump? have found some good deals online... 65 bucks for 1000 gpm @5 ft.

how would i use the skimmer application you mention....holes only in top of filter box? i was planning on putting a submersible pump into one, not sure what you mean.

are you saying a cannister filter after the pump and before the waterfall? i wondered about something like that, i too am an aquarium guy, have over 250 gallons in my house!!

your help is greatly appreciated, fred. thank you

Old 06-28-04, 08:33 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: sw VA
Posts: 3,100

Larger(pump) is usually better.
Skimmers/filters usually do not have a problem with fish being sucked in. Smaller fish or babies could be a possible problem. For some reason, maybe instinct, my fish stay away from my skimmer weir.
I bought a commercial skimmer(Atlantic) - it has a 10 or 12 inch weir, a catch basin(leaf trap) w/1 inch poly filter box that I can pull out and wash off. Behind the leaf trap is the compartment for my pump and float switch. I still need to install the auto fill valve, but this hasn't been a problem. I add water maybe once a week due to evaporation. After my pump comes the plumbing, one 2 1/4 inch pipe T'd for two items, the waterfall and the skippy filter. I've got ball valves for each for adjustments. So, if you can adjust flows, any filter can work fine. Any excess flow can go direct to wf.

For biological filters, too much flow may not give the filter time to work.
If you could direct 1/3 to the filter and the rest to the wf, that should work good. A lot depends where you place your filter. A mechanical filter is always good placed before a biological filter. If you diy homemade filters with the milk crates two would be ideal. Crate 1 to catch large debris and crate two as a biological which only needs cleaned once a year. One of the biggest problems with pond filters is clogging and decreased flow. This usually occurs with those ponders who put their pump in the pond bottom.

I almost bought the Cal Torpedo, but I read that there were some problems with it.
I hope some of this rambling helps............

Here is a great forum which I have picked up considerable information from. A real good bunch of people.

Old 07-01-04, 03:41 PM
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i have learned so much in a short time! that link was excellent, fred, i am now posting there too!

i am going with the beckett 1150, gonna get it locally instead of online due to ease of warranty issues. extra 40 bucks, but worth it i think.

i finally understand the skimmer idea, saw a DIY one on line.... go figure! was in walmart today and found the containers for it, whole deal including media will run 20 bucks tops. yet to find bio balls cheap, have heard plastic strap will work. i can get a lot of that at work

i am finishing the upper pond liner tomorrow night, will fill it then. saturday, the water will flow!

gotta get about 400 bucks wort of rocks, that KILLS me!!

will keep y'all posted!
Old 07-14-04, 08:20 PM
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i have a pump for sale

i have a submirsible little giant fountain pump for sale if you wanted to save some money

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